I think the last I checked I was five feet five inches tall. A long time before I discovered there was nothing I could do to change things, the fact that I am height-challenged used to give me a headache. I used to wish someone would come up with heels for men. But after I discovered the truth I opted to accept to be 5.5 for the rest of my life. And since then, life has been a ball. I discovered one can't force themselves to be an inch taller, unless they are girls (but even in this case it doesn''t last long. A girl has to take off her heels at one point)
But I know one thing for sure. Though there is nothing you can do to continue your skeletal growth, you can grow an inch or so sideways. You can add a pound of flesh to the skeletal height you have. What is I mean is that one can grow sideways (mark you, I didn't say FAT!) but vertically, no!
I am telling you all this for a reason. Call it beating about the bush or anything. I am letting you know about my height so that the moment I start complaining about my landlord you may be able to identify with my pain. I want you to know how big the place I call home is. That is why I am telling you about my height. I believe it is going to help you figure out just why I think my landlord is stealing from me. But I am not alone.
Landlords along Jogoo Road in Nairobi are getting way too much from places that are way too small for decent human habitation. Te closer the house is to town, the smaller and expensive it is. I don't know if they borrowed a leaf from Geography lesson that states... "the higher you go the cooler it becomes!" If so then I think they are getting it wrong because in terms of housing it is exactly the opposite. This is how it sounds to me: "the closer you are to town, the more you pay for the privilege."
At the time I was getting into what I now call home, I was desperate. I needed a place to lay my weary head while my landlord was looking for someone gullible enough to be called a tenant. It didn't occur to me to measure just how small my house is. I pay a lot of money for this house. It is a city council house owned by the Nairobi City Council. The money I am paying in one month is enough to pay rent at the City Council offices, near the Makadara Law Courts, for a whole six-plus months. Just imagine that!
I know I can't complain to my landlord about the kind of money he is charging me for this small place. My hands are tied. House are hard to come by, this side of Nairobi, more so when whatever you can afford lies in the Eastlands of Nairobi. Besides, my landlord already knows a lot about me. What he knows is enough to amount to blackmail should I dare complain. I do two things which my landlord deems sacrilege. I pee outside the toilet bowl. I also throw waste outside the black plastic bag that serves as a dustbin.
At the time I was first settling in the house I didn't notice many things. It didn't occur to me just how small the house is. Being 5-point-something-under-6-inches tall it takes exactly three strides to cover the longest length of my house. To cover the shortest length all I need is a total of two strides. Though it a small room, I have divided it into three rooms. I am the only person who knows where one room starts and ends. To the other people who come visiting, it is just one room that has a curtain (that bears Fred and Wilmur Flintstone) that hides the bed from view.
My small room is divided into three. I have a kitchen, bedroom and sitting room. The kitchen area has a stove and stuff I use for whipping up a meal. The bedroom has a bed which tripples up as the chair (when the number of visitors I have exceeds one). The bed also serves as a table when I am having a meal alone. It also serves as my bed when I can loner stay awake. Those are the three pruposes that my bed serves.
The sitting room has a stool that has 'eaten a lot of salt.' This means it has been in existence for as long as it doesn't care to remember. There is also a box (laden with all sorts of books, manuscripts and old receipts). This is where Gloria is sitting. Gloria is a source of daily pain and heartache to me. Even now I am swallowing in anger. There is a bitter lump (the size of a medium raw Irish potato) bobbing up and down my throat as I look at Gloria and think of the pain she has caused me. I have not touched Gloria ever since she refused to accept the XP Pack 3 Service Pack in her Operating System. I have a stuck of untyped manuscripts and a looming deadline coming up. I am almost picking up Gloria so I can throw her out of the window and out of my life when I remember that I was telling you how small my house is.
Let me breathe in first. MMMMMMhhhh.... deep in. MMMMMMMhhhh..... deep out. Okay, now I can go. Creaaaak... that is the sound of my doo. I am heading to my landlord's house so I can let him know that I know he is stealing from me. Oh, I have remembered I cannot complain. I need help.