The thing about listening to people narrate stories of their first time on a plane is that you get to sit with mango juice in a tumbler, idly twirling the stem, smile judgmentally at them all the time wondering why someone would embarrass themselves that badly in front of people on a plane. I mean, aren’t planes meant to be a fancy means of travel? A place where, when using them, you safely tuck the villager inside you in a cage after tying all her limbs with a rope?
But the universe has a wicked sense of humor and you never really know how notorious the villager in you is until you have traveled using plane yourself. See here is the thing, ushamba is like a persistent, loud cough. It likes to announce that you and it are in a relationship even when you are not yet ready to come out publicly. My first flight did well to bring me to the realization that deep down, I am just but a villager in nice clothes. A villager who under the right conditions is willing and more than able to manifest herself in ways unimaginable.
In her quest for fanciness, yours truly went on YouTube and Google and did as much research as she thought she’d need so as not to make a fool of herself while on the plane. I read all about the 100 ml liquid rule which killed my dream that I had clung to for over 20 years. The dream that the first time I get on the plane I would constantly douse myself with cologne every 20 minutes so that I stay fresh and maybe, just maybe, experience a PK moment with a cute njungu. I even told you guys how my mother and father dragged me and my humongous suitcases to their favorite butchery to measure the weight of my luggage so that it did not exceed the stipulated 23 kg. And they did that in broad daylight. Hata sikuaibika watu wakiniangalia vi-funny kwa hiyo butchery. Trust me, even with a big fat beard, you will always remain your parent’s child. Yet nowhere in my extensive research did any of you mention that I’d have to remove my shoes when I got to the final security check. Evil men and women, when will you stop letting me make a fool of myself?
Now, can we talk about my legs just a little bit more? My legs are just that -legs. Big, bony and honestly, rather too menacing for a girl. In fact, every time I look at them, Luanda Magere comes to mind. I mean only legendary men of war can possess such legs. My legs are every other thing except pretty. In fact, you should see them just after I finish doing my laundry, you will never view me in the same light ever again. You know how the fingers and toes look shriveled and grizzly when they have been in the water too long? Mine stand there like a battalion of wounded soldiers, all malnourished and dehydrated, and it takes all I’ve got not to hate myself a little more. Even when I am applying lotion, I just do the rest of the body and when I get to the legs, I close the lotion and I tell them in a voice that is an imitation of Morgan Freeman, ‘Boys, you are strong, you are black, and black doesn’t crack.’
The look on the faces at the guys at the security checkpoint told more than their lips could convey when they saw my feet. I could tell that they saluted the man who had such a big heart as to love a woman with my kind of feet. ‘Whoever he is, he is a true ninja. A real warrior.’ Their thoughts screamed.
When all is said and done, even in weddings, the true moment of reckoning is when the food gets here. Weeks earlier, I had looked at my itinerary and on seeing how much the damn flight was going to cost, I knew I was going to maximize my utility in that plane. I purposed to collect any collectible from that plane without feeling the cold of shame in my ass. You know the way we steal shampoo and soap from hotels? Also, I was going to sample every single food they offered. So, really, if there was a moment I had waited for, it was the food time. When I finally heard them announce that they will be serving us with a snack shortly, stomach literally jiggled its butt in joy.
But there was a problem, I was not sure if the food was free. And kuchonga viazi is kind of a universal punishment nowadays and there was no way I was taking risks. My people, when they said that the food was free, let me tell us that I ate every single meal that was served. Those that had pronounceable names and even those that didn’t. Those that tasted good and those that tasted like canned nails. I ate and waited for my stomach to react, but God has created a hedge around my stomach.
Damn me, it was a 23-hour flight and I had stuffed myself with food and drinks. Now poor me had to go to the washroom whether I liked it or not. Even with the worry of not knowing whether what was going to come out would be a sinker or a floater. And man, was the washroom tiny! Once I got in, I sat hanging mid-air and did my thing like we hygienic folks do when using a public toilet. And when I say that I did my thin in that washroom, trust me I did some proper nation-destruction in that little room. In fact, the whole time I was holding my nose musing at the fact that inside my bowels resides content that could easily be used to manufacture a radioactive bomb. However, my amusement did not last long. When the time to flash my content down came, the sound the thing produced was among the terrifying things I’ve heard in my short life. Eish, how could a fancy washroom produce such horrifying noise? Or was Armageddon here already? Just when I was getting my chance to dance in the sky?
At that point, my trousers were three-quarter way up and I was trying to fasten my belt and buttons before I could step out and catwalk down the aisle to my seat. Let us say, I dashed out of the room in haste only to bump into a flight attendant asking me, ‘are you okay ma’am?’ Wait, how long had I been inside there? I just nodded and awkwardly staggered to my seat with my undone belt hanging off my trousers. That was the last time I visited the washroom during that flight.
All in all, it was a wonderful fight. However, just between me and you, it took me all the self-control in the world not to carry those mini-blankets and pillows they give us on the plane for comfort. Didn’t we talk about maximizing our utility?