Catcalls and Dead lines

You are walking down the road and you hear guys whistling and calling out to you. (What are we, animals?) Even okada men will be calling out to you while speeding past you. And it’s unbelievable how shamelessly they do this. anigif_original-grid-image-9260-1396296826-4

You would hear things like “baby”, “fine geh”, “heys!”, “my colour” (huh?), “why you dey frank your face na?“(shoot me now!) etc. Now, the funny part for me is when they demand that you respond. Then you begin to hear things like; “answer me na”, “na you I dey call na” etc., then when you don’t respond, their tone changes, they get angry; “mxcheeew, you no even fine!” “wetin dey do am sef, abeg waka!” At this point, I’m like; I was kuku walking.

A friend of mine once told me she went to get something at computer village and some guy grabbed her a**. For the love of all that is good and pure, why? Why so aggressive? She said she was so scared that she couldn’t wait to get out of there. That’s just annoying and disrespectful. People need to have sense o.

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So, I was in this bus on my way to Ikeja, one fine afternoon, when this young man got on the bus. He sat down beside me and I just kept typing away on my phone. Then, I heard him say something. I was hoping that what I heard wasn’t actually what he said. So I pretended not to have heard and I kept looking at my phone. This time, he said; “Excuse me,” I turned to look at him and he goes; “Do you know you are beautiful?” Duh! I just rolled my eyes and gave him a “Please.just.stop.talking.” look and thankfully, he was wise enough to shut up. I just couldn’t deal. Ain’t nobody got time for that, fuel is cost.

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At the Obalende bus park where I was in a bus going to Ikeja (I was actually going to Ikotun but I Had to take a bus to Ikeja first. Yes, Ajala much!) While waiting for the bus to get full, this young man entered the bus and sat on the seat in front of me, so that he was directly opposite me. He called out to the woman selling cold drinks and bought Cway peach. Then, he looked at me and asked; “how was school?” in my shock, I echoed, “school?” and he nodded. I just shook my head and turned away.

Or the one that gives you unsolicited advice; “You know you are pretty, you shouldn’t be frowning your face”

nicholas
Oshey special adviser, who ask you?

It is fascinating the length at which guys try, and fail, if I might add, to start conversations with the opposite sex without spewing unappealing lines. I thought we have evolved. Isn’t it 2016 again? Or someone has been able to perfect the time machine that has sent us, without our knowledge or consent, into years gone before?

I can be really terrible at small talk. The entire concept of it just tires me out sometimes, but people of God, there are a lot of conversation starters you can employ to get conversations going. You can’t go wrong with; “This traffic ehn…” or the winner; “I wonder what this government is doing… ” or say something clever, and take it on from there.

“Do you know you are beautiful” is just plain lazy. That line is tired, let’s move on.

 

When It Rains, It Floods

I woke up on Wednesday morning at about 4.30 am to the sound of the wind blowing against the windows, warning of the impending rain and in no time at all, it had started to rain. Now, the clouds had gathered the previous day on my way back from work and I had prayed that I would get home before the rain started because I was tired and I didn’t want to have to deal with the rain as well plus I had my laptop with me and it would have just been a very messy situation. So, the rain that was supposed to fall that Tuesday night decided to fall the next day and it was bloody.

Here I was standing in the middle of the room, an hour later, already dressed up and ready to head out but the rain wouldn’t let me. It was beating ferociously against the roof, the windows were shaking and I could hardly hear myself think. Let me put this in perspective for you; I stay on the island, temporarily if I might add, and it has been raining consistently in the past week and you know what happens when it rains consistently in Lekki? Yep, you guessed that right, flood!

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Swimming gear, anyone!

Water everywhere. For the past one week, the roads have been flooded and thanks to this amazing neighbour, I have been escaping the regular morning swimming exercises. But on this Wednesday, he was sick and he wasn’t going to work. Ah! Imagine how I felt that morning. I was so confused. How was I going to get out with this heavy rain? I looked outside and the water level had risen. I waited to see if the rain would subside but no such luck. It rained all day and I stayed indoors because really, I cannot come and go and kill myself away. I just relayed my predicament to my boss and thankfully, he understood.

Apparently, this is a common problem with the islanders and has become the butt of so many jokes judging from this hilarious tweet that was all over twitter. This problem is largely due to the poor drainage system. For example, in the estate where I stay, I realized that the gutters were shallow, some streets didn’t even have gutters. So it rains and where the road should be becomes a large pool of water, and for the (un)lucky ones, the pool is right inside your compound. Your very own private, indoor pool! How fantastic.

The people that live in this estate can actually afford to fix this problem if they all come together and work it out. We cannot keep waiting for the government because we would be waiting a really long time. It is in situations like this that we need to take matters into our own hands for our own safety. God forbid you wake up one day to realize you are floating away on water and then, it might be too late.

A popular quote from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech in 1961 is rather instructive on this: “Ask not what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country”. Selah.

 

My Boss and I (6)

Ok, I will try not to bore you with this one but it has to be said.
I have and will always attach value to life (whether humans or animals) but I must confess that a human life is far more valuable to me than that of an animal. If a monkey was writing this (I know, just humour me), it would have asserted that a monkey’s life was more valuable.

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This is a monkey

Where am I going with this? I am glad you asked. Some time last two weeks or so, there was this video of a 17 year old gorilla named Harambe and the 3 years old boy that crawled into its cave.
I watched the video on YouTube and even though I knew that the child was not hurt, I was scared he was gonna die while I was watching the video. Folks took to social media to express their anger on why the gorilla was killed and all, and my boss happens to be one of those folks who think mediation would have done the magic. He argued that the gorilla was only protecting the child (maybe he has watched Tarzan).
The argument between us was fierce that I thought he was gonna fire me from my job. So we had to declare; ‘No victor, No vanquished’.

So on Monday, I had to help him pick up his children from school. On our way back, I decided to stop at an eatery and get them ice cream. The service was slow so we were delayed. My boss called and asked where we were and that was when the thought came to me.
“We are at the zoo”. I replied.
The man shouted, “What! What are you doing there?”.
“The kids said they wanted to see what a gorilla looked like, so I brought them here. We are even looking at one now”.
Suddenly, I started shouting over the phone “Oh my God! It is trying to get out of its cage, Oh my God! Oh my God!”. I just kept shouting and ended the call.

When I got to the office, he was not there. So I asked the secretary where he had gone to and she replied, “he ran out, saying he was going to the zoo”.
I just packed my things and headed home straight.

-Ameh.

Broken Down Buses

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Image: cohorticulture.blogspot.com

This is a tiny part in the series that I have tagged, “Lagos Chronicles”. I wrote an introduction of some sort two years ago and you can find that here.
You know how they say the more you write the better you get at it? I have decided to adopt that as my mantra going forward and write till my fingers bleed! (Okay, now that’s a bit of an exaggeration but you get the picture) and what better way to do that than to chronicle my experience in this very interesting city. So I am going to break them down into instalments and make sure I stay committed to it. I might probably need divine help!

Okay, moving on to my concern for today -broken down buses- I still do not understand this and I hear that it happens like every other time at the worst possible times because everybody I lament to go, “ah, that one is a normal something, welcome to Lagos”.
Well, it has happened to me more times than I can count and it is infuriating how often this happens. Is it too much to ask that danfos (yellow commercial buses) don’t break down at 6am when you are trying to beat traffic and get to work in good time? Or at very weird places where you cannot get another bus, hence, you are stuck with the broken down bus in the middle of the highway or one of those interior routes (pardon me, everywhere is interior to me as I don’t know road very well) the bus drivers usually take to avoid traffic. (Ah, traffic. That’s story for another day).

This fine morning, after waiting forever for the bus to get full, only to start moving to realize that the bus was struggling to gain speed. Like, maka why? And to top it off, it was smoking. As in thick black fumes seeping into the bus through the windows and choking everybody. It was almost like the bus was coughing! The driver kept driving, ignoring the shouts of everyone on the bus. Now that’s another thing that pisses me off with these bus drivers and their conductors. They have perfected the art of ignoring you or giving you annoying sarcastic answers when you are talking to them. Sometimes, when you are talking to them, it’s like you are talking to a brick wall. Especially when they have to fix their buses when it breaks down or they branch to buy fuel. *sigh*. No apologies or anything they will just ignore everybody and start tinkering away, doing a quick fix that will definitely not last. At this point, one should just get a personal car! Now the problem with that plan, besides the fact that I can’t afford it right now, is that I have to perfect my driving (I haven’t driven in over a year and when I say “driven”, I mean a couple of months armed with my learner’s permit and a big ‘L’ on the car. So when I say “perfect”, I mean learn, all over again) and with this whole fuel conundrum at 145 naira, a hole the size of the Atlantic would be drilled in my pocket. And don’t even get me started on Uber. Let’s just say it’s not time yet.

This is just very frustrating because I think that they can afford to maintain their buses and keep it in good condition. I mean, this is your source of livelihood. You put this vehicle on the road every day. The least you can do is make sure it is in proper condition and not allow people suffer because of your inability to step up and do the right thing. This is another indication of our poor maintenance culture in this country. Everywhere you turn, you see things in one form of disrepair or the other. Places left to rot, national monuments, parks, locations that should be tourist attraction sites now stand in the shadow of their former glory.
I just want to be able to get around without the bus breaking down or being dropped half way to my destination and carted off into another bus simply because we are just four left on the bus and apparently, the same bus stop they had been threatening to make you deaf with is too darn far to carry four people to. this happens more times than you would think.

P.S.

So, guys, I am a bit unsure about “Lagos chronicles”. So what do y’all think: Yay or Nay?

My Boss and I (5)

So I know I am not supposed to comment on matters revolving around my boss and his family, but not when it puts my life in danger. He is always involved in quarrels with his wife and that is how they will make me the middle person. His wife will call me to ask, “where is your oga?” and finish with “Tell him not to come home o!” My boss will call me asking, “did my wife call you? Call her back and tell her that I am coming home at 6pm sharp and she should get ready.” That is how I am delivering messages upandan like one zombie. Of course, I can’t say that I don’t enjoy the quarrels, especially when he’s on the phone with her and you can hear his wife saying, “I will beat you this night, just come home first.” And he will say, “that is how you like making mouth.” I usually just laugh out loud at this two in their 50s acting like some drunk teenagers in love.

So last week Friday, while driving back from court, he started lamenting about a quarrel that must have ensued between them this morning. I just sat listening and feeling sorry for him until his lamenting got out of hand. This time, he started shouting “oooo God! Why me?” and while at it, he kept taking his hands off the steering wheel. Sometimes lifting both hands and his head up and at other times, he placed his head down on the steering wheel all the while yelling “why, why!” and the car was moving at a reasonably high-speed o! so I shouted, “sir, please stop! Park, please. I will meet you in the office, I am still single please.”
And surprisingly he replied, “oh my God, you mean I have been driving since?”

Ameh.

P.S. Catch previous episodes here