Calm Before the Storm
Finally, I have managed to find some spare time to actually sit down and put together an entry that will make a little sense considering this internet connection of mine lacks juice. The reason I am up past 2 am and watching Nigerian music videos is because I cannot sleep. Yes, I am stamped and certified jet-lagged. This is the second night in a row. Exerting all that energy crooning at the karaoke bar did not make a difference. I am going into my 5th day in Nigeria and all I have to say is that it is good to be with family again. The yelling, the door slamming, the harassment, the abusing and cursing, the duping and the dodging. That’s my home sweet home. The cacophony and canter chorus sounds rival that of the London Philharmonic Orchestra at practice. The sole reason I ran very far away to America, refusing to look back. Now I ask my self, what I’m doing back here. As they say, love is blind and blood is thicker than water. I did miss the silliness though. Like this morning I had a perfect aim with my slippers. My brother Chibuike, who basically tries to be a thug but will be at your mercy if you serve him a plate of fish, thought he had me and was running away after he smacked me. Little did he know that I had mastered the art of 'slippers-weaponry' very well. Despite the fact that I almost slipped trying to chase him and pull my slipper off at the same time, my aim was so on point that it drew the map of Africa on his back. Oh the joy and jubilation. He was so shocked. My sisters you will hear more about, and as for my mother, she is still paranoid and is only relevant when it is time to eat. Her middle name is 'mummy where's my food'. My father aka 'aka-gum' (hand of gum) is still allegedly stingy according to his other children and is only really seen when it is time to negotiate some monetary dealing. In some cases when a victim of 419 is needed. For example yesterday, the poor man got duped twice in the same 'graduation fee scam' perpetrated by my sister. She told him that the 'exit fee' for her and my brother was N9000 each when in actuality it was N1500. Now you would think that as a professor my dad would know what the University he works for is charging the students, but I guess he must have been aloof about it. Anyways, he got smart later in the day, after he had dished out the money, when he asked one of his graduating students what they were charging. By then it was juts a bit too late. I am sure the conversation went like this
Student: Ah Prof...Good after'oon sah
Prof: Ah how are you my dear... are you ready for the d-day
Student: Yes sah... we thank God. In fact I just went to pay my exit fee sah. The line was too long sah. I even saw your daughter there this morning.
Prof: Yes... I gave her the money this morning. After paying school fees they still want a whole ‘9 towzan’ just for graduation, when it is not Cambridge.
Student: ‘9 towzan’ sah? But sah it's only one towzan five hundred sah.
Prof: WHHHHOOOOOTTTT!!! One towzan five hundred?
Student: Yes Sah
Prof: You don' meanit....chai umuakanu egwuolem wayo (these children have tricked me)
(Picks GSM, calls the house...my brother Chiwuike picks up. Yes I know. I spelt his name differently. My confused parents can’t figure which it is. That, my and Ejike’s real birthday.)
Chiwuike: Hello. 9 thousand... (Sounds surprised) It's one thousand five hundred!?! Ehn ehn...Ok… lemme call her sha (places phone down) Onyenachi... your father is calling you…he has found out oh, the plan has scattered; find what you will tell him because this money is not leaving my hand.
Onyenachi: Hallo... who told you that? He must be an eediot. The department fee is this, the cap and gown is this. The scroll too is not free. Add that that and that and that is even 10 thousand. I even had to take money from my own pocket sef to add to the money. I don't know which graduation that person is paying one thousand five hundred for but it must be for University of Iwaya not University of Lagos. Ok...I will bring receipt. Bye Bye.
Some things never change. Meanwhile, I was at the corner inflating the amount that the tailor charged. What? I am taking my quota for the past 10 years so allow me.
Anyways I was supposed to meet with one of my contacts but he had to cancel and so I planned to meet my friend Ayisola at the Galleria Mall at 5pm. She was stuck at work and could not show so my sisters and I were perambulating the mall till 7pm. We ended up going to some smoke filled bar called Havana's to meet my sister's 'suitor' (the word boyfriend is forbidden in my house because according t my father, just because he has 3 daughters does not mean his house should be turned into a brothel). After that we headed to the karaoke bar and acted a hot fool miming to Candy Girl and This is How We Do It. Funny enough I’ve never been so this was another interesting first and I loved it. As usual I took off my shoes, but that, my not wearing jewelry, no make up or nail polish seemed to be the focus of attention for one of the persons in our company so I take it Lagosians are not all entirely fans of the 'hippie-nearly-deeper-life-chick-thing'. But the experience had me thinking, gosh darn it why didn't they think of this place when I was a juvenile. But I am upset with the management though. WTF!!! How can you have a karaoke bar in an African country and not one musician on the list of the songs is Nigerian or African for that matter. What's that? I mean even a whole MTV Award winning song like African Queen by Tuface is not even on the list. Imagine the insult. Abeg the manager had better put some Fela, Shina or Majek on that bloody list before I write a boycott letter some newspaper.
I kinda told my story back words because I skipped the part of my horrendous ordeal with KLM Airlines, my gas problem on the plane, how the heat hit me and how I went weak at the share amount of people and baggage at the one and only baggage claim section that the airport has had since my mother first brought me through there in 1980. Just thinking about that alone can mess up the rest of ones stay in Nigeria, not to mention the traffic, bad roads, touts, mosquitoes, lack of light, water, abject poverty amongst other things. But we thank God for places like 'The Island' (and its inhabitants) where we can all create and live out our fantasies, as well as the glossy and gossip magazines that never fail to show what we should all aspire and aim for in order to get away from the reality that is Nigeria. A reality which can cause a brain tumor if one should think too much about.
Anyways ‘they’ are supposed to be going to church in the morning at 7am. Emphasis on they because I know I will still be in bed at that time (I’ll actually be bitching at them to stop disturbing my sleep). Anyways I have a phone now but that credit situation is rather interesting. I have to keep reminding myself that this is no AT&T or Sprint-to-Sprint. By the way those of you that are landing need to land quick quick abeg make the Xmas festivities begin. As chairwoman, I don clean chair finish put leg for table dey wait una. Ngwa biko bata bata osiso osiso kam ma wedar if it is skinny jims k’obu akwa kam ga wear (please land land fast fast lemme know if it’s skinny jeans or wrapper that I’ll wear)