I stood waiting for the Indian men in front of me to be served and get the hell out of my way, after they’d barged in front of me, two of them, with their son, to buy one tray of eggs.
Waiting wasn’t a big deal. It’s Sunday. Morning meditation was about love and compassion so I just stood peacefully and emanated. Or something.
The fella from the stall who had been gurgling and yelling alternately about the FOUR DOLLAAAAARRRRR eggs saw me after a while.
‘You right love?’
‘Oh I’m just after those eggs.’ I pointed.
‘Ah thought so.’ He took my $5 note, yelled ‘ONE DOLLAAAAARRRRR CHANGE’ while balancing eggs and money over the table between the men and the marquee and the woman with the money.
‘Nearly need to be an octopus, don’tcha?’ I quipped.
He grinned and said more quietly, ‘Mate, you actually really do.’ Then the thought of it grew in his mind. He grinned and got louder again. ‘Humans shoulda been like that! Four arms, four legs!’ He gestured expansively, walking along bow-legged, as though he really was sprouting more legs.
I’d pocketed my cash and my eggs and was walking off, still engaged in this exchange.
He raised his voice over the crowd, twirling his arms around his body. ‘Imagine! You could scratch yourself anywhere!’
I couldn’t help it. ‘Or even more than that eh!’
By now I was at least 20 metres away. He roared laughing as I walked off.
‘Great!’ He bellowed. ‘I like ya sense of humour!’
It occurred to me as I continued walking that the common exchange of humour, without hangups, without fear, without anxiety, is something we in the West rarely get with strangers any more.
Everybody is too busy being offended.