the Wasuvi

My girlfriend works in the northen suburbs. She works at a giant chain bookstore up there in one of those malls with a Saks and a bunch of tony restaurants all around it where you can eat french-fried frozen calimari after a long day of recreational shopping. My lovely girlfriend is an actress and I am a writer, so we don’t do much recreational shopping.

But there are people that do. And I have noticed that they all seem to drive the same type of car. It’s starting to turn into winter here, and gone are the convertables and the sporty little cars of summer. Gone are the shiny little miatas and boxters and little bmw penis cars. They have been replaced by Land Rovers and Ford Expeditions and the new Mercedes SUV that looks like a military truck with flashy paint job.

When I took her to work the other day, I sat in the parking lot with her, sipping coffee and waiting until she absolutely, positively had to go inside. We were talking and looking at all the shiny new sport utilitiy vehicles and I said to her “Wow, sweetie, looks like the Wasuvi are out in force up here.”

And she said “The what?”

The Wasuvi. Y’see, in Swahili, a language spoken throughout much of the continent of Africa, the prefix “wa-” translates as “the people of-“. So, if one was to speak of “The People of the Hutu Tribe” in Swahili, they would call them “the Wahutu.” And if one was to speak of “The People of the Zulu,” they would say “the Wazulu.” So, in my mind, if one is speaking of “The People of the SUVs” one should say “The Wasuvi.”

Who are the Wasuvi? In the Northern Suburbs of this mighty city that we live in, I have found them to be the uniquely discourteous, pushy and loud denizens of the artificial-parquet savannahs of the malls. They can be identified by their war cry, uttered at baffled service sector workers that aren’t moving fast enough to suit them- “IS THERE A PROBLEM?!!?” (As a Southern American, I find the nasal shreik that characterizes Wasuvi communication to be akin to a hybrid of the honking of geese and the sound of sheet metal tearing.)

I walked into a nice little kosher deli the other day and turned the corner to find a woman who was waving a tub of some sort of side dish at the baffled service sector worker (hereafter BSSW) behind the counter and screaming “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK YOU’RE DOING!!!” There was an air of expectation in the store as everyone waited for her to throw this little tub (of coleslaw? potatoes? what could be so important?) at this young woman behind the counter. I just backed out the door that I came in.

I made an informed guess that the olive Discovery parked illegally (and sideways) in the handicapped space belonged to the screeching Wasuvi in the deli. I waited, she eventually came out- her hard heeled shoes clicking sharply on the pavement, bracelets clacking, and sure enough, it was her Rover.

The Wasuvi.

  1. christopher philpot

    This reminds me of a story told about justice told to me by my friend Pete Redmond. Pete was living in Atlanta (the capital of the Wasuvi nation) and had gone to Blockbuster to return a video one cold evening in January. As Pete walked from his aging Pontiac to the video dropbox he was nearly run down by a Wasuvi guy speeding through the busy lot in a white Jeep Grand Cherokee. The guy proceeded to park sideways across the only handicapped accessible parking space in the lot and was just getting out of his SUV as Pete walked past. “Hey buddy,” asked Pete, “could you slow it down a bit? There are kids all over this parking lot.” “Fuck you!” the Wasuvi guy snarled and dashed into the store. As Pete dropped his video into the dropbox, he noticed that the Wasuvi guy had left the doors unlocked and the engine running in the SUV. Pete glanced inside the Blockbuster and saw Wasuvi guy hastily browsing the “new releases” section. Justice takes many forms and this night it was Pete Redmond. Pete opened the driver’s door, pushed the power “lock” button and then reached across the steering wheel to click the “panic” button on the keychain remote. Pete quickly shut the door, tested the locked door handle and quickly walked away. As he drove past a few moments later the Wasuvi guy was franticaly trying every door on his SUV in a futile to turn off his alarm. Pete slowed and rolled down his window. Expecting help, the guy turned to Pete’s car. As their eyes met, Pete matter-of-factly delivered a “No, Fuck you…” to the guy and drove away, leaving Wasuvi guy to his flashing, honking SUV parked illegally in a $500 fine parking space. Justice was served in Atlanta.

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