Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Animal control?

I don't like animals. Live animals, that is. They make me very uncomfortable. Fine, if you have a pet at home, it will take all of my willpower to not kick it across the room when it comes playing at my feet. However, I do not hate them. I do not wish them a vain death. I do not strangle them at every chance I get (and I do get many chances). It takes great self-control for me not to harm the critters. I know how dangerous animal activists can be.

Max, on the other hand, loves animals. When he was still living with his parents, I'd go over there to chill out. One day, I went there without being updated on extra inmates. My surprise when a golden heap of fur was only equaled my terrified scream. It is my most embarrassing memory to date. And Max, with his smugness, just claimed that the mutt was happy to see me. Fine, it was wagging its tail and jumping about, but I can't differentiate between a happy bark and a warning back. I get past the sentry at the door, only to be received by a division of cats. Yes, a whole lot of cats. I didn't know Max was into pets in general. What next? Did he have an iguana under his bed or something? He said reptiles are pretty hard to look after.

I've since come to 'tolerate' animals, as long as we have a mutual respect for each other. Under no circumstances should the animals jump at/onto me. I can share space with them, but not emotions.

At some point, Max and I were housemates. It came as no great surprise when he befriended and subsequently took in a stray kitten. He called it Garfield, well, because it looked like Garfield. Now, the thing about cats is that they are really selfish. They have no master, and definitely do not respect their master. Or their 'owner'. They just prefer to do what ever they feel like. While Max spent his time petting and talking to Garfield, I spent mine shooing him off the keyboard, my bed, my feet, my lap, and wherever else. The only time I'd touch him was to throw him off whatever I was using at the time. In short, I made little effort to be friends with the feline. But Garfield was stubborn. He was determined to win me over. He grew up, but I still didn't like him. That didn't stop him from lying on my belly whenever he found me taking a nap.

Now there's a puppy in the neighbourhood. I don't know what it is about me that has these animals thinking I like to play, but this puppy (let's call her Shen) likes to play with me. Soon as I open the door, she's right there, looking up at me with those puppy eyes of hers. Most times I think she's just being a puppy.One afternoon, after laundry, I'm trying to make my way to the clothesline, and Shen was hopping about all excitedly. I tried (as always) to shoo her away, but she would have none of it. So for a change, I decided to pat her on the head. Then she licked my feet. It was such a pure gesture that for a instant, all my dark hatred melted, leaving behind a bright, mushy mess. I picked Shen up, and held just out of reach of my nose (we're taking baby steps here). She let out a tiny adorable bark. I set her down and she resumed jumping about, weaving and licking feet. Then the darkness returned, and so did the shooing. Heh, at least now I know why people like animals.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

We all have that one friend...

I have a very interesting friend, Max. Max is your run-of-the-mill good guy. He'll buy you drinks or food whenever you meet. He'll do you plenty of favours, just for the sake of friendship. But he has this one annoying habit. Whenever he meets a girl he fancies, he insists on taking me along on his adventures, usually in an effort to get me engaged in a social capacity. I know guys like to be tight with their bros even when they get hooked up, but sincerely, if your bro is still single, then it is ridiculous. How Max insists to hang out when he clearly has company is still a mystery. I wonder what it will be like if/when he finally gets married. He might suggest I hook up with his sister-in-law, knowing how he can be sometimes.

One day, on a lazy afternoon, Max calls me to meet him at Oasis Mall for some pizza. I usually respond to food plot with the utmost urgency. I'm at the Mall about 30 minutes later. I find Max engrossed in the most amusing of conversations with a pretty young thing, who I'm later told is called Flavia. I take a seat and wait for their chat to come to an end. I assume he just knows her from somewhere and was passing time while waiting for me. Flavia stays. We order the pizza, and my dilemma continues. I've never seen Flavia before and Max has never mentioned her. I'm not sure exactly how I'm supposed to interact with her. After several minutes (and slices of pizza), I get tired of the suspense and discomfort of watching them giggle. I go for the jugular. "So... What's going on between you two?"

They look at each other with mild amusement, and a hint of confusion. I look at them eagerly, because in all that time I have noticed that my interest in pretty young thing has been piqued. I need to know wassup so I can proceed accordingly. As they fidget for the correct response, it occurs to me that perhaps I should've been more subtle. Then again, I might have missed Max's clues. She eventually blurts out that they are just friends. Max doesn't look too bothered. But I make my exit as soon as I'm done eating. I feel they might have a little more talking to do about their situation. When he calls me later to join them for a drink, I know better than to accept. I tell him I'm pretty busy at the moment, finishing something important at home. I hang up and resume playing 'Batman: Arkham Origins'.

Max has it in his head that I'm usually available for his excursions. He also has a habit of leaving out important details in the excursions. One day, he suggests we go to the beach on Saturday. I ask which beach, and he just retorts that any of the numerous beaches in Entebbe will be good. Seeing as I've run out of episodes of Sleepy Hollow, I say 'What the heck? I could use a little sun and sand.' Plus, the allure of eating deep fried fish at the lakeside is all too tangible. At least it looks better than the half loaf of bread I was eyeing for lunch. We agree to meet somewhere in town. Nanti he has a car. He arrives at the spot with an unfamiliar passenger. Yes, a passenger. Singular. Dammit Max! Now I have to be a third wheel at a beach?
I could have wrangled a random friend-zoned chick for this equally random outing, just so I don't look like a total dwanzie. Now I have to stare at the lake while the two of them catch up. Max knows I don't do too well in social settings. I'm starting to think he thinks I'm his personal jester.When we get to the beach, it is considerably less populated than I was hoping. I see mothers with their toddlers everywhere, and a few scattered high-schoolers. Definitely not my type.

I resort to taking an introspective walk along the beach, pondering on the mysteries of life and purpose. I can almost see my future in the waves as they crash at my feet. I wander to the roadside and mindlessly board a Kampala-bound taxi...

Monday, January 6, 2014


I live in a quiet, fantastic little world. There's a lot of interesting things that happen in this world, and I feel like Sindbad marooned on a fantasy island, with only a deadly Roc for company. Everything moves smoothly, like clockwork. Except for the odd random 'catch-up' sessions with long-lost friends, or female persons of interest, nothing changes. 

A lot of times I go to parties, just to convince myself I can still have a connection to the ‘normal’ world. I drink, I ‘chat’, or rather, I stand in a corner and have conversations in my head. Or I join a circle of people and start laughing randomly. Then there's the occasional awkward moment when you make a beeline to someone, and just as you're arriving, they receive a phone call and have to excuse themselves. Then you're left standing there wondering if you should wait for them to come back, or just stay there and own the spot. Either way, it looks foolish for you to leave just as you got there. When I'm at a party, one of the goals I have is to pick a spot and 'exist'. Yes, just be there. As long as I have my drink in my hand, it's all good. Since that barely works these days, it helps if there's some sort of gaming console at the venue. If there is, then I'm sorted.

I'm not rude. I'm not snobbish. And I'm not shy. But us quiet people tend to be mistaken for such. It's really not other people's fault. I'd think the same about those people who sit/stand alone in a corner, with the meanest of faces. Heck, if they don't want to socialize, that's their issue. 

My presence at a party defies logic. Why would I go to a social gathering, and not want to socialize? It doesn't make sense! I do want to socialize, in fact. I just don't know how to do it properly. And I'm not too fond of 'trial and error'. My main problem comes from the fact that a ‘normal’ conversation is actually hard work for me. It takes great effort to have a normal conversation. I do not excel in small talk. I do not like talking about fashion, Twitter, Facebook, the weather, politics, heck…not even Instagram. I’m even worse in arguments. I believe people are entitled to their opinions. Whenever an argument is brewing, I just shrug and say, ‘Yeah, whatever!’ and go get a refill. 

Of course one will make the assumption that I must like movies, at least. Well, I do. But mention the wrong list of movies and my mind goes numb. For example, I see this fly chic sitting with a bunch of other chics, or all by herself. I go to build rapport, so I start by talking about movies. So, I ask her what her favorite movie of the year was, and she says, 'Game of Thrones.' I'm like okay, common mistake. Movies get mixed up with series sometimes. No big deal. besides, it's a good choice. Then she asks me what mine is and I respond 'Pacific Rim' with the broadest of grins. She deftly flicks a few braids away from her cute face and brazenly asks, 'What's that?' Now, where do I go from there? 

Good thing there's always that jolly soul that makes things easy, and winds up being the most interesting person I talk to, besides myself of course. But that doesn't happen too often. When it does, it feels like walking into an air-conditioned supermarket on a hot afternoon.

I wonder where I can find a crash course on socializing. Honestly, I'm fed up of being called anti-social. You're using the wrong word! I have more rousing conversations with myself than I do with most people. So sue me. Come to think of it, I'm not even sure how I make friends!