Z piece of jewlery man is
After taking a cold shower in my cold shower room yesterday evening, I felt hungry. So i locked the doors and went to the shop next to my condominium building to buy what makes a [married] single gal’s life a single gals’. Tomatoes, onions and “ruub Kilo” macaroni. The street was deserted. I was cold & shivering. The youngest sister of the owner who was supposed to wait on me was on her mobile with somebody who forgot to bring his hearing-aid to the phone. Any company would be welcome.
This came in the form of a guy few inches shorter than me and carrying a Deli Roma pizza box (right out of the oven too). I hail from that part of Addis which still confuses the word Pizza with “that place you get 10-Qutir Bus home” or, giffa bill, a “Qita” with a tomatoe topping. But I’ve ‘broadened’ my horizon, you see, and been busy gobbling enough pizza for the whole side of my town every chance I got.
Be that as it may, I haven’t seen many people carrying Pizza boxes around. Infact, I would have given up the idea of having pizza delivered to your door step if it weren’t for a share-company formation advertisement on ETV I saw a few days ago. Using the Yellow MacDonald’s’ sign for a logo, and going by the name “Mulu Messob Foods” something something, the brand promises to introduce not just MacDonald’s but Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut and all those chewable delights that makes life worth living (or atleast, some evenings more bearable than others). So I was surprised. Not just because I’d have mistaken the guy for somebody who isn’t past counting all the “Cake beWetet” he bought his girlfriend when she dumped him (quoting the Amharic version of “you give them your heart, they reach for your wallet”) or because.. I don’t know.. I judge books by the cover?!
The surprised look, ofcourse, draw attention from brotha man. But not the friendly kind you might expect of a man carrying a pizza box. (Do we have to exude the promise of tips to get a smile in this city?!). No! He looked at me, dismissed me as somebody inferior and proudly turned his face to the girl who was weighing part of my grocery. “Hulet coca cola!” he ordered and started going through his pockets. It was clear he considered himself too refined to wait with the public. So I dropped the bomb. “Give me a mobile phone card, will you please Kelemwa?” I said sweetly “I miss my husband. And all the internet cafes would be closed by now”
Sinking though I maybe, lower than I’ve ever sunk, I have figured out Pizza boy right. He stopped dead in his looking-for-changes track and stared at me. The inner struggle was made plain on his face. He was searching for a sign that gave me away as the million dollar babe, aka somebody worth a man abroad. If this was a stage he’d have cleared out of my way. If this was a soccer field, he’d have passed the ball to me and see me score. If it was a public rally, he’d have demanded for the baby elephants as well.
He uttered neither a consonant nor a vowel until I left.
What did I observe, next to the fact that I wasn’t past speaking in [my better than most Ethiopians] English to intimidate people who I feel aren’t giving me the respect I feel I deserve on sight? I noticed that “control-freak” wasn’t enough of a word to describe me. Not that I am a stranger to this tendency of mine. Ever since I was 11 and stayed away from my aunt’s house for more than 3 years because her husband screamed at me (He was mad at somebody! I said I don’t like being treated as a “yene Bitte” coming to beg for food); I have had occasions where I admonished myself with “what exactly is your problem?” in the past. But I’ve never seen it more clearly than I did last night. It wasn’t just a “yilugnta”, it was an obsession. An obsession of not letting people get away feeling they have scored a good one on me, a “likift” to have the final word before hiting the exit button. It never mattered whether these people presented an actual threat or a perceived fear. Or what role they played in my life, and whether they played any at all. A boyfriend showing signs of getting tired of me, a handsome fellow-traveller who said “Weraj ale” where I was supposed to drop, a colleague claiming she forgot the amount of money I lent her or she lent me; I make meaningless sacrifices (dump the boyfriend, tell the woyala I changed my mind and travel where I didn’t mean to, over-pay the colleague) just so I would know these people aren’t “thinking things” about and against me.
I know insecurity in general, and fear of the unknown/losing ground/making an ass of oneself, in particular runs in the [ethiopian] family. It indeed is the driving motive behind this and many similar actions of mine. And.. among those learned people who try and understand where psychosis comes from (under a discipline deservedly called “Psycho-logy”), I’m sure there is an even specific name for my kind of illness. I just wish I knew how to tackle it.
Or is that what I wanted you to think so you don’t point it out and tell me to seek help?
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