Friday, February 19th, 2010
I’m not young and I’m not beautiful. No. No. Don’t try to flatter me. I’ve already gotten the flattery and now I see what’s happening.
1. The coffee shop girl says I don’t need a Sprite Light because I’m already so beautiful.
2. When I come out of toilet stall at a restaurant, there stands a prepubescent boy in restaurant uniform. He pushes the soap button for me and hands me a paper towel. And he talks. And he talks, ending with, “How old are you?” “Sixty-two.” “NO! You are in the 20s or 30s.”
I’m laughing so hard, I neglect to wonder at the obsequious flattery.
3. At another toilet later in the day, a woman squirts the soap, hands me a paper towel, and leans back against the wall so I have to step awkwardly over her feet to get out of the rest room. As I stand outside to wait for a friend, the woman opens the door and stands there glaring at me.
Now, I’m starting to realize what’s happening.
4. An Egyptian friend assured us earlier that you pay a taxi just what’s on the meter, no tip. So when we arrive, Johnny rounds up to the next Egyptian Pound and we start to walk away. The driver looks pained and holds the cash toward Johnny as if we dumb foreigners have counted wrong. Johnny checks. It’s correct. We walk away.
5. Four of us foreigners wait to cross a busy street. There are only busy streets here. You take your life in your hands. A policeman hurries to us, and weaves through the traffic ahead of us, stopping cars as he goes. On the other side, he hovers alongside us as we walk away, “Baksheesh! Teep! Teep! Baksheesh!”
Okay. I’m dense. But I get it now.
If a stranger offers unexpectedly kind service, it probably isn’t a gift. If you accept the service, be prepared to tip.
And now I know how much to believe any more beautiful, young compliments.
I am what I am, thank God.
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