FRANQUE’s Fridays: Something Stupid

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“You should see the toilet in this place. You know the sink thing for washing hands? It’s like a fountain.” Jay enthused as he returned to the table.

The other three there looked up at him.

It was Erin’s birthday dinner which Jay was having for her. Erin and Jay were engaged to be married. With them were Ope, Erin’s best friend, and Francis her boyfriend. Also invited were Ochuko and her husband, but they had not arrived.

“I know you want to go and see,” Ope teased Francis.

“Nah,” he waved it away with a guilty look on his face.

A few seconds later Francis excused himself from the table and went to the toilet. When he was done he pushed the button on the dispenser in the corner and a dollop of scented handwash dropped into his cupped palm. He pressed the button again. Satisfied with the quantity of soap, he rubbed his palms together making sure to cover every inch of both hands and then he walked to the sink to rinse his hands.

The circular sink stood in the middle of the room. There were no visible tap heads, just some tiny spouts arranged around a chrome pipe.

Francis waved his hands in front of the spouts, and nothing happened. He waved his hands again, this time closer, and still nothing happened. He went round the sink trying out sections as he went, and still nothing happened. With rising apprehension Francis tried pressing down on the central pipe. Nothing he did seemed to work.

He opened the door a crack to look in the restaurant for a waiter he could ask, but the waiters he saw were at the bar. They were looking at the customers in the restaurant away from Francis. He shut the door and returned to the sink.

After a few more tries, he decided he had been gone for long enough to make his friends worry. The soap was dried now and gave his hands a look of cracked wax. With a sigh he returned to the toilet where he pushed the button to activate the flush motor. Under the water flowing out of the cistern and into the toilet bowl, Francis washed the soap off his hands. He repeated the exercise twice more before he was satisfied he had got all the soap off. Then he pulled paper towels from the receptacle and towelled his hands dry before rejoining the party at the table.

When he got there Ochuko and her husband had arrived and they were ready to order dinner.

While everyone at the table talked, Francis was uncomfortable – his mind kept returning to his hands and the toilet water. Unable to take it anymore, he pushed back his chair and excused himself again. He walked out of the restaurant and raced down the escalator like a demon was after him. The restaurant was at a mall and Francis was familiar with the layout of the mall. He made a beeline for the convenience facilities downstairs, and when he got there, he first turned the tap head to be sure water was running, then he soaped his hands. He rubbed his palms together vigorously before putting them under the faucet and letting the water run over them. He let the water run for about two minutes before going to the hand dryer and staying there till the warm air had completely dried his hands. Only then did he feel comfortable enough to return to dinner.

After dinner, the girls said they wanted to use the bathroom before they left. Francis knew he would have to explain what he did to everyone at the table if he as much as uttered one word of warning about the sink. Instead he hunched down in his seat and fiddled with his phone.

He soon heard the girls giggling as they returned to the table.

They narrated how the spouts in the sink had not worked and they had called a waiter who showed them how to operate it.


Just the other day I was reading @Leke_Alder’s “Letter to Jack” and it brought this story to mind. He wrote: “This is a classic case of not being confident enough to say, “I don’t know, I need help… There’s nothing wrong in asking the waiter questions, seeking guidance. If you don’t know, you don’t know.


PS: I hear there is an outbreak of cholera across some parts of the country with Plateau, Sokoto, Zamfara and Lagos states recording the highest figures.

I think we should all do our little bit to help keep this cholera from spreading.

So if you are next to me at Mass on Sunday and during peace offering I give you a hug instead of a handshake, it may not be because I want to cop a feel, it may be because I do not trust your hand – I do not know where it has been.

What say you?



"Franque is in aviation, which by the way is not his job, just a lifestyle. If he ever kept a diary it would read like his articles will. Unfortunately he doesn't. Scratch that. He didn't.AIRtiquette is a walk in his shoes. Since regular isn't in his vocabulary, brace yourself for a bit of airwalking!" Follow @franque_521 on twitter.


  1. Francis was me at the departure lounge, Ghana Airport 2010. Sensor faucets in the Ladies. Luckily, a cleaner came in and I suggested nicely that there was no water. The lady then explained how it worked. Imagine if I had haughtily harrassed her like some Naijas are wont to do the ‘ela’ would have been unbearable!

  2. I’ve always had a thing about shaking hands. Once I saw a man “dig for gold” then 5 secs later shake a friend with the same hand. Since then I figured out a method of greeting. I would give u a huuuuge smile and wave in greeting so u wont consider shaking hands…it’s worked like a charm :d
    Stay healthy…wash ur hands (preferably not with toilet water) and avoid eating in bukas for now. :p

  3. @ AVerySilentReader: New fangled tech and pride don’t go together.
    @ Kay: Are you subbing Francis?
    @ Joy: I reserve my hugs for church. For the sisters. Brothers only get a nod from me.
    @ Bisi: I’m sorry about that.
    @ Shadow: uh huh.
    @ Jimmy: Let me think on the kiss part…

  4. I’m learning how to do this every time and not just occasionally. Sometimes the things I do so save face are even so much more embarrassing than what I’m trying to hide…

    Nice story Franque. Next time I want to save face, I’ll remember it

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