Monday, 24 December 2007

Merry Xmas To You

My friends, seen and unseen

My enemies, real and imaginary

My acquaintances, known and unknown

My family, whom I could not choose

To everyone on whose life an impact I've made

And they, on mine

Whether positive or negative but never indifferent

Friday, 21 December 2007

Always Online

A few months ago, I was sitting in front of my big sister’s house having a chat. We fondly refer to her as Sure Sister and for the life of me, I cannot fathom the origin of that name.

Sure Sister told me about crank calls she receives at 3 am in the middle of the night, telling her they ‘have a message from her brother in London’. According to her, she always responds by saying she has no brother in London (in reality, she has two).
After laughing about it, it struck me that she was essentially answering her mobile phone when most sane people were asleep (except me on weekends, of course). I pointed this out to her and she said her phone is always on. I asked her whom she expected to call in the middle of the night and she said ‘you never know’.

Later that evening, I was speaking to Laspapi, expressing my wonder. He agreed with Sure Sister and says you never know when an important call may come in, one which you would not want to miss for the world. Cant it wait? This is Nigeria! Real business only happens in the night, he said, adding, most Nigerians leave their phones on. Excuse me!

Now, me, as soon as I get home, my mobile phones go off and do not come on until I get into the car the following day. I have a house phone for which I don’t know the number and only had it installed because the rigid Sky TV people said it was a condition for me to get the facility, so it never rings. A few years ago, I forgot my phone on and an unknown silly, giggly girl called at 2.30am and thought it was funny, so I find it difficult to understand why anyone would want to leave their phone on. My mum argues it as well and asks how to contact me in an emergency, and I reply, as politely as I can, that if it is an emergency, she should be dialling 999 instead of me. If it’s something that needs my attention, it can wait until the next day.

Now, is the problem me, or you who will not switch off?

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Lagos Jumps

A couple of weeks ago, I flew (instead of walking, I suppose) into Lagos. I had given Laspapi, my initial host and pick-up, 14 hours notice to arrive on Saturday morning (I can tell you: he’s sick to the eye-teeth of me), which is not bad considering I gave myself about 16 hours notice.

‘Papi had called back to say “environmental! You have to be out of the airport by 6.30am so we can get home by 7”. I said: no problem, plane gets in
at 5.30, should be enough time. Not only did the plane not get in until 6am (I wanted to scream at the pilot to put his foot down, esisin nje tyre, and all that), my bag only came out at 6.45 and by the time we got to the car, it was 7.05. Too late! We stood in the car park having a coke and catching up, joined by one of Papi’s friends who was also waiting.

Eventually, we left at 10, got home, I had a shower and needed an immediate nap. During my last visit in April, ‘Papi had promised he would install A/C’s in his place as I complained of the heat. I dismissed him as Lagos mouth who always makes unfulfilled promises. To my surprise, he had fulfilled that promise, bless him, and split units were competing for space everywhere you looked, everywhere, wait for this!, except in the spare room where he usually shoves me. Did I say bless him?

I fell asleep and woke up with someone holding my nostrils blocked. I jerked up in a panic, Laspapi is trying to kill me in my sleep, exacting revenge for all those torturous years he thought I gave him while we were growing up. No, not him. It’s my ex choking me! How did she get into Papi’s house? She was screaming: “die, mother f*cker, die”, like a banshee. Oh my God! She finally got me! I came fully awake, not ready to give up without a fight. Oh…… It was the giant fan ‘Papi put in the room to help me sleep blowing dust into my nose. I forgot about Lagos dust and my nose was now blocked. No point in going back to sleep, especially as the picture of my ex had been so vivid.

In the evening, I made a few calls to London and Lagos, went to my favourite watering hole near ‘Papi’s house for Star and goat meat, and went to bed.

On Sunday, washed my car. Yep! I have an old banging BMW I keep at ‘Papi’s, attended my watering hole again, met up with old friend and Lagos big boy Gbemiga (not of the 419 ilk, this one works o… he heads some department in the biggest old generation bank), and decided to take in ‘Papi’s show called ‘Wedlock of the Gods’ at Terra Kulture. Jolly good show.
Monday, drove around, got dusty and dirty in my white shirt. Dapper fashion Rule no. 1 – never wear white in Lagos. I spoke on the phone to one of my favourite strong-minded people – Isi, while navigating Ikeja and hoping one of the myriad of uniformed officers called FRCN or Plasma or Mulatto will not arrest me - made a mental promise to invite myself for a drink with her and later got to see her picture in some mag – was it Genenieve? Not sure. Somehow, I did not get to invite myself.

Tuesday, drove towards Ibadan to buy odó for my pounded yam, yes o, it now graces my kitchen and it is full size, although I have not used it yet. I like my pounded yam, comes in second after bread.

Wednesday to Saturday, hibernated in a hotel room for peace (alone, for you people with wild imaginations) and in between took in Coliseum night club, Page, Extreme something or the other and, courtesy of Gbemiga, the Lagos Country Club, before returning to the land of no area boys.

Monday, 10 December 2007

A Riddle That Will Kill Your Brain

Someone sent this to me since July and I would periodically look at it to no avail. I know some smart person's out there that will have the answer just like that.

There are three words in the English language that end in "gry". ONE is angry and the other is hungry. EveryONE knows what the third ONE means and what it stands for. EveryONE uses them everyday, and if you listened very carefully, I've given you the third word. What is it? _______gry

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

I got hit by a golf ball

OK! The title does not fit – I just felt quirky.

Everyone knows Nigerians have a propensity for titles, probably because we are a nation of flash gits: we have the old ones of Dr; Dr. (Mrs); Chief; Alhaji and Alhaja; at which time the problem was getting so bad that Ibru, publisher of The (Nigerian) Guardian, when it first came out a couple of decades ago, decided he would only call men and women of quality like Obafemi Awolowo (Chief) and Nnamdi Azikiwe (Dr) by their titles (- this has since changed).

In the last 20 years or so, people now moved to Barrister; Lawyer; Engr. (I used to know a twit here who drives mini cabs [kabu kabu] and refers to himself as Engr. because he had done a couple of Microsoft exams); Balogun; Asiwaju; Aré; even a couple of my acquaintances are on the Otunba bandwagon. What happened to plain old Mr & Mrs?

I admire my late father for not joining the title race and praise Babatunde Fashola, Lagos State governor, for resisting it so far. I will forgive him for the totally inadequate (alright, let’s be honest – atrocious) roads, I am even willing to give him time to sort out the armed robbery and consider getting a separate power grid for Lagos, I will ignore the area boys and lack of ‘town planning’, but his stature will diminish in my eyes when he titles up.

What really irks me is the propensity for Nigerians now to be referred to as ‘Sir’. As far as I know, ‘Sir’ is an honorary knighthood bestowed by Charles’ mum which can be used by UK citizens but not by non-UK ones on the rare occasions they’re honoured. I remember Sirs Adetokunbo Ademola, Adesoji Aderemi, Tafawa Balewa, etc. The Rivers State governor (Amaechi) is called ‘Sir’ and now Sir Mike Okiro???? The Police IG was referred to as ‘Sir’ in some newspaper adverts congratulating him for his substantive appointment as IG. For some reason, these new ‘Sirs’ mostly seem to emerge from the non-nothern parts of the country and I cannot figure out the trend.

I feel better now