Monday, October 31, 2005

when the world stops

I don’t like making ‘best of, worst of’ comments--lists. It’s not that I’m not good at them. It’s just that I’m wary of boxing my life in. Declaring ‘my best life moment’ automatically seems to relegate the rest of the life I’m going to go on living in the shades. What’s the point of living ten more years if the best moment of my life is happening just now and the moment even as I fully savour and live it is slipping away? The veteran may tell the stories but I want to be the hero of his tale. That said, last week (however which way I’ll look at it with or without definitions) will always rank as one of the most difficult in my life.

The more more worlds come easily unbidden to my pen so long in training to create them, the less they mean anything significant to me. Last week I edged a little closer to goals I’ve pursued relentlessly since I was 12 (what? i was a serious kid), to my surprise found myself envied by certain persons I never even dared to hope knew of my existence, yet all these achievements barely mattered to me.

All my mind, my emotions, whole being for a whole week instead was consumed with concern for a frail, little, old woman who has never given a toss and even actively sabotaged my attempts towards those goals. Last week, for the first time in my life, I realized my mother will one day die. We thought she was going to die last week. I’m a grown man, able to look after myself, physically defend myself, three or four hearts remain unbroken only at my whim and yet I have never felt more vulnerable, naked and scared.

I have heard many people say in reference to the intensity of their love that, “I’ll do anything it takes’ and dismissed them as being melodramatic. I have never loved that much. CORRECTION: I did not know that I loved someone that much. Until next week.

Some of you may find this hard to believe. But in my family I’m the least physically demonstrative person. From the time when I was about nine and I was shushed, ‘Don’t cry, you’re a man,’ I have not cried again. I did not cry when I was whipped so badly in my primary two, my father came with my mother to my school and my father nearly assaulted the teacher who had tore into me so savagely I could barely walk. When in the backseat of a blue Datsun coming home from school at last resolved on how exactly to write her that letter so long promised, I was casually informed that the grandmother I believed for seven years was my mother was dead I did not cry. I did not cry when I won sports races on Parents Day and there was no one from my family to hold me up panting after the races nor when no one came to visit me in boarding school nor when best friends I thought closer than family betrayed me or someone who I respected suddenly turned and snubbed me. I did not cry even when the only girl (we were both eight) I first loved with my wallet and my heart was taken without warning by her parents to live with them forever in England and I have not cried since when I left or was left by lovers. I did not cry last week either but in 16 years, staring at her lying unconscious and small almost like a baby in her hospital bed, I came closest to. I also realized one shocking, frightening, simple truth: I love her completely, absolutely, totally. If I had to die for her to live, without a thought, I would. I did not know I was capable of such emotion.

one rung @ a time

how long's it been? stopped counting. Just got in touch to holla. Xmikolo (... ...), congrats! On the grad. A Social Science degree. they'll get your taciturn self yet!

Couldn’t make the party but any party where Caesar’s at, he compensates for my brooding good looks and silence. I won’t ask ‘Caesar was at the party, wasn’t he?’ even if that guy were broke, he would walk into Lubumbashi if the party was happening there.

The vine says X you kept it real and staunchly refused to don the box (graduands cap). Thanks for sparing us that sorry sight. Xmikolo B.A. does kind of sound neat though, doesn’t it?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

happenings at the workplace of universal love

finally my nagging and whinning and plain well bitching paid off and this friend i was telling you about a few entries back finally did start up a blog. with back up capital from me. you can check out his blog at i promise that it will be worth it if you wish to have thoughtful, sensitive and insightful takes on kampala life. we are urbanites all of us. but his blog comes closest to telling you what it really means to live in kampala.

since today is praise singing day, i might as well let you in on another loop. rather hot this one. and great. it's something that occured at xmikolo's workplace. demonstrating another theory of mine that has long been dear to my heart and i believe is true. businesses in kampala survive on not paying their workers and cheating those who demand payment. brought to you by the powers of yahoo instant messenger, read and laugh:

Xmikolo: I sometimes write wrong spelling because the drama enfolding these endz never ceases, U can imagine having an ear out for the chaos and trying to pretend you are busy at the same time. Someone has just been condemned to, as Hardy called it, reading a lot of Ecclesiastes. Having had a lot of money hoping it would be paid only to meet smug, sly shrewd, conniving thieves, a.k.a sweet babe and her backup singers

hetaeri1: okay that was the in-house code version of saying things. now tell us outsiders what the drama is about.

Xmikolo: Some guy, people around here call him Castle. I should find out why one of these days. But he is such a jolly fella he should never cry, you know.

Xmikolo: so

hetaeri1: ?

Xmikolo: Listen-wait

Xmikolo: the story continues

Xmikolo: So he comes like all the condemned types that do business with us, he comes everyday, cracks jokes and gets promised his money the next day, and today he just cracked. You don’t want to see a funny man cry.

Xmikolo: so

hetaeri1: go on

Xmikolo: Funny in that he is so much full of fun that you can never imagine he even cries. Castle cried in between the shouts of how they can go to hell and enjoy their money. I tried to sink into the desk, at least.

hetaeri1: is Castle a white guy or a black guy?

hetaeri1: gwe u are making me laugh too much!!!

Xmikolo: i tried to sink into the desk, at least spare myself the faces of the Back up singers looking on disgustedly. Sweet babe was scared I think. But in the end, the tide just swept all right where it belongs. Castle right out of the way, the backup singers started imitating the man who “cries like a babe.”

Xmikolo: Castle is a black ugandan.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

this game II

I've got to get over the habit of leaving things hanging. as in completing what i was writing in my mind and letting the bitch stay there. gotta get this out. okay, so i made a big statement back there and...?

hmmm. it's depressing to realise its been that long. no, no, this is not that kind of entry! i have done well. better than i thought i would. i have seen many people who started out with better chances than i had fall off the wagon that makes the writing game in kampala. some fell off as a career choice, others fell off but they just don't yet know they have. we are too kind to tell them they have. okay, so we like the feeling of having someone behind us. we are mean bastards. but you have got to be in this business. sounds like politics, don't it? u hardly know the half of it.

well so anyway i realise that i have been writing for more than 10 years and i should say something profound about all my years of experience. i will say something profound. after recollecting my thoughts. in my memoirs. but here? it hasn't exactly been fun and there have been many tears and... what i'm trying to say is that don't become a writer. period. it sucks.

this game

i just realised that i have been writing in one form or another for more than ten years now today.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

office cafeteria food

With the exception of only one workplace, all the places I have had the displeasure to be employed at (stetching the term) have always had terrible food in their cafeteria. Can fondly recall only one. This was at Datarun, where Akiyo Michael Kasaija (who, bafflingly, has refused to set up a blog though he could) works. But then there’s a snake in that Garden of Eden that I won’t talk about here. But their food, wow, that food always was fantastic.

I remember when I worked there like for two weeks we used to have chicken, sausages and other goodies for lunch. Expertly cooked from a restaurant that was just below our office. My favourite restaurant in Kampala then by the way. Delivered on time and the company was paying! This is for real. After lunch, I was officially indisposed. That’s because there was a waitress down in Springs that I had to ... to. And cheap beers to down after. Beers for which I didn’t have to pay the full price either. Bliss! Now I’m misty eyed. And digressing. Datarun lunches were heavenly! They were the best. I give them credit for that.

Datarun lunches also ruined me entirely. True, my ruination had begun a few months before, when I first tasted chef David’s cooking. But Datarun did it completely. I couldn’t eat anything less well cooked after. Can’t even now. And the hellholes I have trudged through since trying to stave off starvation in Kampala have seen my stomach not only cringe but crumple up and totally refuse to admit some of the toxins served as food in the work cafeteria. I was even ill last week because of the food! (my excuse for not uploading for so long. sorry.) But I digress.

Maybe I should just come out right and ask: is bad food served at work as a form of the bosses punishing us for making a buck off them????? Why is office food just so bad?

obote disputes

i don't understand this. why won't anyone accept that Obote was the father of the nation? and don't crack which nation. uganda of course. obote was the father of the nation. deal with it.

obote is dead

well, obote is dead. so many deaths this year. i'm supposed to feel something. i feel something. the question is will the state and the press let me feel anything?