Taxis are my sanctuary for comic relief after a long and stressful day but this statement causes many to turn their heads every time this statement escapes from my lips. Anyway let me get back to telling my story, one evening I entered a taxi as I was heading home I found that our driver was a dreadlocked Rasta and this led my stereo types to set in as I expected this to me a very loud and uncomfortable ride. Let me paint you a mental picture of what I expected - whiffs of some kind of funky smell in the air from a joint/ blunt (marijuana as it is commonly known by youth of our day), an uncultured driver and some very loud reggae music. However, much to my surprise the driver was extremely polite, asked his conductor whether there was anyone coming out at every stage we approached while his radio played at a moderate level. There were no fumes of any sort in the interior of our taxi and I was very glad especially given that I am a non smoker.
So as we headed to Ntinda, we got to Hardware world and there was a jam that caused our driver to veer off from the main route and use the side roads common to taxis so as not to be caught in traffic for hours. As the driver exited the main road, we flew from side to side give the uneven surface of all Ugandan side roads, it was as we were a few meters from the Ntinda stage that I heard a familiar song playing in the back ground. Right as I narrowed my eyes and leaned forward struggling to hear the song, the driver raised the volume and I realized that the song playing was ‘All of me’ by John Legend. I smiled as I thought to myself and nearly said out aloud, “This driver has got style.”
We got to the stage without incident aside from the Rasta taxi driver giving the street preacher who stood in the island at the crossroad of Kiwatule – Ntinda, Kisaasi – Nakawa a high 5. I grinned from ear to ear happy and amused that with all my preconceived notions I was wrong for a change and I was glad but in the next instance I was completely spot on.
I decided to go to a sauna at a health club 2 days later to get back some of sanity and let off some steam after the rigorous schedule over the last couple of months. As I headed to the ladies wing to change into more appropriate attire to get into the sauna room, I decided not to prejudge any one I could and would possibly meet that day. After all I had been pleasantly surprised by the Rasta taxi driver who was well mannered and had an exquisite taste in music. I took a brief shower and got dressed and headed into the sauna expecting to zone out and enjoy this quiet time I assumed I would have to myself; given that I had gone there pretty early in the afternoon to beat the usual crowd.
It was a pretty normal afternoon aside from the fact that there was a group of 4 middle aged more women who went into the sauna as a pack and held conversation well above everyone else in the local Gishu dialect. But even they with their disrobing while in the sauna and scrubbing of each other’s back and chest area, I decided not to let them rob me of my peace of mind. There was not much activity as I enjoyed about 2 – 3 rounds of the sauna with 10 – 20 minute breaks in-between but for a middle aged man who I could see at the side of my eye constantly staring at me whenever I got out but I had refused to look in his direction.
I re-entered the sauna and I was glad that the noisy pack of women that I encountered earlier had left. I sat there for approximately 5 minutes as the other occupant walked out to take a break, then walked in the middle aged man with a bit of a belly who had been staring at me and I later found to be corporate from the manner and nature in which he engaged me in the conversation that ensued. There was as a subtle but firm hint of persistence that I felt in his voice every time he spoke to me and it riled me up.
5 – 10 minutes into the session
Male Corporate: “Ehh it is really hot in here!” he commented aloud.
Me: …………… (I responded to this with silence as I did not see the need to respond to his comment since it was not directed to me even though we were the only 2 people in the room.)
Male Corporate: “Isn’t it hot for you?”
Me: “I am used to it.”
Male Corporate: “So do you work out from this gym?”
Male Corporate: “Do you come here often?”
Me: “Not really.”
Male Corporate: “You seem quite fit, where do you work out from?”
Male Corporate: “Oh so your place is around here?”
Me: “………….” (Silence because I realized that this corporate was attempting to chat me with a how is the weather type of scenario.)
I remained calm and silent and hoped that he would take the hint and let me be but I guess this fellow had a few loose screws upstairs.
Male Corporate: “You must be very disciplined in your work out.”
Male Corporate: “So do you work out alone?” he asked this as he moved closer to me and he leaned to the side so as to be closer to me.
Another gentleman walked in and I took the cue to exit since my 20 minute session was up and I needed to be well on my way.
Me: I paused for a minute and the responded, “Yes I get a better work out that way.”
Then with a grin on my face I got up and walked to the door and let myself out and did not think much of it until I was out of the shower and fully dressed. As I crossed past the rest area right outside the sauna rooms I saw him sitting alert looking from side to side intently watching the doors every time they opened only to see me walk out from the changing area and exit the sauna area to the gym heading to the exit. He stared in my direction baffled at what had just happened and I could see a look of displeasure on his at the one who got away.