The day: 16th August
The Time: 7.00 a.m
The Location: Baraza Room, PanAfric Hotel
The event:Some networking breakfast shindig.
5.30 a.m: I need to wake up. My body is not used to such ridiculous hours since I neither live along Mombasa Road or Thika Road. Where I live, there is no traffic that suddenly and mysteriously appears at 6.30 a.m so I have the luxury of sleeping in. I have been clubbing all weekend so it's no shock that my body still hasn't recovered by Monday morning. But I promised to show up so I suck it in and wake up. I have no idea how long it will take me to get there by mat. I have no concept of time at 5.30 in the morning.
6.20 a.m: After a hurried shower, I rummage through my wardrobe and pick the first clothes I see that may match. I discover later in the light of day that I picked a pale beige combo that pales out my beige complexion more. Oh well! I regret that decision soon after when the first person I meet at PanAfric is my "host". She has this beautifully cut gray suit that pales me even more and her heels are a shining black colour. Clearly she doesn't use public transport. Last time I saw her was 14 years ago in primary (when we were all one complexion and no one cared). Now she makes me look like she has been working for 10 more years than I have. But then again, maybe she has. I think that if we sit down, we might look almost the same. I end up sitting between my exceptionally well-dressed ex-school mate and a lawyer type who kept asking me if I'm the same Wairimu on the card. I wonder if he thinks I'm peddling someone else's cards. Especially considering the sticky note that they put on my sweater screams "WAIRIMU".
7.45 a.m: Some overly charismatic guy at the front calls up the members of this organisation to the front to give something they call "the 60 second presentations". I mentally calculate 60 seconds by the number of people. These mini-presentations will take close to 3 months to end. I look down at my watch. I have a meeting at 10.
8.10 a.m: I intend to eat the breakfast I paid for but time is running out. I notice a lot of clapping. Way too much clapping. Kenyans love to clap. It's like our way of pretending to pay attention. After clapping twice in a space of 2 minutes, I give up and stare blankly at my empty cup of tea. Now I can think of nothing else but breakfast.
8.21 a.m: After what feels like hours of clapping and chuckling, the "60 second presentations" finally end. The overly charismatic guy is back on stage. I hope he's telling us to go outside and eat. Unfortunately, he calls a shorter louder version of himself to give a short speech on why their method of networking is the best. (I imagine it's because it involves a lot of chuckling and clapping) I pay rapt attention. Finally something helpful to listen to. They lose me when they mention the amount needed to join their "club". My mind is quickly back to the breakfast outside. There must be a way I can get the food and disappear.
8.30a.m: The lawyer type next to me interrupts my day-dreaming. "Are you going to join our membership. We really need an architect!" My mind screams "At that price? hell no!!" My mouth however says "Let me go home and think about it." I start fidgeting with my cup even more. I really need to get to that breakfast before I start eating the napkins and business cards.
8.45 a.m: Finally the call to go eat. I look at my watch again. I have no time to stand around and mingle. I dash out and ask one of the waiters if I could get a bag to pack the food. I paid good money for it.(I don't tell the waiters that!!) There is no way I am leaving good food behind. She walks off to get a box. I stand around aimlessly while I wait. 5 minutes. 10 minutes.12 1/2 minutes.....where the hell is she with my box?
9.03 a.m: I finally go over to some guy in a chef's uniform and ask for a box. He asks me to serve in a plate ant he'll go put it in a box for me. 2 minutes later he returns carrying a box. The box is so large, I think I could use it to pack for a trip to the coast and I am an over-zealous packer. My yorgurt, my slivers of bacon and sausages are dancing inside the box like a stadium. They should have a plastic box to put fruit salad but I am worried they might bring me a bucket. I wonder if anyone will notice if I try to fill it with more food.
9.24a.m: I run into the office, drop my box on my workstation, pick up some drawings and promptly run out for my meeting. I make it with seconds to spare. A lot of talking, sitting, pointing, standing and deadline making later, I still can't get my mind off the breakfast, now sitting uneaten in a big box on my desk. I think I should dedicate an article to the size of that box. It was quite the task carrying it on the jav. I should have filled it! Texts start coming through. I can't read them now in front of all these people.
11.59 a.m: I finally get to the office. Breakfast finally. I need to check my texts first. Just in case there is anything important. First text I read "Hey you, can't believe I'm leaving without you!" I stare blankly at my phone. Suddenly all thoughts of breakfast disappear.