UGANDANS, I LOVE YOU, BUT DOGS CROSS ROADS BETTER THAN YOU

When I was a child I remember being told how to cross a road.

“Look left. Look right. Look left again. Make sure it’s clear. Go!”

I think they have taken that bit out of the school curriculum because I use bodas a lot and I’m amazed that I haven’t been involved in at least accidents where 60 pedestrians have died.

I occasionally lose my head. I’m on a boda, we’re about to make a turn and a Ugandan without bothering to scope the joint starts crossing the road. He either jumps forward or backwards in alarm when we almost hit him. We didn’t know he wanted to cross and he didn’t check for who was coming.

Ugandans leave their lives at the hands of drivers and boda boda riders because who knows-the law tells them to love complete strangers?

I said sometimes I lose my head. I ask my boda to stop and give the Ugandan a lecture so vitriolic that God feels no need to intercede.

Pedestrians are killed and whoever knocks them down is murdered in mob justice. But just how many of these accidents are killed by the pedestrians themselves?

When I was a teen I crossed the road like a Ugandan one day and got exactly what I deserved. The cat hit me, I crashed into the windshield and lost consciousness. I came to a few minutes later to find the driver being beaten and I had to push the crowd away.

“Leave him alone, it was my fault!”

I rarely say ‘Government etuyambe’ but I’m saying it now. Introduce road crossing into the school curriculum.

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GENTLEMEN-STOP LYING TO US ABOUT HOW YOU LIKE OUR HAIR

It has come to my attention over the last couple of years that men are starting to make comments on the Internet like:

“I like women with natural hair”.

“A natural woman is worthy of respect. Keep it real sis!”

“We prefer you natural instead of wearing horses hair on your head”

Blah blah blahblahblahblah.

First of all, having interacted with us for so long, I’d think you know how you prefer us is your business and not ours. But I must address this lie being peddled about.

When I wear my hair natural, women compliment me. Not men. There might be one and a half who have said, “Nice afro” but that’s about it.

But when I wear a wig. Or a weave. Or extensions. Lucifer and Jesus work together to take the wheel.

And that is the reason some women may choose to relax or not have natural hair. Ladies, shoot me if you’re offended, and I’m also open to insults which I much prefer to shooting. But shoot me with a slingshot, not a gun. I don’t want you to go to jail.

I’m gonna share two pictures of myself and I’d like people to think about it. Which one would get more attention from men?

I’ve even kept the afro-pic humongous but which would get the most whistles?

I always forget a face

I have this special personality where I forget faces. The Gods blessed me with it for a reason I am yet to ascertain. Over the years, I learned that I have to meet a person about five times before I remember them.

This facial recognition deficiency appears to be limited to men. I know, weird right? At first it used to mortify me.

Me: “Hi, I’m Lindsey”.

Him: “Yes, I know. We’ve met”.

Me: “Really? When?”

Him: “Four times”.

Me: “Oh. Well, erm…okay, great to meet you again!”.

Long pause.

Me: “So what’s your name again?”.

I thought I would improve with time. Nope. But I have adjusted quite well to my mental illness.

Me: “Hi, I’m Lindsey”.

Him: “Yes, I know. We’ve met”.

Me: “I’m so sorry. I have this thing where I forget faces. So how many times have I forgotten you?”.

Awkward pause as the man fights with his ability to practice social niceties.

Him: “You’re the one who introduced me to so and so at this event”.

Me: “I’m sorry, who? And what event?”

Another awkward pause. For him, not for me. He needs his moment of incredulity.

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It may make me seem like a cad but if my facial recognition software is fried…

I regret nothing

P.S: And this is nothing compared to my spatial intelligence. Last night I spent 15 minutes looking for a place I’d been to twice and it was right in front of me. With a glowing neon sign. 

 

 

 

The matatus, the earphones and me

This is a story dedicated to all the annoying people that think a taxi radio is not sufficient to entertain us.

There are the people who play their phone music throughout the journey as I try to figure out who to listen to. Driver or ingrate? And then there are the addicts who click on video after video on their phone until I begin to be concerned about their space.

It drives me craze insane and I keep a very tight lip to prevent simply exploding into the person’s ear, tossing their phone out the window and then stopping the taxi to run after it and stomp on it.

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Jesus would understand, Sister

Why, thank you Kirk. That is precisely the feeling I had when I one day tapped a woman on the shoulder. She reluctantly looked up from her ear shattering video to see what I wanted.

“Are you the DJ of this taxi?”, I inquired. “Because if you’re not, please buy earphones. I don’t want to listen to anymore of your videos and music. It’s for your ears, I didn’t sign up to be entertained by you so please buy earphones to avoid inconveniencing passengers.

To prove my point, I got my phone out, plugged in my earphones and drummed her out.

I endured a few more episodes of this in public taxis until again, I was seated right next to a woman who was the taxi DJ. We were in a traffic jam. No, thanks. No, no, no. I tapped her on the shoulder.

“Do you have earphones?”, I asked her.

She had the grace to look uncomfortable.

“I’m sorry to have disturbed you. I’ll buy earphones today”.

That’s my girl.

 

I used to be one of those people that never understood mob justice

I’d seen it growing up. Someone caught trying to steal something and in seconds he’s hovering  between life and death. It disgusted me, those herds of raving lunatics hypnotized by the the Lord of the Flies mentality, heaping upon one thief all their personal rages and frustrations.

Pathetic. I rescued a thief once. Used to be real proud of too. And then I grew old enough to be a thief magnet. And then society evolved so that thieves stopped just taking stuff and started killing you along with it. Let’s just say I view them as less than unfortunate beings as people who now quiet literally kill their victims over a phone. My former sympathies now reside in the circle of the Andromeda galaxy.

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I’m sorry, did you want my property?

I didn’t know just how much a thief can disorganize your entire life. They have disorganized me enough to make me want to hire a hit man for stealing even nail varnish. The pains I have endured due to laptop, phone losses and the worst-national I.D-makes me have pleasant dreams of throttling thieves and not saving them.

Theoretically mob justice is wrong. I get that. I also know that if I manage to catch a thief, I can’t deny that a small  part of me won’t go livin’ la vida loca for every thief that’s ever messed my life up.

On a more serious note, mob justice would not have to be an option if we had safe roads, street lights and a non-corrupt justice system.

 

When are we going to stop beating our children?

I was having a conversation with a neighbor’s daughter once in the kitchen as I poured myself a cup of coffee.

“What’s that”, she asked.

“Coffee”, I slurped.

“I can’t take coffee”.

“Why not?”, I wanted her to answer the question very very badly coz like, I’m always seeing on TV that kids shouldn’t drink coffee till they’re like 34, and I’ve always wanted to know why.

“Mummy will beat me if I drink coffee”.

“Why?”, I asked her.

“She’ll just beat me”.

So child doesn’t know why she can’t take coffee. Mummy has more time to beat child over and over than explain why coffee is bad for her. And I guarantee you child is drinking coffee.

See, this is what beating ever did for me. I learned to lie, cheat, steal, evade responsibility for bad behavior, frame others for my sins and breathe a sigh of relief as they got punished for it…

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Oh dear. I was a very naughty girl.

The worst effect though was academic. Before the environs of school I was beaten for having a literary and not mathematical head. Ironically it turns out I do have a head for numbers but my brain just preferred literature more.

Enter school where I was beaten for failing damn near everything except English and Composition (God bless you, colonialists). The more I was beaten, the worse I got. By the time I finished school I believed I had an I.Q of (sssshhhhh) and made no attempt to see if I didn’t.

This beating thing is evident as children mature into adults. We don’t talk, negotiate or compromise. Punitive measures are the easiest ways to get results out of people and that, I assure you, is one of the reasons we are backward. We think backward, we act backward, we stay backward. Period.

To wrap it up. A few days ago, I rescued a little duckling which I kept for a few days while I canvassed the neighborhood looking for who had lost a duck. Upon finding the owner, I was returning the little darling back home when I was besieged by neighborhood children who wanted to hold it. Then it happened.

“When it pupus in the wrong place, do you beat it?”, asked a victim of domestic abuse.

“What?”, I exclaimed. “Why would I beat it for anything?”

All the children were suddenly attentive.

“You mean you never beat it?”

I adopted a look of shock and horror on my face.

“Why would I beat it? I mean, why would you even ask me that? Beating is…beating is….my goodness, beating is just…”.

A light bulb flickered in the mind of one of the children.

“Is beating bad?”, he asked me.

“Yes. Beating is very very bad”.

“But Mummy-”

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Oh, fuck mum

Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t see you there…

One of the banes of my existence is human beings (Ugandans only now that I think of it) jumping a queue-usually in front of me. The responses vary when I tap their shoulder and ask them what the f*&k they’re doing.

“Do you have to be so rude?” 

“Okay, fine. I don’t want to fight”. Deep sneer in my direction as they retreat.

My favorite one though is, “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there”. 

Come again, person possibly in need of corrective glasses? You didn’t see me there? I know I’m short but nuh-uh. You scanned the line, looked for what looked like the most delicate flower least likely to raise a fuss and planted yourself in front of it.

Last night I was in a supermarket and had lined up behind a man. I had only one carton of milk I was buying. A tall, big and I must admit, scary looking woman walked towrds us and stood in front of the man I was standing behind. Her trolley looked like a Christmas store. If she’d had just a lollipop I might have led it slide. But this was disrespect that the gods themselves demanded I address.

I leaned over the man whose order was being scanned and spoke directly to her face.

“Excuse me. You were not here when I arrived”.

She gave me a disdainful stare. I decided to expound.

“If you were not here when I arrived then that means that you should be lining up behind me”.

“I didn’t even see you there!” She snapped.

Sister, them’s fighting words.

“Yes you did, otherwise you would not have lined up IN FRONT of the current customer. You did see me and you were hoping I would not tell you to stand behind me. Which I might have done but you have 100 items including the boat God used to stop the flood and all I have is a milk carton so WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

She was startled out of her deception.

“Whatever”, she said. “I don’t want to fight over petty things”.

“Good”, I smiled at her sweetly. “Because I don’t want to fight with a shameless liar”.

The cashier looked delighted at this excitement added to her day, and smiled at me as she ignored the woman’s heap of items and processed my milk carton. Glancing sideways at the woman, she said to me loudly, “Have a great day!”

“Why thank you”, I beamed. “You have a great day too!”

The woman tried to maintain a face of composure but her fury was radiating off her in waves as I left her with an orderly queue forming up behind her.

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If you’re going to use the ‘I didn’t see you’ line, make sure that person isn’t dressed like a peacock first