Stress has become my closest companion lately. Not in a melodramatic, dark-artist sort of way but more in the sort of way when a mouse moves in and you do everything you can to be rid of it and he just hangs around getting braver and braver. If you haven’t had a mouse for a roommate then this might be the wrong analogy for you. You can substitute many things for mouse: cock roaches, wasps, deadbeat cousin…you get the idea now I’m sure. This state of agitation has not made me want to post anything publicly because anything I attempted to write was far too negative for anyone in a decent state of mine. This is by no means is not to imply that my life isn’t decent. Allow me to explain. From my countdown I now have 51 days left under Peace Corps rule. To cut a long story short I don’t know what I will be doing with my life from that point forward. Grad school is on the horizon, if it gets funded. I have been applying to jobs but no response yet. In short I have a huge life transition with no clear picture of what my life will be like after Peace Corps, despite the fact that I stayed on another year with a partial intention of having something to do before grad school started. The other intention was significant work experience I would never be able to get in the states. The latter became very true but now I find myself in a very similar boat as last years, although this year’s model has significant improvements over last year’s.
I digress. The mouse hasn’t moved out yet and I haven’t managed to kill it, we are the status quo. But. But the most wonderful thing happened to me this evening.
After yoga (one of the many tactics I am attempting to combat this mouse) I went to a friend’s house for dinner and a movie, she cooks up the best veggies in town and she has a killer movie selection on her comp. We cuddled up with our veggie curry and 12” computer screen and watched a fantastically girly movie. (Her company was enough to brighten my day, but it gets better). With it being a school night, I headed home straight away after the ending. It wasn’t too late, there was hardly anyone out and about and she literally lives around the corner. I walked home with my keys in my hand ready to bare-knuckle anyone dodgy. As I was about to walk into my gate a car came driving by hooting at me, sorry, honking at me. Then the guy turned directly into my drive and waited for the guard to open the gate. So I waited. I watched this guy enter into the gate and slowly drive around. Suspicious? I was. I asked Mr. Phiri, the scarier of our two guards who keeps a bottle handy to deal with the boring, lonely, cold nights, who that was. (Well I shouldn’t say he keeps a bottle, but he does like to drink). He didn’t know who was in the car. I told him he had hooted at me down the road. He told me to wait where I was and he would go check the guy out. The driver just sat in the car waiting. Mr. Phiri backed up a bit and told me to enter into the guard shack. I did as I was told, no questions asked. He then came back and said "let me escort you the other way around, then I will go deal with him." My protest was that I didn’t want the driver to see where I lived. Mr. Phiri assured me that he couldn’t see because of where the car was parked. So he walked me around the back side of the buildings and then told me to carefully walk the rest of the way to my house while he went to go see the driver of the suspicious car sitting in the car park with his dim lights on. I made it around the corner and could see the headlights poking out from behind a wall, so I waited. While I waited I saw someone come out of one of the flats and head straight for the suspicious car. Taxi. Of course he was a taxi, he was hooting at me. But he was a taxi with a legitimate call to pick someone, not just some guy driving around bored, following people. I made it up stairs to my house with no incidence. As I was washing my face and contemplating how suspicious I have become of people I heard a pounding. It sounded like it was on my door, but it was hard to tell with the water running. Just to be sure I went to the front door and there was Mr. Phiri smelling faintly of beer coming to collect guard fees but mostly with the express purpose to check on me. He told me I was right to be scared about the driver, he was actually not surprised by my reaction at thinking the cab driver was following me to find out where I lived, but he told me he was now used to these types of things. Turns out I probably over reacted but better safe than sorry. And I learned that Mr. Phiri is actually a really great guy. I like the other guard better, he is so friendly and doesn’t ask for a thing. Mr. Phiri once asked me for booze while he was working, seemed just a little inappropriate. The toughest part about living alone is no one notices if you don’t come home. But it turns out that Mr. Phiri cares and actually might notice if I didn’t come home. It was so reassuring and uplifting remembering that people are kind and caring. Living in the big city doesn't always give you the most optimistic impressions of people.
Maybe I should give the drunk amaguys at the bus station the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they are really good guys trying to make a measly living, trying to make it through the day. Kind of hard to stomach humbling myself to them when yesterday one of them announced to me quite loudly in front of the entire bus that he was available and wanted to marry me so I could take him back to America. Huh, not going to be any easier there buddy and you would probably hate having a musungu wife. But lesson learned, its good to be alert and on guard. Its not good to be negative and suspicious of everyone, especially of the guy from Airtell that calls you while at work to tell you that you have racked up enough points to collect 3 free telephones from any airtell store. 3? What am I going to do with 3 cheap phones?