- Sometimes, when I think about the fact that we are more than 24 million, and adding more, I wonder about our physical states. Our general physical states. I wonder how many of us are walking around with problems that will only reinvent themselves, because the diagnosis was wrong,
There is this German car I fell in love with as a child. I sat in one as the car door was shut, and that was it. I just kept wondering how a door could shut like that, and make one feel so secure. I never really lost my first love. I have kept going back to that car. It just happens that I live in a country that may never produce such cars, and my salary may never allow me to afford a new one.
So I have kept my dream alive in second hand versions, inflicted the Ghanaian roads and flood riddled large pathways on the various models I have been blessed to have, and tried to feel a bit of what those engineers want one to feel. Tried to rediscover that contentment of a child awed by the wide back seat of a big car, and the sudden quietness imposed by the shut car door.
Sometimes I have succeeded. In brief, flimsy flashes of brilliance: quiet engine, mattress suspension, the air conditioning steaming the windows. Then reality always kicks in. Because by the time the car gets to my price tag, it has had a lot of its magic wrung out. The beauty of the engineering that follows the mantra: the best or nothing else… is a pipe dream, smothered with frequent mechanic visits, tyre changes, oil changes, suspension changes etc… on a regular basis.
And that is why I found myself last week in the middle lane, just after the Alajo traffic light on the Overpass, right next to a giant Vodafone billboard on the way to Tesano. The engine had stalled, my coolant was nonexistent, and the steam was wisping out in sinister tendrils. The drivers around me were livid. I was right in their path, after the traffic signal, interrupting with their acceleration. I got out of the car, and decided to go down the overpass and get some water. I was on my way down when I heard the bang, and then the shouting. I came back and saw two motor bike riders arguing by my car. I assumed the glass on the street was from the motorbike. I was wrong. It was my back light. It has been knocked into smithereens. I did realize something else. The light housing had been knocked into the trunk of the car, and there was a hole revealing the innards of my untidy boot. I quickly took my laptop bag out. I had just had a narrow escape.
I did not have the presence of mind to put out a triangle, until the policeman came. Then I got some magic. He parked his bike right beside the building.
He produced a torch, mounted my triangle, put some leaves on the street to give prior notice. It took an hour for the mechanic to come. The policeman never left my side. He made conversation, gave some advice, showed me where his station was. And then, when the mechanic finally came, he got on his bike, and got me a gallon of water from the depot.
Then he was ready to go. I never thought that the day would come, when I would have to force money unto a policeman, but I did. And he tried to refuse, and there was no tolerance on my part, for any attempt at refusal. He had saved my car. He had saved me more visits, and mechanics, and I was grateful.
That night it was past 10.30 when we got to the mechanic’s shop. In two days it was ready to pick up. It has lost its rich sound. Now I find myself on the same carousel, chasing for that feeling that I am actually contributing to wring out off this model. I have learnt to appreciate the people who can isolate the problem, solve it and give me a few more months along the carousel until reality strikes again.
I do that for a living myself. Figuring out what is wrong in this system called human and reaching out to solve it. There are 5000 (and something) more people in this country who do what I do. Sometimes, when I think about the fact that we are more than 24 million, and adding more, I wonder about our physical states. Our general physical states. I wonder how many of us are walking around with problems that will only reinvent themselves, because the diagnosis was wrong, or the solutions inefficient. Herbalists have a field day in this country. They do have a place in reaching out after the time tested principles have failed. Their place is not first line. Their place is supportive.
I want to thank the lone policeman for sorting me out. I want to thank all those lone medical staff around, saving lives.
We may be 24 million, but it is still one life saved at a time.
Life is a long series of memorable moments punctuating passing time. Teddy samples some of his poignant ones. Here and there, memorializing otherwise fleeting experiences. Find more of his writing at Amazon