Expat Stereotype 6: - Irritable Angela (this one is very often me)
Angela is out of water again at home and the power was off, so she has decided to go the local club for a shower, only to find, to her chagrin, that there is no hot water there (something to do with the heater packing up). After a cold shower and much spitting of feathers, she decided to order herself a café latte, but when it arrives it is too cold and a little too strong; ‘Why can’t anyone get this simple coffee right! Is a small biscuit on the side too much to ask?!’
Angela’s major problem is that for her, when living in Kenya, the cup is generally half empty.
Leaving the barrier operators at the club in a cloud of black 4x4 smoke, she sets out for the shops, where on arrival, she gives the ubiquitous desperate looking hawkers short shrift as she strides through the car park in large dark sunglasses; ‘Mama Sarah! Avocados; Strawberries?’ She tosses her head; ‘I’m not Mama Sarah!’ and bats them out of the way. Her first stop is the bank’s atm/cash machine, which reads ‘not in service’…again.
Unfortunately her cook is off sick today so the task of preparing the evening meal has fallen to her. The prospect of juggling children’s homework, bath time and family dinner too is daunting, especially as this is the time when Angela generally manages to squeeze in a bit of ‘Oprah’ prime time viewing or E! News.
Angela intended to buy a chicken to roast for dinner, but it transpires that there are none to be had in the local supermarket. Apparently the chickens may be delivered to the shop at 2pm, but no one behind the counter seems very sure. Following various remonstrations of; ‘But why?’ ‘Are you sure’ and; ‘This really is not acceptable’, she wonders if she should drive 5 kilometres to look for another chicken vendor, or re-plan the meal. What a nuisance! This further disappointment has translated into her being short with the smiley cashier and the army of helpful men on hand to pack and carry her shopping for her to the car; ‘I can’t be bothered to give them a tip today’, she thinks as she slams the car door.
Having ferried the shopping home and in the process having had a furious beeping match with a matatu (public minibus) which was the third such vehicle to shamelessly carve her up outside the dukas (shops), her heart sank when the gardener who was opening the gate to her compound made that unmistakable flagging down gesture. Winding down her window she discovered that, sure enough, he was requesting a loan and time off as a cousin had died and he need to go back ‘upcountry’ to help pay for the funeral. Dammit, that meant another trip to the atm in the hopes that it has been re filled and also there’s the problem of arranging cover. With Morris not there, who would open the gate?
With a sigh, Angela heads out to lunch with a couple of friends at a restaurant en route to the afternoon school run. She might talk to her husband Geoff about hiring a driver, as all this dashing around is getting a bit much. The chosen lunch restaurant is ‘same old, same old’ (they always go to the same one) and the duck salad transpires to be seriously on the mean side - detecting crispy duck was a challenge. Having passed on her disappointment to the chef, she heads off irritated to an afternoon and evening a familial duties and the very real prospect of having to miss Eastenders tonight.