‘Hello my dear!’
‘My dear’ is said with an arm draped over Totally-Together-Chick’s right shoulder. I almost don’t notice the typical Nigerian patronising honorific. Then again, a number of old big bellied clients assume they are witty, funny and ‘my dear’ is an extension of their undeniable charm. Many of us don’t agree but live with the harmless illusion – after all, we get practice by laughing at partners’ really dry jokes. In fact, having to laugh at dry jokes is better and more dignified than being expected to make coffee by some client.
TTC looks a little startled as she moves away from the offending arm from her shoulder and looks like she’s contemplating whether an arm on her shoulder was sufficient provocation to clumsily spill her black coffee on the client’s white agbada. Ghandi notices ‘the move’ and my discomfort and smoothly steps in between TTC and the white agbada, thereby doing his good deed for the day and keeping the world from TTC’s ire.
I try hard but my smile shines through. White agabda notices my amusement. All through the meeting, I add the honorific ‘sir’ to every sentence to assure him of my deference and acknowledgement of his stature and superiority, etc, and keep my shoulder far far away.