Rami Baitie writes…Curious Things II

Yes, here we are again. I never thought the weird things I commented on previously would be the last things to catch my attention, but still…Please, if you haven’t read Curious Things earlier, then do so now before continuing.

I was at Mass the other day and discovered that my priest was turning 60. Very nice service it was too. But then afterwards, when he lined up with his wife and supporting clergy (numerous ones), he was so happy that he began to laugh….by heart! Ei! My priest laughs like a rich man oh! Seriously! He has a big, loud, echoing, bombastic laugh that resonates throughout the Ridge area! It’s good; I don’t think I would like a priest who laughs like a poor man, you know, like a mouse. May he have the riches to go with the laugh!

At the same Mass, I saw something I have never seen before: a female Anglican priest in high heels and light make-up! I no see some before oh! It was actually….quite elegant. I’m just not used to seeing elegant priests I guess, but she really caught my eye. I hope she comes to visit us again….soon!

The other day I parked in a car park somewhere in East Legon and went off. When I got back my driver’s door had been blocked….with a bicycle! Did you read that properly?? A bicycle! Not a car, or a truck, or trailer, or two people fighting over roasted plantain! A bicycle! Do you know how difficult it must be to choose to place your bicycle in such a way as to obstruct a car door, and then to walk away?? As a friendly attendant moved the guilty bicycle the owner came up and said, “Oh, my car!” I swear my father!
The other day I applied for a visa to a European country. The first visit to the centre was fine; they were quite helpful. The second visit, to collect my passport, was very impressive. I was in and out of there in about 6 minutes, passport firmly clutched in my sweaty palm. Outside was a different matter as parking and its attendant traffic was bad. Indeed I spent more time outside trying to park and then leave than I did on the inside.

I’m just wondering why the fact that I was served swiftly and efficiently made such an impression on me. That is how it’s supposed to be, innit? But in Ghana, one small incidence of good service and we get excited.

The other day at the airport in Accra I was called forward at Security for a body pat down. As the guy started I said to him, “If you make me laugh I will sue you.” He didn’t stop laughing till he was done! I swear he was shaking all over as he searched me. I wonder if his lawyer will get in touch with me. Thank God for a sense of humour, especially when you don’t expect it.

Later on the same night, I saw a woman yammering away non-stop on her mobile as she waited in the departure lounge. She saw someone she knew, called him over, spoke to him briefly, and then focused on her mobile, which was now in her hand. The man she called over began to talk to her….and she ignored him completely. I mean completely! And yet he kept talking. Curious.
On a flight the other night there was some major turbulence. A guy sitting ahead and to my left spilt his drink on the floor in the aisle. Clumsy, I thought, until I saw his discarded food tray: he didn’t eat his vegetables! That’s why he let his drink fall! When our parents are forcing us to eat our vegetables…

You know foreign airlines don’t try for flights from Ghana when it comes to parking at airport terminals in their home country, right? It’s a fact. The other day in Paris we taxied for about 20 minutes on arrival…I swear my father! Ebei!

Speaking of the airport at Paris, the other day I saw different reactions from a white guy and a black girl that made me wonder. At an eatery called Naked, a white woman in a queue (I suspect she was East European) asked the attendants at a counter what the difference was between a small latte and a tall latte. The black female attendant said, “Small and tall!” with a plastic smile and a sarcastic tone. The white guy actually picked up a tall cup and a small cup and indicated to the customer which was which.

The difference a small act of helpfulness can make. The white woman took her drink and when she couldn’t find a straw she tried to indicate that she wanted one. I helped her with that one, and the grateful smile I received, oh man! All because she didn’t speak French or English.
And still speaking of the airport in Paris, I saw a single pigeon inside the terminal building. Inside? How did it get there? Those places are like jails! It was a very fat juicy bird, and the way it was finding morsels all over the place I could only assume that it had been in there for quite awhile. And with no challenger…It also made me wonder if very few Ghanaians used that terminal, because if a Ghanaian had seen such a juicy bird…

The other day I got a larger Coke in a cup on a journey between Washington and Minneapolis than I did between Paris and Washington. Why? Go figure…On that same journey to Minneapolis, I saw a rather pretty air hostess serving. She was wearing an apron and it had a United Airlines logo on it. But the flight we were on was being operated on behalf of Delta Airlines. So I asked her (which I would never have done if she wasn’t pretty). She said they were a regional airline and they operated flights on behalf of both United and Delta.

And then she said she must have gotten out on the wrong side of the bed, and that she hoped I was the only one who had noticed!

The other day I was with a couple who were taking a rental car at an airport, and I saw something that blew me away. Do you know the cars (all SUVs) were lined up on a particular floor at the parking lot, and they all had their boots open, and the keys on the dashboard? There was one guy in charge there from the rental company, but still! Apparently having paid for an SUV the company then gives you a choice, and you can look into the boot and the interior before selecting a vehicle and moving. Eish! I no see some oh! Imagine that in Accra.
The other day I was on a flight which was delayed because of weather. The flight was called twice and each time we were actually on the bridge to the aircraft when we were called back or deplaned as they officially called it. That’s never happened to me before! Twice on the same flight! Eventually, we took off on the third attempt, almost six hours late. I was struck by the good humour shown by the passengers though. When the ground crew at the desk changed over to new staff we actually applauded the old staff as they announced they were leaving. Heartwarming. They made one of the funniest announcements I have ever heard in an airport: “There are so many delayed flights….we’ve run out of ice.”

By the way, you know you are tired when you arrive after almost six hours of delay and your wife follows you into the men’s washroom! Truly, she did! And before those of you with dirty minds who read this blog (all of you?) draw any conclusions….she left as soon as she realised what she had done! She says she didn’t see anything…

The other day I saw a movie. It was a thriller, an average thriller, a very average thriller. In fact, it was one of those movies that should probably have gone straight to television without transiting through a cinema. But I thoroughly enjoyed it….because it had Gabrielle Union as the lead actress. She is lovely! Serious eye candy!! I couldn’t take my eyes off her! Worth seeing the movie just to be able to ogle her…

The other day I was at an Italian restaurant ordering some takeout. For the first time ever I heard an American speak and didn’t understand a word she said! The lady in question was telling me the choices for soup and, I swear my father, I thought she was speaking a different language! I know they have to speak quickly to tell the customer as much as possible, but this was some serious turbocharged linguistics! Eish! You’ll be glad to know that I eventually chose the chicken soup with gnocchi….at least I think that’s what she said!

The other day I caught one of my favourite movies on wireless, A Fish Called Wanda, a film I have seen many many times. It seemed different somehow but I couldn’t place the difference. Then it suddenly dawned on me: I was watching it on a rather big screen and it made everything seem so much larger, clearer, louder, and colourful. I’ve never heard a stammer sound so detailed and intricate! Older movies in HD or something like that can be so….alternative. John Cleese looked more buffoonish, Jamie Lee Curtis sexier, and Kevin Kline dumber. I enjoyed it.

The other day for a period of about 13 days I realised that my nuclear family was apart. By apart I mean in completely different locations: 4 different countries, 5 different cities. I tried to recall if that had ever happened before and I failed to remember anything like that. It felt….strange….weird. It happens I guess, but still. Is this what ‘they’ mean by an empty nest, growing old, feeling lost, floating aimlessly? I don’t know.

When was the last time you danced to a slow jam? You know, a serious smoochy number from Teddy, Barry, Luther, just to name a few. Well, it’s been a while for me. So when a young lady offered herself the other day, and I mean offered, I didn’t say no. We moved slowly, we said sweet nothings to each other….actually I did. I even sang the song, albeit haltingly. She stared into my eyes….quizzically. Then I realised….her feet were not touching the floor. Am I that strong?? And she was drooling (wearing a Tommy Hilfiger dress stained with Cerelac)! Okay, confession time: her name is Audrey and she is 11 months old. We danced to Loving’ You by The O’Jays, but I wonder what would have changed if the song had been different. Maybe something more modern next time?

So, anyway, here’s to more curious things happening around me, and to me seeing them, and to me not displaying ignorance, and to me not disgracing myself by laughing out loud in public….wait, I do all these things on a regular daily basis! Even without curious things happening! Oh, thank God!
Columnist: Rami Baitie

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