Matatu Pick-up Line

Matatu Pick-up Line

April 26, 2021 1 By Ian Elroy Ogonji

Starting a conversation in a matatu with a girl is hard. A rock. A man has to go into a series of thoughts on how to break that ice, making sure he doesn’t spoil the only chance he has. So, he ensures to hit her with the best line in history.

I was in an embassava sacco matatu headed to Embakasi. Next to me was a damsel full of beauty and style, sitted adjacent the window. She had every description of beauty on her – talk of the dimples, smooth make-up-less skin, natural hair, long neck, beady eyes, hips well spread on the seat, nice cleavage out… you get the idea, right?

I dived into my deep thoughts to fetch a pick up line. I had this one shot, only this one shot to make history. I felt like the Biblical David who had only one stone to hit that collosal guy. What if he missed hiting him? Eeh? Just inagine what would have happened to David. I doubt if we could have ever read about him, because the war that he would have received…

But listen folks, if I hadn’t made this move on this damsel, you wouldn’t be reading this neither.

I had a line in my head – well structured, grammatically correct, metaphorically rich and everything else that would pull a grin on that beautiful face. However, I didn’t want to hit her with it that fast, no, I wanted to hit her with it once she had paid her fare. Your boy hadn’t budgeted to pay for a stranger’s transport – that’s not even the case, let’s just say it was that time of the month when every coin has a plan.

Conductors can be comedians at times – they see you talking to someone in the matatu and assume you are paying her fare. The trap is when you give him say a Ksh 500 note and he goes, “wawili?” How on earth do you have to put someone in that rock-and-rock situation.

So, I waited till the conductor had taken his dues then I dived in. The coast was clear, guys.

“If you and I were socks we’d make a great pair.” I hit.

“What?” She turned, looking confused – flabbergasted, if you may.

“I mean…” I tried to explain. I felt like she hadn’t gotten the pick up line. Or she was in the caliber of people who think pick up lines are immature and old fashion. I’m not talking about you 80’s kids, chill.

“I know what you mean, but don’t you think that was fast?”Her eyebrows crept into her forehead. Her face suddenly morphed into the cutest thing I’ve ever seen on earth. Her voice came out strong – she had a lowkey bass and a touch of raspy. I just wanted her to talk all day, me listening.

“Don’t you believe in love at first sight?” I quipped.

“Well, I don’t.” She retorted, giving the don’t-make-any-further-move look. The look drained my energy. I felt like I had said the wrong line. I should have asked whether the matatu was hot or it was just her, then ask her to open the window. Ian, you messed this one! I thought.

I regretted for a minute.

“I’m Ian, by the way.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Ian.” She said, her voice sounding more raspy like someone who had been screaming all night. She seemed to stretch her hand for a handshake but then changed her mind. The thought ‘no handshake, no hugs, one meter away, wash your hands, sanitize, wear your mask…’ must have crossed her mind.

I waited for her to tell me her name, but where (lakini wapi.)

“And you?” I asked.

“And me what?” Came her reply.

I felt my heart sink into my stomach.

“I mean, what’s your name?”
“I don’t talk to strangers, sorry.” That came out funny, even though she said it with a straight face.

“But good friendships start from people not knowing each other – strangers? Or?” I asked, hoping that it would make sense to her.

“What do you think?” She replied, with a question.

This felt like a debacle. I was losing in my own game. She was either playing hard to get, or she was just not interested. I still don’t know which.

“I think it would be best if I grab your number then familiarize with each other day by day.” I inquired.

She opened her purse’s zipper, rummaged for her phone and fished it out. My hopes went up. I started wondering why she made it look hard if at all she was going to give me her number that easily.

She dug in her purse again, and pulled out earphones. She connected them to her phone, fixed them comfortably on her ears then minded her business.

I have never been so confused.

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