Do not ask me about fish, it is an election year

I am in my longest official dress and not particularly excited to meet these clients. Indifferent is more like it, at least their offices are not in the annoying side of town. They are very senior bankers, with a few exceptions, I do not really think bankers are the most interesting people. One of the two men seems interesting though, one of those Indians that you do not expect to know Swahili. Before the other guy opens his mouth you cannot tell that he is the boss. It has nothing to do with his dark skin against the Indian skin.

He is way bulky, not in a bull dog or a club boxer kind of way, it is more of a person who does not care about your professional or personal opinions or how his body is. He has long thick fingers and very short manicure free nails. I am tempted to believe that functionality was his only consideration for choosing those glasses. It is from his words and not his presence that you can tell he is very capable of getting you fired with just one call. I do not see him ever reading this blog. I imagine him driving a  V8 Cruiser model, definitely not a black one. He knows the other members of my team.

“You are Wendy like a fish named Wendy?”

He is so sure that the  1997 movie exists because his wife’s best friend is also called Wendy. The cheeky thoughts in my mind, I should grow up.

Well, A fish called Wanda was a 1988 British- American comedy film. I am sure my parents did not know it existed when they named me Wendy. You cannot blame a tough talking important man for getting it wrong, he has real work to do and we should be grateful that at least he started by cracking a joke even though he made calls during our meeting.

I am doing this big braid-like stuff as part of my search for a new look. I think that is why he asked my manager if I had just joined the firm from school. I want to say I have been doing this for three years but I know it will not impress him. I am never a victim of strangers not believing in my intellectual abilities even when I am silent apart from this one time during my first job.

I was once an auditor, one of the worst mistakes that I ever made. I was twenty two and I am glad I got out before it was too late. Between a scary boss and the client, I chose to ask the latter about some silly accounting concept. I still do not get that concept but she seemed friendly.

“Tell me about fish…”

My eye rolls know no professionalism.

I gave one of those polite laughs because this was my first client and if you are an auditor you know that you do not want to be the one who is labelled stuff. There is nothing wrong with being asked about fish but I have lived in this country for a long time to take that lightly. If I was just two shades lighter the opening conversation would have been so different and there would be no interest in my perceived knowledge of fish and its relatives.

My immediate fish story would have been how a month before my dad had woken up and brought people to dig a large hole and decided we were going to get a fish pond. Digging stuff is cheaper and easier than covering them up.

“Do you know where I can get fish around here?”

“Tell me, I have never been in this neighborhood before.” That is what I wanted to say.

Well, one of the reasons that I always wanted to move away from home is that we ate way too much fish. How I now wish I ate more fish. It seems that I am stuck with fish. If I cook fish for you then we are at a different level of close. I recently did fish for some guy and he said no comment even without a solicitation of a comment as to whether he liked it. Everyone likes my fish and I therefore I do not even remember to ask  if it was great. I told him that  I just happened to pick it on my way home. I do not randomly pick fish unless I am in a very good mood or I think you are special. I get fish from City Market and whenever I go with my light skinned friends  they never have fish flung in their faces much like those hawkers trying to get you to buy oranges and sunglasses at the same time in traffic. This was definitely a premature gesture.

It reminds me of why I stopped going to some supermarket to buy meat. They would always assume that I wanted fish. I never bought fish even when that is what I had really gone for. Just ask me if I want chicken, beef or fish or ask everyone if they want  fish.

Fish is a very political statement in this country. So do not fish me carelessly this election year. I am a girl named Adhiambo and it has nothing to do with fish. I just dreamt of fish today and could not sleep.

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