Geoff Tennant - Promoting access to mathematics for all
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3/8/14: grief, I'm getting old

After the last post we had two public holidays, Tuesday and Wednesday, to celebrate Eid, I trust all Muslim readers had an excellent celebration.  In fact there's another public holiday this coming week on Friday, Nane Nane - ie. 8th of the 8th - but I'll not be celebrating that because I'll be in Uganda interviewing and then onto a course, so there for nearly two weeks, I really MUST take some pictures on this trip!

I've previously mentioned being stopped by the traffic police (albeit that the best stories are only available privately) and also the highly respectful greeting word 'Shikamoo' which elicits the response 'Marahaba'.  Well, I was stopped by the traffic police last week close to where I both live and work, to be somewhat taken aback that the police officer was saying 'Shikamoo' to me.

Now, this surely isn't right, is it?  It's got to be against the natural order of things for police officers to speak to motorists like this.  Anyway, I gave the required response, all my paperwork was in order, and I mentioned that I worked close by at the Aga Khan University.  Well, comes back the reply, we are neighbours!  The police station is just across the road, when you see us you must stop without being asked and come to say hello!

I'm pretty sure he was joking - he must have been, mustn't he?  After all, the fact that I'm driving means that I want to get somewhere, doesn't it?  The idea that I would see traffic police officers and spontaneously come to a halt to greet them and invite them to inspect my paperwork seems a bit far fetched.

But, another sign of old age being spoken to like this.  I should like it, I suppose, but my standard response - after ' Marahaba' - is 'Mimi ni baba!  Si babu!  Si babu!'  This doesn't translate very easily, what I'm trying to say is that I am the age of a father, not a grandfather.  In all things be gracious.  Even through gritted teeth.,

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