|This emoticon has the most useful expression ever. Fits me perfectly.|
If you know me in person, you have most probably called me (or at least thought of me as) saghaeela at least once in your life. Sagheela is سغيلة/ثقيلة, a word that literally translates into ‘heavy’ and is used to describe someone who lacks a sense of humour, has nothing but sarcastic remarks to offer, and is in general someone you don’t really want to spend lots of time with. In Sudan, I get this reaction on a daily basis. Actually, it’s all I ever get. It doesn’t really bother me much, because a) I’m so used to it, and b) I couldn’t really care less. However, I wonder why many people are surprised with the comments/reactions I make that translate into my being sagheela. For example, I don’t know what people expect to hear when they state the obvious. For example, if a plane is falling out of the sky and someone says: a plane is falling out of the sky! Even though we can all see it right there in front of us, I would be like: OMG you don’t say!!!! And then they’d be upset because they’d think I’m making fun of them (which I kind of am). When someone asks a question to which they so obviously know the answer to, I’m not sure what they expect to hear either. For example, I’m in the bathroom and someone knocks on the door, and I say yes? And they say: are you in the bathroom? No, I’m in the cupboard. Or, if I’m mopping the floor and someone walks up to me and says, what are you doing? What does it look like I’m doing? I’m playing cards. No, I’m performing a complex operation that involves much more brain work than what you’re obviously using. Or better yet, I’m not doing anything. Nothing. That’s what you see me doing, with that mop in my hand. If someone sees me eating a sandwich, and actually in the process of putting it in my mouth and asks: what are you doing? What does it look like I’m doing you moron? If you don’t want to hear a stupid answer then don’t ask a stupid question.
Sudanese people do not appreciate direct questions (or answers). If some guy is asking me if I’m single, what I’m looking for in my future husband, how old I am, and other such lame intros Sudanese guys are known for, and I ask: are you proposing to me? They get shocked (and more often than not, run away). Well, I’m saving us both the time and BS, so what’s the problem? If I’m sending a long group email, which I’m pretty sure people will stop reading after the second line, I put a disclaimer as the subject, e.g. this is a long email but please read until the end. People find that extremely funny. As if I just made the funniest joke in the world. No, that wasn’t a joke, it was a note that this is a long email and that you need to read it till the end. There is nothing funny about that. And no, it’s not stating the obvious. It’s more of a warning that if you don’t read this email to the end (and respond to it), I will most probably kill you. If that shirt you’re wearing looks like the cat dragged it in from the trash, I say: that shirt you’re wearing looks like the cat dragged it in from the trash. That’s not a joke, so I wonder why people laugh so hard they almost fall out of their chairs. It’s an observation and advice that it would be better if you changed your shirt, for example. And no, it is not stating the obvious.
Many people are also confused by my facial expressions. I tend to walk around with a neutral expression on my face, which almost everyone perceives as a scowl. How and why, I will never know. I look at myself in the mirror a lot, but all I see is a look of mild boredom but nothing more dramatic. Some people (a lot of the time perfect strangers) ask me what I’m so upset about. Others ask me what has caused that look of disgust. Many times, the look IS one of disgust, and is more often than not caused by the person asking the question. Another issue that may confuse some people is the way they think I feel about them. Many people think I ‘hate’ them. I have repeatedly attempted to explain that hate is an active emotion and that actually very few people deserve that much energy. In general, I feel indifferent to these people, which basically means they’re not really worth my time or energy. Some may see this as worse than hate, which is kind of the point. You have to be really bad to deserve my hate, and not many people area. Like, for example, people who cut in line, or Satan. Those people deserve my hate. Others do not. So, if you think I hate you because of the way I ignore you, pass you in the corridor with a look (of disgust) on my face, answer your annoying questions in monosyllables, or other such reactions, then know that I don’t hate you, I am simply indifferent to your existence.
So don’t flatter yourselves.
So don’t flatter yourselves.