If you live on the East Coast of Demerara, traverse frequently or commute using the route 44 minibuses then I am certain you know who Limpy is. You may have very well crossed paths with him as well because that’s just how Limpy is. Over time, I assumed his name came about from the limp in his walk. For a man of his small stature, Limpy is pompous and troublesome. He has also made me smile- almost laugh– on a few occasions so I will say he is funny, too. Limpy is a minibus conductor and that is how our paths crossed.
For all my five years attending President’s College at Golden Grove, Limpy has been overly friendly- to the point where it was annoying. He was one of those conductors who would lean over to you to ask for your number. My number. Okay. If Limpy ever saw me during weekends in the vicinity of the bus park, he was sure to call out, “Miss President’s College!”. My reaction was to always pretend I hadn’t the slightest clue he was referring to me and walk faster- a dash would make it too obvious- as if that ever stopped him, though.
Fast forward. It is now 2019. I completed Secondary School six years ago and Limpy is out of mind. In quiet moments, I do recall some of the minibus operators like Denzel, who gave me money once when I forgot my wallet at home. But Limpy is not one of those persons. He does not cross my mind and I do not recall our encounters- until now. Until now as he approaches me with a wide grin on his face calling out, “Miss President’s College!” with an umbrella in his hand. This is not a dream. This is real and Limpy has not changed one bit!
It is raining heavily and my umbrella is failing me. I am not soaked from head to toes but my shoes are wet and I briefly stop for shelter before boarding the minibus on my way to work.
Upon seeing Limpy, I quickly wear a mask of bewilderment which does no good in stopping Limpy from approaching me. When he is close enough, Limpy says, “Man, don’t do me that man. Don’t do that to me” – in a tone of disbelief at my facial expression – “You might able disguise on them with ya haircut but you can’t disguise pon me. I know you since you start going College. This face can’t hide man”.
Still, I continue to deny even attending President’s College and I maintain the facade. “You are confusing me with someone else”, I say (in my very Daniella voice) but Limpy does not buy it. He is as certain about knowing me as I pretend I am about not knowing him. As I sprint to the minibus, Limpy follows me with loud mocking laughter and tells me, “Don’t do me that friend. You might disguise pon them but you can’t disguise pon me. Me and you good right?”. He is still laughing. I can hear him and I want to laugh too because I feel silly. Finally, I give an assertive nod to his question. Limpy and I are good and I am reminded that sometimes people just show up for you, even when you don’t want them to.
Learning. Being. Becoming.