Is it just me or are babies crying louder than they used to? Tugging at their mothers' skirts as crocodile tears run down their faces! I WANT SODA! MUMMY, SODA! Waaaaaaaaa…! Is it just me or has the plight of the suburban three-year old been reduced to soda depravity and a mother's first and smartest move reduced to granting her child their every whim? Should glances from strangers and judgmental whispers from onlookers supersede the importance and unwavering need for discipline in a child? At the first sign of inconvenience, the toddler’s mother buys her squealing little person that orange Fanta soda that caused all the raucous in Uchumi while they shopped. Is it just me or has she lost a little more of her grip on her child?
Is it just me or are we all lost in translation? Yesterday Funani tried to tell me that her father had come home earlier than usual. He had walked into their living room at 8pm – she tried to make me understand. I didn't understand her excitement because my father was always home and sober by 6pm. Funani was hopeful; no more drunken daddy staggering in at ten past midnight. Is it just me or was there a reason to be hopeful? The twins in my evening class, Michael and Michelle didn't understand it either. Is it just me or have we become more cynical?
I took the bus to the park that evening. I met a man whose name was ToGodBeTheGlory, selling papayas by the second-hand phone shop on Market Street. That really was his name; I'm from Zimbabwe, he'd said. We bumped into each other in front of the service window at the phone shop, never mind that the shop was a one-room makeshift wood structure [smack!] in the middle of the sidewalk. I wonder why the park authorities haven't bribed it out-of-the-way yet. I looked at the furry-faced fellow whose beard talked at me as he introduced himself and complimented my looks faster than the onset of a hail storm in the middle of El Nino. He asked for my number. I sneered and walked away. I'll replace my phone later, I thought. Is it just me or have we become a lot less friendly?
Is it just me or have we run out of clothing material? The Red Pepper tabloid posted lewd pictures of “ladies”, some with their undies and others with their fannies and punanis showing. They called it THE BOOK OF REVELATIONS. Is it just me or have the aliens invaded and robbed us of our decency? Little four-year old Bobby saw his sister in one of the pictures, sitting next to a stranger in a club looking like a pooch on heat, just about ready to mount its companion: Legs everywhere! Hers was the featured photo, the least flattering of them all that bared all her secrets. He understood why she didn't come home for the weekend like always; preferring to stay at the university until the next scandal took the spotlight off her. It was probably for the best. Is it just me or have we become more accommodating and less self-aware?
He promised her flowers, a box of chocolates and a dinner reservation for two at that expensive restaurant the week before her birthday. So imagine her surprise when her loving boyfriend was featured on YouTube planting a long, wet kiss on the lips of the boy whose name she couldn't pronounce, even after hours of practice. She had given up trying. They were at that Ricky Martin concert, the caption said. The caption had also called them lovers. Shiver. She lost her mind. Is it just me or have we lost the meaning of love? Imagine her surprise when she stood outside her boyfriend's apartment, arms akimbo, hurling insults, landing blows on his chest and found herself able to pronounce that boy's name as she demanded an explanation which she didn't allow her boyfriend to give. He was gay…on the side. He was hetero…also on the side. He still wasn't sure; he was most likely bi… She didn't care. Is it just me or have we lost our cool? She sent him to the hospital that day with an injured testicle.
Is it just me or has the silence become too loud? Roshan and Jamal woke up to go to work at 5am this morning. Good morning. At 6am they had their breakfast – pancakes. Pass the syrup, please. They drove to work in his worn out Bakkie. He stopped off at work and let her have the car. She needed it more; she had to do the groceries later on. Have a good day. Is it just me or do we have few words in our vocabulary? 7am he sat at his desk to find a yellow sticky-post on his coffee mug. Early coffee break? Bring the packets. He smiled and looked in his wallet for his brand of Rough Rider. Good, two left. He walked to coffee-room and found Lucy already set up. Locking the door, they grabbed at each other as Jamal thought I've found a second wife in a Christian! Bismillah! Is it just me or have we become more liberal? 7.15am, Samuel reported to work early that day. The coffee-room was locked. Hmph probably Jamal saying his morning prayers. He walked away, oblivious to the sound of the mating couple against the fridge in the coffee-room.
Is it just me or have we all gone stark raving mad?
It's probably just me.
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