Do you have the time or do you have the time?

“Do you have the time?” ‘Tip.” You see this repetition throughout the novel, Tram 83, by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, but what exactly does it mean? Well, I guess there is multiple meanings to it and I will give you my perspective on it.

“Do you have the time?” First time I read this, I thought, “Prostitutes,” because back where I am from (Orange County), you see prostitutes in every street light corner and you will hear them say something along the lines of “Do you have the time?” I am assuming they are asking males this to see if they have the time to give them pleasure for money. And I would understand why the need to be pushy about this line because this is their job and they need money to survive. Another thing I think this line could mean is do people really have the time? Is it 1:00 o’clock or what is it? They are legit just asking what time is it. And the last thing I think this repition could mean is that they are asking someone if they have the time to pay attention to them and give them love. It is maybe more like a relationship type of thing but they could be asking for the need of someone’s time to love them in any way possible.

“Tip.” I can only think of two things this can actually mean. The first time I read it, I assumed it was someone asking for tip money for doing service, for example like a waitress. They probably ask because not everyone gives tip and they need that money to survive. Another thing I think it could mean is advice. Maybe someone needs advice and help to get their life together because it is not easy living in a society like that so they need a “tip” to get by.

So, what is the actual meaning for these repetitions? I guess it is how you see it. For me, I see prostitutes and money tip, but others can think of a whole other meaning.


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