It is interesting to note how people react to the hand.
I handed over my car to the AC repair man because there was some issue with it.
Got on a Lagos state mass transit bus (lagbus) and witnessed an interesting exchange. The conductors don’t actually accompany the bus but stay at designated bus-stops. Some people had got on the bus prior to the bus-stop at which I boarded the bus. So, they were supposed to pay and get their tickets. Well, the conductor says the rules have been changed and they were no longer allowed to issue tickets on the bus meaning the passengers needed to alight from the bus, pay for their tickets, then get back on the bus. Well, the people weren’t having none of it and an impasse was rapidly developing along with raised voices.
Finally, they started getting down one by one. But, one man wasn’t going to let things go so easily, he started abusing the conductor and for a moment they were in each others faces. The most interesting comment came from the conductor: “Are you the only fool on the bus?”.
Now that comment (even though I know what he meant) could be interpreted in several ways:
1. Was the passenger the single fool on the bus
2. The passenger wasn’t the only fool on the bus (meaning all the other previously adamant passengers were fools as well) so why is he the only one making a ruckus?
Fortunately, I wasn’t yet on the bus, so I am in neither category 🙂
But I digress, I was talking about the hand.
So after getting down from the bus, I walked towards my office and came across an Akara and Yam seller by the roadside. I haven’t eaten Akara in a long time, and I couldn’t resist the smell. Especially these days when all food tasted bland in my mouth and I generally couldn’t be bothered.
Well, the middle-aged woman selling the Akara was brusque at first as I was trying to decide how much of each to buy (factoring in the fact that I am likely to have company in the office) and she practically didn’t look up from her bowl except to answer curtly.
Well, once she got around to looking up at me, and saw the hand, there was a magical transformation. She became very friendly at once, smiling widely, and very helpful. Thanking me, etc, etc. She asked me if the pepper she added was enough or if I wanted more. She doubled up the plastic bag so the oil won’t stain my bag, made a simple nought in it and even showed me where to pull to release it quickly and simply. She even added a little something on top. This can be embarrassing at times, but I thanked her very well. And she was all smiles as I left.
So later in the day, I was with a couple of colleagues heading out to see a client. They decided to make a detour to get mobile lunch at a place called Ghana High Canteen (GHC).
I wasn’t really interested, and I wasn’t exactly hungry either after my morning indulgence, but on the second offer I decided to tag along rather than wait in the car. The first step was to buy what was called “Kome-Kome” just outside the canteen itself. This is a plastic bowl with a lid. You then went inside where a couple of women stood sentient over several huge aluminum and plastic bowls containing rice, assorted meat, salad, fried plantain, etc.
Which brings me to the hand again. After dolling out the food into each bowl and covering it up, the lady placed it on a table top along with a plastic bag with the intention that the customer will grab both and put one in the other. She spoke very little when asking for what we wanted and while she was not exactly unfriendly was neither welcoming.
Sometime during the exchange, she noticed the hand. As I made an attempt for the bowl and the plastic bag, she got to it first and carefully placed the bowl in the plastic bag and offered it to me. Her behavior more helpful and concerned. I thanked her and she responded politely in turn. In a split second, her demeanor had changed. Hmm.
Once upon a time
That seems so long ago
You asked if you could touch the hand
And while “I am thy friend only” brought my hopes to a shuddering halt
Your touch was the highlight of the day