I am a shortsighted person, the kind who wears glasses and is referred to as maaso aana by the kind of boda boda or taxi conductor who was not raised properly by its mother. I am sure the poor lady tried her best, but some heads are just too thick– the layer of emputtu is just too deep to penetrate and even after years of slippers, kiboko and engolo, no manners ever managed to get through.
So, this is the end result. I walk past the stage with my car keys prominently displayed in my hand, my stride deliberately pointed towards the parking lot, my face set in what I truly believe is the most brazen, flagrant and unmistakable expression of a man who is getting ready to drive in his own Spacio, and the bodas and condis still call, “Maaso aana ogenda?”
I am also longsighted. I turns out one can be both. So in addition to the glasses I wear for my myopia, I need another pair for reading. This came as quite a surprise to me, because the only time I ever read books on paper is when I am looking at my own written notes and if I show you a sample of those lawless tangles of chaos and mayhem you will understand why it took me so long to realise that I needed reading glasses.
Look at that. Don’t you automatically assume that the reason you can’t read that is because it is illegible?
In addition to this, I have wisdom, cunning, and a talent for understanding things about people and situations, a skill that lets me get the meaning beyond the obvious. This is called insight.
So, I have normal glasses or maaso aana, plus reading glasses, making it maaso mukaaga, then add the insightf and it makes apt and perfect sense that I own eight pairs of spectacles.
Five are from Wazi Vision and the latest three pairs are from House of Penda, a local small business that you should know about if you have short or long-sightedness.
You know how you have to spend like 200k to get the worst frames in the opticians office? Call House of Penda and get excellent deals on beautiful frames at half that price.
The discounts were so seductive, I bought three pairs of frames before Sevo locked us down and stopped my spending spree in its tracks. But once we are unlocked, I will be unleashed again, because I shall need to make myself sexually attractive again and one way to do that, as we all know, is having the right eye-wear.
on instagram but do it later. First, let me tell you a story.
It is a familiar battle that those afflicted with myopia must fight over and over again, a never-ending source of strife: the day always comes when you need your glasses but you can’t find your glasses because you are not wearing your glasses and can’t see where your glasses are.
Long before I became rich and reckless enough to go about buying eight different pairs of spectacle frames (I have a different pair to match each of my watches, man. I am either a baller or I don’t know fiscal policy), long before that, I owned only one pair, like a normal person.
And living a normal person’s life, I walked into my kitchen and chopped up my onions.
I smiled inwardly with self satisfaction and laughed quietly at all those losers out there who can’t cut onions without weeping all over the room because those losers don’t have glasses to shield their eyes. Lol! Such losers.
After enjoying that moment, I chopped the tomatoes. Wasn’t as much fun but was necessary, so I did it anyway. I then assembled the spices. I addressed the chicken (It is just something I believe, as an African. We should show chicken more respect than we do. So when I get the chicken out of the bag and lay it out on the board to be chopped up into pieces, I first say a few words:
“Hey kuku. Gyebale. Yeah. I can see that you are dead now and stuff. I don’t know how that’s working out for you, but it’s going to be great for me. Cos I’m going to eat you, I am so going to eat you. Man, I am going to eat the ass off you. Literally, cos I can see the twingiri part there. Some people say the twingiri is the tail. I think it’s the ass. Anyway, I just want to say, I hope you lived a fun life, were free range, and were slaughtered humanely. You were not one of those chickens that like were set upon by a pack of stray dogs and ripped apart limb from limb but just before the hounds could finish you off, the LCs heard the noise and came over and scattered them, so you were left there, dismembered and disemboweled, slowly dying a gruesome death, before one of the LCs spotted you and then thought, ‘Hey, I could take this carcass and pack it in a bag and sell it to maaso aana who lives up the hill. He won’t know its not from the supermarket.’ I hope that’s not what happened. Anyway, let’s do this.”
I had the ingredients ready, the pan on the fire, the podcast connected to the Bluetooth speaker and was ready to cook.
Which I proceeded to do.
I spun and stirred and they sizzled and sazzled and steamed with all the promise of deliciousness that was to come and it was during this process that the problem started.
The steam was clouding up my glasses. I could not see what I was cooking. I had to take them off.
No problem. The distance between my head and my pans is not great. Even my relatively lousy retina can still capture the details I need to bring the enterprise to a successful conclusion. So I took the glasses off, put them away, and proceeded to cook my wonderful dish.
The podcast, by the way, was this one. Feel free if you want.
When the stew was simmering, I did as all the finer chefs do when the saucepan is ready to chill but the podcast is not finished. I started on the washing up. Popped the knife and the cutting board and all other related paraphernalia into the sink, dunked them into the suds of antibacterialised soapy water, did a bit of scrubbing, until finally, the podcast ended, then I abandoned the sink and went to eat.
I had a delightful dinner. Alone of course. I am a great cook, but not a generous one. Mbu I invite who mbu jangu tulye? Did I invite them mbu jangu tugule ingredients? Did I invite them mbu jangu tugule gas?
I enjoyed the meal, and enjoyed the nap afterwards, and then it was time to do other things.
But I couldn’t find my glasses. I checked all the usual places– my head, my chest, the desk, the bag, the floor, all the usual places.
Things got so bad I had to shout into my sitting room: “Okay Google! Call Kevin! On Speaker!” because I could not grope around and find the phone. Two things you can’t find without your glasses are your glasses and your phone.
When Kevin answered I had to begin with a litany of apologies. “Look, I’m sorry. I know you say it every time that I am not the neighbour you want to get phone calls from, but please, listen, I need your help.”
The insight we mentioned earlier is why I did not tell him that the neighbour he did want to get a phone call from, the one at C-3, was not going to call him at that hour, not at that night, because I had seen her boyfriend’s uber drop him off. I had heard the Usher CD they always play at full volume so we don’t hear them doing their Usher things. But now it was quiet in C-3, so she was probably deep in post-coital slumber and was not going to call anyone’s phone any time soon.
Kevin walked into mi casa, with his big, round 20-20 capacity eyes and reported that the spectacles were not in plain sight, not even to him. So he then did that thing you people do whenever someone tells you they can’t find something.
He asked, “Where was the last time you saw them?”
A: I don’t see my glasses. I see through them. They are glasses. They are transparent. And B. Every time you ask someone where was the last time they saw something, it is annoying and irritating because duh, don’t you think that was the first question they asked themselves? And then they go straight to the last place they last remember having the lost object and, as always, lo and behold, there the guthing is.
In this case the glasses were in the sink with the half-washed dishes.
That was a long time ago. A long long time ago. Such a thing can not happen to me now because I cook so rarely. At the most twice a week. Otherwise I order in from Portions down in the valley (If you are in Kyanja area, do the same. Their chicken stir fry is so good, I am sure their chef addresses his chicken in tribal proverbs and quotes philosophers.)
And, of course, because, I have eight pairs of glass, fam! If I can’t find one pair, well, I pick up another pair and use it to find the other one.