Reviews & Profiles
LIVING AND LOVING IT: Asking politely never did harm anyone
Posted Monday, March 4 2013 at 02:00
I like to be as helpful as I can when driving on the road. I have been in tight places, you know where you are at a T-junction and need to get into the road and people are just not letting you get in. Or say when you are trying to get into the roundabout and everyone seems determined not to let you in, yet the guys at the back are hooting like you have stopped your car and parked in the middle of the road. Such moments can make you break out in a sweat, pleading with people to wait or give you way. So now my policy is to always let one or two people get into the road, knowing the frustration it can cause.
There are some people though, who make me want to reconsider my policy.
Someone comes driving at full speed with full lights on, demanding to be let into the road. When you do not let them in, they abuse you. When you do let them in, they nearly hit you and continue driving badly. Why can’t they just ask properly, ease into the road nicely, flash at you or something?
And then there are those people who want a favour. Sometimes it is a serious need. She needs Shs150,000 desperately to pay the school fees. It is towards the end of the month so getting that kind of money can be hard, plus she owes you Shs50,000 that she borrowed two months ago. But she still goes ahead to ask you.
“I have not paid Junior’s fees and the school is on my case banange. You told me that the other deal came through and you got some money. You give me some I pay for Junior,” she says.
“But I need that money for something else. I have been planning to fix the toilet sink,” you tell her. “Shya. You have been with that problem for some time now. You give me the money, I need it more,” she blandly states.
You decide to help anyway because she is a friend and when you finally give her the money three days later, she asks why you delayed!
The art of asking politely is something many Ugandans do not know. The woman on the road with three children shouts at you to stop and also take them because you have enough space in the car. The junior employee at work tells you, and not asks you, about taking a week off to go and help her cousin with their wedding preparations.
The man at the bank taps you and points at the pen you are using. You stare at him, thinking, “What is wrong with the pen?” “Give me the pen. I want to write on my paper,” he says. You oblige while gritting your teeth. You keep him in your sights and just as he is walking away with it, you remind him to give it back to you.
“Eh, mbadde ndowoza werabide,” he laughs.
If only people would use the words sorry, please and thank you a bit more often.