Eyebrow conversations

I grew up in a neighborhood where symbols were used to communicate traffic rules.  Red light, green light, stop signs, yield signs, school zone.  Dozens of symbols.  They created a common language which promoted safety.

My Nairobi neighborhood doesn’t use those symbols.  None of them.  For example, on my short walk to work, there is one intersection.  Despite the fact that there is extremely heavy traffic at rush hour, there are no traffic symbols.  Zero.  So, how does one safely cross the street?

I finally figured it out. It’s in the eyebrows.

I stand on the curb, wait for the cross traffic to slow down and from a distance of ten feet I  make eye contact through the glass windshield with the driver.  I raise my eyebrows  just slightly (hey will you stop and not run me over?) and they raise their eyebrows (yes, but hurry up, lady, I’m late for work!) I immediately step into the street and hurry across in front of their car.  The key is to establish eye contact.

Discovering the “eyebrow conversation” method of crossing the street keeps me safe, but one day it dawned on me how amazing these conversations are.  I have no idea who that person is, they don’t know me, we don’t say a word and may not even speak the same language.  It happens in a split second but we have communicated life-saving information.  What a cleverly designed signal.  When God arranged the human face and human mind, he wired into our brain a signalling and recognition mechanism that would let us establish a connection with another human in an instant.

And that’s just one of God’s zillions of brilliant ideas.

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