I never think of a petrol station and carwash combination as a place to have metamorphic and paradigm shifting conversations, as I have just recently encountered.
I either read a magazine if the sun’s glare allows, whip my phone out to start chatting and catching up or I haul out my tablet and read crass articles of celebrity gossip. I’m sure you were expecting me to say that I salvage my time to do something smart or mentally beneficial, but alas, the carwash is neither comfortable nor conducive for such things.
Anyway, an elderly man calls for my attention. I automatically have my guard up and nose in the air, just in case the married timer is trying to get my number. We can no longer assume that the way we were brought up, of greeting our elders and acknowledging their presence is viable, as these father figures prefer to be “daddy” figures nowadays (if you know what I mean).
He tells me I resemble his daughter. My style of dress, my hair, the way I walk.. everything. He then said he wanted to take a picture, but that would be illegal. You can imagine what’s going through my mind at this point… Yes the word CREEP.
I respond and say she sounds like she’s out of town.”Do you miss her?” I ask. It must be my emotional intelligence or strong sixth sense LOL but that guess was spot on.
He continued to tell me her story about how she left home to go study an expensive course at some “international” college only to get a qualification in something she didn’t really like. She had to find her feet by struggling her way through short learning programmes and get a job in a totally different field. He then spoke about the importance of innovation and lateral thinking in young minds, jumped to comparing the public sector versus private sector environments and touched on leadership. This brought about a debate on race and classicism and the wisdom of knowing the interrelationship of the two. He touched on lobola negotiations and the wisdom of always choosing the right people to represent you, within your family. “Elders might not respect your choices, but always stick to what you believe in. As hard as it may be, sometimes it’s best to forget the blood relation element and treat family as they treat you.” He spoke about the uselessness of luxury cars instead of necessity buying, mentioned investments and the perks of financial education.
This guy became cooler by the second. Only mid-conversation did we introduce ourselves, he called me Samido I stuck with Uncle M. (Respect factor you know) He reenacted so many characters, accents, stereotypes, I couldn’t stop laughing. He mentioned his wife alot. He loves her. *wipes sweat*
“Mam, your car is ready,” says the Carwasher.
I was kind of bummed. I might not ever see Uncle M again, but I am so grateful for his insight and sense of humour.
I usually dread the carwash, but after this encounter it might just be my new hang out spot. Gosh, I might even find my other whole..
I’m so glad my car is clean, they didn’t polish my tyres though.