It was about a few minutes past 5pm on a Friday evening; I jumped down the unending flight of stairs and raced towards the taxi stage right opposite Bank of Uganda. I wanted to rest so bad after a whole day of ‘nothing doing’ at a certain office in town! So I impatiently waited for my taxi ride to show up. I am quite picky with taxis because of the abundant unfortunate lessons I’ve learned from using most of these old metallic boxes over the years. Anyway, a not-so-old empty box pulled up; at first glance it looked like a ride which didn’t have serious mechanical issues so I was the first guy in. I took up a seat at the back, plugged my RXD ear buds in as taxi filled up and within minutes we are off. Things were going okay so far; the sun was meeting the horizon beautifully, the choons on my playlist were on point, life was good. I started planning the rest of my evening as we sped out of town through the Nakawa route then the taxi started acting weird.
I heard the first cough-like sound when we had reached the old WBS offices; I still look at those big WBS letters with those bright colours and reminisce. What happened to those guys? I thought the shift to the hill would give them an upper hand? Anyway, the cough-like sound I heard was familiar; this taxi was in need of an urgent gas re-fill! ‘No worries though’ I thought, because there is a gas station just down the road. We passsed the gas station! Am I the only one who heard the sound? I begin to debate with myself. The taxi coughed up again, anha! As we climb up the Nakawa route, the taxi coughed up once again and this time the engine died. That is when I realised we, the passengers; all heard the cough sound the minute it begun. People started verbally attacking the driver and his conductor for being incompetent, for not treating us like the human beings we are, for not respecting that some of the passengers had things to do, television to watch and WhatsApp messages to send. The driver desperately tried to re-ignite the clearly starved engine, and the conductor, well, the conductor was just quietly seated and soaking in all that was being thrown at him.
So there we were seated like black ducks in the middle of the road as traffic moved around us. People jeered and cursed and as this was going on, the taxi started moving backwards. I think the driver was trying out a special manoeuvre but it clearly wasn’t working out. We just kept on moving backwards and almost slammed into forward going traffic and there I was laughing silently and thinking about the ironies of life; Just a minute ago things were ok and I was planning for how to wind down my evening and there I was heading right back into town.