Column Squad

Taxi Memoirs: A Ride With An OG From Hell


I am fascinated by the glaring differences between the people you went to school with and how they turn out to be as adults in the world.  There is this one particular OG of mine who seems to stalk me and she always shows up at the most inconvenient places and situations like when I am having wardrobe malfunctions issues. One time she materialized from nowhere when I was fighting a losing battle with some oversized blouse which tends to blow me up making me look like a pregnant hippo. Another time one of my Chinese made heels had just snapped off making me walk with a limp. So I am always at her mercy having to bear the blunt of her unkind but often deserved jokes.

So today you can imagine to what depths my heart sinks when I see her in my favourite seat at the back of the taxi perched on ‘my’ window.  I am forced to board because people are rushing to board so I meekly sit beside her and the torture begins.

She greets me in the loudest of voices followed by a resounding a slap on the back and that’s the beginning of the assault that I have to endure in the name of camaraderie and friendship. Because you see OG Imelda never says anything without using expansive gestures. When she is telling a joke she will emphasize it with an elbow nudge in your ribs in order to induce maximum laughter. More often than not she induces a grimace than a grin but of course she never notices because she collapses under her own hilarity before the whole joke is finished, appreciated and responded to.

As soon as the greetings are done, Imelda engages me in her classic news bulletin which you are expected to listen to attentively, smile, grin and make all necessary noises to show that you are enthralled by the events of her world.  She tells me how God has blessed her with a well-paying job but is silent on the figures.

How she has been compelled to change her name from “Imelda” to “Grace Fortunate” because she discovered that some names have negative energy about them thereby repelling good luck and opportunities. She tells me that she has been able to build her own house and is sure that the elusive Mr. Right is on his way now. I say amen to that and our conversation continues thus until I disembark but not before she tells me that I have to pay her fare and also leave her 10K for lunch because she forgot her purse at home.

As my husband applies “Deep Heat” onto my sore ribs from Imelda’s jabs I relate all this and he concludes that I am too nice for my own good and I agree. So next time I meet you Imelda I will slap you so hard you won’t be able to vote in 2016.

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.