Read, Dance and find a Jason.

I spent a lamentable amount of time cramming facts about the French Revolution, facts that I’ve allowed to evaporate because they are useless to my life. One of its forerunners was a man named Voltaire and the relationship between him and my senior 4 self wasn’t great. First of all, I disliked his name. It was too close to the word volatile and it starts with the later v (which is sour). At the time, my sympathies must have lay with Marie Antoinette and her shoes.

I recently found a quote by him that would have delighted me no end if I had read it all those years ago. It goes “Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”  All of the best people I knew then and all of the best people I know now do both of these things with a great passion. Had my teacher revealed to me that Voltaire was a supporter of dances and words, I might have been more serious about taking notes.

If she met me now, my sixteen year old self would be appalled by how little of my freedom and resources I commit to dancing.  I used to be that girl who’d enter the dining hall (transformed into a dancehall for the kadanke), take position and booty pop, arm-fling and back-slide until the supervising teacher herded me, sometimes forcibly out of the room.

The clothes to be worn on that day would be purchased after long hours spent staring at whatever the girls in EATV’s videos were wearing. Because the videos were also a good place to learn new strokes, I’d wait for when both my parents were out of the house and dedicatedly imitate whatever was being done on the TV.

Nowadays, aside from chair dancing at work and maybe Zumba, I rarely boogie. I rarely boogie unless I am out with my friend Jason. Jason is a sweet, if sometimes melancholic sort of guy. He’s a poet, so that comes with the territory, I suppose. He knows how to spot a good party which I think is because he knows everybody in Kampala.

I have always preferred to dance alone or with similarly energetic girlfriends because when a guy suspects that you’re out-dancing him, he either becomes depressingly clumsy or tries to match you and ends up punching your eye out. It’s different with Jason. Our dancing chemistry is superb. When we get onto a dance floor, it trembles with expectation. Even before the dancing begins, people know to clear the area. A force is coming.

Things start relatively simply with a coordinated shuffle here, a rub-a-dub there and escalates into this drama laden affair where we switch our minds off and let our bodies decide what direction they want to move in. Legs turn to jelly, backs glide on floors, and Olympic-level gymnastic feats are performed. Usually, our moves are making their debut into the world when we perform them and it is with great joy that we unleash them. Dancing with this dude makes me feel like death is a myth. It is a high that stores itself in my cheeks and causes me to grin randomly for many weeks to come.

For true happiness in life, one needs good literature and a Jason to dance with.   

What are you waiting for?


Find yours.

Bad day, huh?

One of my favorite songs used to be Bad Day by…my God. I don’t remember. I can’t remember half of the artists that I swore I would die loving only a few months ago. It seems that when they slip out of my playlist, they fade from mind.

I can never properly classify a day as bad because of how changeable my emotions are. One minute I’m bubbling over with the joy of living, breathing, blinking!And the next, sticky annoyance is oozing out of my pores. To prevent myself turning into an intolerable grouch,I break my days down into 30 minute moments.

When I get shortchanged by a conductor or left behind by the pioneer bus or hissed at by a street idler, that’s a bad moment. If two or more motorists try to run me over in a given moment, it’s an unlucky one. If four irritating songs from my playlist show up in my ears, in a row, that’s a fake moment, because come on, out of all the hundreds…

This system has rules.

You are not allowed to carry unpleasant feelings from one moment to another but you can feel as nice about a happy occurrence for as long as you wish. You’re not ever allowed to swallow your feelings. Want to tear your leggings and fling them at a dumb workmate? Go ahead! Feel like jeering long and loud and then bursting into bitter tears? Do it.  Similarly, if the urge to scream I LOVE YOU WORLD, I LOVE YOU comes upon you, express it. Put it on a social network for those unlucky people whose eardrums aren’t going to be blessed with your good feelings. Pat a conductor on the back. Smile at your boda man and tip him if he’s been particularly ninjarific in getting you to work three seconds before the morning status meeting.

There are, however ,certain occurrences that can’t be fitted into a 30 minute box. Tragedy for example. I remember wanting to punch the face of some person who, when I complained of depression after my mom’s passing, told me I had only a year to be openly sad about it, after which my friends wouldn’t be so tolerant of my gloom. What? Shya! You’re allowed to mourn as dramatically as you want for as long as you feel is necessary.

We’ve already established that the system allows for joyful feelings to be spread over as long a time as you want. Absurd happenings too can be spread out for puzzled reflection and quiet chuckling.

I was once walking (skipping) down Kampala road after bagging a fairly large writing deal. I was swollen with the promise of money. Dollars and shillings dressed in raffia skirts had started to do the Macarena inside my head when some woman stepped in front of me and said, “You look funny!” and then just stood there waiting for my reaction. Because of the high I was on, I smiled and glided away. She must have been confused by this reaction because as I was entering the computer shop that was my destination, I looked back to find her still staring after me.

What turns a day bad for you? Burned ground nuts at the cafeteria? Unproductivity? And how do you turn things around?

This week, I’m reading Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese.  One of the best lines in it is ‘Make something beautiful of your life’.

Do make something fantastic of your life this week.

We’ve failed at humanity.

Occasionally, one stereotype (out of the many) will be true about members of a particular community. This can be put down to factors like tradition and the similarity in value systems that they are brought up in. That said, a stereotype is the haziest and shallowest lens through which to view and relate with
the many new people you meet.

It’s impossible for everybody in a group to fit into a particular behavioral box, because people are constantly learning and growing and watching TV and rubbing off on each other and trolling the internet. This means that the amount of new information that a person consumes everyday is immense, and so is their capacity to change and move on from what undesirable traits they may have picked from the people who brought them up.

So when you judge somebody by the stereotype attached to their tribe, you are wiping off the face of the individual and replacing it with a placard written in indelible ink. You’re saying that every person from the east is a thief and everybody from the west a whore and everybody from the north a paragon of aggression and everybody from the central a two faced sneak. Disgusting. When you brand somebody without the backing of experience/ interaction, they’re going to endeavor to prove you right, if only to annoy you. Give people the chance to prove themselves.

Even more terrible, the most popularized stereotypes are never positive. You won’t hear about honesty, energy, generosity, etc. It’s like people are always looking for a reason to build us-them boundaries and such division is what’s going to stagnate us (even more).

Did you know that, in Uganda, hailing from a particular region of the country is a status symbol?

Two years ago, I was sitting outside my grandmother’s house in Kiswa, watching children play. All of a sudden, one of them began to cry, to the amusement of the others. He was saying, “Naawe ndi Muganda! Naawe! Ndi Muganda! and his friends were laughingly assuring him that his mother was a “muteso” so he didn’t qualify. The things we’ve been taught to value are ridiculous.

Tribalism and colorism are two other cancers that are eating our society up. Just how stupid are we going to look in our descendants’ history books? When my family first moved to Komamboga, our neighbors were openly disdainful of the fact that we were Luo speakers. “Mulugwara” was the term that they threw at us at every opportunity and Chandiru! not because they thought we hailed from Arua but because of because of our dark skin.

Another time I experienced colorism was when I took my phone to a highly recommended repair shop at Mutasa Kafeero. The place didn’t live up to my expectations. Service was bad, attendants were sulky and everybody had shifty eyes. When I asked for a receipt indicating the deposit I’d just paid, everybody became indignant. Finally, one guy was like, “This gu black chick, what does she want? Let her take her blackness away if she doesn’t want us to repair her phone” at which point I grabbed my money out of the moneybox and stalked out.

Clearly, we’ve failed at humanity. We score zero out of infinity. The aliens should do us a favor and wipe us out. On to you, Nibiru.

Until death (or disinterest) do you part.

When I was growing up (that I am now grown is a source of constant amazement), there was a man, a friend of my father’s who didn’t talk down to me in that condescending, over-bright way that most adults speak to children. I don’t know why ‘grown-upness’ was so important to me then, but every time we spoke, I’d leave thinking, happily,“he talks as if I’m a big person!” which teaches me to not treat children like idiots because one day I might feature in their columns, for whatever that is worth.  I also want to be called cool in other people’s articles.

This man’s son got married last Saturday and even though I am acquainted with both bride and groom through work and such, it was the performance that he and my dad were making at the reception that cinched my attendance. You must be aware of the pressure that an ‘artist’ parent can put on his brood when the time comes for him to show his skills off.

The wedding was pretty and the food was good, but that’s not usually enough to make me enjoy myself at a wedding.

Because I dislike weddings.

Very much

They’re so full of speeches and tears and taffeta. Whenever you stand, your high heels maliciously dig their straps into your skin (which, now that I think of it must be a sign that I need new ‘dressy’ shoes) so most of your time is spent dreading the moment when you’ll no longer be able to ignore your body’s cries for independence from the punch that you’ve so liberally poured into it.

There’s so much pressure to be happy, to exude good will and if you look miserable for any reason, the watchers of the video will label you the jealous ex. I know this because at some point, nothing amused me more than identifying bitter looking guests in videos of weddings and kwanjulas.

But this one, from the band to the cake, the bride’s dress to the dancing bridesmaids, filled me with a kind of terrible impatience for my own that I last experienced when I was 5 years old.

This, this is the dress I’m going to wear. Roger, start saving.

Conventional weddings are out of fashion. Nobody wants to do the dance in the way that their parents did it. An obsession with special, with different, with quirky has gripped the world. We’ll soon be seeing couples crawling up the aisle to the beat of some hard rock song by Ramstein.

Fortunately, the quirks at this one were the kind that you tweet about. For example, after being declared man and wife, the couple neither made their relatives squirm with an M-net kiss nor did they embarrass their friends with an awkward hug. They high-fived.

The reception venue was close to the church, so that business of putting the success of your festivities at the mercy of traffic jam was avoided.

As the groom made his speech, he advertised his company, which must have earned him points with his employer. When the bride’s turn came, she bawled. No, she didn’t say, “I’m bawled over”, she sobbed all through and it’s hopefully a sign of much co-operation to come that the groom kept chipping in with “commercial breaks” to distract us. It was all very cute.

One lesson I learnt is that if you’re going to be irreverent, you’d better have enough glamour to justify it.

A happy life to you, Annet and David. May your supply of laughter and good vibrations never dry up.

KCCA, start with the idle men.

April was sexual assault awareness month and many stories were shared across myriad forums. Shirts were made, protests organized and blog posts written (I got to know about it from Chatter).

I read about unrape; a situation where somebody makes you feel vulnerable and used by negatively altering your psyche, perception of self or your ability to make decisions. One example of unrape is when your significant other threatens you with a ticket to celibacy town for suggesting birth control. Another fairly common one is when your supervisor calls your intercom just to breathe heavily into it.

People of all ages and sexes suffer assault but females, unlike males, do not get less vulnerable with the passing of time. From childhood to maidenhood to motherhood to cronehood, the risk of assault that females face remains the same while for guys, their deepening voices, growing muscles and elongating legs form a shield between them and most lechers. Men in our society are also brought up to believe that they have every right to any woman that they see, regardless of whether or not she encourages their attentions.

For objectivity’s sake, I asked 6 men and 6 women about how their average day moving around Kampala goes. All of the men’s responses can be summed up in, “Meh. Nothing special. I do what I’m there for and go home. The jam sucks though”

The women, “It’s really crowded…normalreally, apart from those random men who disturb you.”

There. An 11 year old boy, by virtue of having testicles, is better equipped to navigate this city than I am. As long as I walk around with a male, I pass by taxi stops, boda stages and walk the streets unmolested but the moment he leaves my side, all kinds of lechers spring to life and commence tongue waggling, hissing and pawing. They start to make kissing sounds and act generally vulgar, in a way that they wouldn’t have dared to behave if I had a man/boy by my side.

On the 30TH of March (I remember because that was the day Eric Wainaina was performing at Jazzville), I saw a guard at City Oil-Kamwokya violently shovea woman away from where she was standing. He claimed that she had no right to wait for a taxi there and she protested his methods of communicating this to her. All of a sudden, he lifted his gun, cocked it and threatened to shoot her and anybody else who dared to question his actions. He kept shouting, “I don’t care! I’ll kill you! I’ll fuck you. I don’t care!”

There were two policemen at the roundabout just a few meters away but except for a couple of bored glances from them, the scuffle went interrupted.

The disinterest those police exhibited is not surprising. They’ve already shown that all their priorities lie in grabbing and manhandling everything that we consider private and sacred from our bodies to the lives bubbling in them to our wallets; all this with full support of our policy makers.

Kampala City is teeming with lechers and abusive idlers, something that KCCA need s to fix even more urgently than our pothole riddled roads for the sake of our mental health and the safety of these louts (we women are about to get violent). On to you, Ms. Musisi.

On stilettos, fishing gear and everything in-between.

Stereotypes are irritating and have the power to turn this lady into a raging mess. One that most girls have been fed years before they’re even ready to date is ‘All men are cheating dogs’. This, apart from being a huge source of frustration and resentment for all men who are not, in fact cheaters, is kind of silly. Why dogs? Dogs are really loyal. All men are cheating cats would be worlds more accurate.

I’m sick of hearing things like: all women go crazy for chocolate/ a Ugandan chick won’t date you unless your wallet is larger than her behind/ women will date the first person who shows them attention, e.t.c not because I can prove them wrong but because it’s terrible to judge all women by some narrow standard you got from dating all of three. Femininity cannot be narrowed down to diamonds or shoes or wallets or the color pink.

When people approach me and say “That Stiletto Point column of yours? I know what it’s about. All you write about is fashion, shoes, manya dresses. You’re a chick. That’s all y’all think about”, I get very irritated and not just because what they’re really saying is that they don’t read Stiletto point at all.

Today’s story was supposed to be about the time I nearly drowned in the kiddie pool of a certain swimming establishment in Bugoloobi but because I’ve already spent 200 words on ranting, we’re going to explore uber masculine stuff, to, you know, balance things a bit. That drowning story might have gotten me sued anyway.

Fist fights: I’ve gotten into exactly four of these and I was defending one of my girlfriends, every single time. I can’t stand bad manners. If my friend is uninterested in speaking to you and you hover behind her, tap her body and then laugh with your crew when she jumps in alarm, I don’t care how high my heels are. Your nose is going to be meeting my fist the minute I take my earrings off.

Spandex: This, according to every superhero movie I’ve watched, is the manliest material on earth.  Super, Spider, Aqua and Baconman all dig it because of all the publicity it gives their muscles.  I’ve been trying to encourage the male people in my life to incorporate this material into their wardrobes (with rotten results). I’m however optimistic about its future in men’s fashion.

Fishing: The Old Man and The Sea by Hemmingway is a classic. A classic because after reading it, people feel like they’ve learnt stuff about life, the universe and everything. I’m enjoying it at the slow rate of a page a day, not because I’m failing to, you know, get the point. There’s just too much talk about fishing and gear and fathoms and harpoons. Yea, sure, it’s a book about a fisherman, going out to sea, to fish, but…

Feet: Male ones in particular. 99% of the guys I’ve met have terrible looking toes and crusty nails. What’s with that?

Boda men have the best stories

 I’ve had many experiences with boda boda men, the good far surpassing the bad in number. There’s the psychopath who tries to impress himself by flying over humps and the one who seems almost embarrassed to take money. There’s the big, dark one whom I used to be afraid of, who’s now my favorite because his fee is a constant 1500 from the stage to my house.

and den dis and den dat

 And then there’s Davis of Ntinda. I met Davis at 10pm just as I was about to board a Kyanja taxi. In the usual boda man fashion, he rode menacingly in my direction, swerved away at the last minute and then patted the seat behind him. “Silinji bitaano ku kisaasi” he said.

 Now if you live in Kyanja, you know that entering one of those taxis after 9 means sitting for at least an hour until it fills. I whipped out my negotiation skills and we agreed he’d drop me off near my home.

 When we started moving, he turned and said, “You mean you’re not a Muganda?”

Oh boy. I was not in the mood for this kind of talk. I knew what was coming, but because it was late and he didn’t seem threatening, I didn’t make him stop.

“No.” I said

 “Mbadde manyi when I saw you that you were a Muganda kubanga you are very beautiful.

The rolling of my eyes was audible.

“What are you? A mucholi?”

“Yes. I’m an Acholi.”

After a short pause, he said, “Sorry”.

Sorry? Did this man just sympathize with my not being a Muganda? Just as I was about to cuff the back of his head, he continued. “You know, Acholis are very tough. Me I fear those people.”

“You do? Well, I’m an Acholi from Kitgum. Kitgum Matidi. So ride faster.”

 And then he launched into one of the funniest stories I’ve ever heard. It wasn’t so much the content as the delivery that had me falling off the boda with mirth. Davis is a very funny man. He said,

“One time, I was driving to Dubai, you know, the Sudanese-Ugandan border. And when I reached Gulu, it was very late. 3 am in the night. I went to a restaurant and asked a woman for food. Haa. You Acholis you’re very tough.

When I asked what food she had, she said fish. But when she was serving, I saw also beans. When I asked her why she hadn’t told me about the beans, she shouted: YOU ASKED FISH. I BROUGHT FISH! The woman even wanted to fight me!”

 Here the motorcycle wobbled a bit, so I told him to either ride well or shut up. He continued

 “I just ate, but I was annoyed. How can a woman want to fight with you? I decided to go to a bar. When I reached there, I saw four women dancing very much. I didn’t know if they were drunkards or what. After some time, they came near me so also me I danced ka little little. When things became hot, I decided to go away. Naye when I reached the car, they all ran out and started abusing me. Awuruwuruwuru! Then they entered my car by force. Hmm. People of that place are tough.”

By this time, I was in stitches and we were at my stop. I paid him, asked his name and said goodbye. Boda men have the best stories.

On self racism and fantastic comedians.

Recently, I was invited to the office of a company that required my writing skills. Over the phone, the manager sounded amiable and the work he wanted me to do, while boring, wasn’t difficult.  More accurately, this job was a piece of sponge cake and I had no reason to feel intimidated.

But when I walked into his office and noted he was Indian, my heart jumped into my mouth. This was annoying because my mouth only has space for teeth and not an entire heart. My flare of nervousness didn’t blow the job, but it left me puzzled.

5 weeks ago, an article titled Intellectual African scum went viral. Its gist was that we educated Africans are useless drunkards who spend all day chasing tail while people suffer in the villages and the west continues to leech our resources.  It inspired a series of reactions in me; from a mournful acceptance of my uselessness, to quiet indignation to, finally, a raging disgust at the writer’s condescending and un-researched sentiments. I’m still sad about the way so many people unthinkingly accepted the article’s lashing and even became abusive towards those who so much as questioned it crowing, “The white guy (article’s persona) is telling the truth! Don’t try to convince us otherwise!”

That madness is what birthed the term self-racism.

Complex: My generation was weaned on Cerelac and television, so it’s possible that a TV stereotype has been carried on to real life where they assume white= glamorous bringer of wisdom and light and black = porter/gangster/helpless/needy.

This may be the reason why so many Ugandans are openly deferential towards white people. Sure, we all react differently towards newness, but for the love of Nakibuule! It’s possible to celebrate differences without worshipping them.

Conditioning: Last week, I had to sternly stop my 7 year old sister from singing a slave song to soothe Daniella, our resident baby and overlord.  Making hoeing motions, she sang: slave slaveslave, in America! Working day, day and night, planting sugar, sugar and tea, when I goooo to America!

When I asked where she’d learnt it, she said, “Yiii they taught us that song P.1!” I was horrified. An inferiority complex is drummed into us from when we’re P.1 babies. Note that this song isn’t taught to children within the context of say, a history class.

Courtship standards: The average middle class Ugandan man wants a girl with an education, a ‘reasonable’ accent that he can show off to his friends and some financial prospects. Most foreigners will take one look at a girl, be charmed by her dark skin and call her exotic because of her mbogo filled English. By the time African boys stop judging prospective mates using standards gleaned from M-NET, they might find all the girls’ hearts boarding planes.

If you’re one of those who read Stiletto Point in the Discovery Magazine and then come here to like or comment or whatever, you ROCK. Also, you’ll notice that a rant on Mish Mash and it’s rude management has been omitted. This is not because I am all of a sudden OK with the way they treated Lindsey, a colleague of mine. It’s because Jane Bussmann is in town and she’s, for some reason decided to hold her show there. At Mish Mash.

For those of you who haven’t read her book Worst Date Ever (or How It Took a Comedy Writer to Expose Africa’s Secret War), find it. Find it now because she’s fucking hilarious. She’s going to be being awesome at Mish Mash on the 20th of April.

See? See? Even her pictures ooze funny-ness.

You people, come and we go. Buy a ticket early- 35,000 and come enjoy an evening in the company of this awesome comedy writer (South Park, Brass Eye, Smack the Pony)

Yea. Screw teeth.

There are teeth that are strong of nature and dazzling white of color. They are well spaced of look and good mannered of personality. They are tiny of size and wholesome of being. They rock and are category A.

There are also teeth that are shaky of nature and beige of color. They are scattered of look and sinister of personality. They are erratic of size and seem to be in a perpetual state of contrition for existing in the first place. They suck and are category B.

The category you’ll carry in your mouth for your entire duration of life is determined by two factors. Number one is your momma. If your momma’s genes are good and she passes them on to you, you can achieve category A teeth. If her genes are good but susceptible to intimidation, if they’re wimps, then they’ll defer to your father’s horrible ones and you will be stuck with category B.

Factor number two is your pocket. If you have money, you can afford to savor this experience that is the ownership of teeth by routinely studding, coloring, removing, tattooing, replacing, resizing and whitening them.

But if you’re so unfortunate as to have bad genes and a bad wallet, a sweet tooth and a wild space in your past in which you shunned toothbrushes, your teeth are going to rot in various ways, one by one, in no particular order. They are going to hurt in every damn way under the sun. Dull thud, sharp thud, tingle, burn, dull tingle, sharp kick! It is well within possibility that you’ll find yourself milking the whole dark business for a story at 1 am in the morning.

The decision to visit a dentist is not easily arrived at. In fact, most people do everything to end the pain for the moment and then go about life like they have category A teeth. Other even dumber people medicate themselves, not with pain killers and local home remedies but with the internet.

Shaking with pain, they’ll limp to their father’s room and beg for the modem, fix it into their fabulous new laptop and proceed to worsen their situation by trying out all the remedies that the internet suggests, even the really dumb ones like: ‘bang on the offending tooth with a spoon’ and ‘use a wooden fork to uproot it’. Some like ‘put a clove of garlic in a saline solution and stick it next to the hurting tooth’ and ‘apply ground cloves to the hurting area’ actually work but the best I’ve seen so far is ‘go see a dentist’.

When the devils of rot in your mouth stop deferring to home remedies and living starts to seem more like a horrible chore instead of the wonderful! Wonderful! experience it’s supposed to be, the time to make a decision has arrived.

The first thing you feel is excitement. “No work tomorrow!!” a voice in your head squeals.   You start to practice your sick voice for when you’ll have to call your boss in the morning because while, like other mortals, you can fall sick, your voice is not one of those that can elicit coos of sympathy. You always sound robust with health.

So you practice your sick voice and try not to be too excited about a day off, because dammit it, you’re only going to see the dentist and he’s not even cute.

So, what’s with that accent?

Swerncing is the act of sounding silly as you speak in an accent that your tongue just can’t be bothered with. Hello becomes helllorr, Stella becomes Stellarrr, go out becomes gorout.

Research shows that the moment the average Ugandan breathes in exhaust fumes of a place outside Uganda, even if it’s just Kenya, they’ll comeback swerncing, and more intensely if they’ve been to America or Europe (places associated with milk, honey and everything nice). A muzungu saying gyibarley nyabul is also a kind of swerncery, but of a more amusing variety.

English speaking Ugandans spend a lot of time analyzing, ridiculing, laughing at; generally being concerned with accents. You know a gossip session has risen on the scale of hatefulness when somebody says something like, “the way that heifer overuses ‘r’ to mbu Americanize her accent makes my ears vomit a little whenever she speaks”.

They’ve also made advertising agencies in Uganda rich. Whatever laughs can be squeezed out of Acholi and Luganda and Runyakitara accents have been collected and turned into money and now enough is enough. We shouldn’t even be reinforcing these differences in the minds of people, especially not in a country that’s a hop and a wiggle away from civil war on sectarian grounds. People don’t dig each other enough.

There are many reasons a person may swernce at any given moment, some more acceptable than others.

First of all, people are impressionable and even a little exposure to a different way of speaking can affect the way they’ll sound when they next speak. If you have friends with kiwi accents, you need to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the time your words curl unexpectedly. You will likely be telling a riveting story; all your friends will be nodding appreciatively, giggling in all the right places when BAH! your next sentence will come out in a strange accent and shame you.

People swernce to be ‘professional’, especially on radio. Most presenters sound like they’ve got a fungal infection in their mouth, which makes it impossible for us to hear what they are saying and is responsible for the recent trend of people flinging their radios across the room.

Really don't.

There’s also travelers swencery that happens to people who leave the country for long while. In a few months, the accents they’ve had their entire lives disappear completely. When they come back home, they never really change back. This swencery is slightly more acceptable because they’ve earned it by having lived in an environment where they were required to blend in if they wanted to escape the attentions of xenophobes. As long as they sound authentic, I reserve my resentment.

It’s those ones that leave for 48 hours and come back speaking like an American who has had all their teeth removed that irritate me. What are they saying? That they’d rather sound like a toothless person than sound like me? Shya. Those ones I dislike openly. If you insist on coming home with an accent, practice until you sound more like Denzel and less like you’re gurgling bile because while it is your constitutional right to speak funny, it is our constitutional right to say mean things behind your back.