The keke ride that woke me up

Right after the commercial motorcyclists “okada”, tricycles are next on my “avoid if  possible”  list. We all know how close to impossible this is, though, with the madness called Lagos. They are a necessity if  you don’t have a car. I jumped into one of those within the week as soon as I heard “fine girl, you dey go Express”? My bus rides are usually time for me to enter into myself. I’m usually deep in thought or as close to pressing my nose to the window to see the things speeding past me as possible. Some childhood habits just never die. Of course you can’t press your nose to the Windows of a “keke”  because there are simply no Windows!

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” I love you!” This was the first thing that hit me when my bum had hardly settled in my seat. Goofing around, are we? Two can play that game. I played dumb.

He said it again, louder this time. I caught his eye in the rearview mirror. Without missing a beat I replied “I love you too” and looked away, hoping he got the message. He grinned instead.

Gawd no! This one seemed to be one of those long winded, ever cheerful people and I was not in a talkative mood. That didn’t deter him. “Will you marry me?” he asked. Without wasting a second I said, “of course”. I had hoped to catch him unawares by not trying to act coy. It worked. He was a bit startled at my reply. Then he laughed gaily and launched into the story of his broken heart. Even as passengers piled in, he continued  his story, occasionally glancing at me in the mirror to be sure I was still listening.

“Are you an Edo girl?”

“No”

“Where are you from?”

“I’m Igbo”

“Oh, you Igbo girls. The girl I wanted to marry was Igbo you know”

“Hmmm”, I say. I’m thinking “TMI?” But my simple response seems like more than enough fuel to drive him on. I needn’t say more. He just keeps on.

“Her people said I couldn’t marry her. Her mother actually told me she liked me and that was why she was advising me not to waste my time and money on her daughter”

Silence.

” I really loved that girl. Her name was Florence. ” At this point he smiles in memory of this Florence girl. I find myself cracking a small smile. I can’t help it. He’s a smiler .

“Her mother explained that she has just two daughters and wanted them to marry close to home”

Silence.

“She told me she would get pregnant for me so that her parents would have no choice but to give her to me in marriage. It was painful but I had to let her go. I’m not that kind of man.”

All this time, the other passengers are listening, but don’t get the full gist. I tell him I’ve reached my stop. Handing him the currency note, I tell him, “You will find your real woman someday, don’t worry.”

The fact that this taciturn passenger finally managed a full sentence seems to have made his day. He flashes  me a winning smile.

“Thank you sweetheart”

Ooookay, too much familiarity already. A simple thank you would have sufficed but anyway, I’m off the vehicle. As I cross the road, I think to myself, “This would be good for the blog”. Unlike the one million other times I’ve said this in the last four months, I actually go through with it.

Sometimes people just want someone to listen to them. They don’t expect you to  solve their problem, but just to listen. You never know when or where you’ll be expected to play the shrink to someone. Whenever that is, remember :if you must be anything, be kind.

Yay. We’re back.

90s chick; nerd, humanitarian; lover of life, family, fashion, food, art and literature; Christian by birth and choice. In short, I’m like jollof rice: you’re gonna love me. 😉

Unceasing rain, an acute case of writer’s block and everything in between

A short while ago, I almost gave up blogging. I had got my custom domain name last year, which meant that I got rid of the wordpress.com addition to my blog name. Perhaps I had thought that the action would transform my blog into something better than the toddler it was/still is. In other words, I tried standing an adult on a toddler’s legs. I’d probably thought, somewhere in my subconscious, that a move in that direction would make me a wellspring of creative ideas on what to write about. The crushing disappointment shown by a cursor steadily blinking at you from your screen, is perhaps one of the most exasperating representations of writer’s block.

 

For people of my kind who fell in love with words at a young age, writing about the things that matter to us is, as I like to put it, like a wild bird in a cage,  flapping about and looking for escape. Writing, for us, is the key to the lock of that cage. The release felt from putting thoughts to paper, (or from keyboard to monitor) is pretty much indescribable. That people actually read what you write is the icing on the cake. Knowing that even one person, read your work and was influenced positively, (especially with  the population of clickbait swimming all over the ocean of the Internet) is the best thing ever. There has never been so much to read on the Internet as there is right now. It is a humbling realization knowing that: you have a gift, but so do others. There’s no rule that says your work must be read. I do not know if this helps the case of writer’s block, but it does help put things in perspective . I like to metaphorize writer’s block as many wild birds flapping in a cage, with you the writer and cage owner, frantically searching for the keys to the lock, and coming up empty regardless of the effort.

 

For seven days in a row, there have been rains in Lagos. Eight days, depending on your area. For Lagosians, this means traffic even worse than usual, runny noses and coughs every direction you turn, dreary weather and floods in differing proportions (the island is worst hit. All hail our government for trying to push water away to create land for more ridiculously expensive highbrow dwellings that get submerged every year. Well, the water is pushing back.).

Depressing stuff.

I do not work a nine to five job but rather do the field stuff and work from home a lot, making my earnings by way of commissions (which have taken a nosedive since the onset of 2017. Don’t mention the R word). Padding around the house in the complete home-high-fashion ensemble of sweater, thick socks and a blanket plus my (really dorky) glasses, drinking a hot beverage and reading two books alternately, I realize I cannot quit blogging. Not now, at least. While I might never write the great novel, this precious space gives me most of what I need to unclutter my cerebral apartment. There are so many beautiful, interesting, exciting, thought provoking, emotion inducing things to write about, so I’m not getting off this train yet. If I did, the wild bird might flap till it gets tired, starves and dies. That’d be a crying shame.

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A great writer once wrote, “you can’t edit a blank page”. Reading that quote motivated me to put pen to paper, and here we are, a full page already!

 

It’s my birthday in a few days. Every year I unconsciously expect a new birthday to usher in a changed version of my person, but it’s the same face in the mirror and the same personality year after year. The main change, is a new kind of awareness, mostly in response to events, whether planned or incidental.

 

For those longest time, dating back to my teenage years even, I had regarded the sayings “you are as old or as young as you decide to be”, “age is just a number”, and “it’s never too late to start” dubiously. I felt like they were used by people desperately trying to reclaim a lost or misspent youth. Until I began to find myself feeling like a tired, world-weary 50 year old trapped in a lissom, 20 year old body; or a playful, fun-loving 10 year old prankster trapped in a 24 year old body.

I have done the proponents of these sayings a great disservice. I think I finally get it.

Here’s to being the best versions of ourselves. 🍸And to never quitting. 🍸

Love, Chibugo.

90s chick; nerd, humanitarian; lover of life, family, fashion, food, art and literature; Christian by birth and choice. In short, I’m like jollof rice: you’re gonna love me. 😉

Another man’s meat

You probably don’t know it, but you have something someone else desires terribly.

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A gap in the teeth is an abnormality, a defect. So is a dimple. A genetic defect caused by shortened facial muscle, that one. But this is all anatomical balderdash. Tell this to the women in Aba who go to carvers to chisel out a gap in their teeth at a very high risk, or the girls who attempt surgery to create dimples on their cheeks. The long and short of it is that people look for ways to achieve said defects as an item of beauty. The beholder calls the shots after all.

A mole on the face or body is a defect. I have two on my neck, and that one above my lip. Spent hours in my childhood trying to remove it, till I saw a very beautiful woman put the exact same dot above her lip with black liner ; the final touch in her makeup. It didn’t look so much like a defect after that.

A fart is a fart is a fart.

Kembu, my sister, had an operation and was not allowed to eat any solid food till she was able to fart. For three days she was on intravenous fluid nutrition. How long can you stay away from eating actual food? On the third day, mother came into her hospital room and met her smiling, all 32 of her teeth almost walking around the room on their own. “Mummy, I farted!”, came the announcement, in the same tone of voice you’d announce, “Dad, I got into Harvard on a full scholarship!”

What is a fart again?

Oh, it’s that thing we all do but never want to admit we do. Biology says a healthy human makes about 4 to 14 successful attempts daily. Too smelly and “messy”(pun intended) to be spoken about. But somebody prayed to be able to do it.

7:45pm. She’s on Cele overhead bridge, stuck in traffic. Amid the sound of horns and drivers cursing at each other and hawkers calling out their wares, she takes off her stilettos and puts on her handy flip flops, alights from the bus and walks the rest of the distance, passing the cause of the traffic and crossing the road to take a tricycle to her final destination. A pair of eyes follows her every move hungrily from behind her tinted window, air conditioned luxury car. If one could just park on the bridge and return later to pick up her car…. She sighs and blares her horn even louder.

Life is a well spiced pot of ironical jollof, the party type.

Sincerely, Chibugo.

90s chick; nerd, humanitarian; lover of life, family, fashion, food, art and literature; Christian by birth and choice. In short, I’m like jollof rice: you’re gonna love me. 😉