03 April 2016

The Avocados Are Disturbing Very Much

So says my lady on the corner, who sells avocados and watermelons sometimes, and biscuits, candies, cigarettes, phone credit, lemons, peanuts, sachets of Fighter whiskey and knockoff Baileys, etc. all the time (including on Sundays, which can be a crap shoot at other places in Douala). Her exact words were, "les avocats dérangent beaucoup," and her reasons were that the ones she's been buying recently go rotten on one side while staying hard on the other.

She demonstrated this on a couple of disturbing avocados and told me that, while she couldn't vouch for the watermelons of the last couple of weeks either, she would sell me the small one for 1300 CFA. But the avocados? "Tu peux les prendre, maman. Je ne te les vends pas. Ils d√©rangent trop." ("You can take them, mama. I won't sell them to you. They disturb too much.")

This is one of the reasons I became a regular - she calls me mama (and I call her mama in return). The other reason? Her brutal honesty in re: her produce.

Usually, avocados are one of the great perks of living in Douala. You find a lady selling avocados and request either an avocado for today (un avocat pour aujourd'hui) or an avocado for tomorrow (un avocat pour demain). Then you dicker for a minute about whether this one is mushy enough or firm enough (depending if you want an aujourd'hui or a demain) and whether the price is 150 or 200 or 300 CFA (I usually raise my eyebrows for form's sake if it's 300, but then pay up immediately, feeling crushing guilt for haggling with a lady who is just trying to sell me avocados, for heaven's sake, and is likely about to make me very happy in my tummy.)

But this is the big city. Disturbing things can happen.