Monday, March 19, 2007

Default Treatment (II)

Why is it that the default treatment of people towards one another here, and possibly elsewhere, is dirt?

Let me illustrate.

I’m waiting in front of my building in an old Fiat 128 that we own waiting for my father to bring my car round. My car is a relatively better Toyota. Since the street in front of my building is a no parking street, no car really has the right to wait around but as is usual a very small temporary wait in the streets of Cairo is nowhere close to abnormal. So my father pulls I behind me, car slightly slanted. I see an ‘Ameen Shorta’ (low ranking traffic policeman) waiving his hand in a friendly manner, smiling and telling my father itfadal ya basha and what have you.

I move forward slightly to make it easier for him to pull nearer to the curb. He motions to me that I shouldn’t move further and that it was fine, but the Ameen doesn’t see it. So what he does is that he smiles to my father then changes his expression to reflect a more intolerant look. As I’m getting out of the car, he starts yelling at me to move further in front (3agala 2odam) in a very aggressive and hostile manner. He obviously wants to do the pacha, my father, a favor by helping him align his car with the curb.

The bossy tone was meant to emphasize my insignificance, so I wickedly apologized for not moving my car, but point out that I’ll be out of his hair as soon as I get in my car just behind me. Baffled, of course, he adopts a more apologetic tone and showers me with all those pacha and baik remarks.

3 comments:

still breathing said...

u know, it seems that anything can get on anybody's and everybody's nerves these days...esp when it comes to cars/driving.

loved the "default treatment" expression :)

Eventuality said...

It's a catch 22 situation; you are treated like dirt therefore you treat other people like dirt because you don't have the common sense to do otherwise. Unless of course you are dealing with someone that could be of some remote benefit to you...only then do things change. Rabbena yatawallana :)

Will E. said...

I suppose it's all about saying stop, I'm not gonna take it out on others.. but then you might just implode.