I spent some time this week with my long-time car mechanic popularly referred to as Rasta. Though he shaves bald like me. For the many years, I have known him I have never seen him with dreadlocks. Maybe it’s his Rasta attitude that earned him that title. Please don’t ask me how a Rasta attitude looks like guys.
I think I can pride myself on keeping relations for a long time if Rasta is anything to go by. I met him when I had my first car. It was a Peugeot 504 pickup way back in the 90s. it was my mum’s car but I had it most of the time. And even bought it from her at some point. We had a cafeteria at Langata shopping center and Rasta’s garage was nearby. Since then all the cars I have owned have been fixed by Rasta. I also seek his opinion on a car before buying it. I recall years back when I had to keep him on speed dial when traveling out of town in case the 504 gets moody on me, which it often did. We were joined at the engine of the car (not the hip this time he he)
I passed by his garage for him to install an FM expander in my car radio. It’s been a while since we met because there have been very few places to drive to since March thanks to corona. I even had to force an excuse once to leave the house by saying I’m going out for a zoom meeting. That was hilarious. Cabin fever is real folks.
As we caught up with Rasta the conversation veered off into the theatrics and schemes Kenyans have invented to keeping afloat during these dire times. We have seen and celebrated many people who have forged beyond the fear and anxiety caused by this pandemic and pivoted successfully into new engagements. Sadly, this pivoting has been both positive and negative. Many others have also decided to up their game into conmanship and use their creativity to fleece Kenyans.
I was almost a victim of that once. Some guy called me claiming to be a procurement officer from a local university. He said they needed to buy tents for their institution. He sounded friendly and very willing to help me. He even offered to fill out the procurement forms for me and fastrack our application. The catch was I send him ten thousand bob to buy the tender documents then once filled out he will call me we meet for the Purchase order and deposit.
At that point, I had already figured out he was a con man. I asked him to call me once he has the documents so that I can mpesa him. He did call back after five minutes. By this time, I had activated true caller on my phone. When he called me back true caller displayed him as ‘Narok conman’. I didn’t bother picking up that call.
That chat with Rasta got me thinking about people’s perception of me. I’ve seen guys calling me when confirming my number and ‘Lucas tents’ shows up. That’s not surprising as I’ve been in the tent business for twenty years. Folks, who do people say you are? would you be embarrassed or comfortable with the names Trucaller gives you when people dial your number?
On the 4th floor, we had better be who we say and show it. We often claim that once you hit 40 you begin to get comfortable in your skin and care less what others think of you. That’s all in order but we still have to guard our reputations that have taken the last forty years to build, especially if they are positive reputations. Of course, some things that happen to us and give us a certain image will be out of our control. Such is life. But we can, and should focus on building our true selves and displaying it to the world as much as possible. That way we get closer to matching what we think of ourselves and what others think. It helps to go through this process remembering that we can’t please everybody. And that’s not the goal. Infact that’s the secret to failure.
When we are the same person in the different spheres of life we find ourselves in life is simpler and I dare say more meaningful. I do agree that we will need to amplify some parts of ourselves and minimize others based on the context we find ourselves in. But the core should remain the same. If our core is more than one then we are imposters and risk being labeled all sorts of names by True caller and others. That’s because our inconsistencies will surface as we interact with humanity.
I came across a quote once that read, “worry is the interest you pay when you borrow trouble.” For all the dodgy calls that I have received from conmen, Trucaller has labeled them harshly so let’s keep trouble at a minimum and there will be nothing to worry about.
Let’s work on being legit folks. Its worth the effort.