I am someone who has had the good fortune of being borne and brought up in a household full of feminist hypochondriacs. From a young age I was indoctrinated with the ways of the world albeit cryptically. As a child you don’t appreciate the linguistic wonders of metaphors, analogies and proverbs which my parents utilised more often than I could recall and thus I was unable to fully comprehend the gravity of what messages my parents were attempting to convey to me. I was too busy chasing balls (strictly of the leather type), being a tom boy and advancing my skills as a centre forward to care too much for their crypticism.
With little assistance from the Angels and the Almighty or so my mother tells me I came into this world. I was always a cheery go lucky child who grew up to be a bit too trusting of strangers, or so my father tells me. So unbeknown to me my parents devised a plan to ensure that I don’t grow up too gullible especially where men are concerned and later in my teenage life – girls. My mother was always of the belief that girls are a mischief and having brought up five girls she was of the belief too that this was her golden ticket to heaven – My mother works in mysterious ways!
I was born at an unfortunate time where the joys of wondering off as a child were slowly diminishing. Though things were not as bad as they are now but the signs were cropping up. There were the odd horror stories here and there concerning children.
Years of primary socialisation that my parents took upon themselves remained forever ingrained in my brains. My mother used to say “strangers are friends you are yet to meet and I’ll be sure it stays that way”. We can all conclude that I had a sheltered life.
Consequently, as an adult hypochondriac woman with Feminist tendencies, I am weary of unsolicited conversations, gifts and offerings from people who I am not familiar with. Not so long ago a male colleague started working with us. Unfortunately before we could get to know each other I jetted off on much deserved and belated annual leave from work. I am unsurest as to what happened in that time but all I know is that grapes are a thing for this guy.
I am not aloof and I am not overtly friendly either. I am particularly volatile capricious pre 12pm. I don’t ask for much, all I want is to be left alone with my coffee and respond to whatever vituperation humans have via the best mode of communication invented for folks like me- Emails! Save the world one human at a time with few unicorns and mermaids thrown in for a good measure.
Post 12:00 pm a different woman emerges; one that is more receptive to other modes of communication including the occasional human format; I’ll even hmm and ahh at few office gossips! Suspending my frivolous digression and coming back to the story at hand… So when someone disturbs this little routine and wants to engage in some small talk pre 12:00 pm with offerings of grapes that I don’t know where they have been, I am a little taken aback. When someone offers me grapes that I don’t know where they have been and then instructs me to eat them as they watch me; I am more than taken aback.
My hypochondria comes out in full blow. I assume some verbal diarrhoea about how it is lunch time and studies show that grapes are best eaten after food and how the acidity found in grapes can cause untoward incidents to someone’s intestines.
All the inculcating ideas on how I shouldn’t talk to strangers my parents instilled in me as a child do go out of the window every now and then. I like to give people benefit of the doubt, most of the time anyway. So I got talking to this individual. There is something inviting about me despite all my attempts at staying aloof. Our exchange was plagued by platitude at best, mendacity at worst.
I don’t know if this guy has some weird grape fetish, or whether I show signs of grape malnutrition or if it is just his way of peace offering- maybe a triangulation of all three. I don’t know…
All I know is my germ sirens have been giving off prolonged warning signs. I have had few sleepless nights worrying about all the possible germs I might have contracted. I have rescheduled few meetings in an attempt to disinfect my desk, only for Mr. Grapes to come back with yet more lashings of the damn fruit personally hand washed by him. I also know that I probably erased all possible signs of natural oils in my hands due to excessively washing them.
In hindsight I wish I feigned an allergy to grapes but then again grapes aren’t the only fruit and I believe where there is a will there is a way.
There was a banana on my desk this morning!
I wonder how much time one should allow to lapse before one can report suspicious behaviour on the grounds of gratuitous grapes?!