Lawd Have Mercy!
You won’t understand the wisdom in the blessing, “Tebihin keDehna Sew Yargilih” (May God make your enmity with a quality person), until you have made enemies with my young colleague Issayas. An ambitious chap (who applies for the Administration Officer position while some doubt his ability to continue holding onto his present post of “Messenger/Purchaser”) who exhibits the energy and bounciness of a new born who just nailed his first steps….. WHEN he’s happy! Oh the days in which Issayas was happy! How rare and beautiful art thou!!
He’d make time for you, in those days. Stand by your door until everybody who has any business with you has gone home. He’d greet you exaggeratedly when he enters, using such words as “Ehte”, “Emebete” and so and so forth to refer to you. He then asks after the family, after school (and the possibility of him applying there) how your hell-raiser brother was; complaining, all the time, how you have been neglecting him these days, how your leg has been “misleading” men (or your skirt, or whatever presented itself as an item worth compliment on your person) and always leaves with a kindly “Ere… taL taL atarGin”. All this, ofcourse, changes when you have done something to upset the abnormal flow of his young & fucked up day, or when somebody somewhere has.
Woe to you if that somebody is on speaking terms with you! Woe to you if Issayas knows about it! The steps turn cautious and haunted. His eyes darting and searching, searching for signs of animosity, ready to return it in full measure (pressed down and shaken together) at a moment’s notice. And if, when he’s recounting the wrong he’s been done, which he simply is addicted to, you dare put in so much as “why won’t you two try to work things out?” you become public enemy number one!! All the words you uttered, from greeting to goodbye, would be split into thousands of ways making sane conversation with him impossible. He comes and goes in & out of your office, like some damn “wuha keji”, until you have admitted so and so was the anti-Christ and should be chased off the premises with garlic and cross! If you don’t, and begged Issayas to come back when he’s less neurotic, he’d stop talking to you and start talking to others, how you and so and so were in league against him. Fortunately, no one takes his accusations seriously and he always forgives. Unfortunately, he never forgets. Reminds you fondly every time he passes by your office how so and so had managed to turn you against him, but how he understood, because so and so was… etc.
But hostility isn’t the only situation that makes you earnestly pray “AdiNeNe.. KeIssayas SewReNe”. Say you two have been assigned to do something together. A wad of paper that needs punching, for example. Issayas comes around, carrying his “binder” (which he no doubt refers to as “dossier”) and looking sharper than usual in suit and tie (atleast.. that’s how it feels) ready to “conduct business” with you. The words that follow between you two are rigid and official, filled with first person references, a pompous “we” or “Derijitu” for him and a hostile “eNante” for you. He is never without enemies, so you gotta always choose sides. If your smile dare show how ridiculous the whole affair was or a desperation to ask the kid take a chill-pill; Issayas is genuinely grieved, with how he seems to be the only person in the whole building taking his job seriously, and how he could probably do your job better than you. If only for his enemies upstairs 😉 .
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