Its that time of the month when your caretaker is doing the final rounds with his counter books confirming the door numbers against the confirmation messages. On the other hand, is an unlocked heavy top brass padlock and a set off keys hanging off his parachute trousers’ waist.
Stranded on the second floor he realizes that the tenants are not around; not his interest parties in particular. Doors locked and ice-chills silence on other doors. Every minute shows his agitation. He paces aimlessly across the verandah looking for signs of hope and redemption when an easing door wrench breaks his chain of thoughts and brings back his focus
‘Wewe tulimalizana. Hawa wenzako ndio nataka.’ He breaks ground before the tenant can get from his door. ‘Yes mkubwa. Form leo?’ the comfort that accompanies these words when you have given to Caesar what is his is unmatched. Similarly, the comfortable sleep that befalls you after a date with the caretaker is often underrated or less celebrated. The tenant has some escort on him and therefore is no mood for a gotea wasee session. She’s doesn’t look like the last one but she is appealing for the dry spell. “Jioni Jamaica.” A strong fist bump and the caretaker has a floor to raid and the tenant has an escort who needs an aid out.
Beyond the baggy key-laden trousers, half tucked shirts and the faded oversize Nike or Reebok sneakers is an arrogant man. I have a problem understanding this. Majority of the caretakers are arrogant or have a mean look on them. Job qualifications vary and now you understand the smile on a lady at a dentist’s reception and the mean face of the person who comes to collect your monthly rent receipts. For this case, this man is mean and lean. I prefer arrogant people who tend to speak more and act less but I am less worried about his arrogance but more about asking him for a key for the gate. I am just a visitor.
Bang! Bang! “Open this door or I will lock you inside.” A few steps away and a sequence is created. It’s like a beat in an instrumental or a chorus in a song. From my discernment, the tenants are away looking for his money. If someone banged my door with all the might in his hands calling out my name, I will step out and with hot blood running down my veins and my mouth ready to get chatty. After an altercation, you can now claim what I owe. If you meant to instill fear, you will lose the respect I had.
Respect or Fear
I remember a while back, a friend asked me a simple question. ‘Do you fear or respect your Pap’s?’ simple and tight. I had my answer, do you? Some of us are yet to sign off a big cheque so we live in a house built by someone else, in exchange you pay. Often times msee akiomoka you don’t want to stay around people who work to pay you so the landlord assigns a caretaker to watch over their properties.
For the tenants, the landlord is the respect factor. That’s the person that they will rarely upset unless they provide a reason for one to. It happens naturally in many cases as it happens with my pap’s as a friend had asked. For the caretaker, we have the fear factor. There is no thin line between respect and fear but a difference like the faces of a coin.
The caretaker’s choice of intimidation and threats on the tenants serves them an aim of driving at respect. Have you ever tried calling a caretaker when looking for a house and then get in return a pile of attitude talk and illiterate misunderstanding? You were pissed off, right? You ask for a key to open the gate or knock the gate from outside and the first statements before the keys turn is “here we don’t do this” in a stern and mean tone. After whispering a thank you I go on and point out that I am just a visitor in their hood. This draws more reactions.
Why do you have to tell me of how you have to scrutinize every visitor? The tenants need to keep you a brisk of whatever they want to undertake and whenever. I sense a need for authority in him but this authority is evasive. Maybe this explains the notion of instilling fear since the authority has the respect.
The evening hours at the kalocal are noisy. People unwinding, running away from their demons, taking life and others on pressure from peers. It’s in this noisy island that revelers and travelers talk of experiences and adventures. The caretaker is lubricating his fried vocals with a mug of black keg as he watches the two Manchester teams square it out when his boiz slides on the other side of the table. “Wote wangekuwa wanalipa mapema kama wewe tungekunywa jug leo.” The caretaker breaks the mold as he beckons a waiter on the other side of the table.