• Random conversation leads to thoughts as to who is really the crazy one in village
Sometimes, inspiration comes from the least expected source. Take Mwendaa, for instance, our resident village madman. The last time he took a shower, Malcolm MacDonald was still governor of colonial Kenya, but he (Mwendaa, not Malcolm) would never allow such inconveniences as a tint of grime or body odour ruin his day. A day he spends talking to himself and collecting papers off the streets.
In the course of such a busy and involving day, Mwendaa finds time to visit me at the Police Post, and although awkward and a tad annoying at first, I’ve come to relish our conversations. They don’t always make sense (like the time he came to report a cow that had insulted him in the most foul language), but our talks have evolved with time, and I’ve learned to pick and choose.
Today, he comes bearing information I know not where he gleaned from.
‘Naskia wewe ni fala sana,’ he says.
‘And why is that?’
‘Dame anakulipia mali na hutaki kumuoa? Na vile ni msupa. Si uniachie basi.’
He’s referring to an incident in which a guy offered to deposit a large sum of money in Sgt Sophia’s account to buy her affection, only for her (she’s my fiancée, by the way) to give him my bank account number. Question is, how does Mwendaa know this?
‘How did you come by this information?’ I ask.
‘Sasa juu mimi ni mwenda nafaa kuwa fala ka wewe?’ He leans over the desk and I notice a change of demeanour. As I’ve come to notice at times, Mwendaa has the look of a completely sane person. ‘Let me let you in on a little secret. I’m invisible, so people say anything they want around me. You get the irony, right? Me… I mean, look at me, and I am the invisible one.’
‘I’m sorry about that.’
‘I’m not. Have you ever considered that maybe we, and by we, I mean us crazy people, are probably not crazy but in tune with other dimensions?’
‘I don’t understand. What are you talking about?’
‘You see me walking around talking to myself, right? How sure are you I am not conversing with beings from a parallel universe? Or maybe I travelled there and back and it somehow fried my brain, and now I can hear voices from other dimensions.’
I’ve heard of such stuff as parallel universes, but when I tried to inquire deeper, it only made my head hurt. I guess my mind is just too occupied with normal day-to-day stuff. Or maybe I’m just stupid.
‘Maybe you’re just stupid,’ Mwendaa says.
‘What? Can you read my mind, too?’
‘Haha. No. You said the last bit out loud. “Or maybe I’m just stupid.” Comes easy, talking to yourself, no?’
‘Mwendaa, what’s the point to all this?’
‘I don’t know. Kwani ni lazima kila kitu iwe na point?’ And we are back to ol’ regular Mwendaa. Kwanza, uko na mlo? Niko njaa ka mbwa ya shetani.’
‘Satan has a dog?’
‘Wajua kwa nini nyani haoni kundule? Kwa sababu hana kioo.’
He laughs so loudly it infects me and I join him.
Long after Mwendaa is gone, I ruminate over his words. Someone once said perception is reality. That an individual’s subjective experience of the world shapes their understanding of reality, regardless of whether that perception aligns with objective facts or not. Politicians, companies, religion … they all create perception for us, and we take it as a given.
Think about it. Maybe Mwendaa isn’t crazy after all, but we all think he is because someone said people like Mwendaa are crazy.