I should warn you all, in case you didn't know, that Murphy is in town - and his law is absolutely dominating. I should have known it by the weather. By the time I left the fuel queue I was in at quarter to midnight last night it was a Dublin bone numbing 10 degrees on a Matabeleland October evening. But at 8pm when a kind friend phoned to say he was in front of a relatively short diesel queue and I should join it, Murphy didn't appear to anywhere in sight.
Indeed when I joined the queue at 8.10pm it was a mere snip of a queue - only 150 meters, a veritable dwarf compared to the 2 km monsters lurking around Bulawayo in recent days. Sadly however Murphy soon made his presence felt.
Firstly it seemed to take an age for the fuel bowser to disgorge its load, no doubt made harder by the lack of light. Soon after the queue started moving Murphy really started flexing his muscles. At 9.15 as I was being lulled into the misconception that I may in fact get fuel, the news filtered down that our banking system will now not process debit cards after 9.20! Only Ecocash, which I didn't have, would work. Undaunted I phoned my wife to get her to top hers up but Murphy would have none if it and he made sure that the banking internet system would not allow her to top up.
With the queue now crawling I gritted my teeth and, determined to defeat Murphy, contacted the garage owner to negotiate credit for the evening. To my great satisfaction the owner assented and Murphy appeared defeated.
And so I remained quietly confident but alas Murphy was undeterred. Although I was by now, at 10.45, only a tantalizing 100 meters from the fuel station, the queue was moving at glacial speed, with the temperature an appropriate 11 degrees. On inspection by walking to the front I realized why - only one poor benighted old faithful garage hand was having to deliver fuel and process Ecocash transactions in the dark. Murphy was quietly chuckling.
I had to make a decision - having been in the queue for almost two hours should I stick it out Foolishly I resolved, not for the first time let it be said, to pursue a lost cause and put this Irishman in his place.
At 11.45 when the queue had seemed to come to a grinding halt I retreated from the warmth of my car to inspect what Murphy was up to - only to discover that he was organising Honda Fits to queue jump at the front with the poor old garage attendant powerless to prevent them. It was at that moment I realized that Murphy would have his way and I gave up the unequal struggle - which incidentally continues!
Murphy is still lurking this morning. Although the queue is short I have to encourage a group of dispirited teachers at a local Primary School at 7.30 and then there is, well, the tiresome task of running a law practice. So any hope of fuel today has evaporated along with the value of my bank account.
So rather like a losing captain being asked in a post match interview, having been thrashed 8-0, what positives can I take out the game
Well firstly I didn't hear a single EDpfeee or pamberi ne ruining party all evening.
Then, secondly, I am more determined than ever to put Murphy in his place- which means having to defeat all his corrupt and incompetent cousins in the Mnangagwa regime.
And finally it is clear that my mountain bike is going to come into its own in the months ahead and I could become fitter than ever.
Go take a hike Murphy.