On a recent bus ride from my cousin’s place, I was reading an article on the internet about environmental pollutants when a cell phone rang, piercing the silence (chinese phones, grrrh!) Her conversation was filled with boss-like commands in which she was issuing instructions to the other person on the other end of the phone telling her to buy this and that.
“Sasa rero, Uncle agiye kuza…mumutegurire agatoki, mukoroshye, wenda mushyiremo n’utunyobwa…aze abihingukiraho”
“Mumugurire n’agashyushyu mutereke aho akabona”
Thinking she must have ended the call, I found to my dismay that she had no such intention. She composed another number…Hard as I tried, it was impossible not to tune her out.
Then another phone rang, two seats behind me. And that was when the ‘fun’ began.
The girl narrated a story about the purchase of a (party) dress:
There were about 6 or 7 sales assistants and they all just looked at them and did not help at all. In fact, they were looking down on them as if they were so above and rolling their eyes and would just watch them walk around the store and look at stuff like they were going to steal something. So she asked one of the sales assistants, to see a dress. Then the guy came over to give her the dress and she looked at it a little bit and he just smirked at her.
“You know what, for a store that claims to have such high quality items they should really work on training their sales assistants to be less conceited and rude.” She said. “I had plans of making a purchase there but after that kind of service I thought I’d take my money, to some place else.” She added. Her conversation went on…and we learned that her sister-in-law has diabetes, her best friend’s neighbor’s husband is cheating on the wife, and her auntie’s husband’s food supplier in the village is thinking of selling her house but they’re offering little money. And did we know that her sister’s son just won the in their district? No? Don’t care? Too bad because that is what you will be hearing about on that 5-hour cross-country flight. Worst s if you’re in the middle seat between two talkers who eventually get sick of your halfhearted replies and start talking to each other over you.
There are times when it’s better to have a face-to-face conversation instead of one shared with 45 people on the bus.
I have no objection to people making calls on the bus provided it’s done discreetly and quickly. Having to spend three quarters of an hour listening to one side of a very loud conversation isn’t pleasant. …it’s so maddening. And there’s no walking away from overhearing a one-sided conversation when you’re on a bus.
With this one, I pretend I’m a celebrity and throw on a cap, sunglasses, and big headphones. Or I pretend I don’t speak Kinyarwanda.