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“Umm…Nothing really, your words will do the trick”, Paula assured me as she smiled a farewell on my way out. This time the air was laden with an unmistakable splash of goodwill as I could almost feel like Paula had uttered a silent prayer towards my consideration. Then as my hand wrapped around the too familiar door knob, a spasm of doubt encroached my mind. Had I not been here more than a few times before? Well it was the first time I had seen Paula, but in this same office I had met two other receptionists before her. The first was beautiful, lovely as any eighteen year old, with a good sense of humour and a penchant for her Kikuyu name which she pronounced in strong vernacular
nuances. The second whom I don’t remember much about her looks acted nervous and displayed little knowledge of the organization, a fact which upon recognizing dwindled my hopes of a positive outcome from the encounter. The odds were even further stacked against me when she timidly copied a staff writer’s email contact off the organization’s publication and handed it to me. I doubt she thought the email contact would do me any good, I bet she knew it wouldn’t and was just doing her job of attending to visitors without caring to help them.

Paula though, she was new yet had an understanding of the organization at her command. “Let me jot it down for you in your book so that you don’t lose it” she asked, before proceeding to write the editor’s email contact off head, just like a boss. I liked that, you could argue that the eighteen year old was prettier, but Paula was definitely more attractive and just when I realized I had become so good at ranking receptionists at this particular office, I considered seriously getting a life, one that would start by making good use of this new email contact. I didn’t doubt whether it was legit, I could smell its authenticity. Whether or not I would get the job, that’s where Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty would take effect. It does seem that my campus physics knowledge has some real life application after all, and as I let go of the door knob I realized it was Paula’s wish and goodwill, not her assurance that I was banking on. Who needs assurance anyway? The workman’s art, it speaks for itself!

A lot about this organization had changed, like the receptionist, the staff of writers, only recently the name of one of its columnists I had earlier met in person resurfaced as the author of an article on the Sunday newspaper. That’s quite a change of media, from glossy magazines to newsprint. The article was on Kenya’s beloved, Lupita Nyong’o, something about Kenyan designers being outwitted. Anyway, at least the security detail here at the gate was the same and I exchanged pleasantries with them as I walked out, back into my wilderness of thought. Trust me, a lot could go wrong if you don’t know people like receptionists and “gate men” as my Naija broda Dr. Ofweneke would refer to them. Talking of security detail, I wonder if this publication has plans to interview the world’s most powerful man while he’s still in town. Now back to the email contact…it’s golden, hmm! I hope Paula was right, just my words should do the trick.

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