On Friday morning I had three outpatients all scheduled to come for handtherapy at the same time. One guy has been coming twice a week for some time now, and he's always ontime . . . but for some reason this week he was running late. Since I had the other two patients, I decided to go ahead and get them started and he could just see himself to my office once he arrived (normally the guard makes them wait for me to come).
The guard schedule changes each month. There's a rotation of four or five locations, and being as it was 1 July, there was a new guard who doesn't quite know my regulars.
Deb.: So, there's an outpatient that's going to come for hand therapy. When he arrives, you can just let him in and he knows the way to my office.
Guard: Okay. No problem.
Deb.: He's tall. And bald. And has a beard.
Guard: (Blank stare)
Deb.: You know, tall (and I raised my hand above my head to indicate) . . . and bald--no hair on his head . . . with a beard (I ran my hand under my chin to indicate a beard).
Guard: (Again with the blank expression, indicating either he wasn't understanding my French or he thought I was an idiot.)
Deb.: You know, tall, bald, and bearded. And he'll either be wearing the traditional rigga or just a shirt and pants.'
Guard: You mean he looks like every other Nigerien man that passes by here?
I looked around. Sure enough, every man in the vicinity was tall, bald, and bearded . . . wearing either a rigga (the traditional long robes) or a western-style shirt and slacks! Giggling, I said 'Yeah, he looks just like them!'