Today, we go through a day of a would-be ordinary 20-something Ugandan. This character has ideally spent some few years out of university, still uses a considerable amount of public transport but on a good day, catches a ride in a friend’s car to lunch or sundowners after work. All these stories shared here are expanded tidbits of conversation this, our individual would have been exposed to as their day started and aged into a sombre night. Yes, sombre night. It’s Tuesday and he stayed in to save some money for this weekend’s plot. At least that was the plan. But plans change. As you read, click on the links for the full story – there’s 37 of them!
By sheer force of will, or rather alarms, I wake up. Of course the clock says I’m running closer to late than on time, but meh. I’ll make it. I still have to pop on snapchat and say good morning world, play some snippets of that Geoffrey Oryema album I’ve just copped so they know. If the guy’s return can make girls leave misters like Josh, then people need to know that I’ve listened to him. As is probably the case with everybody who’s trying to watch their weight, I woke up thinking about food. I pour my cereal breakfast into a bowl, wishing I was Balamaga Rogers instead; whipping up that delicious smoothie I saw in that interview of his.
Backpack full, and ready to go, I lock the door behind me. These walks to the stage are still a bit awkward for me. I’m yet to figure out what to do with myself since I decided to not wear earphones nor check my phone while walking down the road. I do not want to be on the receiving end of a fatal car accident, and forewarned is forearmed. I refuse to spend my best-dressed day in a casket.
In the taxi, I catch up on the serious reads I bookmarked particularly for these commutes:
- The Wire Perspective’s analysis on Makerere University and how it should be run
- Angelo Iziama’s view on the lifelines of African presidents backed by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
- Apio Winnie’s reminder to be grateful for gratitude in her trip down memory lane
- Son of Olwa’s Art of Saying No a Job Offer whose title sounded too risque for me
- and finally, Kangyeburugu’s call for us to regularly take some time off social media
Today’s morning chit-chat at the office centres around Duksey’s, yes that’s what we call her, growing intolerance of people thinking women can have the superpower of having a perfectly well-balanced work-life relationship. She’s warning us the single males not to expect too much from our future wives. I smile faintly and head back to my cubicle. Hopefully she still won’t be on the issue by the 10 am tea break, a tradition every Ugandan keeps since nursery school. I’m a proud bachelor after all.
Luckily, I already have plans for lunch at this little-known joint in Acacia area, not the same cafe as Paige’s “meeting” with Jared. We’re meeting to discuss a new social media project. You know, the side hustle. My workmate, Fred, is going towards town and will drop me off and save me the boda money. The ride is conversation-free as we listen to the new Ajo Marks EP that dropped on NuveyLive. Aside from me commenting on the steering wheel cover he has that I’d seen on the fodexpressions’ TL, that is.
Of course, there’s still latecomers at lunch. Punctuality is after all not a Ugandanism even for meetings we called ourselves.With the group finally assembled we all line up for the local food buffet, an option I’m proud to have fronted after reading Olive’s post about how my Christmas beach vacation abs are only going to come from my choosing to eat healthy as I workout. As we eat, the topic du jour as has been when any such gatherings occur is Trump’s America, the Akena shooting and the usual bits and opinions on feminism and same-sex marriage.
I still don’t know how I made it back to work so early because the afternoon drag caught up with me pretty quickly. I started sneaking in some poems I’d bookmarked for the weekend. Inspiration for my secret writer self. There’s this one about the wings of love and there’s one titled reclamations. Both are about a love that saves you which I can’t relate to but at least it’s not Silver’s brokeness that I’ll claim. Not yet.
The countdown is long to 5:30pm. But soon, it’s time. I close my laptop lid and smile. The day’s over. Everyone around me is rushing out, saying their “see you tomorrow”s. As the office quiets down, I get back to my computer. It’s after-work hours but I can still stay behind to use the wifi. There’s youtube videos to be watched and podcasts to be played. I’m learning about polite language & entitlement, the stages of intoxication and the science behind love. In the middle of all that, I text links on natural hair tutorials and fashion news I’ve run across to my sister. To remind her that I think of her, of course.
The hour rushes by quickly and soon it’s time to finally leave. The traffic must have died down by now. But just in case, I have Bwesigye’s review of The Chwezi Code to tide me over when the replies to my whatsapps and tweets are slow. As I walk to the stage for my taxis that is defiantly just outside the taxi park, I think about how my life as it is is wildly different from how I imagined it at age 9. Growing up really is a trap, huh.
Dinner was going to be a light meal, whose video recipe I’d gotten with my Vodafone For G bundle over the weekend. Such beautyful things didn’t exist while I was in campus, so I survived on rolexes back then in order to afford data. Now, stopping by my rolex guy is a choice not made out of necessity. So I do exactly that. And bump into my childhood friend, DJ. She’s happy and excited and invites me to join her for a drink at the nearby kabaala. I can’t refuse. She shares with me some of the recent dark-humor comics she’s been publishing. I also reveal that I’m interested in starting to write but I don’t know where to start or what about. Of course DJ is encouraging and tells me to just take the plunge.
Soon we’re seated and sharing a platter of meats and enjoying our rounds of beer coloured by good conversation. I’ve long forgotten the resolve I started my week with. My will has slowly faded and crumbled at the face of all these much more attractive cheats to my diet plans to eat a lighter meal for dinner.
I finally manage to say my begrudging goodnights & take a boda home only to, halfway there, recall that dystopian world Roland has been raving about – mbu our dependence on bodas will make us evolve into compound-eyed versions of ourselves. Of course Roland reads such things. Oh well.
When I finally get home, I wash off the day’s activities and decide to text the other girl. She hit me up with a “Are you free, let’s talk” earlier in the evening. I’m reluctant but well, a man’s got to be a man. Of course, it turns she just wanted to discuss that tweef we all saw unfold from the sidelines. People are still fighting about the sex education ban in the other #UgBlogWeek post and what the state of the child’s mind will be going forward. I share my abridged two cents, and put in a reminder to check it out and see what people on the TL said about some things. You know those people Kahill described who say it’s just twitter while spewing hateful jokes. Masiika says they are just fellow human beings whose minds are in a temporary state of sadness. I couldn’t care less, I just need to update my mute list.
Finally, I say my Whatsapp goodnights and sneak back onto the TL. But since I can’t tweet (I said goodnight, remember?), I secretly favourite some #UgBlogWeek posts from today that I might actually love when I get around to them tomorrow! I couldn’t get them all but I do want to read that Letter to an African Santa and about the moment of gnossienne when you realize you’ll never fully know any one.
Tomorrow, I just might finally start my own blog, but first I have to read about being a self-proclaimed writer and owning it.
This 22nd November marks the second day of the final #UgBlogWeek for 2016. Today’s story was written by Mercy Angela, as part of the magnificent eight; the curating team, whose other members are: Cynthia Kyofuna,Esther Mirembe, Roland Niwagaba, Joel Jjemba, Kirabo Byabashaija, Olive Nakiyemba and Patricia Kahill.