Today, in the sweltering heat (yes, that is an exaggeration, no heat can be sweltering at Kisementi unless you are standing right in the middle of the parking lot at noon, directly underneath the sun), a man sitting at a quiet table (again, an irony because there are no quiet moments by al zawadi especially if it’s a Thursday afternoon… try Sunday for quiet ones) was disturbed. By a DVD hawker… those DVDs those come out at the same time as their cinema release dates and sometimes have heads of unknowing viewers in the middle of the fourth scene… the ones that NEVER have the right sound. One of those hawkers stood in front of this man who’d just picked up his two beautiful daughters from school. The man at the quiet table seemed tired and hot. Hot like he was passed the ‘too hot to be shouting at everyone for no reason’ and had moved on to the ‘I’m hot and I don’t want to waste anymore energy, all I had has become a film of glowing perspiration covering my entire body’.  The DVD hawker moved in slowly like a witty tortoise, suddenly shoving about twenty plastic cases into the sitting man’s face. Without moving too many muscles, he stretched his index finger out and as he shook it from side to side, his head followed the same movement, signaling a polite ‘No Thank You’. But the man with the plastic cases, the tortoise DVD hawker stayed there, not budging until the other man’s firm gaze wavered and focused on another distant object.

Why did the hawker feel it was right to intimidate a potential customer that way? I remember not too long ago, while waiting for a traffic light to let us loose (because in Kampala, traffic lights aren’t there to reinforce order but rather to encourage outright madness) a man with a bunch of MTN airtime cards tapped my window. When I looked him firm in the eye and nodded, again, a polite ‘No Thank You’, he remained at my window shoving the card so close it touched my window. Needless to say, a Celtel airtime card was lying in plain view on the passenger’s seat.  Another vendor yelled at me for not buying a mobile phone car charger. What is this madness?? I realize people have got to eat but wouldn’t they be selling more if they were a little nicer? Or maybe that’s just me…

Recently, I have become a ‘co-parent’. I might have just made this word up but I’ve found myself in part time custody of a beautiful little girl whose name is Jessica. Of course she is the sweetest, most adorable thing in my life right now… what would any other loving ‘co-parent’ say about their little trouble making, wailing machine?  At only a year old, she has mastered the art of crying the moment she’s put down to fend for herself, crying when she’s hungry, crying just to test if you’re alert, crying because she doesn’t like the look of you that day… you get my drift here? It is for the above reasons that I have concluded that crying is a weapon babies use to get what they want. Half the time they aren’t really in pain; they have just figured out that it irks you to see them cry so they wail louder and louder each time. My Sunshine is so good that each time she bursts out in tears, actual tears roll down her cheeks… even if it’s just for two seconds, there is always a pool forming inside her little dark eyes.

Tonight as I type this out, she has a bit of a fever and a runny stomach. I have changed diapers three times in the last six hours and fed twice in the same amount of time.  As lovely as she is, she is not very considerate of my sleep patterns. After the second feeding, she dozed off easily in my arms as I stood by the window and let the sound of the sprinklers outside dull her to sleep. When I placed her onto the bed, she opened one eye as if to check for my presence and when she saw my face in front of hers, she closed it again. She kept checking with that one eye for about five minutes after which she drifted off into a nice, undisturbed sleep. I on the other hand still had a pair of pajamas to soak (because she was messy in the diaper change), dishes to clear away, half a banana to eat (because she changed her mind about that too), and diapers to get rid of.  Now I sit here keeping up a blog I promised to fill with life’s encounters on how I seize each beautiful moment, and in a way, I am staying true to my word… but is this the seizing I’d had in mind?

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