Stuck in traffic. The bad kind. The stagnant kind. The one right outside SHOPRITE mall in Kampala. Yes, that one! And that’s not the worst part. I’m in a matatu. The bad kind. The smelly, scruffy kind. A couple of bad breaths and men who smell like saliva is the only moisture that has had the privilege of getting into contact with their bodies since Easter.
I open the window I’m seated next to. Oh, relief! A lady beggar walks to the window. I almost cry. No, not because I’m touched by her condition. She is blocking the only source of fresh air (Kampala air is anything but fresh but it’s all we got so hey!) She walks away. Good relief! I stop and think “Oh my, I’m a bad person. Instead of thinking about her plight Im worried about oxygen I knew I wasnt going to get in the first place.” I immediately brush off the thought. The beggars in Kampala work for someone else and I can’t support such a selfish user. I tell myself that. That’s what I always tell myself.
My train of thought is disrupted. My neighbour is answering a call. It’s bad. Very bad. Not the call. I mean his breath. What am I going do!? I’m going die! I’m having a panic attack and it is so stupid, so petty and absolutely unnecessary. But I’m human, right? I’m allowed to overreact sometimes, right?
I interrupt my mental fray with the thought “What if I bought some mints and passed them around? That would be generous and would solve some of the problem. BOOM! I’m a genius.” But my black behind has been Ugandan long enough to know that that gesture won’t go down well with them and I’d need Ugandan MP level security with the truck and bodyguards and all to be able to walk out of the matatu alive. So I do what I know my security level can allow me to do and leave with minimal damage: I pull out my phone and type this.