Genevieve was fed up with the constant nagging from her roommate Kaylee. Every time Kaylee was invited to a Kenyan do, and that was every weekend, she would beg Genevieve to go with her: politely Genevieve always declined. She avoided Kenyans-filled-parties like the plague, where imagined stories come to life and new ones take root. She could count her Kenyan friends on one finger – Kaylee – and that happened out of necessity. When she had said no for the umpteenth time, Kaylee had had enough, “you have to mingle with fellow Kenyans you know!” Before she could go on a hissy fit and regurgitate words she’d said a zillion times before, Genevieve agreed to go with her. “Fine! I’ll go….. but only if it’s an adults only party!” She’d witnessed horrific scenes of Kenyans who take their kids to dine in ‘restaurants-that-turn-into-night-clubs- after-11pm’: these people will then refuse to take the kids home when the dining part is over and the disco part has started, and only threats of police action and/or physical violence would make them budge.
The party was attended by many people, too many as far as Genevieve was concerned. The last time she was in such a large crowd of Kenyans, was when she was in high school donkey years ago. No sooner had they entered than a crowd gathered around them to great Kaylee. She knew everyone. Genevieve just stood there because she knew no one, and it didn’t look like her mate was going to introduce her to anyone, not that she was bothered. Other than Kaylee, everyone else was simply an acquaintance or people she’d met in various functions like wakes, memorial services, fundraising etc. She was scanning for a quiet corner where she’d sit all night and play on her phone. She recognised a few nameless faces, people she’d seen at the landing lounge aka Kaylee’s living room. Most gave her acknowledging nods, other sneered; but then one stood out, looking larger than life – she stood there hands akimbo, lips scrunched up, fierce eyes looking squarely at Genevieve. And then unprovoked, she exploded into a high pitched shrill, and everyone within a ten mile radius was undoubtedly deafened.
“STOP SENDING ME FRIEND’S REQUEST’S ON FB! PLEASE! I don’t want to be online friends with you just because we know the same people………. or in your case, a person!”
The screamer was Hellene. A woman in her late 30s who claim to have it all – husband [if that was an achievement], children [ok maybe], properties [always in some obscure place in Kenya that no one knows, or ever heard of], education [she claims to have a PhD in something despite all the evidence pointing to a brain made up of 80% porridge].
Genevieve was in shock. She had no idea what was happening. Was it possible that this mad woman was actually speaking to her? What on earth?
“Excuse me? Are you talking to me?” she asked in an Edie Britt’s style speech she’d perfected from watching too much desperate housewives. For a split second Hellene was impressed and her attitude came down a few notches.
“You keep sending me requests on FB! Please stop it!” She then walked off triumphantly like she’s just delivered the gospel. Genevieve was left standing there in utter shock which quickly turned into intense anger that could turn the atmosphere green. A guy who was standing next to Genevieve at the time of the intemperate blowout, looked at her pitifully, shrugged his shoulders as if to say “What to do?” then walked away. The truth was she had no idea who this woman was, or why she would accuse her of online harassment. She was not like that and definitely not desperate for friends. “What the hell was that?” Asked a guy who looked like he came right out of the 80s.
“I don’t care!”
By the time the music started playing to club standards; Genevieve was ready to leave though still seething from the humiliation. She had not seen Kaylee for 3 hours. Luckily for her, the music was getting good and the tequila shots were coming fast and furious. The DJ, however, seemed to be in cohort with Hellene, because whenever Genevieve joined the dance floor to boogie to a favourite classic, the DJ found uninteresting things to say in between verses and the chorus. At some point, he spoke so much during the chorus of Genevieve’s favourite song that she heard nothing, and before she could make peace with the next verse and hopefully a full chorus the DJ changed the song completely. It felt like the world was against her. She hated regretting things, but this party was an exception and she regretted it. She had not anticipated a psychological massacre by a self-appointed queen bee, or interferences from a chatter box DJ, who made no sense. At one point he tried to sell tickets to a sold out party, only to explain later that he meant “Get your tickets before they sell out!” Truly English came by boat! The party did nothing for her social life because she was not making new friends; if anything she was making brand new enemies and hating DJs whose faces she couldn’t make out from a line-up of drug dealers.
The social butterfly who blackmailed her into coming to this gawd-awful party was socialising like it was the end of the world. She was collecting phone numbers and accepting new friend’s requests like they were going out of fashion. By closing time, she had at least 550 new friends. She would have wanted more, and there were more people wanting to be connected, but Facebook put the brakes on her and declared cut off at 5000. What sort of person, who’s neither a celebrity nor a philanthropist, has 5000 friends? Mind boggling – most likely a social butterfly who can engage in any conversation with any person without grossing people out.
They soon left to drive home and talk about hurricane Hellene.
“So, who is this cow who thinks I’m stalking her on FB?” Genevieve slurred in a tequila soaked voice.
Kaylee feigned surprise. She had watched the drama unfold from a safe distance, but didn’t intervene. She learnt a long time never to intervene between two people you care about because they will want you to take a side. You cannot be Switzerland in these situations.
“Hellene is a drama queen. Don’t take it too personally!”
“You’re kidding? Right?” Genevieve paused for effect, but Kaylee maintained a straight face.
“Where were you when she was embarrassing me all over the place making stupid accusations? That useless bitch!”
“Did you tell her?”
“Tell her what?” she cut in.
“To cut the crap. You should have embarrassed her right back. One of two things happened – she’s a delusional crazy and deranged woman, or you actually requested!”
“I didn’t though!”
“Girl, sometimes you amaze me. You behave like an imbecile. Learn to think on the spot and outside the box. You should have dealt with this right there and then; letting Hellene walk away, and talking, scrap that… raging to me about it now is futile. You should have fought harder, show evidence if you had to, gather witnesses or whatever. Bottom line you should have done something about it there and then!”
“Are you done?”
“Then don’t worry I will have my revenge”
That night taught Genevieve three new things: human nature is such that when something is not happening to them it’s ok to make light of: when watching events unfold in slow motion the brain probably thinks in slow motion too: there are shameless people everywhere.
“You should also remember there’s a special place in hell for women who call other women bitches!” Kaylee said amid bouts of loud hyena like laughter. Genevieve rolled her eyes and sighed, she had no energy left to laugh about anything.
As much as they say ignorance is bliss, there’s a limit to that. Due to Hellene’s illiteracy, ignorance and over-inflated ego, she missed vital cues. And this gave rise to the revenge plot. The revenge on queen bee was sweet, swift and tasteful. Hash tag Educating Hellene Tembeya – trended forever – ‘Differentiating FB friends’ suggestion from friend’s request’. Kaylee’s 5000 friends drove the point home. And just because you are outspoken, can think on the spot, can reason outside the box etc don’t look down on those who can’t. At every point in life everyone is going through something.