Friday, 25 January 2008

I knew I was in trouble…

…today Friday, January 25 2008, 8.45pm –

- when I received a text from a young friend’s wife saying: “Uncle Jinta, it’s me, B, please call me back, very urgent”. My phone had rung twice displaying a ‘withheld’ number which I never answer unless in a foul mood (and though still in the office, my mood was not foul, after all, it’s a Friday). I consider if you really want to speak with me, you will display your number. Then it rang twice again, displaying a number I did not know. Call me bizarre but if I don’t know your number, I still do not answer the phone unless my mood is dark. I keep all numbers: friend, foe, antagonist, ex-wife, beast, lover, ex-wife’s lover, the wife of ex-wife's lover, assassin, just so I know who to avoid and those I would really like to speak to, etc. I’m also paranoid about taking unknown calls, thanks largely to trauma, which is another story entirely; but I digress.

I had not been in the office all day and got in at 6pm to catch up with my paperwork, respond to e-mails and listen to my phone messages. When I saw the text, I had a premonition that it would serve as a disruption to my Friday beer drinking, but because B is someone I like, I called her back…

“Thanks for calling me back, I could not think of anyone else to call”. I said: before you go on, I do not like surprises – you know my ticker’s weak from the continuous battle with my lovely ex wife who’s determined to clean me out if she can’t kill me with jazz, heart attack or high blood pressure – and I do not like bad news. If anyone’s dead, go bury them, I don’t need to know who it is and if you want me to contribute to buying a coffin, heck, I’ll even pay for the entire coffin and all arrangements, just please don’t spoil my Friday.

“No, no, it’s not that. You know Mr. A was due to return to Nigeria at 12 noon today, he was not allowed to board the aircraft and was arrested at the airport. His wife just made a frantic call to me from Lagos. I tried to call W (my husband) but his phone’s off”. Which airport? “I don’t know”. Why was he arrested? “Oh, his wife wasn’t too clear, but it appears he had a knife and a fork hidden in his belt, he was informed that he has to go to court”. A knife and a what…? Hidden where…?

Now, I had met Mr A, W’s uncle a couple of times on his 9 day trip to London. He appears to me to be a responsible middle-aged very slightly built gentleman who is an engineer in one of the bigger private companies in Nigeria. We even had a Star Lager swigging, marinated chicken and Kebab scoffing send-off for him last night at the Gold Coast Bar and Restaurant, a Ghanaian concern which is local to me at home and at work in South Norwood. I like him. I promised to visit him on my next trip home and he, in turn, promised to exact revenge for me getting him drunk.

This does not make sense; do you see why I do not like surprises? Right now, I’m still thinking of how it concerns me and I have concluded that, whatever happens, W has to come out of hibernation before any movement. I’m literally on my way out the door to do my Friday thing, will be meeting friends at Mahogany something or the other in Lea Bridge Road.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Snake Girl

Someone sent this to me today and I was at a point between fascination, fear, witnessing the impossible, more fear, amazement and more fear.

What do you think?

Friday, 11 January 2008

Revolting Habits

I’m not a queasy person and will steadily look at and tolerate things that would make most people grimace, cringe or wince with discomfort; however, an incident occurred lately that got me thinking of repulsive habits.

1. Last Saturday I went to West Ham, to a place I normally go to listen to my taste of Afro hip-hop and r‘n’b. It’s not exactly an upmarket place but it suits my quest for anonymity. I stood hugging Remi and fondling Stella (for the uninitiated, that is sipping Remy Martin brandy and using Stella Artois beer as a chaser).
Then this giant of a man comes and stands right in front of me, so close I can smell his three day old sweat and my arm brushes against his back each time I took a swig of my beer, which does not appear to bother him. He looks like Idi Amin and stands like Mandingo so my inclination to tap him on the back and request he find his own space was cowed. I glanced back and a couple were standing there; I would have invaded their space had I moved back. While I am contemplating how to deal with this colossus and looking at the back of his head with the huge folds of skin where the head joins his shoulders (he has no neck), he suddenly plants his fingers behind his head, uses thumb and middle finger to part the biggest crease of skin and scratches away at the now exposed crust with his index finger…I could imagine the flakes of previously imprisoned dead matter falling into my brandy and I felt sick.

Found my way home and could not eat for thinking about disgusting habits.

2. On my way to work in the tube about 12 years ago, I was absent-mindedly looking at this well-dressed couple. The man was picking his nose and sucking the contents into his mouth. Ugh! I took a hard look at both of them and wondered why a woman so elegant did not see anything wrong with her man’s actions and, as if to answer my question, she dug her elbow into her side, pointed her index finger toward her face, proceeded to pick the bogey stuck between the corner of her eye and the bridge of her nose, and, I kid you not, put it into her mouth. That was the first time I saw that done and the last time anyone saw me in the London Underground.

3. A disgusting habit here is spit cleaning. That is when someone puts his or her finger to their mouth to obtain some spittle in order to clean a mark on their body. Years ago a girl tried to help me clean marks to the sides of my face caused by tears streaming from my eyes because of bitterly cold winds, with her own spit, mind you, and my reaction was fierce. I’ve seen mothers use spittle to clean marks on their children. Ahh! I feel sick.

4. About public loo hygiene. Let me tell you ladies out there, when you go out, about 70% or more of blokes using the loo do not wash their hands afterwards. I don’t care what we say; I see it, every time, and stand in wonder. This probably happens with the ladies as well, however, I’ve not been fortunate to find myself in a ladies’ loo yet. Clubs, pubs, airports, restaurants, bars, everywhere, dirty, grubby, MRSA infected fingers are coming out to embrace you.

5. Eating loudly. I have an acquaintance here that chomps through food like he’s just been released from Guantanamo or Kirikiri. I’ve tried the power of suggestion several times and even told him outright a couple of times, but he appears to take offence when I correct him. Suffice to say, I cannot eat when he is.

That’s my list of disgusting habits. I felt a little unsettled so I thought: why go through this on your own when your blog friends are out there to share with?

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Prose To Darkness

When I noticed some blogs with comments moderation enabled I wondered why, in the interest of free expression, one'd need to do that. I recognised the fact, then and now, that out there are some who cannot employ temperate language when they feel strongly about something, when angered or when they take an issue personally, as we all tend to do from time to time. I also know that some comments left may be totally inappropriate, way too personal for this medium or may even border on blackmail.

With the above in mind and even though I totally validate the reasons why some will moderate their comments - there are too many unhinged people out there and, believe me, I've seen and met my share - I resolved never to moderate comments on this blog. I can literally see a couple of my friends in blogshere raising their eyebrows and saying: you wait, you'll eat your words and I think I agree with you because, as I write, I feel it in my water that you're right.

What has influenced my thinking is the knowledge, acquired over the past two years or so, that we have less to fear from those people I described in the first paragraph than those who are hidden from us, (some of whom smile at us in reality and are our best friends at work and at play, and who we share our stories with and they know most things about us, the ones who really understand us, them), those with really ulterior hang-ups, total dead-beats with sinister chips on their narrow shoulders fermenting evil machinations and wallowing in the stench of their murkiness.

I have broadly divided visitors to various blogs into separate categories below:

1. The Curious – they just ‘surf’ (how I hate that word) and look around various blogs. Like reading a newspaper, they do not leave comments.

2. The Passive – this category mostly wander unto your site by linking to comments you leave at other sites. Some leave comments, some do not. Some come back, others stay away. Some want to come back later to blogs they find interesting but cannot find the path with which they navigated to the blog, as has happened to me. Some ‘stalk’ your blog in a not unpleasant way.

3. The Active – some who know you only on blogshere, virtual friends with whom we develop friendships and affections for their writing styles and ideas, others know your person. At other times, we meet virtually and become friends in reality. Mostly, they leave comments, sometimes they cannot be bothered.

4. The Baddies – this group have some things in common apart from the love of darkness. They generally think they’re clever; they monitor your blog so closely they could be your shadow. They’re around so often they could be stuck on with super glue. They never leave comments but follow your ‘trail’, seeing what you’ve been up to and trying to determine your next move. They are always there, rabid little heretics who may actually be deaconesses in church; greedy dead-enders slinking around in darkness. If you listen closely, you can hear them clicking on to your site. I can see you! Oh yes! Every time you come to my site I smell you, you leave a rancid bovine smell when you log off, much like your paraphernalia of jazz you thought you were hiding from me. You, daughter of darkness, the daughter of an abomination of a mother who knows both husband and boyfriend, killer of Abel and his first son, importer of jazz, the bad fruit does not fall far from the rotten tree. I smell you. Every time you come on, you leave a nasty taste in my mouth.