Have you ever sat in a taxi that is choke full of disgruntled secondary school teachers? Mine was quite an experience. It was about 8:30pm and I was heading back home. When I got to the taxi, there were about four indistinct figures. I could make out a large lady in the middle row seat, a bored couple in the back(the girl seemed to be Whatsapping. The guy was just staring into the darkness… not good news for him) and a sleeping man behind the driver’s seat. I opted to seat next to the large lady. I didn’t say nothing to her. Sometimes it’s just best not to bother tired people with small talk.
It was about 5 minutes later when a throng of men and women come out of nowhere. They were cackling raucously, like many hungry black birds. The men were carrying worn laptop bags and their female counterparts were slinging threadbare scarves round their necks. Some were asking what the fare was to town, like they wanted to pay for the rest, while others stood by, wondering whether to walk to town. Somehow they managed to get into the taxi, which took about another five minutes. All the while the raucous cackling went on.
This is what I made out, because I couldn’t help eavesdropping. The headmaster had made off with their pay, or something like that. That was how I deduced that they were teachers. I was even able to learn some of their names. Conversation went along these lines.
Aloysious: Naye you pipol, ‘eadmaster is not serious, ‘allo. How can we wait for such long hours and he does not eveni give us chai!
Mildred: Aaaah, for you Aloysious you donno how to handle thati man. Me, he is vell’ lucky I came late. You know my husband’s pigs, they are poroducing piglets evele day, evele day…
Nantaba: Me if I don’t get my salary, I am going to resign. I cannot live like this. They say they have put there the salary, but there is nothing, now for two months now. Headmaster should be fair.
Master John Mary: Wama Nantaba, me I see your point. The man is driving a new Noah, but he cannot pay us.
Mildred: Aaaah, that man is just hopeless, just hopeless. He is like my husband who cannot eveni buy for me sanitaty p…
Master John Mary: Nyabo, we get the point…
Aloysious: We are suffering, ‘allo, we are suffering. Last term the rain beat John Mary. John Mary, you remember? At least let them porovide some smollo smollo thingsi to support us, but even chai, they cannot sacrifice ‘allo.
By this time, we were approaching the city centre. I had decided that Aloysious was one of those clumsy yet good natured people and was probably a Chemistry teacher. Nantaba was most definitely a Literature teacher, one of those 21st Century single mothers trying to put a meal on the table. Master John Mary was just there. No one would notice him if he walked into a room, and no one would miss him if he walked out. The one who was trouble was Mildred. She seemed to be the loudmouth, ready to boast at the least opportunity. She was also probably a History teacher, and a fishwife as well. She looked like the kind of person who will wash her dirty linen in public, then try to strut about proudly. She smelt like trouble.
Their conversation went on and on. I was sympathizing with Aloysious, Nantaba and Master John Mary. Mildred, however, i felt deserved not to paid. Somehow, for everything she said, her husband had to be mentioned. I started pitying the chap, because I am sure he wonders where he went wrong when it comes to the creature he married.
Conductor: Abasigadde baziwele.
It’s like the conductor had quenched a fire. Next week we take a look at the scene that ensued.