There are many wonderful sights one sees across Nairobi. One such lovely vision is a traffic cop who directs the flow of traffic. He stands most weekday mornings at the junction of our lane and the busy dual carriageway that I join for the 20 minute drive to the office. Stuck in the queue of cars I watch his motions which seem to be synchronized with the music from classic fm playing on my car stereo. He’s like the cute black dancer from Madonna’s Vogue video and watching him I normally tap along on my steering wheel…
‘Strike-a-pose’ has been my little treat for the last 6 months or so and is the highlight of my morning commute. Our routine was interrupted this morning when he motioned for me to pull over. I did as instructed and Mr Gorgeous Dancer Cop walked up to my car and I wound down the window; he looked even more appealing standing there 4 feet away inspecting the disc displayed on the windscreen. Be friendly Tamaku, I thought, as he then walked up to my side:
‘Habari boss. Kila kitu sawa,’ he said, flashing a glorious set of teeth but it sounded like a question to me.
‘Ndio Ofisa,’ I answered and beamed back the result of a dozen visits to the Italian dentist from Corner House. He smiled again. It’s when I coolly said to him he seemed too young to be a policeman. In that moment he cast me the knowing eye to let me know the chase was on.
‘You don’t look much older yourself’.
I have learnt in my secret dealings to recognize the code beyond what is said. To hear him utter those words I seized my moment and handed him a bogus business card that has one of my Safaricom lines printed on it.
‘Call me’, I said. ‘We should have a drink.’ He didn’t miss a beat holding on to the card as he waved me along.
Driving away I spied him in my view mirror tucking my card into his shirt pocket.
Later at the office I pondered about that encounter. Intuition -true aficionados prefer gaydar- tells me he’ll call soon…
Disclaimer: If you want to pick up a policeman in Kenya a word of caution, always remember HALT:
• Homosexuality is illegal
• Act aloof. Class and position is very alive in Kenya. Acting aloof will buy you the option to plead misunderstanding when things turn nasty
• Learn the code (not penal, that one is covered above)
• Think before you speak. The risk of blackmail is real – I’ll post my personal pain on this one soon