A man carries cash. This is an obscure statement on its own but to understand this, you must first know the events that led up to this epiphany.

Hope is a fickle thing. The kind of thing that, when you see a really beautiful woman, a twelve, sitting across from you at the bar, makes you think you have a shot. So you order two drinks, one for you and what she’s having and walk right up to her. But by the time you sit down, it’s gone, that elusive hope that drove you there in the first place.

And now she’s giving you the look that only girls that hot can give. The one that makes you wither and turn to mush. Because you don’t know what to say. Because your mind is blank.

So you push her drink towards her and go, “for you…” and think hopeful. She smiles. And you hear that hopefully familiar sound of ice breaking.

Then you get her talking about her job which she’s addicted to, her sister who drives her crazy, and her life, which is generally awesome because she’s in a good place. She also knows a bit about cars, she watches top gear and she gets football, and not in that “he’s so hot in shorts…” way which is pretty damn cool. Everything is going really well.

Suddenly however, she turns and looks at the clock above the bar for a bit too long and you start to get worried that she’s bored, you’re boring her. Thankfully she’s isn’t. She just needs to get home because she has an early morning tomorrow; it’s Tuesday night, and everyone works on Wednesdays, except MPs. You had completely forgotten that and your two beers on the way home had turned to five and an impromptu date. You laugh – she has a sense of humour, which means she’s smart which is superb, Nairobi has very few of that breed.

You have to go too. She nods but she doesn’t get it. You mean go to the men’s room because your five beers want out. You give the bartender your credit card (very strongly resisting the urge to say “Barkeep! Put it on my tab!” because you’re a little drunk) and you head to the restroom. You’re feeling really good right now because in addition to the relief that only emptying a very full bladder can give you, you might get the number of a hot, smart woman. After all, a man needs more than just an alternating current of flesh.

But when you get back to the bar, she’s looking at you funny and barkeep holds up your card and goes, “Haifanyi kazi. Your card has been declined!” You feel a weird mix of shame, anger and confusion, because you know your account balance is alright and you used your card just a couple of days ago at the supermarket so what’s going on? She takes the card from your hand and examines it, then turns to the calendar and goes, “Oooh, it’s expired!” Damn she’s smart. Now, if you were alone you’d throw a tantrum about how you’re a regular, you come in almost every night and you deserve credit at times like this! But she’s here. It’s a tiny problem anyway because you have money in your wallet but when you take it out and open it, you actually don’t, so now it’s colossal. It’s okay though, because she has money and she pays. And (reluctantly?) gives you her number before she leaves. As you save it you’re worried that she might not pick up when you call her because she’ll remember, “Oh, it’s the declined card guy calling…”

Hope is a fickle thing. And a man carries cash. Always.