Column Squad

Taxi Memoirs: A Ride With A Psychopath


Somehow pop culture has glamourized psychopathy that we don’t mind psychos until they touch you personally. I often hear girls describing guys they despise as psychos. The term is so loosely used that it has ceased to have meaning.   Psychopaths are out there ready, willing and able to take ruin your life without giving it a second thought. Worse, you are unlikely to know what you are dealing with because you don’t know what to look out for.

Imagine not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members.  Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken.  And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools.

Now add to this fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless.

You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness. In other words, you are completely free of internal restraints, and your unhampered liberty to do just as you please, with no pangs of conscience. This is the guy I met in one taxi that earlier had the promise of a good ride.

In fact it was going so well that when blood plastered on my face, I first thought it was water. Everything was going so well, we were tuned to Radio One, our driver who is in his fifties was driving with as much consideration as befitted his age and the conductor was polite and helpful. That was until we reached the Charm Towers corner and encountered a holdup which forced our driver to continue to Jinja road, with the intention of branching off at Cairo bank to join Duster Street and go to the old taxi park.

Everyone could see that this was the right thing to do, rather than waiting in the jam for twenty minutes or so. But one passenger would not have none of this and called our driver every name in the book and our driver was not about to take this lying down. Within no time we had a Hollyfield Vs Miacheal Tyson going on. The two men egged on by giggling nymphs all around tore at each other in a verbal duel that would certainly make both their mother’s cringe at their hand work. When the driver eventually stopped to let Mr Psycho out, the latter pulled out his wallet and flashed it at the former assuring him that unlike him who will not amount to much more than a driver, he moves around with a wallet full of fifty thousand notes. Truth be told I am not sure whether were fake or genuine.

Mr. Psycho came off as one of those men who beat their wives and would sell their children to be sacrificed by witch doctors. Foreigners sometimes fawn over Ugandan politeness but I really wonder as a people if we really are out of Stone Age yet. You certainly see another side of Ugandans when you ride a taxi.

Hey, I am a Ugandan woman who spends a minimum of four hours daily travelling in taxis. Like you, I used to dread the taxi rides until I realized that it is a source of a variety of free entertainment and an interesting study of human nature.