i believe in angels (and good anti biotics). Because i am well again. while i was sick i made a secret deal with my winged friends that if they made me better (ie if they stopped the mad dashes to the loo from the spare room and that if the dull ache on my RHS could not be liver cancer, please!??) i would quit drinking for six months. a not dissimilar deal to the one made re: the dentist. i promised them that i would go every six months if i could avoid a root canal treatment at dr dirani's (whose office is below dr sheriff of almond eye fame). root canal was avoided and am walking on thin ice because six months have lapsed (just.) wonder what will happen???? godsakes! as my sister's dear mother in law says " well dear. you will wonder and wonder until the crows build nests up your bottom and then you'll wonder how they got the sticks up there." well. quite. best make that appointment right this very minute. (done. just smsed. phew. spiralling upwards again.)
so c and i are driving to town after our run this morning. ( i snarled at him near the end of the run saying "oh just go and beat me then!" nice. pleasant of me. the faster i go he goes. until i always end up running out of breath...or slowing down. it really pisses me off. i really want to beat him but can't, damnit.)
C was worried that the police would catch us in town because our licences have expired and we are waiting for the new ones and we are receiptless and just PERFECT to stop and fine. in short, illegal.
i said, "give me a moment to ask my winged friends to make a shining clear path past all policemen (or better still just to make them disappear in a thin pouf of sweet heavenly smoke). and please oh lovely parking angels make parking spaces for us at the right time at all the right places. i am already soooo thankful." am unsure if c is even slightly convinced. anyway. i said, "there you go. bingo. all will be well and spacious."
guess what? it worked! i kid you not. we saw a policeman floating high above Cultural Heritage surrounded in light and wings and little rainbows while his white hat floated slowly back to earth. AND there were parking places outside every single designated shop with our names on reserved signs...ok. there were parking spaces. anyone who knows arusha down town will know that parking is a rarity outside places like Ikhwans Dry Stores (opposite the soccer stadium) and even more so outside Meat King, our butchery. thanks Parking Angels! and anti policemen Angels!
once near mohammed's petrol station (called Planet Oil - or is it Space Oil?) i forgot to ask the anti policemen angels for their blinding light assistance and before i knew it, i was being waved frantically aside. i am terrified of policemen, since i was a little girl growing up in 1970's zambia - you know, road blocks, afros, AK 47's, platformed boots and camo, stoned soldiers and tatty policemen on the make, and the headiness of being newly independent. and me, little, knowing our landrover was unlicenced and the hooter didn;t work neither did the lights because dad was always avoiding road blocks and just always doing something naughty and risky.... and mohammed ali was gathering force in the congo. so whenever i see policemen my reaction is : oh shit shit shit and the heart flutters, the palms sweat and i just feel guilty while i grapple desperately for my seat belt and gabby lies low and in a small voice says "oh no mummy, are there cops?" so i have successfully passed on my policemen paranoia.
this time, near mohammed's petrol station, i obey every rule. i remove my big black jackie o's. policemen don't like sunglasses. derek told me. i smiled. always smile a nice bright breezy smile. and only speak when you are spoken to. (you could always act completely mental of course and start drooling and grunting and looking squiff eyed and frothy mouthed. apparently this works too. its just too awkward. i don't have the balls to do it. or even to pretend that i can't speak english or swahili in some heavily accented made up language. i just can't do it.)
Police Man:"your windscream is cracked." (he said 'scream') " it is against the law. you are breaking the law."
smile slowly dies. nothing forthcoming from him. no smile. just dead pan and being really serious.
Me: 'um. are you sure? i don't believe you. where does it say that?"
PM:"get out the car."
Me:"no ways! bring the law book here."
PM: " get out the car!"
ME: " No ways!i'm not." butterflies swarming in my tummy.
three policemen later (and one armed paramilitary who clearly was dead bored on a monday and had nothing better to do than involve himself with a mad mzungu (whitey) on the road) the book is thrown in my face through the window and ten fat fingers are pointing at some obscure, grubby law which seems not to pertain to anything remotely close to cracked windscreams. (i knew it wasn't good to have a cracked windscreen but i only had me in the car and wasn't speeding, or squeezing in twenty four people into the back seat or doing ANYTHING untoward like killing innocent cyclists and school children through reckless driving, or riding shotgun , which are common occurances in these parts. godsakes.)
ME:" stop pointing. i am an english teacher. i can read by myself ,you know. and anyway it doesn;t mention anything about windscreens here...look yourselves."
PM: " you have a broken windscream -"
ME: : " Screen. Not scream. Screen. with an en at the end."I think it was at this point that i lost all reason and safety devices.
ME:" You are just picking on me because i am a white woman."
Wrong thing to say. Just soooooooooooo wrong. couldn't have been wronger if i had tried. Hoo boy. went down like a ton of bricks. just when i thought it was going to cost me dearly and that i would now be literally dragged from my car and fined from here to pangani and back again, a daladala (taxi minicab) went speeding past narrowly missing three school kids walking down the road.
ME: "you see! and you want to catch me just for a crack in my window??? those are the people you should be catching! and i am sorry i am being kali. i am really quite a nice friendly person usually. i really am. and blah blah blah blllllllaaaaaaaaaaaah" and off they rushed after the speeding daladala and i was free to move on. i felt like i could have flown. really.
for about two weeks after this i used the back dirt roads behind the airport to avoid the police road block. why didn't i just ask my angels? they literally blitz policemen.
danu pops has left on the school trip to pangani (the coast) for an entire week. we already miss him. when the kids go away i hate to see their little empty beds and their neat unlived in rooms.it makes my heart way too sore. my babies. i like to have them all in the nest. they were so excited to be off. away. sigh sigh. he had the balls to ask me for my camera! imagine!? laughable.
met a friend today who was lamenting about her husband who simply does not spend enough time with her and her little daughter. he is a cyclist. and chose to cycle for 5 hours instead of going out to a social lunch. i had to smile when she said" I mean, its not like he is training for the fucking Tour De France or anything..." she probably did not use the F word. but she might as well have. i full heartedly agreed with her.
such is life. and in the meantime i am trying to teach gabby to ride her little blue peugeot bike. bought the training wheels today. i don't think i can recall encountering anyone with such a crap sense of direction. . .
ME: Pedal! Pedal! Pedal for godsakes! Look up! Look up! OH! Watch out for the aloes! Oh darling! Oh for godsakes stop crying. its pathetic. go on. lets do it again...LOOK UP! OH WATCH OUT FOR THE STAIRS! darling you have to look up and the bicycle will follow where your eyes are looking. ok look at the rain gauge (which is perched at the edge of a steep precipice. remember. we live on a high steep hill) ok? now, PEDAL PEDAL PEDAL!!!! look at the rain gauge! look at the rain gauge! oh GOD! WATCH OUT! THE THORN TREE!"
Gabby: "I want to stop now. i don't want to look at the rain gauge mummy! stop saying that. I want to go where the bicycle wants to go."
Right. i give up then. useless mummy. must get sally to teach her. little finley and jasper are racing about on theirs.. i think jasper learnt to ride his before he could walk or run or something really early like that. hmmm or maybe there are Learning To Ride Bicycle Angels out there.
bet there are. bet there are.
and ps: thanks tam for the policemen inspiration!