What’s his ain’t mine

The back of his washed-out jeans left a clean circle from where he’d been sitting. I didn’t know the make of the car, but it had a thin layer of dusty residue all over its body. He was throwing melon seeds into his mouth as he idly sat on the bonnet, his companion laughing along to whatever was being said.

It was an odd sight as I’d never seen anyone sitting on their car before, and then it became obvious that it wasn’t his car at all as he jumped down and hailed a microbus with his friend.

Clearly, I was left in a state of wonderment: eyebrows shot up, jaw dropped slightly and then the delayed head scratch of eh?! The young guy had been sitting on someone else’s car, with no care or concern of any sort of reprimand. Switch the situation to London, and what you would see – or rather, hear – is someone screaming, “Get the f*** off my bloody car, you f***ing p****!” No, I kid you not.

There is an unspoken rule that what’s mine ain’t yours and therefore, what’s mine can only be touched, removed or likewise with my permission. To do so without permission you are looking for the back of your head to be slapped, or any other sort of consequence.

Although I’ve been in Egypt for 9 months, I still have this ingrained in my psyche, and do not feel comfortable leaning against someone’s car as I wait for a friend, or put my feet onto a car’s bumper in order to tie my Converse laces. What’s his (or hers) is his (or hers) and I have no right to abuse that. I’m thinking that if Egyptians adopted this line of thinking, there would be less abuse of property and increased respect for one another.

Wishful thinking of a Londoner? Maybe, but one can always wish.

– The Londoner


Posted on June 3, 2011, in Ruminations about Cairo, Thru The Londoner's eyes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Hear Here! I once found a group of kids rocking my uncles car back and forth for sport. I shouted at them from my balcony and had to go down and chase them away. Sometimes its harmless and in the UK we are a little over protective materially, but sometimes it’s just damned right rude and inconsiderate. Good Post.

  2. I remember this young man was tying his shoe laces on my neighbour’s car in London and they came out of their house and told him to leave their car alone and the man was rude to them and swore. lol. In Egypt don’t be surprised if they eat sandwiches on the back of your car. You can make a fuss, I have seen people do that, but it’s definitely a strange cultural norm.

    • In Egypt don’t be surprised if they eat sandwiches on the back of your car.

      Oh yeah! That is very bizarre… just bizarre. Could explain why most cars are battered here (aside from the crazy driving!).

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