What’s that particular thing you find the most annoying?


An angry woman.

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 While mulling over what to write about this week, I asked a colleague what her pet peeve was, that particular thing that she finds especially annoying. ‘Friends who insist on selling you items that you have no use for and make you feel guilty when you decline to ‘promote’ them’.

She explained that while one of the characteristics of true friendship is to support one another’s hustle, it was unfair to expect your friends to buy whatever you were selling since they might not need it or afford it.

She went ahead and recounted a story that almost had me rolling on the floor with laughter. She has such a friend, she told me, the kind that would go to great lengths to sell you a winter jacket in February or March, Kenya’s hottest months. Two years ago, she told me, this entitled friend bumped into her at a restaurant in the city in the company of two friends. They were just concluding a meeting and were on their way out. She, naturally, stopped to say hello, but did not stop at that, she went ahead and invited herself to their table and proceeded to show them the merchandise she was selling.

Baby shawls

In the package were two baby shawls, one blue, another pink, which she relentlessly tried to sell to the man in the group. He told her, several times, that he did not have a newborn, not even a toddler, and that he and his wife did not plan to have another child anytime soon, so no, he did not need a shawl. But surely, he must know a relative or friend who had a newborn, didn’t he?

The businesswoman insisted. Imagine how surprised and delighted that relative or friend would be if he surprised either with a baby shawl, she continued with her sales pitch. One cost 700 bob, but if he bought both, they would cost him only 1,000 shillings, a good deal, wasn’t it? She insisted.

Mortified and feeling besieged with no other way out other than buy the damned shawls, the poor man relented and reached into his wallet and handed her the money. As you can imagine, he fled soon after, probably afraid that he would be coerced into buying something else he had no use for.

When the man got to his car, he threw the parcel into the boot and forgot about it. Until Saturday that week, that is. His wife, who had been on her way out to do the following week’s shopping, returned into the house holding the two shawls – one blue, the other pink.

‘Did you get twins and forget to tell me?!’ She had demanded, looking livid.


As innocent as the man was, he was tongue-tied for a few precious damning seconds. Ideally, he could have explained one shawl, but two? Even as he told his wife what had transpired, the story, though true, sounded false even to his own ears, I mean, who buys baby shawls, not one, but two, unless he has a newborn or knows someone with a newborn? It took him a phone call, on loud speaker, no less, to my colleague to corroborate his unlikely story, and even then, his wife was still doubtful.

Even today, two years later, I am informed, this man sometimes catches his wife giving him murderous looks and he has no doubt that at that moment she is wondering how often he visits the other woman and his twin son and daughter when he should be spending that time with her and their children.

If you’re wondering what became of the shawls, his wife threw them out with that day’s trash.

So, what is your pet peeve and why does it drive you up the wall?

The writer is editor, Society & Magazines, Daily Nation. Email: [email protected] ke.nationmedia.com


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