“‘Fat’ is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl..”
Though I boasts to have a stable job in the lucrative NGO sector (thank you poor folks, for without you, Mr. Bitchless would be jobless), at the end of the day, I am just another ordinary thirsty Malawian dude. Yes sir, my job covers my basic monthly needs such as: food, rent, adult needs, and medical bills, but at the end of the day, I am a mere next door thirsty dude. And like most ordinary thirsty Malawian dudes, I own no car. In short, I am bitchless and careless.
This reality means, when commuting from city to city or within a given city, I rely on public transportation to move my greasy ass from point A to point B. And when it comes to public transportation in Malawi, what beats minibuses? Whether a high roof, a bongo or a vanette, minibuses are the most convenient mode of transportation for most ordinary Malawians.
Driven by street-smart maniacs who are usually accompanied by rowdy and smelly assistants, minibuses appeal to us, ordinary Malawians, because they are fast (FACT: minibuses cut through traffic jams quick), cheap (with your coveted car, would you spend K6000 to travel from Zomba to Lilongwe?), and are readily available (especially in cities where minibuses are always moving around).
That being said, minibuses do have their own drawbacks, which come in different proportions depending on location and time. Here, I am referring to inconveniences such as volatile prices, congestion, and most of all, susceptibility to road accidents. We all know a certain Malawian that quit (or claims to have quit) boarding minibus owing to such inconveniences. Quitters.
Having been taking minibuses throughout my life, I long convinced myself that I had adapted and learned to embrace any unpleasant situation that a minibus could throw at me. Unclaimed farts, sweaty or soaked neighbors, puke, creepy gazing on my phone and wailing babies – I had endured it all with impeccable success that I convinced myself that things couldn’t get any worse in a minibus.
This long-held conviction crumbled last week when I decided to commute from Kawale to Area 23 for a casual meet up with an erstwhile mahope. See, this is my olden mahope from my secondary school years, which is about 18 years ago. So, you must understand that I was excited and full of imaginations of where this encounter would lead. Goddamn, I am so much into this mahope.
Anyway, full of racy imaginations, I boarded a crowded vanette from Kawale PTC enroute to my rendezvous in Area 23. Unbeknownst to me, barely 3 minutes into this short trip, I found myself sandwiched between two heavy ladies, who had that suspect sex scent, which strongly suggested they were on the move from satisfy booty-calls (seriously guys, who is still shagging land whales in 2018?). Suddenly, I felt like a dying Lord Jesus at Mount Golgotha, struggling for breath while sandwiched between two sweaty heathens. Matter of fact, with the persistence of the 4 people per seat sitting arrangement in Lilongwe minibuses, my situation was worse than Jesus’.
Those that have boarded a vanette before will agree that being sandwiched between female fatties is the worst thing that could happen to a male commuter. See, being sandwiched by fat neighbors in a minibus is an unbearable encounter because they fleece slender people’s space privilege. Think about it this way. For a 160 cm seat in a 4 per seat system, for example, it means every commuter is entitled to 40cm of space on that seat. However, this fairness is violated the moment a fatso hops on that seat. Obviously, the level of unfairness is directly proportional to the number of fatties per seat. It is not uncommon to see 2 fatties covering 120 cm of a 160cm seat, leaving 40 cm for their 2 slim neighbors. With everybody paying a flat fee, we can all agree that this is clear injustice!
Enough is enough. I think it is about time, we, slim people, mobilized and voiced out how fatties violate our privilege in a minibus. We need to speak out against the physical and psychological trauma that fatties have been projecting on us. And, while we are at it, would it be preposterous to ask the authorities to ban land whales from boarding minibuses? After all they could use some exercises from walking. CSOs, hear our cry and lead us in this noble struggle!