I was in church the other Sunday. I know this sounds like I’m not a frequent guest to the house of the Lord, but I’ve been to church more times this month than I was the whole of last year. Progress. Anyway, you’ve already known that I was in church. The sermon was nice, inspiring even if we are to be honest. I like our new priest’s sermons. She knows her stuff and how to put it across. Then there were the customary contributions for this and that project. There was also the dreaded “peace greetings” with people you don’t know the last thing they touched before shaking your hands (can’t we just wave at each other, coz I know the old folks will have issues with fist bumps?)
Then the service ended at around 12 pm. Another thing like about the new priest. She doesn’t drag her services on forever. I can’t remember the last an Anglican church service for the old folks lasted two hours, even at All Saints. But that maybe because I can’t remember the last time I attended a service for the old folks. I usually go for the 7 am service when the old folks are still cleaning their dentures. Just to be clear, by old folks, I mean anybody over the age of 30.
After the service, I stayed behind for a little while to catch up with some homeboy who decided to join the Lord’s service. Telling him how when if I ever needed to cheat the government of a few coins off my taxes, I would come to him to forge me a marriage certificate so that I enjoy tax relief for married chaps. Then this woman approached us. Shook our hands like we owed her money. You know, the kind of handshake that seems to say “if you don’t pay up today, I’m gonna break your wrists.”
“Do you know who I am?” She asked.
My friend shook his head No. I did my customary “this face looks familiar” stare I usually do when I’m pretending to try to place a face, then gave a verbal confirmation that I absofuckinglutely had no idea who she was.
I perfectly knew who she was.
I pretended I didn’t know who she was for two reasons. First, confirming you know someone after they’ve asked you that question places you at a disadvantage. The ball gets passed to your court. If a “how do you know me” question doesn’t follow, then it is always up to you to keep the conversation going. Lose-lose situation. Do you know how awkward it is to describe someone to themselves?
The second reason I denied knowing her is why we have this story. I wanted to see where she was going with the conversation.
She introduced herself, and asked us who we were. And old folks won’t recognize who you are until you mention your entire lineage. My friend mentioned his entire lineage, and she was like “I know so and so, how are they?” My turn. I simply said “an wuod japuonj.” Translation: I’m the son of the teacher. In the village, not every teacher gets to be described by that title. If your parents are teachers and villagers use that tittle when addressing them without adding their name after, then just know that they would be next in line to inherit the throne if we still had kingdoms. Teachers fight to be addressed in the village by that title more than our governors fought to be addressed as “mheshimiwa.”
She then yapped her life story. Her career, tribulations faced in the line of duty, and yada yada no one cared about. At least not us. She then finished by saying how she was now retired and was settling back in the village and it was good for people to know each other especially if they shared a church.
You see, some time back, I applied for a certain job. I got shortlisted and was invited for an interview. But I never attended the interview. Because I only knew I was invited for the interview after they had been conducted. A friend who had also been invited for the same interview called in the evening wanting to know why I skipped the interview. I asked, what interview? He explained how my slot had been preserved until the closing time with the panel hoping I would turn up. I had interned at the institution and had a real shot at the job.
I was never called for the interview.
This woman was in charge of the hiring process.
I forgive. I move on (to be honest, better opportunities came along and I am even thankful I was rejected). But I don’t forget. I perfectly know who you are, witch.