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20 seconds

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I have to admit that I didn’t follow the US university shooting all that closely, but in my peripheral vision I caught bits of it.

A friend of mine was saying how apparently some of Seung-Hui Cho’s teachers knew he was a bit odd from long back, because it would take him something like 20 seconds to answer the most basic of questions. And even then, he would answer quite plainly.

Like my friend, when I first heard this, I thought maybe the teachers were being unfair, or too judgmental, or impatient Americans or some such. Until she said come, let’s try it. “What is your name?” she asked me. And then started to count “1, 2, 3, 4, . . . ” By 4 I couldn’t believe I hadn’t answered yet. By 16 I thought no this is ridiculous, and by 20 I could see that yes, if someone acted like this with me I’d think they were a bit odd as well.

I thought of all that this afternoon when I was coming from the shops and saw the lead bike in Mugabe’s motorcade come past. Fifteen vehicles and 20 seconds later, the whole thing had passed. I had time to unlock my bike, do up my shoes, ride across the car park and wait in the queue to turn right with the rest of the traffic before they had moved on.

Cho might not have been the world’s greatest conversationalist. But I’d still rather spend my 20 seconds waiting for someone to speak than waiting for one man to pass me on his way to work so that I can carry on along mine.

One comment to “20 seconds”

  1. Comment by Pamwechete:

    20 seconds only, hmmpphhh, you should have been in one of the cars that were waiting by the roadside, waiting for the motorcade to pass.LOL