Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"I am coming!"

A phrase used in many parts of Africa that is maddening to many Americans until you get used to it: I am coming!

To an average American "I am coming" probably means I am on my way to you RIGHT NOW and I will be there shortly.

To an African "I am coming" means that a some point in time I will get to you. Maybe in 5 minutes, maybe in 3 hours. Only God knows when apparently. More often than not someone will say "I am coming" to you as they are walking away from you which used to make me irritated, but I've since given up hope of ever convincing anyone that more exact phrases may be helpful ("I'll be back in 5 minutes" or "I have to run to the market and then I'll come back"), it just makes me laugh. And anyway, even if they have every intention of coming right back, they will probably get delayed because they will have to greet the 25 people they pass by on the way to and fro and then they might have something else to do before they get back. So really, "I am coming" in the most general sense is the most fitting.

Let's practice: I am coming (with a new blog post)!

1 comment:

ange said...

Grrr. I am coming. Not my favorite phrase. Glad you are okay with it though!