With his right arm on my shoulder, after we had spent most of the afternoon and evening at my boss’ home, one of my managers says to me, “Tuape, I think you’re my only staff I’ve never taken out. I’ve never bought you drinks. Let me do that for you today.” And off we were in his car, driving on Kira road to Kisementi.
That’s not how some people’s bosses are. I’ve had friends who say their bosses are a pain in their rectums. Those are bosses that put you in your place, down the ladder. They don’t associate with you outside the workplace. They make it known that they are superior, that they are levels and heights above you. And they can step on you if they want to. They paint it out to everyone, using knife-sharp words that they are in charge. They call the shots.
When they sneeze, they want all of you to catch a virulent cold. They insist on being called Mr. or Mrs. Without placing that title before their name, they’ll think you’ve disrespected them. Their titles give them validation. It’s what they gloat over. Titles give them importance. It makes them feel accomplished. Take the title away from them and their self-esteem jumps out the window.
They’ll go berserk if they run out of business cards. The logistics or admin guy or that person responsible for those rectangular cards with names and titles will get the hair dryer even when it wasn’t their fault the boss ran out of cards. They’ll be called inefficient and poor at planning. How could they not anticipate the boss’ cards would run out? They’ll be threatened and abused.
Those bosses are vile. They forget they are working with humans, humans who have a heart. They are arrogant and selfish. They brush their superiority in your face. They threaten their staff. “I’ll fire you,” they shout. They embarrass their staff before others. They don’t give two shits about your feelings. Feelings? What’s that to them? They’ll devour you in front of your fellow staff, tearing you to shreds and feeding you to rabid bitches. By that, I mean female dogs.
They get their relevance by putting others down. They are a definition of terrible leadership, horrible people. When things don’t go well, they blame it on their staff. They forget that at their level, you can’t pass the buck. It stops with you. When things go well, they enjoy the limelight, taking credit as though they were the alpha and omega of the workplace. They are just plainly put, bad people. They are selfish and even though they might not agree, their self-esteem is near zero. This character, by osmosis or whatever means, is sadly subconsciously picked up by some staff. And the cycle of bosses who are ass-holes continues.
I’m grateful for the people I work with. My bosses know that at the core of everything we do, we are all human beings. And they relate with us at that fundamental level of humanity. That has never taken away my respect for them. I know, when they tell me to do work, I must deliver. When I deliver something that’s sub-par and they respectfully call me out on it, I know it’s nothing personal. It’s business. What happens at work stays at work. And at the end of that day, we can share a drink with no hard feelings.
The guy ahead of us is driving in the middle of the road. His car veers off towards the kerb as we get to Kamwokya.
“That guy is high,” my manager says as he finds the right spot to overtake him.
“He is,” I respond with a nod.
“Have you been to a casino before?” he asks.
I was thinking how interesting going to a casino would be. But I didn’t have the money to do anything there. I’ve heard of casinos. I’ve read about them. I’ve watched people in casinos on TV ads and in movies. Casinos are an extreme money draining extravagance. You need a fat wallet, with dimes you’re willing to lose. My wallet had peanuts. What I had wouldn’t even buy me a drink.
“Would you like to go to one?”
“Are you kidding me? That would be an adventure worth trying out.”
Because I didn’t have the money, I should’ve just given him a flat no. But my adventurous tentacles were flapping away. They wanted an experience at 2:00am. It would be exciting seeing people playing Poker or Roulette or Black jack. I would get to see what “poker face” meant in real action. I was getting geared for this. I’d probably take a gamble on the slot machines.
“Tuape,” he says, “going to a casino is a bad idea. It’s not the right place for you.”
He makes a turn to John Babiiha Avenue and parks outside that Irish pub opposite Springdale’s nursery school.
He leads the way. I follow as we walk into this pub. None members pay an entrance fee. Members walk in and shake hands with their mates. They hug and exchange pleasantries. It’s friendly. The guys who man the door know the members of pub.
“He’s with me,” my manager says to the guy stamping labels on people’s arms.
He gives me a nod of acknowledgement. I extend my forearm and he punches a stamp on it. It’s a club, which we call a flower when playing Matatu cards, that glows against light.
We get down the steps into the essence of the pub. Taki Taki is blasting away through the speakers. The open air dance floor is filled, but not to the point of not having space to walk around. A guy with man-boobs and hair like that of the Arsenal footballer, Guendouzi is on the floor pulling strokes that seem like he’s working so hard to bring it to life. He’s lifting his leg and shaking his back-side. He’s twerking and those at his raised table are in titters.
With a bottle of Hunter’s in my hand, I perch at the rails on a raised platform. That gives me a 180 degree view of the dancefloor. The Dee Jay is mixing the tunes from the decks. He has a cap on. They’ve released bubbles into the air. Guys are jumping to pop them. I didn’t know bubbles bring out the kids in adults. Oh, how much fun those guys were having!
Two women who look out of place are seated on high bar chairs. Their eyes are roaming as they move their heads and shoulders to the sound of music. I can’t judge them. My eyes are moving too. And that’s how my eyes land on this striking woman.
The first thing that hits me is, “Goodness! Is that Jessica Alba?” She has a breath-taking and refined visage. Her lips are curvaceous and glossy they can turn heads. She has suggestive eyes. A set of bewitching brows contour her face. And her skin, from my vantage point, looks flawless. She holds a cigarette between her fingers and blows out nicotine flavoured smoke into the flying bubbles.
Gosh! She made looking beautiful so easy. If she was an army officer, I’d salute. [No pun intended.]
I turned to my manager who at this point was dancing to an Indian song that was playing. I said, “She’s er…” I couldn’t get the right words to complete my sentence. I experienced the definition of being speechless at the sight of stunning beauty.
“Tuape,” he responds, seeing that I was drowning in imagination. “She’s a hooker.”