sparring with stupidity

Just now, sitting at the Spur at Silver City, I need to write this in order to avoid putting my hands behind the head of this guy wearing a black t-shirt, and using an incredible amount of irritation-driven force to slam his forehead repeatedly against any hard surface available.

All I want this weekend is some peace and quiet, away from the below mentioned (see link) maids, plumbers, electricians, gardeners and so on and so forth.

Going to a restaurant for lunch is part of my therapy. I was even prepared and extremely tolerant of the maid making katogo this morning but neglecting to put all the ingredients together. This is in spite of the fact that she has been working here for about eleven months and that I communicate this Saturday morning breakfast preference regularly every Saturday morning.

So, anyway, we were ushered to and took our seats thirty minutes ago, went over the menus to build up our appetites, and then up walks this guy with a Death Wish.

On first appearance I had no idea that he was suicidal.

“Good afternoon, I am here to take your order,” he said, whipping out a notebook with efficiency and poising his pen over it. His enthusiasm was almost pungent. If he wasn’t so dark of skin and t-shirt so black, I would have said he was shining enthusiasm over the table.

“Does your coffee come in a pot?” the darling wife asked him.


“Does your coffee come in a pot or a cup?” she asked.

Normally when she asks such questions I get exasperated and seek distraction to hide my agitation, by tuning out and turning my imagination to things like, “If I suddenly checked under the table and found a bag containing US$2million in unmarked bills, what would I do?” Why do they even call them unmarked? In Uganda, how would they ‘mark’ money? That stuff only works in the movies. Also, why do they call them bills? How come movies affect the way we speak so much? Like even things like calling a steak a steak, why…

See how I do it?

Distraction. It comes easily to me. I never even actually check under the table to see if there is a bag containing US$2million. For the record, I’ve checked now and there isn’t a bag…ah, back to the black guy in a black t-shirt:

“Does your coffee come in a pot or a cup?” she asked.

“It comes in a pot,” the chap answered, “but we bring it with a cup also.”

This is when my killing urge began stirring.

“No,” she replied, trying to work out how to explain her enquiry.

“Just order for the coffee,” I said, quite clearly, trying to avert violence.

“Okay,” she obliged, sensing my tension, “could I please have coffee with milk?”

“African coffee?” the chap asked, his teeth flashing.

“No…” the wife began, but then realized that this could easily become complicated, and changed it to, “Yes. Coffee with milk.”

I knew at this point that we had to seek confirmation that there would be no tangawuzi or spices in the coffee (see African tea blog), but I needed to stay out of it in order to preserve the chap’s life.

“We also have African tea, English tea and plain tea and coffee,” the fellow volunteered.

I couldn’t help it much more:


Taking a small, involuntary step back while automatically jotting something down, he confirmed this with me, “African coffee for you?”

I took two deep breaths and made it gently clear:

“One coffee with milk for her. One black coffee for me.”

“Okay,” he said, eyebrows rising in the manner of a scientist finding the solution after years of research.

I began to relax, and willed him to become absent from our table.

It wasn’t going to happen soon.

“Black coffee without milk?”

The story could end there and be laughable, but five minutes after I had dispatched him (alive and untouched, but quite shaken) towards the Order Station, a young, bright-looking lady turned up at our table with a different note book and asked, “Can I please take you order?”

“We already did so…” we started explaining.

“I know,” she said, with a flash of irritation, “but that guy has been there telling us you ordered for Ugandan coffee. We don’t have that on the menu…”


This is not a joke, people! There is an increasing level of stupidity around us and we must find out what’s going on.

Okay, in the case of this particular chap, we discovered that he was a Trainee (beware, all, that the people at the Spur Restaurant at Silver City who wear black t-shirts are trainees. It’s even written on the backs of their t-shirts…) but that’s no excuse. Because, really (ree-ya-lle) the Diploma Course ‘Being a Waiter 101’ should contain topics such as ‘The Menu: What It Is and How It Works’ and ‘The Customer: Always Right’ and ‘Your Notepad and Pen: How to Write Down Customer’s Orders’.

3 thoughts on “sparring with stupidity

  1. So what would you do with the 20 million in unmarked USD’s? perhaps seek coffee at another establishment where the waiters intelligence is slightly higher than a cup of tepid coffee with or without milk?


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