Today was a great day, from the moment I opened my eyes , it’s been le-ge-n-da-ry! I’ll tell you about it. I prolly got up around seven am, gisted with God for a while and went to have my bath while my noodles and egg breakfast was on the cooker. My neighbours were ‘fighting’. At first, I thought they were ‘ironing things out’ and I am a big fan of ironing things out. As a matter of fact, I feel some of the problems we have in the world today, in Africa, in Nigeria is due to the fact that people on this side of the divide do not like to talk things through. Once the other person’s opinion is different, they prefer to keep quiet or at least ‘not fight’. And I keep thinking, we ought to mature into ironing things out, have sane conversations, question the motives and intents of people and ask why? Reminds me of how my lecturer said on Tuesday that once you start asking questions, asking why, you become the enemy and a target for destruction.
After taking a photo of my food before eating with my roommate asking why I always take a picture of my food before eating and me telling her its reflex, I ate, dressed up, styled my natural hair which has been wowing everyone lately in terms of growth and sleekness, and slid into a pair of comfy sandals. Thank God it’s Friday. There’s this blue and cream Ankara skirt I made around last year or January this year I think, that I never got round to wearing. I decided to rock it with a cream jacket today and went off to school while my neighbours ‘fought’ on.
My first stop was at admin where I was supposed to collect an official document for future use. Thanks to either the security man’s unmatched directing prowess or and my own wonderful navigation abilities, I did a quick merry-go-round three different departmental buildings before arriving at the room 5 where the officer in charge had not even resumed for duty! At a few minutes to 10.00am! I left for class. But not before sweeping an innocent passerby’s phone off his hand in a bid to wave bye to a friend I met at the collection centre.
I had a ten to twelve class that never held. The class captain refused to go and call the lecturer who’d told us the week before that he had another class spilling into our time and so needed the captain to come call him when it was ten. Why did he do that? We had to discuss WHAT NEXT?
WHAT NEXT is a traditional annual faculty program organized for people in my class. As it happened, we were given some free hand to come up with a budget hence the proposed budget was up for discussion. Comments were made, questions were asked and objections raised. Things got a bit heated and some peeps called others out. Lesson learnt- issues must always be separated from persons. After about an hour, and being shushed for daring to ask if the class was holding, in the middle of such a ‘salient class discussion’, we were told class wasn’t holding. I went back to admin and got the document this time.
I had planned to go shopping for some stuff so I went to get some money. See the sea of people at the ATM! As in!
Anyways I got the money after queuing up for a while and went in search of a cab. Now I met a lot of people today whom I was excited to see but had no ready conversation to carry on with. So after the usual hello, hi, how are you, fine lines, there was practically nothing else to say. Anyway, my ‘good to see you line’ came in handy once. When I meet someone I’m excited to see and I don’t know what else to say, I conclude with good to see you and a smile. I must at this point register my past, present and future apologies to as many people as ever saw me and thought I deliberately ignored them. Sometimes I don’t even see people until I ‘see them’ as was the case today also. My bad, please take no offence.
After some big denomination impeded trial at getting a cab, an about-to-become-a-fellow-passenger offered to change my one thousand naira note and we got in a cab. This guy had a lot of money on him and a POS machine too. I realized later that he was a bet guy as he lamented that someone had just won 21,000 naira off him. By the way, betting is now the in thing. Betting stalls are all over the city and even secondary school children are betting. Everybody wants quick money, God!
The cab filled up and we got going. Soon enough, the driver wanted to make a bet. He slowed down by a mad man and offered him ten naira for the winning numbers. Apparently, there’s a thing about mad men giving out winning numbers because they are ‘in the spirit’. The guy said 3124, took the money and we zoomed off. He bet with fifty naira, got his POS issued ticket there and then and urged us to wish him luck. Reminded me of how my roommate also asked me to wish her luck some days back when she was going off to bet. Luck gini? The guy kept on praying he wins and when another passenger asked how much he hoped to win he said twenty four thousand naira!
At some point in the journey and right in front of a public secondary school, there was a slight traffic logjam. The students where crossing the road en masse, swearing and cursing as they pursued each other. The driver explained that they always fight each session. Then the driver picked up a man he knew and was obviously seeking a favour from. In a bid to do him a favour, he took a detour off the normal route and dropped off some passengers with a plea that they show understanding. Nigerians! Robbing Peter to pay Paul since 1500 AD.
Need I tell or remind you that once you enter a typical Nigerian market you become ‘aunty’, ‘sister’ or even ‘mummy’? There was a man preaching and praying as I entered the market and as I read the lips of the sellers and saw a man mutter an amen despite the noise and distractions. Everybody wants blessings eh? A guy soon grabbed my hand asking what I want.
Bag! I retorted and he let me off. He even informed the next grabber, ‘na bag she want’ hence I earned a free pass through that segment of the market. They were shoe sellers. Lesson learnt- when you come in the midst of market grabbers, mention the item on your list they obviously do not sell and thou shalt be free.
I found myself walking right behind a man carrying a cute little child that fixed a lovely stare at me, moments later. I waved and smiled at her, she waved and smiled back. I kept waving and passed by. The father saw us and laughed. Then I got to my first stop- to get a bag. As soon as I sighted the stall from where I’d purchased my last and long gone schoolbag over three years earlier, my eyes rested on this particular bag and I heard in my spirit- that’s your bag!
The woman said it was 5,500 and my first reaction was hei! (something I picked from my roommate). I’d actually asked her before leaving the room that morning and she told me she bought hers(several months ago) at 3,000 naira but when the woman asked me how much I wanted to pay and I heard 3k in my spirit, I doubted. After some all smiley I-don’t-even-know-what-to-say moments, I told the woman 3k and she laughed at my shrewdness. Then she said, ‘pay 3,700. Jesus! From 5,500? Left to myself I wanted to say 4000 or 4,500 before because I had been thinking it would be between 3,500 and 4,500 and had budgeted accordingly. But when she said 3,700, my resolve strengthened and I ended up getting a ‘take it and pray for me’ price of 3,300.
Now that was good price I got undeniably and it’s a miracle for me because the bag is all complete with a notebook bag and a rain coat.
I smiled and went off to get other things with a joyful alacrity. No sooner had I bought the bag that repairers started bothering me with ‘aunty come and let me sew the hand of the bag for you, aunty let me sew it before it cuts off’ ‘aunty this is where it will start tearing off, let me…’ They were even grabbing the bag! Thank God I had a firm grip. A hawker was busy advertising mustard seed and it’s miraculous powers and omni cure attributes up and down. And she was referring to the mustard seed in the bible and yada yada…Country people, must una use religious blackmail? You just had to link it to Bible hian?
I moved to a lingerie shop. A man passed by selling locally made solutions for eczema and pimples. He was asking prospective customers to curse him if it doesn’t work saying they’ll never see a pimple on their face again. Choi! The things men do and say for money!
The lingerie woman refused me some certain colours because I had taken some colours already and I ought to mix them with some others. I left her goods and bought only the colours that suited me. Lesson learnt- you need a strong resolve even in the market place or those sellers will foist their will down your throat and leave you eternally unhappy after taking your money! I shan’t forget the fact that this woman made me wait a long time while she attended to other customers and pacified me with her ‘omoluabi like’ pleas. And then she said ‘aunty, it’s your leg that is good’, as if I don’t know already. I mean they all say that to me! But I’m not to be used, hello! Answer me and let me go.
‘Aunty buy this, buy that…’ continued as I went through the market looking for other stuff. And then this time, a guy came again, pulling at my new bag and admonishing me to sew the ‘hands’ before my child starts using it. Ewo! When did we have that discussion biko nu? I kept moving and he kept at me. ‘eh eh, kilode to n se bi obirin…eh, Bola… agidi e yi naa ni…’ Buhahahahaha! Oh my! I even got a new name hian? Bola ko, Bose ni.
I picked up a few other things and left the market. But not without passing by the number one grabber again who asked if I’d got the bag.
‘Yes’, I replied.
‘What else do you want?’ he asked.
‘Nothing’, I walked past.
As I returned to school, I passed by two other fight scenes with the offended so mad I almost took one for a mad man; I also stopped by the store in front of school to get some other stuff. Here, I took green label tea without knowing. It was when the check out price was higher than labeled that I realized it. Me? Green label at this age and shoe size? Tufia! I returned it and went for my gold label.
As I fetched water to my room later in the noon, somebody kept saying, ‘hair goals, hair goals…’ behind me.
I didn’t even stop because I thought she was saying ‘hello, hello…’ to someone else. Not until she stopped me and said, ‘sister your hair is goals.’
Toooh! I just dey look am.
Your hair is nice, she went on and passed by.
‘Thanks,’ I called after her.
I had Eba and vegetable with coke for lunch knowing well that I’d stumbled on some post during the week on the WC cleaning/scouring powers of coke. After enduring a guest on a Yoruba radio program strenuosly attempt answering questions in Yoruba despite being a Yoruba man; and gisting with an ex roommate as to the fees they were to pay in her department for a program similar to WHAT NEXT?
Later this evening, I saw a movie before my roommate came back and we started to gist about our very interesting day(s). She spoke of market place culture shock she’d been through. We have ‘light’ so I made the very much famed Ewa Agonyin with plantain which surprisingly, my roommates had never had before.
Well we all ate while taunting each other with imaginary husband names and preferences and cracking our numerous inside jokes over and again. And oh, I forgot to take a picture, sorry.
P.S. we’ve been laughing so loud for some time and it’s almost twelve. I hope we won’t get an Abefele visit anytime soon. (Checks to see if front door is locked).