Attention: Thursdays are now special.

Lately, I’ve been feeling guilty about updating my blog just once a week. Calling yourself a writer comes with many responsibilities, one of them being the regular writing of things.

So I am going to be updating my blog twice a week, on Monday and Thursday. Clap for me.

Monday’s post is going to be the story that has run in my (unfortunately named) column in Sunday Vision. I mean, Stiletto Point? I defy you to think up one thing that is less Apenyo than stilettos.

What my feet look like, every day of my life.

What my feet look like, every day of my life.

 

My last article was about learning to truly recognize the humanity of others.

I’m also going to be contributing a story to muwado.com every Wednesday.  If you enjoyed my articles in Plan B and on ULK, I’m sure you’ll love these! I debuted yesterday with a story about the the first (and only) time I went bungee jumping. Yea, that’s something I’m not going to do ever again. The pictures though, those are epic. In this one, I am every Looney Toon that ever stepped off a cliff. 

More on Muwado.

More on Muwado.

As for Thursday’s post!  I’m not quite sure what I want it to be about. For now, I’m leaning towards giving y’all news of my writing + gifting you with links to wonderful short/long stories. If you’re feeling clever and have some ideas for me, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment section.

On short stories: I’ve been hard at work, banging some into shape for a bunch of competitions. Here’s hoping that at least one of them will yield fruit. Send me your good karma by watching this video of me quite goofily talking about why I write.

Why I write

More on competitions, I recently submitted a story to Farafina Trust, in the hopes of being granted a place in their creative writing workshop this year. It is crazily competitive, but the fact that one of the best writers I know gave my story a thumbs up, that goves me hope. Novuyo Rosa Tshuma (of the Shadows fame) was kind enough to go over my story. Here are some of her comments:

“Beautiful language, good control – love the ‘deceptive’ beginning (thought for a moment there that the protagonist was facing some mob), the mosquitoes writ large seem to work well, though perhaps a little overdone.”

“All in all, good scene, the mundane brought alive, the language pulled me in…very good piece.”

Fingers crossed that the Farafina people think so too! 

I end with a gift! Enjoy this article about eating your feelings; perfect for all the food loving, over-feelers like me. I like how often wine appears.

And a gif

Let's do this!

Let’s do this!

 

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Let’s not die

People in Uganda drive like assassins. They ride motorcycles like witches on brooms. Over the years, bicycles have found their way into the city center and are jostling for tarmac space to die on. It’s like we all really want to become road kill.

Speaking of road kill, we’re totally the most wasteful society inexistence. There’s a steady supply of dog and cat for every household to feast on meat every single day of the year but do we harvest them carcasses? No. We avert eyes and cover mouths in mourning, as if the protein in kitten meat is any different from that in cow meat.

Uganda’s transport system is one big abattoir and every creature has an equal chance of getting minced. How to survive the carnage? Grab a pencil, a notebook.

Franco Mugabe, what do you smoke?

ON a boda? Learn defensive passengering. From the moment you straddle that boda, you and the rider are a team. Use your eyes to stop motorists from getting dangerously close, your arms as indicators and your voice box to scream disgustedly at other bodas that try to overtake yours. Scowl at those utterly stupid women who wait for traffic to get really thick before bolting across the road with a baby in tow.

Clearly they were eating in class when teacher taught us the formula for crossing roads (look left, right and left again. Or is it the other way round?). This happens mostly in the morning, and I’ve only seen women do it.

Number of times I’ve been in a vehicle that has narrowly missed a toddler’s back? Terrifyingly high.

IN a car?  You’re not a wimp for sticking to your line. It doesn’t make you a ninja to crack our few pavements with your old tires. Leave that to the suicidal and hell bound. It’s best to drive like a happy retard, singing along to Judith Babirye or whichever CD it is that has gotten stuck in the car stereo.

Look down your nose at road rage, opting instead to blow kisses at the people who create second lanes and scratch your car. It doesn’t win you any points to drive like the villain in Despicable Me.

Footsubishi? Remember always that nobody really cares about you. The driver hasn’t ‘seen’ you, so don’t saunter across the road with your eyes closed. Next you know, they’ll be merrily rolling across the tarmac. Remember that cars and bodas are liable to invade the sidewalk at any moment and that motorists generally aim for the legs of any woman who has better ones than their wife/girlfriend. It’s either you be constantly ready to skip to the side or you learn the art of landing on your feet.

Also, if your feet are all you have to transport you from A to B, I like you. We’re both broke. Take a moment to feel superior. You are doing the environment a favor by choosing to foot. The kinds of fumes that you release as a result of walking long distances are not at all dangerous for the ozone layer.

I don’t usually do bottoms, but…

Plan B’s bottom 5 on swerncing

5. Swerncing means insulting the environment by speaking in an accent that is nauseatingly fake. Aye larrrve swirrming is swerncing. Aye warnt to bway you’re a draynk is swerncing.
4. Fakers of accents DO know that we’re on to them, right? I mean, how can they not? Our snorts of derision, our eyes dancing with laughter, our open gossiping, surely they know we know they’re faking it.
3. It is possible to tear your tongue, so if you continue straining it by making it dance strokes that it’s not accustomed to, it will rip with a wet kathwak! And you will die of pain.
2. Oba we blame the people in outside countries that interact with these swerncers? It’s as a result of their nonjudgmental, all accepting ways that these people find the boldness/ shamelessness to speak like they have no teeth.

1. It falls to the owners of these accents, these Australians, Britons and Americans who interact with our bros and sisses to call all fakers out on their bullshit. Like, “Stop tripping bro. You don’t sound LIKE ME when you speak like that” OR, “Whatever is the matter with your tongue, Mary? Are you ill?”

Idiot’s guide to beating that hangover

A hangover is optional, we all know. You don’t have to take that 10th shot. You’re aware, as you drunkenly upend that bottle of mineral water over your head, that you’re dehydrated and it would be wiser to actually drink the water. But you’re at a party and drenched-dancing is the new thing in Jamaican videos. You gyrate wetly until you pass out on the carpet.

When you wake up, you wish you hadn’t. You lie prostrate for a while and then wiggle slowly, oh so slowly to the fridge. With an amount of effort that seems herculean, you inch it open and pull out a jerry can of the finest, most beautiful liquid in the world. Water.

With every sip of you take, your body sings. Water is life, alcohol is war. Somebody comes into the kitchen, drops what they’re holding, screams and exits. You lift your torso slightly off the floor and look at your face mirrored on the tiles. If you’re a weak person, this is the point at which you cry. Your face. It’s terrible. Your swollen tongue is splayed over your lower lip and your eyes have quit.

How do you become normal again? How do you survive the hell that’s your own moral depravation?

Let us consider the wings on which hangovers come into our lives. Overconsumption and dehydration.

When you consistently pour punch or battery acid into your body, without allowing it the relief of water, your system becomes saturated. You forehead becomes shiny with the oils of intoxication that are oozing out of your pores. Drink less and drink more. Less intoxicant, more water. Water is the answer.

So assuming you’re the character described above, drag your body, slowly, carefully into the bathroom and turn on the shower. You don’t have to take your clothes off. Just lie there and feel peace.

If you have to be at work in a few hours, get dressed and lurch into office. Everybody understands your suffering, on account of them suffering your smell which is a combination of dead grapes and a resentful liver. Physical activity improves your circulation so the moment you can manage to lift your body out of your seat, head to the parking lot. Contort your body into positions that would shame yogis worldwide. This might trick the alcohol in your veins into circulating a bit more. If your headache is confounding your efforts, hold a bag of ice to it and proceed.

You look, smell and sound scary. Use that to get an edge, get some respect, y’know.  Address people in short, gravelly barks, like a dog with a dislocated voice box. Be indifferent to their surprise and/ or disapproval.

Drink all of the antioxidants. If you can’t bear to spend money constructively, which is why you’re feeling like a soggy sandwich right now, pluck hibiscus flowers and boil them in your tea. Or chew them.

React with shock and horror when your officemates make loud noises, like clearing their throats. When they laugh, take it personal. Make a perfect fool of yourself by delivering long, cutting lectures about the levels of happiness that are acceptable within a healthy corporate environment.

So, what exactly are interns?

What:

An intern is a person who doesn’t know anything. They don’t know what you’re doing, they don’t know what they’re supposed to do but they want desperately to learn. They are hungry for knowledge and willing to work at acquiring this knowledge, which is why they’re so annoying.

Why:

That kind of motivation and bright eyed enthusiasm comes only once. The people the intern is bothering for help and lessons were likely interns a long time ago. They don’t remember why the hell they wanted to join the field and they sincerely hate what they are doing. If they don’t hate their jobs, they simply tolerate them. It is a most annoying thing for somebody to express so much interest in something you can no longer be bothered with, something you only stick to because man, fees have to be paid.

If the intern chances on somebody who enjoys their work, this person is usually too busy working and enjoying to willingly teach.

So often, they just hover with a piece of paper and a pen hoping to catch and jot down THE MAGIC SENTENCE that will make them useful.

Where:

Interns can be found everywhere. Banks, telecoms, schools, name it. Look behind you. They don’t usually know how to dress. If they’re working a cool advertising job, they come dressed like a morgue attendant. If they’re working in banks, they come with their chests and thighs hanging out. They’re usually students, so they don’t have money to shop for new clothes and so wear whatever it is their universities tolerate.

You can also find them in the toilet weeping or in the kitchen, finishing all the milk. Sometimes, they are to be found parked at your work station, facebooking the hell out of your computer. I don’t know what it is about office computers that make you feel so proprietary, but it feels like violation when somebody just logs you out and checks their facebook, doesn’t it?

When:

When are they most annoying? When a new intern comes into office and the old one starts to boss the new one around. That’s not fair. You’re both flies. You can’t feel superior to another fly around when you both have so many compound…eyes. This kind of behavior makes you feel sorry for the new intern, which makes you nicer to him or her, which is going against principle! You’re supposed to be rotten at worst; indifferent at best; because that’s how they’ll become ambitious and competitive. And then they’ll escape maggotism and become rich. Like you.

How:

You can become a compound fly by walking into an office, any office, and telling them how cool their establishment is, and how you’re willing to do anything that will help you become a better, more professional fly. If you’re convincing, they’ll hire you and then, welcome to hateville, yo.

I have been an intern before. Twice. I often wonder, now that I have a real job, I wonder how the people I worked with were able to tolerate my earnest, gasping-for-knowledge self. An intern is not a human being and it should not be treated as one. It needs to earn its humanity by gaining experience quickly and making a decent salary.

Hot, oh so hot.

The air around your face has become hot all of a sudden. Either the cat has breathed on you or some idiot has, for the third time tonight, pulled the windows shut. You don’t want to check, because if you find them closed, the rage. Oh the rage. Flicking on a light is out of the question because lights generate warmth plus you don’t want thieves and other night creatures to see your window light up invitingly. They are not welcome.

You try and remember whether or not you had a bath before you entered your bed, which you didn’t obviously because only grownups do that and you wouldn’t be on this page if you were well and truly grown. You hear what sounds like a talon tapping your roof and that is when it occurs to you that rain is beginning to fall. Yay!

Ten minutes later, the sky is having a fully-fledged quarrel with your roof. The rain must be beating the heat monsters out of the air into the ground, right? Right? Why are you still sweating then? How can it be raining outside and baking inside? And no, central heating is not to blame. You live in Uganda for heaven’s sake. You’re marinating in a pool of your own sweat. You must taste delicious.

Perhaps the house is digesting you.

Sorry about that. Here’s a guide to surviving the night heat.

That pillow: Every ten minutes, quickly lift your body off the bed, turn the pillow and then slowly place your head on the cooler side. Sigh with appreciation. Savour the cool, airy cotton. Pretend not to notice that it’s warming up until you start to feel sweat trickling out of your ear. Repeat till morning.

Blow: Get your significant other to blow on your skin. What did they think for better or worse meant? You are currently experiencing a ‘for worse’ moment. That you’ve turned into the kind of maniac who expects people to abandon their sleep to blow cool air at you is his or her ‘for worse’ moment. Suffer together. Joy cometh in the morning.

Go and bathe: Even if you have to take five baths. On a normal night, bathing that often is a sign of low self-esteem. It is a sign that you can’t stand your God given smell or that you don’t trust your deodorant, in which case you don’t believe in your deodorant choosing skills. Low self-esteem! Shower with conviction, with faith and hope that sleep is eagerlywaiting to attack your eyeballs maumau style the moment you step out of the shower.

Commando: Rid your body of all things unnatural. If you weren’t born with it, discard it. Then sprawl until all four points touch all the corners of your bed. This usually helps. If you share your bed, establish dominance by pushing your bedmate off, then establish your compassion by throwing the bed clothes on top of them.

If none of the above work, go outside and stare disapprovingly at the air.

A (not so) deep analysis of THUMBS.

Every human being is entitled to two thumbs. Whether or not they have them at birth depends entirely on the integrity of their genes. If the thumb fund is diverted, you end up with one or no thumbs.

Because they’re rebellious and prefer to hangout on their own, on a lower level than the rest, thumbs are the most likely of your fingers to be caught between stapler jaws, trapped by car doors, hit by hammers.

They come in the same shape, mostly. Sharp head, broad face, flat back. If your thumb has booty, youwant to report that to your doctor. Many butchers have flat headed thumbs, for obvious reasons.

Some of them are disjointed, giving them the ability to swivel wantonly inside their sockets like…strippers. Owners of stripper thumbs need to stop showing off because it is not a super power. It is being disabled. Get that, Jero?

There is this joke that was very popular in 2003 about a waitress who has a very sore thumb but can’t get the day off because her boss is mean. To soothe it, she sticks it into the soup bowls of the restaurant’s diners, until one of them notices and makes a very big fuss. To shame her and placate the customer, her boss shouts at her saying, “Why was your finger in the customer’s soup?!” She says, “My thumb is so unbearably sore that if I don’t stick it into soup, I’ll surely pass out from the pain”. “What about when you’re not carrying soup? How come you don’t pass out then?” to which she answers, “well, I stick my finger into the next best thing. My bum.” That was the joke. I swear. Thumbs have been the butt(s) of some really bad jokes.

You can do neat stuff with your thumbs like:

Twiddle them to seem like something out of Noddy and Friends. If you had a massive crush on Noddy as you were growing up, put your thumb up. You are awesome.

You can make political decisions with them i.e. voting and then flash the ink stain at your peers as a symbol of your patriotism. Their admiration makes up for how slowly the dumb stain fades away.

You can surreptitiously dislodge boogers from deep deep inside your trunk with quick flicks to the tip of your nose.

You can state your opinion like a bawss. It’s still cool to hold your thumb high in approval and jab the air in a violent downward motion when unimpressed.

You can confuse opponents and sidestep violence by pointing thumbs instead of index fingers at them. It’s less offensive and more random. Nobody wants to engage in fisticuffs with unpredictable people. Thumb pointing is two steps away from hair chewing which is a half a skip away from back kicking.

Are you too lazy/poor to buy your own breakfast gnuts, mandazi, gonja? Do you rely on other people’s plates for morning nourishment? Does everybody hate you for it? Score begging points by wrapping a bandaid around your thumb. When people think you’re hurt, they’re more generous with their food.

 

Idiot’s guide to surviving boobsault

The last week has been a strange one for breasts in Uganda. Aside from the hoisting, strapping and ogling that they’re subjected to on a daily and usual basis; they have been publically assaulted, debated, youtubed, flashed in protest,  and debated some more. People who used to blush like peeled tomatoes at the sight of woman-orbs before all this have dived eagerly into the discussion; contributing blogposts, status updates and in a few cases, sustained ululations.

Today, we’re grabbing an opportunity that is never going to bobble back. We’re going to, for 500 words discuss breasts. I have my editor’s permission to write about chaks. Nungas. Wow.

The women who bared their chests outside CPS in protest of a policeman intentionally, aggressively and repeatedly grabbing the breasts of a female politician have elicited many reactions in Uganda’s boob watching elite, with some guy on twitter insisting that, “Turning the other cheek would have been the best course of action!” What does that even translate to in this situation? Is he advocating that all women approach a policeman near them, present their right and then left boob for rough fondling?

Before we drink from the fountains of the idiot’s guide (to protecting your boobs from assault), let it be known that I see no shame in the way these women chose to protest. As @eryenyu put it in her twitter, “This act of protest is not women bringing shame onto themselves. I did not see them hiding their faces. I think that was even more powerful”

On to the guide.

Lady gaga: This woman clearly has experience with touchers. Why else would she wear such spiky things on so many occasions? Be inspired by her to make yourself a porcupine skin bra. Apart from making your blouse dimple in a fashion-forward manner, these porcu-spines will enter the palms of any and all boob fondlers- crucifixion style- and the fondling cretin will yowl in a way that will amuse you for a long long time.

Your face: In the presence of stupid people who just touch women fwaa, you need to show them how full of disgust you are. Fold your face accordingly.

Your fist: In that heartbreaking breast tearing video, Ingrid boxes the man’s hand away. It returns, yes, but she boxes it again. Don’t stop boxing.

That ugly sweater: do you remember how, when you were a child, your mother would manhandle you into a prickly, yucky feeling sweater? One that would make your skin itch something awful? Keep one like that in your bag and whip it out whenever you spot a potential boob assaulter. When they lunge for your poor boob, throw it over their head and fix some of it into their mouths. Wedge the caterpillar-like material between their teeth.

Lastly, and very sadly, a man. Those louts don’t bother me when I’m with male people. Even my 11 year old brother has more power to stop a man messing with me than I do. A few glares and snaps from your brother will stop the louts at your stage from bothering you. For a while.

 

On men and their vibe.

There’s not a man alive who doubts his right to have you. Hear that girl in lace dress and jimmy choos? Your car is fabulous, your entumbwe is shaped like perfect and that means nothing to the unwashed guy who sleeps on that patch of grass next to your office. In his head, he stands as much a chance of making the two-backed beast with you as that lawyer boyfriend of yours. The sooner you accept it and stop getting offended by the propositions of boda guys and askaris who waggle their tongues at you, the easier your life will be.

Stereotypes, sweeping statements and generalizations suck butt, but ah. Do you or do you not want to read an article by Apenyo today? Because this entire topic is built on those three things and it’s all I have in my head as a direct result of having been accosted by a group of rubbish collectors today. When I didn’t respond to their hisses and cat calls, they started throwing rubbish at my feet.

I’m puzzled by how so many men believe that the best way to communicate their appreciation to women is hisses and tongue clicks. Do women morph into domestic pets in the eyes of lustful men?

A man’s likelihood to hit on you is determined by his profession. A court clerk is much less likely to waggle his eyebrows at you than, say, a doctor who will be all over you like a bad rash, if you don’t already have one.

Here’s a list of random professions and my analysis of how they relate to women.

Men in advertising: They’re the ones you’ll find in iguana on Thursday, dubbing be-weaved girls with the passion of senior three boys. When they’re not breaking their dance partners, they’re sweet, willing to walk to the bar and elbow people to get you a Smirnoff. They won’t hit on you just like that. They’ll co-gyrate with you peacefully and wait for you to express interest.

Salesmen: These ones are trying to make a living almost every time you see them, so they’re not going to compromise their commission by acting inappropriate. They’ll politely bore you with their lies like “Angelina Jolie wears these vests. It is scientifically proven that they’ll make your lips bigger” and “this frying pan is self cleaning. The moment you transfer your egg to the plate, it will absorb the oil and all odor”.

Bartenders have the best success rate as far as hooking girls that they wouldn’t usually approach. Why? Because humans are wired to be grateful anybody who serves them liquor. When you hit your third drink, they’ll start a conversation or offer you a promo T-shirt, or a free glass of something and then the vibing will begin.

Bank tellers: These ones think that when they handle our money, they handle our hearts as well. There’s one on campus who would write his number on your withdrawal slip and push it back at you through the ka hole in the glass.

Doctors: Maybe it’s the patient-doctor, helpless-savior dynamic that makes them so bold about making advances, but ai. As if you, full of malaria, are in any sort of mood for such.

 

Let’s dissect Easter.

What?

Easter is a time of joy, a time to press palm to chest and massage the slight ache that’s been caused by sudden explosions of good cheer. It is a time to celebrate life by eating and laughing as much as possible over the four day weekend.

Easter is the way some people misspell the name Esther. I have been informed by the internet that the intelligence of a person cannot be gauged by their ability or lack thereof to spell. But I really hate misspellings.

Easter is also a time to openly obsess over animals like rabbits and animal products like eggs. From when I started watching TV i.e. from when I was 32months old, Easter bunnies and Easter eggs have filled the screen at this time of the year. I don’t get it. Do the rabbits get eaten? Are the eggs raw but coated with chocolate? Or just egg shaped chocolate? And what the dickens is nutmeg? sharrap. I am aware of the existence of Google.

Most importantly, Easter celebrates the beating, killing, entombing and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. If you have no idea who he is, beera mu class.

We Christians believe that while everybody is entitled to eternal life, you only get to enjoy yours if you believe in Jesus. To avoid being Zanzi roast pork after you die, you’d berra look your life over head to your nearest Christian worship center.

When?

Easter happens every April. Or every beginning of spring. Or two weeks after the last time you visited your kids in boarding school (first term). Or every time Bwaise’s residents have to buy floaters for their children and rafts to be able to leave the house.

Where?

All over the world. Even before Christianity, people were celebrating harvest festivals and cavorting with rabbits and chicken fetuses. Right? Tom Robbins, that heretic has upset all my good beliefs.

Why?

Why has Tom Robbins, that heretic, upset all my good Christian beliefs? Because he’s convincing and funny and attractive and his writing rocks. He’s a feminist and a lover of religion. Or is he? He seems to harbor all these Christianity busting notions. But this has nothing to do with Easter. This is me shamelessly rambling so that I can beat my word count.

Who?

N/A. Unless there are people actually called Easter. It’s a holiday. In plan B we are not desperate enough to start anthropomorphizing holidays.

How?

The way you celebrate Easter depends on what you think it is. If you’re a Christian, the right thing to do is go to church, be filled with happiness that your savior king died and rose again, then go home and eat a lot.

If you’re a bunny-egg person, go on doing whatever it is you do. Do trees get decorated? Man, I don’t know. Ask an American near you.

If you’re atheist, start the marination early. Tenderize your flesh with intoxicants so that when roasting time comes, you’ll be all soft and delicious.