The brown man’s complex

August 15, 2009

A few days ago I was at a supermarket.  Waiting at the counter for my turn to pay for the 500 mL Dairy Fresh strawberry yogurt.  As soon as the South Asian supermarket lady saw me, she acknowledged my presence and focused her attention from her musoga customer to me.  Not knowing how to effectively divert her attention, I told her we would be back at the counter with the tray of eggs we forgot to get.  After wandering the three aisles and looking at things we didn’t need to get, we picked up a tray of eggs and an additional tray to enclose the eggs in.

We were back at the counter, right next to the same musoga man, with the tray of eggs.  Next to the same musoga man, a South Asian man stood eying me and spitting out the monstrous amounts of shillings the supermarket lady owed him for the FIDO chocolate bars and FIDO strawberry & vanilla 250 mL and 500 mL of ice cream he just delivered.

I turned to Fractal and told him my increasing discomfort of the brown man’s indiscreet staring.  With the same intensity as the FOB brown people in America stare.  The kind of stare that non-verbally demands attention for a fellow brown being.  His pumping testosterone.  And his switching attention from Fractal to me.  Back to Fractal.  Me.  Curious prodding why the white man was standing so close to a brown woman.

At the counter as we were paying for the eggs we asked the supermarket lady if she could recommend a way to transport 24 eggs in Fractal’s backpack.  She suggested placing the 24 eggs, sandwiched between the yellow and purple egg trays, in a plastic bag before Fractal packs them in his backpack.  The brown man eyes were still changing focus from Fractal to me.  Back to Fractal.  Me.

The musoga man suggested tying the four corners of the sandwiched egg cartons before placing it in the white plastic bag.  As soon as the musoga man offered his suggestion, the brown man retorted that it would never work.  He said Fractal should hold the tray of eggs in his hands and carry it home. Maybe, in a box.  The sandwiched tray of eggs sits on Fractal’s hands while his legs pedal his Apollo all the eight kilometers to the village.

We asked the supermarket lady if she had ties to secure the sandwiched ova package.  She grabbed another white plastic bag and ripped it open.  The musoga man helped tear the ripped bag into long strips of white plastic while the brown man shook his head.  We threaded the strips into the corners of the sandwiched yellow and purple ova package while the brown man said “it would never work” again.

While Fractal placed the package in his backpack, I proceeded to the other side of the store to grab 2 FIDO chocolate bars for Fractal and me.  As he searched his backpack for the shillings, I ate my ice cream bar.  As he paid for the purple tray of eggs, the yellow tray, and the two FIDO chocolate bars, I opened his FIDO, went outside and ate his chocolate bar. More brown people in a white Toyoto Corono saw me.  Honk.  HONK.  HONNNNK.

Seeing that Fractal seemed slightly annoyed that I would gorge on his bar, I explained that his FIDO chocolate bar was melting.  I went back to the other side of the store to grab another one.  A jeans-clad and stripped buttoned down shirt musoga man and his black trouser counterpart stood between the FIDO chocolate bar and me.  Excuse me.  No response.  Excuse me, I mean move out of the way please.  Oh, said the jeans man.  He moved five inches away.  I grabbed a FIDO chocolate bar.  Excuse me.  No response.  Excuse me.  Oh, said the jeans man.  He moved four inches away.

Back at the counter, the brown man explained that his ice cream should be eaten quickly.  As Fractal took the bar away from me before I tried rescuing another FIDO chocolate bar, I thanked the musoga man.  Webale nyo. For his creative thinking.  The brown man shook his head.  We waved goodbye to the supermarket lady.  Sukriyah for her service.  Fractal ate his FIDO chocolate bar.  Said he had only one.  I had two.  I responded that I was saving that bar from dropping on the floor and wasting away.

We biked home to the village.  Under the same sky.  That protects the brown man and his black brother while his other brown brethren celebrates their 63rd Independence from the white man’s world an ocean away.


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