I used to read about people being duped or conned in ways so obvious that I doubted their intelligence.
“How?” I would think. “A whole Tim like me to be deceived with such an obvious trick? People can be stupid. In fact, they deserve to be conned for that matter!”
Until one day I was left eating my own hat.
I had just withdrawn a huge amount of money for my office, but decided to first have lunch before taking it to my accountant. I remember I was at parliamentary avenue heading to the national theatre. A car pulled up beside me. There were four men in the back and two in the front. The ones in front enthusiastically rolled down their windows.
“Hey!” the driver cried happily in Rukiga, my local language. “Young man. It’s been so long! How are you?”
Not wishing to give offense for not remembering him, I flashed my teeth and responded equally cheerily.
“I’m fine, Uncle!”
“That’s good, that’s good!” ‘Uncle’ said. “And your parents? How are they? How is everyone?”
I was now bowing with the appropriate show of respect.
“Everyone is fine, Uncle!” I laughed. And begged that he wouldn’t notice I had no clue who he was.
“Where are you going? Let us give you a lift”.
“Oh no, it’s okay. I’m just going down there”.
“No, no, don’t be rude young man. How can you refuse your uncle to help you? Let me drop you!”
This is the part where dimwittedness took over. As there was no space behind, I was hard tasked to squeeze in the front seat with the co-driver. It was a tight one and it wouldn’t work.
“No, first sit up like this”, “Bend over like that”, “Maybe you should lean that side like that” “Actually, just sit on me, it’s okay” etc.
Why the fuck didn’t I stop to wonder why I was struggling to share a seat with a guy to drop me at a destination twenty seconds away?
Soon we were squished horribly and on our way. After exactly five seconds of driving, ‘Uncle’ said:
“No, this won’t work. Sorry I bothered you. Let us drop you and you walk”.
After the car drove away, I stood in the sunshine and knew. I just knew I had been played like a first class fool.
I turned around and begun the long walk back for that chat with the accountant.