I have written the post about Cake, and the one about scary Kampala Night Driving, there is the one about Dead Dogs and even about Search Engines but have I written about Glove Compartments? I think it is time.
Since the awful bombs that hit Kampala on the eve of the World Cup Final on July 11th, leaving over 70 dead, Kampala has seen a wave of stepped up security. At first this meant long queues to get into the malls while every inch of the car was checked and mirrors were run along the under carriage. Beepers were run along our bodies every time we entered a supermarket and all bags were vigorously checked. Now as time has passed there is a perfunctory check of the bags, a quick glance with a beeper in hand and the lines of cars waiting to enter public parking lots has diminished. But the strangest thing of all is that the full car check, including the opening of the trunk/boot and the peering into the back seats has been replaced with a quick check into the glove compartment. No matter where we are going or who the guard is or how many times we have been there before it is always the same routine. We are asked politely if they may check our car, doors are unlocked and opened and the glove compartment is opened and given a cursory glance. It has become comic. Once, handsome Husband said out loud that if he were to hide a bomb it certainly wouldn’t be in there. I don’t think the security guard got his sense of humour as he looked at us as if were quite serious. You could actually see the thoughts running along his forehead.
The scary thing of all this is that this false security is doing nothing except teaching people where not to hide their bombs. It is a thin Band-Aid being applied onto a potentially volatile situation.
Clap your hands! I am doing a whole lot of driving these days. A lot of night driving, especially. It’s a bit silly really that I am even asking you to clap. Many people drive, many times and when I act all self satisfied as I climb out of my car they look at me like, really, what is the big deal? However, despite my seemingly brave new take on life in the fast lane, I am still terrified and each time I get into the car I hold my breath, clench the wheel while leaning forward and play very loud George Michael. I look like George Michael trying to avoid the police. Except I am not stoned and there are no dodgy boys in the back of the car. Shame really.
Anyway what makes it so scary is that there are no street lights. So I have to use my full beams, try to dodge those super sized pot holes, people riding bikes with no lights, goats, cows, stray dogs and people crossing the road. While doing all this I also have to cross two lanes of traffic (lots of extra breath holding there) and use my white-knuckle-hope to get me home. In a strange Mad Max way I am starting to enjoy it; it makes me feel brave.
Some girls really are brave. They camp alone with their two sons, they build canoes, and they drive to the market, park and then walk through the myriad of stalls looking for Turkey. I am trying to be brave, but not really there yet. But I am terribly proud of myself for at least climbing into the car (It is a high climb; ripped my fave jeans once…) and getting home all in one piece.
Pathetic but brave.
I drove! I did it..all by myself. I am feeling very brave. I am pathetic.
It is confession time. I have not driven since the accident, except for one hair raising time when I had to drive F to the hospital. ( He had Vertigo, brought on by the whiplash from the accident, ironically). So today I had to go out and it seemed too silly to treat F as a driver, so I got into the car and with equal measures of trepidation and pride I drove out of the gate, all by myself.
Truth be told, I didn’t do a whole lot of driving before the accident but since then the fear has worsened and then I started to hate my wimpy self and my husband was looking at me like I was really useless. When someone looks at you like that, they can’t fancy you at the same time. So for me and for him, I needed to tame that Beast. ( Who is by the temprorarly resurrected until we find another car.)
I am the kind of driver that loves a big Canadian Highway, tons of space, smooth concrete, no crazy motorcycles that appear out of the corner of my blind eye. So for me Kampala streets are basically a disaster. It is like a driving video game, only not as fast and if you do hit someone then you lose more that a virtual life. You need to drive with peeled eyeballs and never lose your cool. People do not follow rules here. Rules are not something they need. It is total anarchy on those roads and it is scary.
And since I am feeling so brave I am going to mention that it is the very last chance to VOTE! Yes, the bloggies are closing tomorrow and don’t let the fact that I am in Africa now, and rather far from Latin America (Trinidad), bother you one bit. I would say that is reason enough to win!