Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sarah - The Waitress

It is one of those questions we all ask ourselves. How do we know when we have been stood up? Is it after five minutes or an hour perhaps? Early this year, I bumped into Lillian Barenzi and seeing it was at Shell Bugolobi, it was hardly the place to catch up – well unless you have a thing for inhaling fuel fumes to give you a high.

So we agreed to meet the following evening to paint the town red. Numbers were exchanged – well she took my number and that was that. The following day I was dressed and ready by 8:30pm and in full battle fatigues with a red beret just in case she decided to wear hers and intimidate the life out me. 8:30pm came and went and so did 9:00pm along with load shedding. Then it was 10:00pm, 11:00pm, 1:00am and somewhere in between 2:00am and 3:00am I fell asleep. It was only when Umeme switched the power back on at 6:15am and as I wiped away more than just a drool of malusu that had slithered out of the corner of my mouth and down the back of my neck and onto the sofa that it finally dawned on me. Barenzi had stood me up. Hmm, I must have been really patient.

Now let’s get into the succulent pork chops of today’s cowardly tales. Anybody who lives in Bunga and beyond will no doubt have heard of a place called Soya. Soya is the hub of Bunga, where all the supermarkets are, the bars and of course the place to eat pork. And there is a man called Nadduli who I am told practically owns Bunga, and there is a very lovely lady called Madame Nampeera who owns a beer outlet and there is the equally vivacious Julie who owns a bar called Julie’s. And let’s not forget Kityo, the master of roasting pork – though I don’t know how he manages to pull it off bearing in mind the number of tot packs of Royal Vodka that he sucks on daily.

While the bars in Soya pull in a big crowd every evening, one thing they have not done is to work on their toilets and their staff. I would dare say that if anybody wants to see the worst toilets past Kansanga, you will find them in Soya. The one toilet block is a mess. Since it was built, it has never been cleaned. The stench of susu is unbelievable. Worse still, the toilets are universal – the act as both a urinal and showers too! Thankfully, Madame Nampeera has her own and very clean toilets for her customers.

I know Julie is going to be more than a trifle upset at this, but a good number of us are fed up with one of her staff. To save her blushes let me change her name and call her – hmm, let’s see – Ah, I think Sarah will do. I don’t know how she does it, but Sarah has the ability to walk in slow motion. Forget about Michael Jackson when he used to do the ‘Moonwalk’. Sarah is in a class of her own. Her slow motion walk is so good that when she sets off from the bar to serve you, you can actually rush into town, have a haircut, pop into Nakumatt for a spot of shopping, drop it off at home and be back at your table before Sarah arrives to take your order.

Okay so the first time she set off from the bar to serve me in slow motion, I actually got up went to the bar, got served there and was back in my seat before she arrived. When she eventually got to me, she had this scowl about her face that I practically leapt out of my seat and sought refuge under the table. It was like she has come to hiss, to vent out her anger on me as well as throwing in a few slaps here and there. The conversation went along these lines.

Sarah: (Nothing came out of her mouth. Not even hello.)
TB: “May I have a Club please?”
Sarah: “Club?” and said with a puzzled look.
TB: “Yes a Club beer.”
Sarah: (Silence and still with a puzzled look and now a scowl on her face.)
TB: “Is there a problem?”
Sarah: “Club?”

At this point I was at a loss for words until a Good Samaritan on the adjoining table stepped in and offered his services.

Good Samaritan: “TB you are saying it all wrong. You have to say the word Club in Luganda and not English.”
TB: “Eh, this is a first for me. How do you say Club beer in Luganda?”
Good Samaritan: (And practically barking at her) “Gwe Sarah, genda oleete Club-uu.”

At that, the puzzled look from Sarah’s face melted away and she turned on her heels to once again slow motion her way back to the bar and back. With hindsight I should have ordered two beers to save time but I didn’t.

Two weeks later and on another visit, Sarah was still in her element. She still had the slow motion thing about her and the scowl about her face so I took it upon myself to throw at her some words of encouragement and to be nice to her and to tell her that if she wrote down the orders, she would be able to make one trip to and from the bar instead of the current five that she does.

You see, her first trip is to take your order. The second trip is to come back and ask you what you ordered because she’s forgotten. The third trip is to bring you your beer, the fourth to bring the glass and the fifth to bring the opener.

When I told her about writing things down, the scowl turned menacing and if I were to guess what she would have spewed out of her mouth had she decided to do it, it would have been along these lines: “Oli stupid-ee! Do you know how to even work in a bar? You just sit there and drink beer and now you want to tell me how to do my job? Stupid-ee!”

Thank god she didn’t spew out the words. Later on, I had a polite word with her boss Julie and kindly asked to find a way of telling her never to serve me. I don’t know if my message was passed on, but judging by the looks I now get, it might have but in a more rounded form.

That form so I suspect, was along the lines of ‘pull up your socks because customers are complaining about you.’

Has there been any change in Sarah? Bleak. Because as they say just because you go to school and onto university and have been scoring straight A’s, it does not mean you will be successful. And like they say, there are some people who fall out of the safety net and our Sarah is one of them. She is beyond redemption and dare I say that if anybody took her to London, New York or Tokyo, the pace at which people walk would simply give her a heart attack.

But then again, I think she is comfortable in her own little world and indeed there are many people who are not bothered that she never smiles but scowl’s, that it takes forever to get a word out of her and that it will be an eternity before you get served.

And in saying that, maybe the problem lies with me. Maybe I am being too difficult? Maybe I have not taken the time to try and understand her and most probably she dislikes the hell out me? Hmm, that is a real possibility.

While Sarah slow mowed her way to get my Club-uu beer, a txt message from Phado fell in which brought a smile to my face. He has been blessed with a baby boy. Congratulations Phado! Ops, I think Sarah has misinterpreted my smile for she is smiling at me. I think I better get out of here. See you all next Sunday.