Coming home always has its endearing quirks and quiddities!!
The fact that an entrepreneur from the neighborhood has decided to set up his 'shop' on my garden verge, was a not such an endearing quirk, but I do understand the necessity to earn an honest cent!! He sells single cigarettes, over- ripe tomatoes and candy and plays competitive Tsoro with the neighborhood gardeners!! It is a Casino of dubious proportions, comprising colored stones, placed strategically on a piece of marked cardboard, set in turn on an upturned bucket. Tsoro is a third world version of draughts or chess I suppose......
But my first foray into town was filled with mirth. I shop frequently at Farm Fresh in Robert Mugabe Way for my meat, as HeeHoo is a carnivore of note!! But I always giggle at the parking arrangements there. Each parking bay is zealously guarded by a CarGuard, they have allotted themselves three bays each and competition is fierce.
There is car guard Gertie, she has a very disabling hearing problem. Then there is car guard Silas, he only has one hand, and the other is horribly distorted, he must be 97 years old in the shade. Then there is car guard Sipho, he has very little eyesight and the grubbiest hands in the world, but they are all delightful, resplendent in their fluorescent yellow jackets to denote their superior statue in life. They guide one into the parking space with over-zealous abandon, all seeking for custom for their precious bays.
On alighting from one's vehicle, one has a formal introduction,
'I am Sipho, I am your Car Guard' !! (Gertie of course mumbles and grunts sweetly, with a giant smile circling magnificent teeth. She is by far my favourite and I always edge towards her bays much to the chagrin of the others!!) I always smile when they give me a run down of their job description - car guard Heaven forbid if one of these unfortunate souls ever had to deal with a car jacker!! And does my car really require a car guard, no hi- jacker could ever afford to run my thirsty beast!!
Once one has transacted ones meat purchase with Shortie, who is a blockman inside Farm Fresh, one is always in a swell mood, Shortie is charismatic and enthusiastic and would kiss one if encouraged!!
Fumble fumble with change at the till where beautiful Annie runs the show with delicious efficiency, one juggles with one's rump steak and lamb loin chops, and then rummage rummage, one finds a coin for Sipho, Gertie or Silas!! Manouvering adroitly, discreetly but compassionately to avoid touching Sihos grubby hands on transaction of a gratuity, one finally settles in one's vehicle.
These dear and hapless souls will then guide you out of your parking bay, with much excited gesticulation and rapping on the car window, to ensure one avoids the manic Grey Street Divers!! (Robert Mugabe Way used to be called Grey Street in the Olden Days, and the racy Grey Street divers were renowned for their ramping through the storm drains!!)
No such fun in Atlanta when I shop at my sterile supermarket which has absolutely no neighborhood flavor and excitement!!