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People Always Look Around Them At Regular
Intervals - Because That Is How We Are Made

Coastweek -- Using technology or not understanding technology can be an impediment when travelling, writes TETI KAMUGUNDA.

I will start with a case that happened at the Moi International Airport here in Mombasa.

A young man from a relatively rural environment was travelling upcountry by plane for the first time.

He was a seasoned traveller by road and had been to school in one of the provincial schools in the Western side of the country.

On this day, he was dropped off by his town cousin and refused any help in navigating his way through the process of checking in and getting to the plane.

Being the “kimbele mbele” he was, he engaged the security guard at the entrance to the check in hall explaining he was a first time traveller by air and needed to know what to do next.

He was told to proceed to the screening machine and get his luggage screened and he would then be directed to the check in counter.

He walked the short distance and watched what other people were doing and did exactly the same.

He removed his shoes, his belt, jacket and also his watch and placed them in a container and fed it onto the belt feeding the screening machine.

Next, he put his suitcase and back pack and then proceed through the body scanner and then re -dressed himself and picked up his luggage.

He asked one of the staff manning the screening machine as to where he should present himself for check in and he was pointed to the appropriate desk.

He queued waiting his turn to be served.

As he waited, he looked around observing what else was taking place in the check in hall.

When his turn came he presented himself at the desk and proceeded to do all he was told.

After completing the formalities, he was told by the check in staff that he should now proceed upstairs to the waiting area till his flight was called.

He asked for directions and was given them.

He had been observing that people either used a lift or climbed the stairs to get to the first floor from the check in hall.

He decided he would not use the lift but instead use the stairs.

He had also noticed that there were two areas that people used to ascend.

One was the standard wide open stairs and the other looked like a private stair case because it was hidden behind what appeared to be a low wall.

His curiosity got the better of him and he decided he would use the stairs behind this “low wall”.

No one had used that stair case for some time so he just proceeded to the stairs and as he got there his phone started to ring and vibrate in his pocket.

He got the phone out and was in the process of answering it as he stepped onto the stairs.

As he put his foot onto the first stair, the stair started to move.

He was completely unprepared for the stairs to move and coupled with the fact that he was now engaged in a conversation on the phone, his reaction time was seriously delayed.

He lost his balance and was lucky to be able to quickly pivot round so that he faced the bottom end of the elevator.

He was not, however, able to prevent the inevitable and he ended up flat on his belly, face down, straddled across several stairs on the elevator and travelling up with the movement of the elevator.

He had the presence of mind to not panic and he was able to get himself back onto his feet before the elevator got to the top of its travel.

Some concerned citizens had quickly formed themselves into a reception committee at the top of the elevator and the rather embarrassed young man tried to fend off all the offers of help and sympathy he received when he got on to the top landing of the elevator and stepped off.

He was unable to do so.

He dusted himself off as he best could, responded briefly to the reception committee and then proceeded to the second screening position and waiting area with whatever dignity he could muster.

When he got to the waiting area, he bought himself a beverage and a bite and went to sit down and lick the wounds to his ego.

However, even as he sat there trying to recompose himself, it quickly seemed to him that the incident had not disappeared as there were conversations going on and he seemed to sense that they were about him.

Each time he looked up and turned to face people, they seemed to be looking straight at him and then looked away quickly.

It is strange that when you have an embarrassing incident, there is a heightened “after event sensitivity” that results in one thinking that any bit of attention one gets is as a result of the propagation of the incident to other people.

In most instances it is just the normal inquisitiveness and visual activity that human beings have.

People will look around them at regular intervals because that is how we are made.

Most of the people that this young man thought were looking at him because of his embarrassing incident were probably just being themselves and looking around periodically out of curiosity of what was going on around them or trying to discern any information that could better arm them in that environment or elsewhere.

We are after all animals and our very base instinct of fight or flee and self preservation still lives on.

Looking around periodically is still a natural way to ensure survival.

As Kachumbari says, we are extremely complex beings.




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  This year’s rally will be
flagged off at Sarova
Whitesands on November
23rd and finish at the same
venue on December 1st.


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