I was sitting in the bus today, whizzing along roads newly repaired - someone's attempt to try and convince local voters that the State highway agency really does care about them, when out of extreme fatigue I started to contemplate the tan I have acquired on my arms over the last six months. I was surprised and mildly horrified to discover that a large proportion of the hairs on my arms are white. Have they always been, or do they just show up more easily against a tanned background? Are they additions to my collection, or are they newly bleached by the sun? Is the aging process gathering momentum in the tropical heat, is it the result of my addiction to bottled peanuts, or are my arm hairs responding to the over-use of Omo?
The real question is what, if anything, do I do about this situation? Young children are already sometimes traumatised as I approach them - only yesterday in the ECCE school in Oro, I inadvertantly reduced a little girl to tears from a distance of 20 feet or so; she only recovered once she had been relocated by a classroom helper to a safe distance at the far end of the room and she had seen me retreating in the opposite direction towards the door. And little Bridget's lip was certainly quivering when I touched her arm on greeting as I walked past the oil can shop - who is this white hairy beast with the shiny brown head who keeps making strange scary sounds at me?
So, should I pluck or am I stuck?
I'm not really a plucking sort of guy - chest, eye-brow, nasal, aural or any other kind - too much associated pain - and life's too short! Shaving is definitely out - can't discriminate between the white and the rest, and at Martrite prices I'm not prepared to fork out for shaving foam. So it looks like I will have to accept the inevitable - after all, my chest has borne a tangled white mat for over a decade - it makes me feel like a real old grandad though - the sort that tells stories of exploits during the war and how he got shrapnel in his leg; who once nearly met Mr Churchill, who needs a glass of beer in his local every evening and several pairs of glasses to cope with everyday life; the sort who irritates the hell out of grandma, wears a cloth cap and drives at 20mph on the motorway.
No, I have decided! Young children of Nigeria beware - I'll be out and about, in a bus or in a shop near you soon, bare-armed, but ready to retreat once the wailing begins!