The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: The Geezer - Thank God It's Over

Do we call this a festive season? For some geezers this is nothing more than misery season; in fact for most geezers, this could as well pass for the most unenviable time of the year.

Reasons why, vary, the standard factor being the availability of money. Getting enough money to meet the festive season's needs by those who feed off you is a Herculean task.

Unlike birthdays, anniversaries or graduations, good treats don't all converge on the same day as Christmas does. And for some reason, everyone, even those who forget their own birthdays, don't give a hoot about anniversaries or care if they graduate, seem to all be in a hyper frenzy for Christmas, so there is no excuse of backing off.

And hey, I am not talking about family members here tearing you apart for gifts, attention or affection. But enter those side acts, now infamously called dishes - I have waited for those who serve buffet lunches to protest at this derogation of their good service, in vain. Woe betides if you are tagged to more than one, but even one is headache enough.

And for some reason, female friends tend to be extra nice in December and unknowingly many geezers fall for this façade and end up in festive misery, because after all, any friendly gesture calls for reciprocation and that tends to happen around Christmas. Mwambu [of course not real name] cannot wait for the season to go.

So far, the last week has been a hellish existence in equal measure for agony and ecstasy. Three of his five side acts were scheduled for upcountry festivities with their families - that was some relief for the main day, but not the running-up. He had to find gifts and play with his usually busy schedule, even busier now to service each one and attend to their trysts needs before the trip upcountry.

Trysts is what he does best, but those that tend to come all at once freak him out as he has to arrange venues, sometimes far apart, and be there in time agreed, lest there is an overlap or a chance for being caught. That costs money, and a chance to have a good drink, whichever way you look at it. The other two are staying in town, but each is asking for at least an hour of his time on Christmas.

"You can be with your family for lunch but I am expecting you for dinner," said one during one of those pillow-talk sessions, a time when no geezer has 'NO' for an answer to anything, however outlandish or outrageous.

The other is hoping on being taken out for one of those evening bivulu probably at Kiwatule; Mwambu already said a lame yes. His kids and wifey have been yapping Christmas since September and the itinerary includes going off to Jinja with lunch by the source of the Nile and an evening-to-morning treat at the resort hotel. But as is, no bank is letting any mortgage owner flip over the next year without having a zero balance bill of health on their account, complete with reminders to have furnished the account with property insurance fees for the next year by latest, first week of January.

Some geezers in Mwambu's situation or even worse, work for companies where salary is paid at month's end, period. So those that come on the 25th of a month are the least of the company's worries; it simply pays five days later. And who lends money at Christmas time?

All is well until your wife invites the in-laws for lunch and a sleep-over at the house. As you grapple with this, it dawns on you that you have a must-attend anniversary celebrations for your grannies towards year's end in the village - how some people schedule major functions during the festive season still baffles and bewilds some geezers.

Still folks, happy New Year.

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