Monday, September 19, 2011

My Gripe

People gripe and I am no exception. Sometimes I feel I am developing a hernia because I start to gripe about something as soon as I wake up but, I have resigned myself to fighting a losing battle with my gripes.

Right now I have a gripe to pick with the tycoon, Karim Hiriji. Could somebody please tell him that, it has been close to ten years since he bought the former UCB building on Kampala Road and renamed it Cham Towers. And while I do applaud him for having carried out renovation works on it, one thing he has not done is to remove the blue and white protective foil that covered the brown tiles that were used on the exterior of the building. Far from having some charm, Cham Towers, is a building that blights the city’s landscape.

I feel like going out today but, I have locked myself in the house for I have 29 reasons why I think I should stay home.

1. Watches: I don’t like people who wear watches that do not work. Worse still, when you ask them what the time is, they look down at their watch, then try to hide it up as they whisper it does not work.

2. Waitresses:
What is it with waitresses who come to your table to take your order and just stand there? They make no attempt at a greeting or making you feel welcome. And if you decide to wait for a greeting which won’t be forth coming, they will just walk off.

3. Petrol pump attendants: Their favourite word is - ‘extend’. As in, extend your car. You really can’t extend a car because it means you are being asked to make the body longer.

4. The missed call people: These are people who call you back when they see a missed call from you. When they call back, they ask, “Were you trying to call me?” Duh, by the time you see a missed from me, it means I was trying to call you!

5. Two pieces of meat: Going out to eat in a restaurant where you are only entitled to a measly two pieces of meat, whose idea was that? I want at least five pieces.

6. Surname first: People who introduce themselves starting off with their surname as in, “My names are Bukumunhe Timothy. So not on! It should always be first name first as in Timothy Bukumunhe.

7. The watchstrap: People who wear watches with a strap that is too big for them that it slides up and down their arm. When they want to look at the time, they always shake their wrist to get the watch looking upright.

8. Apparently: Like the reporter I sent to cover a function which had been cancelled. He called and told me, “Apparently it has been cancelled.” Either the function was cancelled or it wasn’t.

9. Lazy women: Lazy women in the taxis who sit up in the front and by the door. What do they do? When you want to get out, rather they getting out of the taxi to make it easier for you to get out, they stay put and simply swing their legs over seat as you struggle to get by.

10. Nose pickers: People who pick their noses then look at their snot for a good while before rolling it into a ball and flicking it across the room.

11. Boda boda riders: How difficult is it to button up a jacket? Well for boda boda riders it is. They feel it is easier to wear them back to front than buttoning or zipping up.

12. Bajaj riders: These are the Asian men who take their families out on a Sunday ride on their Bajaj motorcycles. Yes daddy will wear a crash helmet but his wife and child are not entitled to one.

13. The small finger: Men who think it is cool and sexy to have a long nail on their small finger.

14. Bumper stickers: Men who drive top of the range cars like a Ranger Rover Sports or Audi Q7’s then deface them with stickers that read: “I love Namagunga SSS” or “CBS – Radio ya Buganda. If anything, such cars should only have two window stickers – insurance and parking sticker.

15. Conning: Women who when asked out on a date say, “so and so is trying to con me”. Women, when a man asks you out on a date, he is asking you out on a date. So why do you say he is trying to con you?

16. Tugging at the crotch: Men who are seemingly unable to walk through town without tugging at their crotches.

17. Indecisive Women: Women who you take to lunch and who tell you they are not hungry but when your pork and chips arrive, they start picking at it.

18. Ministers and MPs: Ministers and MPs who get to church late and then expect you to give up your seat for them.

19. Carpenters opposite Total in Nsambya: When you buy furniture from them, everything is steady and firm until you get home and lay them out on your floor which is even. That’s when discover the tables and chairs will rock all over the place because they were built in a workshop with an uneven floor.

20. Asking to look at your phone: People who pick up your phone to have a look at its applications then swiftly go into your directory where they start taking down the numbers they don’t have.

21. University students: When you ask them what they are studying, they proudly say, “I am offering a degree in management.” Just what on earth is ‘offering’? When asked, the answer is simple. “I am doing a degree in management”.

22. Waitresses II: Why on earth is it physically impossible for a waitress to take your order without having to lean on the table? Are they incapable of standing up without the aid of one?

23. Security personnel: They love the glove compartment. From the police at Entebbe Airport check point to the guards at Sheraton hotel, the first thing they want to check is the glove compartment. Nobody with a gun or some incendiary device hides them in the glove box. There are many other places where those items can be hidden.

24. Askaris: What do they mean when they ask, “where are you coming from?” The last time Askari asked me that question, I dutifully replied, “I am coming from home” to which he retorted, “What do you mean you are coming from home?” Looking at him, I said, “you asked me where I was coming from and I said from home. I drove straight from home to this office.”

25. Over there: I will pay 100k to the first person who can tell me where, ‘over there’ is. People say ‘over there’ while pouting their mouths in the general direction of ‘over there’, like the waitress in Gabiro, the Bugolobi based pub did when I asked her where the washrooms were. She turned her head, pouted her lips then said over there.

26. The ATM: Why on earth does the person behind you have to stand so close behind you that he practically grinds his groin into your butt? Don’t they know that the queue won’t move any faster whether they are pressing and grinding into your butt on not? Give me some space!

27. The ‘ok please’ and ‘well done’ people: When you say okay, you are not obliged to finish it off with the word please. Okay on its own will suffice. And there is ‘well done’. After a brief conversation with a friend who owns a shop, as we parted company he tells me well done. Why, what have I done to deserve it?

28. Orders from above: Does anybody know who ‘orders from above’ is? In my many battles with the police and security agents, the answer they always give me when I dare question them is ‘orders from above’. Who is he or she?

29. Feet Dragging: Why can’t people especially women just not walk. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to walk. Simply lift one foot and move it forward. Then lift the other and do the same. But alas, it would appear it is too much work for the fairer sex who would rather drag their feet all over town rather than lifting them!

The He Goat

The Royal Ascot Goat Races took place a few weeks ago at Speke Resort, Munyonyo and taking centre stage were the goats or was it the free food and drink in one of the hospitality tents? Talking of hospitality tents, Brian Muwonge’s Warid, Elvis Wava’s Silk Events and Steven Kavuma’s Club Silk kicked!

But getting back, some people say that goats are perhaps the daftest creatures ever to walk the planet. That train of thought may hold true because at the races, He Goat 9, upon which its owners had lavished quit a sum of money was in its own element.

He Goat 9 was on fire. At the start of his race, he found himself surrounded by a bevy of female goats that not only did his libido kick in, he lost concentration and literally started sniffing and trying to lick at the genitalia of Female Goat’s. Eek! I think the Minister of Agriculture should pass some law condemning such an act. He Goat 9 sniffed hard with his nose pressed right up on the susu area of Female Goat - not in private, but in public and with a number of children looking on! If we humans dared do such a thing, the morality police right down from Pastor Martin Sempa to the Minister of Ethics to Church of Uganda would be up in arms making noise. But truth be told, I hear some humans, whilst in the confines of their bedrooms do sniff on each other’s genitalia. Hmm!

Once the race got underway, so did He Goat 9. He was totally focused on his attempts to mount Female Goat. At one point on the second lap, he almost succeeded but she thwarted him when she kicked out at him. But he wasn’t about to give up. He kept at it that with all the nudging he was doing on her genital area, she and in a bid to get away from him run that much faster and just when he at last thought he was about to ‘mount her’ (it sounds so gross), he inadvertently nudged her over the finish line that she won the race.

He Goat 9 owners naturally went livid. “It’s off with your head tonight” they taunted him as he led off the race track. Later that night there was a barbecue going in one of the tents and on the spit was a whole goat. I wonder if that was He Goat 9.

There are some people who are not predictable and have a ‘goat like mentality’. They don’t give a hoot that you could be in your own time and doing your own thing and don’t want to be disturbed. They figure that just because you are a public figure it is their right to have access to you at all times.

I used to go to Cineplex but for the past three years, I have not been there simply because of the ‘harassment’ I endure. Some fans are thoughtful enough that they wait till you are alone and then approach you. But there was one – who sat behind me in the cinema hall and who did the unthinkable.

We were half way through the James Bond movie – Quantum of Solace when I got a tap on my shoulder. Looking back there was this chap leaning forward and the conversation that followed went along these lines.

Chap: “Are you Bakumunne?”

TB: “You mean Bukumunhe. My name does not have the letter ‘a’ in it.”

Chap: “Wati (I think he meant in ‘what’ in English) it is nice to meet you.”

TB: “Thank you, but I am trying to watch a movie.”

Five minutes later, there is another tap and Chap this time, wants to introduce me to his girlfriend. The conversation resumed along these lines.

Chap: “TB, I was telling my girlfriend who you are. But you know some people don’t read newspapers. Girlfriend, greet Bakumunhe.”

TB: “Its Bukumunhe and not Bakumunhe!”

Girlfriend: “Nice to meet you Bakumunhe.”

Chap: “It’s her birthday next week. Can you recommend a place where I can take her out to eat?”

I ignore him. When I get back into the movie, I find I have lost the best part of fifteen minutes including the scene where the actress Halle Berry strips down. It really irked me for I had to find a hawker who sold me the movie on DVD and when I got home and settled down to watch it, it started to skip minutes into the movie.
Before OPP (for those who don’t know him, he is a pastor Okudi lookalike) upped and left Uganda for the States we met up in just Kicking for a drink before going off to the Sheraton Hotel for a function.

Whilst in Just Kicking and deeply engrossed in conversation, the barman slides over two TMLs (and once again for the benefit of the people who keep asking me what I mean by TML, it is, short for Tusker Malt Larger). Looking up, OPP tells Barman that we didn’t place an order. Barman nods his head and says they are from the man standing on the other side of the bar.

I see him and he has all the features of being somebody attached to the Presidential Guard Brigade (PGB). By the way, if you work for PBG and you think you are inconspicuous and blend in with the populous, you are so mistaken. PGB operatives stick out like a sore thumb and if you want to see them in their masses, go to bars on Main Street in Jinja when they have been given a weekend break from their training at Kimaka.

PGB Operative comes over and just like chap from Cineplex, he is overwhelmed. Okay yes, it did feel sweet for he went on and on as he praised me. At one point I lost track of how many times he shook my hand.

The crowning moment came when he called his father – a cattle herder somewhere off the road to Ntungamo and we demanded we at least say hello to him. I am sure his father had never heard of me or OPP and my attempts to say hello did not get very far because he was blaring down the phone in Runayankole.

PGB Operative had something else up his sleeve. He had shelved whatever plans he had for that evening to hang out with us.

Seeing that we had a prior engagement at The Sheraton, we told him that it would be impossible. But he was adamant. All he had to do was to go back to his barracks at State House Nakasero, pick up some cash and then meet us at a location of our choosing. Before we parted he made sure he rang his number into our phones.

I don’t know how he knew which function it was at the Sheraton that we were attending for during the speeches, OPP nudged me and pointed him out. He was hovering near the bar. Worse still was then he saw us, he spewed out some words of excitement in Runanyankole – enough to have the guests looking round.
While he wasn’t really bothering us – I think he was more of a gentle nuisance, we did at some stage manage to give him the slip and flee. While we contemplated going back to Just Kicking, we passed on it and went to Bubbles – just in case he had made his way back to Just Kicking.

With two drinks from Bubbles in us, we went on to Iguana and no sooner had OPP paid for the first round than the now all too familiar voice rang out across the bar.
PGB Operative was there and this time he had two of his colleagues in tow who, also placed phone calls to their parents in Lyantonde and Rushere so that we could say hello to them. And with the amount of handshaking that went on, by the time I got home, I was nursing a bruised hand whilst trying figure out if PGB Operative was for real when he said his father had given me a bull.