Howzit

3 11 2007

What exactly does that mean? What is the it in “howzit”? How is what exactly?

It’s a general greeting I suppose. Maybe it should be “How’s it going?”

But that’s not even English, what is actually going where?

I knew better than to argue the point with my mother. She is long deceased but like the good parent that she was she left me her lasting irritation of badly spoken English.

Another phrase that I find more irksome is the ubiquitous Zimbabwean, “How are you?” Again it is just a greeting, the questioner has little interest in how the other person actually is so I rather like to say things like – terrible, and see if they notice. You’d be surprised at how often they don’t. The blacks especially will ask, and I will say fine, because I don’t feel inclined to go into the details of why I’m NOT fine and they will reply fine, even though I haven’t actually asked anything. When I point this out they are just nonplussed. So yesterday when someone came down the line of cars at the traffic lights with the intent of selling me a well made grass wastepaper basket and said hello and how are you I decided to let him have the full story. No, actually I am not fine, I am thoroughly pissed off!

Why?

Why? Because I’m tired of this place, that’s why.

He agreed with me, yes, it is not good.

I then launched into my synopsis of why the Zimbabwean economy is such a mess and all the fat cats are just in it for a quick buck and couldn’t care less about the country or anyone else.

He didn’t even ask if I wanted to buy a wastepaper basket.

So when is it going to change he asked.

When we get rid of this government, I said. But there is no guarantee that the next one will be any better.

You are right he said, gloomily as the lights changed and I moved off.

There was a 47CD number plated Toyota Venture in front of me waiting to turn right up Second Street. A young, rail-thin beggar woman with the obligatory baby on her back (hers?) was begging at the intersection. A hand came out of the Toyota and gave her a wad of notes. They were $5 notes, about a 100 of them I’d guess, about US 0.05c in total value. She looked pleased then realized that she’d been given waste paper and just laughed a helpless sort of this-is-not-funny-but-what-else-can-I-do sort of laugh. I pulled up alongside her and though I don’t generally give money to beggars, said, I think I can do better than that, and gave her a $100000 note. Only 10c in US terms but at least it was useful. She was genuinely pleased. The prize bastard in the Toyota, a diplomat who could certainly have afforded something useful, was long gone.


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2 responses

4 11 2007
Clive

“Howzit” is the Queens English compared to the American greeting of “Sup”, sort for, “What’s up.”

4 11 2007
Clive

“Howzit” is the Queens English compared to the American greeting of “Sup”, short for, “What’s up.”

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