Monday, August 29, 2011

Did I Do That

For those who grew up in America, we all remember Steve Urkel, the nerdy character on Family Matters that would destroy something and then in a high pitched voice whine out, "Did I do that?" Well, last Friday I had a definite Urkel moment.

I was running late to meet a friend I was meeting for happy hour at the American Embassy, so I decided to hop a cab. I was really excited about taking this particular cab, because it was my first time in a shared taxi. So its almost like a tro-tro, but more high-class because only 4 people can ride at a time. So I arrive at my destination, pay the driver, open the door and BAAAAAMMMM- a tro-tro takes the door off.
Potential mugshot at Police Headquarters

That's right, it was just like that insurance commercial where the guy opens the door seconds before a truck takes it off. So there I sat, mouth opened stunned and feeling very Urkelish. I would like to say this was the highlight of the incident, but its not.

I get out of the taxi and tell the driver sorry about the door. After a few minutes of standing around I tell the driver I am going. After all, every driver in Ghana has insurance and I was at my destination. Then the excitement starts. "You spoil my door and then you want to leave", he angrily shouts. By this time, I had started walking away so, of course he follows me, grabbing my arm telling me I have to go to the police headquarters.( Sidenote- Here in Accra, going to the police headquarters means that you are going to have to bribe someone to leave, never a desired situation. Not to mention, I am sort of an illegal immigrant, still.) Then it just turns to a drag out verbal fight. After all, this little dude is getting way too aggressive, for both of the drivers to have insurance. Then he pins me against the gate of the Embassy. Now this is the point, where I forget all of my good manners and really start to go ballistic. Just as I was about to pull back and slap the hell out of this guy a passerby intervened. Then, finally, the guards at the US embassy told him he was going to have to move his car. Allowing me the freedom to move on with the evening.

Now, I know some of you are thinking, what a jerk, you could have stayed. Perhaps, but in the midst of our argument it comes out that the taxi driver knows the trotro driver. Is this an example of trying to game the American. I think so. I also later found out, it is uncustomary for a passenger in that situation to be blamed for any accident, the argument is always between the drivers. Guess, your door being swiped off is more common than one would have thought.

In the end, I did feel bad about the door, but I also know that both drivers had insurance. Besides, the way the taxi and tro-tro drive here, I might have saved someone's life with that small accident- we have all seen final destination, so you know what I am talking about. I guess it goes to show, I gots to be more careful when opening the door, that could have been a hand.
Until Next Time. Smooches.