Wisdom From a Cab Driver
As I wrote sometimes back in this blog, I gave up forcing myself to wake up early in the morning. I now prefer staying in bed till I feel I have had sufficient sleep, provided I have no pressing work to attend to. Some days, I manage to awaken from slumber before dawn but on most days, I usually wake up at around 7.00am.
Today, I felt I had had sufficient sleep at around 6.30am but I continued lying lazily in bed. And as I lay in bed, I began to feel dreary when I thought of all I had to do when I got out of bed: making my bed, stretching with rollers, cleaning my room, taking a shower, washing my clothes and going for a jog to Kiserian Town. All those chores seemed too much for me, which explains why I felt dreary, wishing time would stop moving so that I could lay in bed longer.
But guess what! When I finally got out of bed and began doing those tasks, I found myself feeling excited by the time I had finished washing my clothes. So excited was me that I decided to skip breakfast and jog to Kiserian Town when I was still feeling elated. It's amazing how our moods can change so quickly, isn't it?
Before I left home for Kiserian, I said a prayer, as is my habit, that I may enjoy my morning walk, and that I may be filled with courage and charm to approach and strike a conversation with any winsome young lady I may meet along the way. And because I was planning to buy a pair of shorts, I also prayed that I may find a good one at Kiserian market.
Although I didn't meet any winsome young lady along the way, I enjoyed my morning trip to Kiserian Town. And I found a pair of shorts of my size at Kiserian Market which I bought cheaply at Ksh. 150.
On my way back home after buying the short, I witnessed an incident near the market that had attracted a small crowd of people. It was of a man who was protesting angrily because his car had been hit slightly on the front. He was protesting using some unprintable profane language while belittling the car that had hit his. And from the way he was gesturing furiously, I could tell he was ready for a fight if provoked more.
Not bothering to hang around the scene and watch the incident unfold, I continued with my walk back home while mulling over what I had just witnessed. The man I had seen protesting angrily over a minor accident reminded of the following words by Marcus Aurelius:
I am going to meet people today who talk too much, people who are selfish, egotistical, ungrateful. But I won't be surprised or disturbed, for I couldn't imagine a world without such people.The man also reminded me of a short video clip I watched a few weeks ago in a Facebook page ran by one of my friends. The video clip was about the wisdom of a black cab driver who stopped on the road to pick a white passenger.
As he drove off, the cab driver started asking his passenger about his day. And he was asking politely and cheerfully. But then as they were talking, the cab driver suddenly saw a car in front of him. To avoid hitting it, he slammed on the breaks and the cab screeched to a halt, barely missing to hit the car in front. A man then emerged out of the car and started shouting angrily but the cab driver maintained his cool by smiling and waving at the angered man.
After the angry man went back to his car, the white passenger in the cab asked the black cab driver, "How are you so calm and so friendly?"
The cab driver replied, "Well, I'll tell you something man. People are like garbage trucks."
"How?" the passenger inquired, his interest piqued.
"Well," the cab driver continued, "they run around with garbage - they are full of disappointments, full of frustration, full of anger. And when that garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And sometimes they'll dump it on you. But you know what? Don't take it personal. You just wave, smile, wish them well and move on."
Pretty powerful words of wisdom coming from a black cab driver, aren't they? They have made me realize that the man I saw today morning protesting angrily had too much garbage in him that he dumped on the driver who had hit his car. Or what do you think?
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Developing a Sense of Humour
Earlier on in this decade when Mum used to run a grocery shop in my hometown of Kiserian, I happened to visit her in her shop one night at around 7.20p.m. when there was an electrical power failure in the town. The whole Kiserian was black with darkness. As I was walking in the town that night, I spotted an acquaintance of mine in the darkness. And because I didn't know him by name, I tapped him on the back to grab his attention.
No sooner had I tapped him on the back than electrical power returned in Kiserian lighting the whole town, which prompted the acquaintance to turn to me and joke, "You see the way I am powerful; you touch me and the lights come back!"
I found that joke so funny and well-timed that I burst out laughing. The acquaintance had made my day. I am sure he also felt better emotionally for cracking that effective joke.
Given how great I felt that night after the acquaintance made my day, I now believe it's wonderful to possess a sense of humour. It makes life interesting and improves self-esteem. And because a sense of humour is that valuable, let me share with you, my dear reader, two lessons I have learnt in life so far on cracking effective jokes.
The first is, be quick to take advantage of an opportunity to be humorous. Don't delay because if you do, telling the joke late might not produce the intended effect.
A couple of years ago, I recall one evening I quickly took advantage of an opportunity to be humorous. That evening, I was walking towards Kiserian when I saw an elderly friend of mine called Baba Waweru strutting along the road with his black-coloured dog. I greeted him jovially from the opposite side of the road, then I asked him, "Is that your dog?"
"Yes!" Baba Waweru answered.
And then I jokingly inquired from him, "Why is it as black as Satan?"
Well, maybe that question doesn't sound humorous when I translate it to English but trust me, it was so funny when I uttered it in my mother-tongue of Kikuyu that it set some women nearby convulsing with laughter.
The second lesson I will share with you on cracking effective jokes is that a humor which works in one situation might not work in another. I learnt that lesson the hard way a couple of times. Allow me to tell you of one example.
Back in 2003 when I was in Form 2 at Starehe Boys' Centre, I was taught Geography by a soft-spoken lady called Mrs. Juma. One Friday, she happened to be teaching us on the last lesson of the day. After the bell rang and her lesson was over, she picked up her teaching materials and started walking out of the classroom while wishing us a happy weekend. From where I was seated, I shouted to Mrs. Juma, "And you too teacher. Rest in peace."
On hearing me say that, Mrs. Juma turned to look at me, wearing a facial expression that revealed she was like, "What the hell?" And the joke made one of my classmates giggle.
Encouraged by how funny I had sounded by telling Mrs. Juma to rest in peace during the weekend break, I found myself repeating that joke a couple more times till one Thursday night.
That Thursday night, I was leaving All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi after a choir practice when I passed by a few fellow choristers who were also heading to their homes. Instead of wishing them a good night, I told them to rest in peace, a statement that made them become stiff with silence. I could tell that I had scared them and that my joke had not worked this time round. Since then, I have always been leery of telling people to rest in peace.
There you have them: that is, the two lessons I have learnt on cracking effective jokes. I urge you to strive to be humorous as you go about your daily life; it will improve the quality of your life. Before I finish, let me leave you with this quote by the author Hugh Sidey, "Above all else, go out with a sense of humour. It is needed armor. Joy in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life." Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you have enjoyed this story of mine on developing a sense of humour, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometimes back on "Thriving". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.