Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Please Take a Picture. It'll Last Longer!

What is it with people in Nigeria (or Lagos, at least) and staring? Didn't their mothers tell them that it's rude to stare?

In the States, when I happened to catch someone staring at me, they at least had the good grace to look away. Not so here! People will continue to stare, as if attempting to soak in every aspect of my being in one long power-stare. Women do this a lot more too (Women, what’s up with this?). I think it’s part of the lack of personal space that exists in the African culture. People feel that they can invade your privacy with their questions or stares.

I was at a fast-food place yesterday getting lunch. After paying, I went to sit down and wait for my order to be called. The young woman who was right before me walked up and sat down at my table. My first thought was "What the hell?????" There were so many free tables that she could sat at (though mine was admittedly the closest to the counter). After sitting down, she fixed her eyes on me in a laser-like stare. Though I was looking elsewhere at the time, I could feel her staring and eventually, feeling a little disconcerted, I turned to her and inquired "What’s up?". Thinking back on it, I should have asked her what the hell her problem was. But then, I’m nice that way- perhaps too nice. We did strike up a conversation, but about 5 minutes into it she wanted to know how old I was and if I was married. Not married? But why? What do I do? Where do I work? Where do I live? And the questions went on....

This lack of personal space is something that I forget about whenever I’m away, but am all too soon reminded about upon my return. I really don’t get why someone who just met you would feel that they have the right to ply you with an avalanche of personal questions, I really don’t. But I do know that I need to come-up with an effective strategy of warding off these intrusions of my privacy: Do I know you? Why do you want to know? Mind your own damn business! Do you see a bloody ring on my finger?

1 comment:

Nneka's World said...

I know my dear. I used to have people especially the women stare at me all the time, some quite hostile and some just staring for staring sake. I just used to stare back at them with so much attitude, "what you never seen a girl before"
They are very cheeky and yes they invade your personal space like they loaned it to you!