The Africa Measurement

Bangor International Airport continues to encourage 20 seconds of hand-washing, but also offers helpful guidance about how to determine when you’ve hit the 20 seconds above the sink by identifying song snippets that need that time period to be properly sung. And the song options cover the generational and musical taste spectrum, with rock and pop songs from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s and a country and what I believe to be a rap/hip-hop option. (Not being familiar with Lil Nas X, I’m guessing that is the right genre.)

There’s a risk in encouraging song singing, because someone could burst into off-key crooning in a public restroom. But I chose Toto’s Africa and sang it in my head as I lathered and rinsed, including holding the note on “had” as happened in the original version. And I learned something in the process: I always thought the lyrics were “I felt the rain down in Africa,” and “I bless the rains down in Africa” definitely gives the song a different meaning (although I’m not sure exactly what).

When I was done and had dried my hands, satisfied that I had fully complied with the 20-second instruction, I mentally sang the rest of Africa—as best I remembered it—then mentally sang Rosanna for good measure.