Friday, July 15, 2011

Day In The Life III

It was a very short while after my office first moved into its new building that the excitement started to wane. It didn't last long, at least for me. The light brown wood that felt like plastic, the grids of green metal that lined the walls and ceiling, the fluorescent lights that hovered above us silent and obsequious as maître ds in those posh hotels on TV, their magic didn't last long and it was just a few months before I began to think of the warehouse we had worked from before we shifted. The way into this warehouse was a large door that slid sideways to let us in or out. We could see the sun on the lawns outside while we worked.

In here the windows never open. We have air-conditioning and when this air-conditioning breaks down, we call a mechanic, not a person to open the windows, so we have this chilly light whispering air around us all the time, air that feels televised and shrink-wrapped and purchased and unbreathed. And the blinds are always, always drawn, no matter how bright it is outside. If it's a nice day, we will find out from our facebook feeds, I guess.

There is something called Sick Building Syndrome. Apparently the recycled air, office chairs, the glare from computer monitors and the white lights have an effect on our health; they make us ill. I've been worrying about this lately, especially nowadays when I get to work and the moment I arrive I start feeling desiccated and listless. My mind clamours for things outside the office and it lands on facebook and twitter and gtalk, which are the easiest ways I can get out of here. It's desperate and anguished and though the people I talk to cannot see it, I can, when the net goes off and I'm stuck back in this seat, staring at the white lights above, which no longer look like bellboys and doormen. Now they hover like angels of death, watching me ebb, decrease, lapse, waiting for me to finally end.

I don't know if the building is making me sick, but it is making me stale. It's making me want to go outside. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Till human voices wake us, and we drown

Then it happened as it always does. I'm always found out. I can't keep it a secret.

That I'm too selfish, too greedy or too weak.

Or maybe it's not things that I have in excess; maybe it's the stuff that I don't have in adequate measure. I'm not kind enough, not brave enough, not there enough.

She asked me, "What do you expect of this?" and I didn't tell her, though I knew exactly what.

I expect I'll make you happy for a while, then I won't be able to any more.

Friday, October 01, 2010

One of my favourite parts of The Great Gatsby

"But his heart was in a constant, turbulent riot. The most grotesque and fantastic conceits haunted him in his bed at night. A universe of ineffable gaudiness spun itself out in his brain while the clock ticked on the wash-stand and the moon soaked with wet light his tangled clothes upon the floor. Each night he added to the pattern of his fancies until drowsiness closed down upon some vivid scene with an oblivious embrace. For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy's wing."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Almost Doesn't Count

It was supposed to be a great weekend. One of those great weekends. My lover was coming over. We were going to have a great time.

We would start by meeting at Garden City. Smile at each other from the distance. Soon we would be sitting very close together, closer than most people in public places sit. We would let our hands and fingers move over each others nape, knees, collars, waists, cheeks, with the same ease and familiarity with which they move over own own bodies. I would look at her as if she was the central point of all vision and she would look at me as if I was the only real thing in the mall and we would laugh and joke and laugh for hours. Then we would go home and walk around naked because we were not scared of arousing each other and when she would leave she would leave me happy but I would feel sad.

But that's not what happened. My lover and I sometimes pretend to be a couple, but we are not. I am not her boyfriend and she's not my girl. We just have these rare weekends when we get together to act like it. Neither of us mentions her fiancé or the fact that we haven't spoken in a month and a half.

This weekend wasn't a great one. In the morning she was distant and I was bored and she was thinking of her own problems waiting back at her home and I was reminded of how useless you are to someone when all you can ever give them is a weekend fuck.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Press Play

I've been looking for Pavorotti lately. I'm not an opera fan, but I think Pavarotti would be perfect to drive home with. Seventy down the bypass chasing the beam of my headlights. With Pavarotti.


BB King makes my heart break in a beautiful way. Counting Crows shows me the shape and size and colour and weight of all my regrets and doubts and failings. Tupac is the reassuring hand on my shoulder reminding me that as long as I'm alive I have it in me to fight, and as long as I can fight, I have it in me to overcome.

Mary J moves me like red moons rising and setting. Billie Holiday electrifies my skin and Yvonne Chaka Chaka drowns me in sun and warmth and ocean water.


You've got to have music when you move.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The pleasure was all mine

Sitting on a restaurant balcony, leaning back, wearing blue jeans, a button down shirt and a subdued manner while a pretty woman smiles and speaks and shines and glitters and tells me stories. The clouds are low and dark, threatening rain that will, it turns out, not fall until late in the night. The tea is tasteless. Four hours pass by. Somewhere a king is crowned, somewhere a hero slays a dragon, somewhere a deal is signed and billion dollars are made. The world is full of greater men and more momentous deeds but I think that life is contained in seconds, not in epochs. Somewhere a mountain is scaled. Here, here I made a pretty girl laugh.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

End of Days

Day ends and everything speaks to me in Eliot. "His soul stretched out across the skies that fade behind a city block" "the burnt-out ends of smoky days" "I have lingered in the chambers of the sea". Even when the words don't tally exactly, they fall with a slow cadence, a rhythm and a texture that settles easily on this hour.

It's going to be seven soon. The work day is done and I have left the office. I've slung my rucksack over my shoulder. I'm wearing rubber-soled shoes. I'm going to walk about 200 meters to the stage where my taxis wait.

I left my car at home because I didn't think I would need it today. Her brakes are bad and I'd rather not risk taking her out unless I really have to, but I'm beginning to think that maybe I left her at home because you can't do this with a car.

You can't plug yourself into a Lupe Fiasco mixtape and sigh at a pale moon rising over steeples of Nakawa and just roll down this hill. Lupe turning words into trapeze artists. The man is amazing. The whoosh of traffic—Kampala rushing out of itself. Everything hot and frantic and cramped and crowded and furious about the day is coming to an end. Night is falling. Sigh again. Exhale. Do you feel that?

Seven p.m.