Sunday, April 25, 2010
When Writers Overuse When
I try to read one of the Tanzanian newspapers every day. I don't always get it done but I'll usually catch up on the ones I missed over the weekend. Other than the information that is directly or indirectly tied to my job, it's important to know what's going on in the world around you and what issues are important to the citizens of the country. One trend I've noticed over the past couple of years is that some of the writers are overextending themselves. There's one lady in particular that works for the Guardian that writes the drippiest prose I've ever read. Her style might be better suited for trashy novels rather than news. Or maybe she should change occupations altogether.
There's also this constant temptation to begin titles of articles with "When". Ugh. Someone must have seen it and thought it was clever. Then it caught on and now it's spreading like cholera.
Monday is Union Day. It's a holiday here so I will celebrate by working from home. I've blogged about Union Day before. It's sort of a weird thing in that I don't know anyone who gets very excited about it. It does commemorate the day, 46 years ago, that mainland Tanzania (at that time called Tanganyika) joined with Zanzibar and became Tanzania. I think there'd be more enthusiasm if there weren't so many people on that beloved island who would like to bail from the union. With all the talk and movement towards an East African Community (Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi), seems like independence wouldn't be worth the trouble. Anyway, there will be a show of celebration downtown with speeches and so forth. Most people I think are just happy to have the day off.
My first sip of coffee this morning contained something that felt a bit like a soft bean, like from a bowl of chili or something. I was concentrating on problematic emails but as my lethargic morning brain caught on that this was a foreign object, I removed and inspected it. Sure enough, a brownish colored beetle had somehow made its way to my cup and eventually my mouth. I was in the office so I was drinking filtered coffee. One advantage to this is that most little critters get boiled and/or filtered before they would ever get to the pot. The only thing that I can think of is that the unsuspecting beetle chose this particular cup, though stored upside down, as an unfortunate resting place during the night. While my tainted morning coffee was my annoyance, it was his kiss of death.
The rainy season brings out the bugs. Mosquitoes seem to be on the increase. Cockroaches as well. A few weeks ago I was retrieving something from underneath the kitchen sink. It was evening and the cupboard was dark. As I reached into the cupboard I saw something dart towards the shadows in the back. Never without ammunition, I whipped out my beloved can of Doom (clever name for highly toxic bug spray) and aimed it in the general vicinity of the little monster. Within seconds of the spray, dozens (I kid you not) of roaches of all sizes came pouring out towards my feet. The Doom had apparently sent them choking in search of clean air. It was a creepy scene. I practically emptied the can as I blasted the little creatures (some not so little) left and right as they came out of their fox hole. Some managed to get by me and I chased them down to make sure there were no survivors. In the aftermath, corpses strewn across the kitchen, I had to abandon the battlefield. The thick stench of the chemical warfare meant that it was time for me to seek out breathable air. The battle is won but the war is far from over.