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.


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




1 thought on “Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t see you there…”

  1. I ever fail to understand why in Uganda generally people do not appreciate the orderliness in queuing. I remember some time back how a man at immigration on the Ugandan side in Busia jumped the line. There was some silence for a big fraction of a minute until a woman standing about two places behind him spoke out against his action, with a very Kenyan accent. He sheepishly moved to the back of the line.
    As a Ugandan it s impressive the way in Nairobi passengers will line up at a matatu stage during the rush hour, even when there is no matatu as yet at the stage. In Kampala we NEVER line up even when the matatu is there.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s