Random meetings

I work at different locations, and cities, in a week. My job requires me to drive to different stores often far from my home.

I visit Fremont, CA twice a week.

Now I love to travel. It gives me some badly needed alone time. That’s when I think best. Scratch that; there’s nothing new there.

Driving, like doing the dishes and folding laundry allows the conscious mind to disengage just enough so the right brain can take over. And that’s where all the creativity lurks. In dreams, visions and kick-ass awesomeness.

The drive to Fremont from my home is a good 80 miles, so even when I am doing more than the 65mph limit (and California drivers are likely to be over in any given morning), I am comfortable because that’s when I really think.

Lately though, I am wondering if this stop is worth it. The gas re-embursement is to die for, I admit. The shady characters hanging around the store where I do my merchandising is not.

I am old enough to look with disdain at 25 year olds with sagging pants and frown. Ok, even 30 year olds.

It’s like every Friday morning when I pull up at the place, there are as many as 30 young men and a few young women who, by the way, always look ill-fitting in the posse.

There’s the one with the tired look. She’s very light and probably not fully African-American, but also not Caucasian. In a past life, she used to be beautiful.

She is always there, standing with the boys and taking swig after swig out of her Modelo as if to match the pace of the guys standing around.

This morning, I saw another girl, younger than the first. She was of small build and she was sucking on a cig like her life was directly drawn from the stick.

She seemed to be here against her better judgement. She opened the door to the black truck parked in the air section, sat in the back seat then got out again, went over to a white garden table, grabbed a large bottle with what looked like piss in it, pressed it to her lips and chugged.

The boys are more comfortable. After the last elections, marijuana was freed. It is not unusual to see saggy pants weighed down by bags of the stuff, with other bags in both hands of the wearer. It is open season on being high.

This morning was a little different than others. Usually, I arrive and to while away the minutes as I wait for my truck to deliver the merch, I observe the world around me and basically just sink into day dreams.

I went into the store and got a hot cup of coffee and sat back in my little Mazda and immediately felt a difference in the air. I looked up and there were two guys, one with a bad Mohawk and the other, a Caucasian male, sporting deeds in that fashion that makes you want to plead to Jah to explain that you don’t have fi dred to be rastahhh.

Anyway, the way they were staring at me made me uneasy.

Whatever they were saying, since I couldn’t hear it my windows rolled-up, I didn’t want it to be something that would propel them to take a step in my direction.

Now I am all for reasoned conversations and I am a firm believer in Isaiah 1:18, but these dudes were not looking reasonable. What’s worse, I had been seeing them smoke up globule after globe in their multi-colored bongs.

One of them came forward.

Many times, when I speak to natives here, the first rude question they’ll ask is,”Where are you from?”

Now I usually turn it into an opportunity and wax lyrical about Uganda, thanks UTB, send my check tomorrow. It’s easy when you’re not thinking you’re a subject of mistaken identity.

He was asking me something. I rolled down my window. “Can I help you?” I asked him not unlike an undercover cop.

“My boy and I was arguing, what year is your wheels, bro?”

Sigh of relief.

If you’re talking about a brother’s car, have the decency to smile.




About Steven

It wasn't me; arrest the voices. It was the voices in my head. Sike! I am Ugandan first. I care for development in my country. I am a curious observer second and I care to know what you think.
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