Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Beginners Guide to Nigerian Psychology and Mannerism Vol 2

Continued from Vol 1...

In a flash, the driver jumped out of the car and in 3 swift steps he approached a man who appeared to be the driver of the car that had hit them from behind and delivered a resounding slap to his face while yelling "You dey mad?"

slap: transitive verb

: to hit (someone or something) with the front or back of your open hand.
: to hit something with a sound like the sound made when your hand slaps something.
: to put (something) on a surface quickly or forcefully.

Source: Webster Dictionary

Nothing quite prepares you for the crunching sound of an open hand when it makes contact with human skin. It was so unexpected and it took him a few seconds to process that the taxi driver had just assaulted another person in public. He wondered what the cops would say when they came over. He was jolted out of this thoughts by raised voices and the sound of a rowdy scuffle

"You dey mad? Why you catch brake for road like that? Na you jam me!"
"You still dey talk? I go tear you another dirty slap!"

Just when it seemed like the fiasco was about to switch gears to another level, he peeked out of the window and saw that a policeman had arrived on the scene. His black police uniform had seen better days but the imperial look on his face indicated that he was truly a man of authority. However there seemed to be a look of excitement or feverish joy on the police officer's face, if he hadn't been slightly shaken up by the crash he would have sworn that the cop looked like he was drooling like a dog at the sight of a juicy bone.

Police: Wetin dey happen here? Why una two dey fight for road?
Driver A: Oga officer, this stupid man just jam my car
Driver B: Na this mumu just match brake for road
Police: So that na why una 2 dey fight and cause traffic for here? Oya, una 2 go follow me go station for obstruction of traffic. Na 25000 naira fine be that...

Lesson 3
Webster's dictionary didn't exactly get the definition of a 'slap' correct. To a Nigerian, a slap is not just a physical action, it is also a "character reforming act, aimed at correcting perceived foolishness". There are different levels to a slap, but the general perception is that a "dirty slap" sums it up. The 'dirty' in the phrase refers to the aspect of the recipient's character to be reformed by the action of the slap. Here are a few other functional definitions of slaps, from a Nigerian perspective

Obedience-Inducing slap: This is generally delivered by parents to their children. A slap of this nature can quickly correct a troublesome child and trigger immediate obedience.

Destiny-altering slap: You tend to receive slaps of this nature in boarding house (secondary school). Common side effects include waking up randomly at night in tears, random nightmares in daytime, jumbled brain cells and frequent incoherent mumbling.

Thought-provoking slap: Delivered by a soldier, arguably the worst of the lot. Characterized by after-effects such as psychological reflections and sudden realization that life can't be any worse than it is.

Statistics will show that the probability that a Nigerian youth/adult received at least one of the above mentioned slaps before the age of 21 is close to 99%. In american terms, you can argue that we all are victims of abuse. We really don't see it that way though, who knows how we would have ended up without slaps ("character reformation").

Lesson 4
We prefer to settle our issues without involving the police. It doesn't mean that we don't appreciate the law, we just don't trust the people in uniform who interpret the law. Moreover, when we call the police, they never show up. When we don't call them, they show up and refuse to go away.

Lesson 5
If you hit our car, we may slap you and assault you verbally before calling our Insurance company (Geico/StateFarm). Don't take it personal, refer to lesson 3, it's all about 'character reformation'.

To be continued...