The efficiency of a man can be extremely annoying if that man is juxtaposed with the type of fellow that I have become accustomed to dealing with in everyday Kampala.
The type of fellow I have become accustomed to dealing with in everyday Kampala, let’s call him Mugisha, does things that you would only believe happen in books of fiction or highly imaginative blogs.
Mugisha will most probably have originated from some place in Western Uganda between twenty and thirty years ago, and has now found himself in the capital city of Uganda trying to eke out a living. It does not matter whether in between his origins and the present day he went to school for any period of time or not, or whether he picked up any useful information regarding such matters as time management, frugality, the reality of scarce resources, and the impact of stupidity on the rest of society in general.
This is why, for example, I could send Mugisha to fetch me a breakfast snack consisting of one kebab and two pieces of cassava from the nearest take-away in and around lower Kololo, and Mugisha will return an hour later with eight samosas – all of the beef variety, and as cold as my office desk.
The lengthy, angry and extremely well-voiced tirade I subject Mugisha to after I have unwrapped the black kaveera to reveal its depressing contents will certainly make its mark on the fellow – but he will not pick up on all the pertinent details of the lesson.
I know this to be a fact because a few days later, I did send Mugisha for a different meal just in case he had a disorder that makes it hard for him to walk into a take-away offering the pre-mentioned kebab and cassava.
To be absolutely sure, I called up Endiro Coffee, whose menu is well positioned in my office for a morning such as the one I had that day, and placed my order with care. All that Mugisha had to do, going by my arrangements, was to hand over a piece of paper with my neat handwriting on it confirming the breakfast order I made, and follow that quickly with another piece of paper issued by the Government of Uganda and signed by the great, bearded Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile.
This last piece of paper represented my last bit of pocket money for the week, going by my domestic budget estimates and the fiscal policy we are currently running. But I had to have a good, solid breakfast because I had an extremely hard day ahead.
With instructions written down and a map to boot, I believed that the collection and delivery of my breakfast could have been accomplished by a dog suffering a spot of myopia.
Mugisha, on the other hand, returned a couple of hours later from a trip that should have taken him a maximum of twenty minutes if he had walked with a small stone in each shoe.
I could have excused that, since sometimes pleasure delayed is pleasure doubled.
Excusing him for turning up with nothing but the very same piece of paper I had given him was impossible, so he was near his death even at around the time he raised his hand and started speaking.
I was patient enough to hear him right up to the point when he raised his second hand as he was saying, in his thick accent:
“I have looked everywhere but I can’t find that place. I asked the bodas, the specials, the policemen and even the rolex people. Nobody knew it. I crossed the road and asked the people in the shops, and even them they didn’t know it. Then I thought about the place where they sell mchomo. I went there but they were not there. The people near there said they only come in the evenings. But now it is morning. I think they come at around five or six there…”
I tolerated the details to this extremely irrelevant point and beyond, all the while not having slain the man – even though I realised that he had taken a right turn at a crucial point in the story where I was directing him INSTEAD of a left turn, and also that he had not bothered to consult the quick map I had drawn on the piece of paper that had the Endiro Coffee name (Endiro Coffee) number, my number, the breakfast that I had ordered, and the map.
“…then I went down the road where I knew they had a hotel with good breakfast things. But they didn’t have these ones on the paper, and they said no-one had called them. In fact, the woman said she did not have airtime so how could you have called her? I told her that since you are the one who called she did not need to have airtime. Anyway, she did not have these things on the paper. By that time I was tired and I could not walk back, so I got a boda…”
And it was here that he raised his second hand to return NOT the money I gave him, but the money I gave him LESS his boda-boda fare from somewhere in Bukoto back to the office.
The options before me as I rose out of my chair ranged from the simple fist-smash right into the centre of his forehead, to a complicated drop kick that would have required me to first move a metre or so to the right in order to jump onto the wall on my left and bounce off of it with my left leg in order to swing my right foot right into the general area where Mugisha’s thick head connects to the rest of his body.
Any Court of Law would have looked the other way and let me go for a real breakfast.
The judge would have certainly considered the fact that this fool of a man would have been entirely to blame for his death.
“Surely,” even an average judge would have posited, “the late Mr. Mugisha would have been reminded at the last ‘hotel’ where he debated with the proprietor over the use of the phone to place an order, that he himself could have made use of his own phone to call you to confirm the name and location of said Endiro Coffee.”
“It only seems fitting,” the judge would have concluded in annoyed frustration – perhaps having himself missed a nice breakfast himself that very morning due to some similar intellectual stumbling by a Mugisha called Bwire or Okello, “that a distastefully doltish fellow such as your Mr. Mugisha has been permanently removed from the sending-for-breakfast society and will never again serve up boiled eggs for tea-and-biscuit meetings in a cold, tightly-packed boardroom at 4:00pm.”
The above judgement, however, was postponed because just as I finished rising but seconds before choosing my preferred method of disposing of said breakfast-thwarting idiot, a female colleague walked in with a brown paper bag.
“Did you order for breakfast from Endiro?”
Spluttering, I affirmed this without taking my eyes off the paper bag.
“Here,” she said, “They said they have been waiting for hours and they couldn’t cancel the order since they had to cook it afresh for you after you called. You are lucky I passed there to buy my early lunch.”
I broke fast, since life had worked it out for me to do so at some point during the day. And I realised once again that a highly-anticipated breakfast can be miserable when consumed cold and later than planned.
But not as miserable as Mugisha the recently-unemployed breakfast thwarter.