BACK SEAT DRIVER: Market trouble

Saturday February 9 2019


By Mark Kawalya

I was at this market along the roadside in Naalya at one of the stalls. I was inspecting a pineapple that this lady vendor with an easy-going countenance was trying to sell me. Oh meanwhile, my son outgrew his allergic reaction to pineapples so it is no longer a crime to show up home with one. Like there is no need to go about hiding the pineapples and stuff. “This is the best pineapple of all of them.” She announced proudly to me without batting an eyelid. When someone does not bat an eyelid it is a good sign. I take it that they are not out to take me for a ride.

“What kind of test did you use to determine that it is the best pineapple of them all?” I asked scratching my chin. The question took her by surprise. She had not anticipated a worthy come back. She looked like she had come to a loss of words. “I just know.” She responded getting impatient.
“Well where was the pineapple grown” I continued. She looked at me incredulously like I was out to waste an innocent market vendor’s time. But I was asking pertinent questions. Gone are the days when I just bought a pineapple hastily. I need to know the history behind the fruit.

It is pure good manners really. I read somewhere that when a white person goes to the butcher in the UK, people inquire about the history of the animal behind the cut of meat they are about to buy. Besides this it had been a lazy weekend and I had all the time in the world. I started tapping my foot that was sitting in a navy blue rubber sandal with a white stripe running along the thin side of the sole. “It came from Kasese.” The lady said wearing a sour look. I hadn’t noticed how fast things had escalated. “How do I know that you are not trying to sell me a bomb that has been cleverly disguised as a pineapple.”

“Well why don’t you forget about the bomb!” The lady said furiously tossing the pineapple among other fruits on a large wooden crate and throwing her hands into the akimbo position. It is perfectly plausible that you can buy a bomb totally oblivious to what you are carrying. By now I was scared of this lady vendor. She looked right about ready to engage me in hand-to-hand combat. “Okay fine I will take the bomb.” I announced in defeat “Sorry I meant pineapple,” I said to her. She handed me the fruit and indicated that I leave her stall immediately. I quickly did that pineapple under my arm.