Friday, December 19, 2008

When is it the right time?

A relative was being courted intensely by some dude. He wanted to marry her and all. In fact, I guess that as far as he was concerned it was a done deal. I am a little sketchy on the details about how they met but they certainly had not known each other for long.

Anyway, in the getting-to-know-each-other process, she mentioned that she had had a child about 4 years before that time. Said child was in Nigeria living with relatives while she was pursuing her education. Truth be told, she was so young when she had this child that said child was given to childless relatives to take care of. I am waiting on the end of that story but back to this one: His reaction? He dumped her. No more marriage. No more I love you.

Her grandmother claimed that she told him too soon. That she should have waited to get married to him before she broke the news to him. In other words, trap the fish and deal with the problems later on.

Y’all know I am a single mum. I am always upfront about that. Not ashamed of it. And although I have not dated a lot since my last relationship (does one date in 3.5 years count as “not dated a lot?” lol...), I mention my daughter almost immediately to anyone I am introduced to. I have been told to wait a few weeks, months, heck never mention it till he puts a ring on it.

Now I am curious, when is it the right time to say it? And why?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Farafina Reading

I went for the Farafina event on Saturday. Unfortunately, I was really late and left not long after as I had another appointment but I was able to catch the reading by both writers. I admit to not having read the book by Eghosa, TO SAINT PATRICK, but still enjoyed listening to him talk about it and how he had to set his PC to autosave every few minutes because he did not have a UPS and had previously lost some of his work to NEPA/PHCN. Kai, NEPA let someone say something positive about you one day!! I will buy the book as soon as I can head down to a bookshop.

I had read two of Nnedi Okoroafor-Mbachu's books and it was quite interesting to hear her speak on her particular genre: science fiction. I am of the opinion that there are not enough Nigerian children books available and was glad to find that a Nigerian author had written a sci-fi/fantasy book that is directed at children. Adults will love it too.

During the Q & A, Nnedi made a very interesting comment. Apparently, she was born in Cincinnati OH, and grew up in America but from the time she started writing, all her books were more or less Nigerian based. If you read the Zahrah series you will understand why I say more or less. I found something else she said interesting. " ...both my parents are Igbo, I am from Chicago... " LOL! I found that she even has a blog. Its right here. I read all her posts and found that she has a talented brother as well. You can view his website here. He draws, sings and more.

I applaud Farafina on their organization of such an event. I find that entertainment is hard to come by if you are not into pubbing/clubbing. This was a good way of relaxing and coming in contact with those whose words mean enough to us to cause us to spend time buying and reading their works.

Lastly, Bambuddha was a lovely venue. I have always liked them - You can have a lovely Sunday brunch there plus they have "mocktails" for people like me who do not like alcohol.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The one about Amala

I went to have lunch with three colleagues recently. We left the office (forfeiting our free but rarely tasty company lunch) and headed to a place that I can only afford when they just pay salaries. ( Abeg, I can’t be eating N1300 a plate rice with palm stew everyday- it will easily lead to my own personal financial recession).

While in the car, someone else suggested that we go and eat amala instead. Me, I was willing to roll in whatever direction and I told them so. That was how we went past our airconditioned eating place and headed for the amala joint. On getting there, I discovered that the place was part mechanic workshop and that the wooden shack that was in the middle of the compound was the eating joint. When we went in, the place was FULL. One of my colleagues literally had to stand around and wait until someone was done before he sat down. Another one copped a seat on a table next to ours. In fact, we later discovered that some people were eating outside with the sky for a roof. How is that for good business?

There were several workers (including several children aged from about 7-11 who busied themselves cleaning tables, fetching water and other junior < forgive the pun> staff duties) and in a few minutes our order was taken and steaming hot plates of dark amala placed in front of us. Next came the soup: I never slack- I always have gbegiri, ewedu and stew a.k.a Abula. The pepper was just right. The consistency of the gbegiri was not watery and not too thick. Then they brought a final plate: The meat. Different cuts of goat meat and innards lay waiting to be devoured. My colleague was so moved that he actually gave his heartfelt thanks to the girl that brought the plate of meat.

We washed our hands and faced our meals. All talking ceased as we spent the first few minutes doing justice to the meal. This meal was much better than the one that my work provided. I am the sort of person that likes to eat meat after my meal (yeah, my mother brainwashed me to within half an inch of my life). By the time I reached for my first piece of “ogufe” (goat meat) the plate was only half full - my colleagues having had a head start. The meat could not have been more perfect if someone had stuck a thermometer in it to gauge that it was rightly done.

Before I forget, we were not the only ones that wanted a go at the food. We also had our friendly neighborhood flies. There was an abundance of these. We were eating with one hand and swatting flies with the other. However, the presence of the flies seemed not to perturb anyone. Outside, one could easily see the women pounding and turning large amounts of amala. Their faces dripping with sweat which took off on a race from their faces to the valley between their breasts. Sometimes, due to the force of the pounding a few drops would fall into the mortar and quickly become one with the dark amala.
Extra flavouring.

When we were done eating, a girl came to calculate the bill. No fancy receipt, the girl just stood there down and in a sing song voice recited everything we had eaten: “Amala meta thirty, thirty nera pelu plate merin….” By the time she was done, our bill came to about N1,500 for all four of us. All I could think was: "with all that meat?" The last time we went to the other place for a quick lunch we paid about 6,000 for all of us.

Now questions arising:

At these prices, do they actually make a profit?
Are the other eateries overpriced? I recognise that the Amala place has far lower overhead costs.

My colleagues are serious ajebutters but did not seem to mind the squalid conditions at all. I lay no claim to being an Ajebutter but seeing one fly in my car is an issue but here I was playfully wrestling them for rights to my meal and I did not pull the customer is king, what the heck is a fly doing here? stunt. What makes one so tolerant of these places?

And yeah...the food was oh! so good!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The witches of Akwa-Ibom

My daughter woke up with a fever today. According to Helen Ukpabio, she must be a witch for daring to have a body temperature above the normal.

I have read and watched with horrific interest the stories concerning the child “witches” of Akwa Ibom. There is a small clip on the documentary that shows the movie that is believed to be the “whatdunnit” that started or at the very least catalysed these winshing of children. A lot of emphasis has been put on Helen Ukpabio and while I agree that it should be put on her, I have noticed that there has been no word from the actors, producers, directors of this dastardly production. They are almost as guilty as Helen Ukpabio ( I use almost because while they must have moved on to shooting movies with other subject matters, Helen Ukpabio has used the platform the movie has helped build to spread the “child witches” propaganda and thus is in my humble opinion more culpable than her accessories in this crime). I refuse to watch the movie so I do not know the make up of the cast, but I do know from the documentary that Teco Benson directed it. Has anyone heard a word from him? He probably sleeps soundly every night despite the fact that he has helped in spreading this evil. And I thought we had a National Film and Censors Board. They let this pass through the cracks? So many questions....

I have not seen a single actor/ actress/ producer/ director in End of the Witches stand up to denounce their part in the making of that movie that has changed the course of the lives of a lot of children. Has led to deaths, forceful imprisonment or even a life worse than death as in the case of the girl who had a 3 inch nail driven through her skull.

The noble thing to do in the face of all this would be to find a way to right the wrong. Do TV interviews that will reach the masses - the very people that watched the movies and felt that the message was clear: Children can be evil and spread this evil within the family and their communities. It is everyone’s duty to kill/get rid of them so as to stop this.

And the PFN guy in the documentary who sort of denounced the movie, has he done so in his own church or asked fellow pastors to do so? He is in a position of authority and can effect change by giving a sermon highlighting the fact that the treatment being meted out to these children is nothing short of evil. Has he? Has any pastor under the PFN? Or are they worried about what would happen to their incomes if they should make bold to denounce this evil and distance themselves from it? Whatever happened to that all popular tool of the churches: excommunication? They have not excommunicated Liberty Church or the other churches that have sprouted from them so they must accept that their teachings are okay.

And why is it that no local TV station has gone down there to carry the news? Admittedly, I watch very little TV- National and otherwise but if it had been investigated and aired, I would have at the very least heard about it. Rather, we wait for foreigners to come and do out work for us. Shame.

This really is the end of times.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Newest Kid on the Block

In the last month, I have moved house, changed jobs and my daughter has changed school. For that reason, I deserve and award myself the newest kid on the block award.

In order to get my daughter to school and myself to work efficiently, I had to move to a new neighbourhood. This is a big deal for me, having lived in the same old place with my folks for 20-odd years. The faces are new. Although to be truthful there are no faces. Just the sound of a neighbour’s stand-by generator starting up once there is a power outage or the occasional sighting of the same car entering a compound twice in a row. That is the most interaction I have had with my neighbours and judging by the look of things, that is the most interaction there will be. Not that I mind. I am quite anti-social so it suits me just fine.

I had been at the same job for years and had always wanted to do something different. It is difficult to break into a totally different field after a certain amount of years in another especially when it is a technical field. Lord knows I tried for about 4 years. I even put in the time in getting qualified educationally. Finally, break-through. Plus it is in a totally awesome place and yes, more pay. I almost took a whole lot less money to do about the same work earlier this year. They did not give me the job because they felt I was overqualified judging by my current position and my educational background. I thank The Lord for it now although at the time, it all looked bleak.

Our first day at my daughter’s new school reminded me of all the movies I had seen about being the new kid in school. She is just a kid so she did not really notice. However, I stood awkwardly on the sidelines as parents ( especially mothers) screamed with joy as they spotted old friends. I knew only one parent from before and watched as she hugged and air-kissed several people. No matter, 2 days later a fellow newbie and I who have our children in the same class said hi. No air-kissing on both cheeks yet, but maybe soon. Lol!

Who else thinks I deserve the award?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

7 things about me

It has been while since I was tagged by tobenna and aloted. So, I have decided to add one more and make it 7 things as opposed to 6. I am not tagging anyone because I think I am the last person in blogville to do this meme.

1. I have no attachment to anything. And by anything, I mean my worldly possessions. I may be inconvenienced by the loss of some things but that’s where it ends. Please note that my daughter is not on that list. (I had to add this for the people that may think to group her as a “thing”.)

2. I am really quiet and reserved. I do not enjoy arguing or even talking. That said, I think it is a never ending source of surprise to people how stubborn I am. I am quite opinionated and will thoroughly examine the arguments for and against, do some private research before I change my mind about anything.

3. I generally tune out when people continually start their every sentence with “My pastor said….” I mean think for yourself. This does not mean that you cannot say it once in a while. People impact on our lives all the time and we like to refer to the knowledge they provide. Another one I totally hate is when people constantly say: “may The Lord forgive me, but….” and then go on to say something nasty about another person. I do not like hypocrites. In fact, if I meet you and you even do it once, I write you off.

4. I cannot stand people stepping on my feet especially if they have shoes on. I cannot tell what they have stepped on. This may sound off the hook, but go to a busy market and see if you will not be stepped on at least once. When I go to the market, I spend half the time looking down and avoiding busy feet. Hold on, I don’t go to markets…finally, a reason why!

5. My phone and I do not always have the best of relationships. I do not like to have my phone ringing off the hook. I will be quite happy with myself and with the world if no-one called me in 3 days. (Unless of course it’s a significant other, then I expect and am happy to be called several times a day). Unfortunately, because I work for folks, I need to have my phone on all the time. I never switch it off but sometimes when it really gets to me, I just send all my calls to voicemail.

6. I don’t like to receive text messages whr d msgs r nt discrnbl. Whn I gt dem, I wnt 2 ask “Wht hppnd to long hand n wht hapnd 2 ur vwls?” I cn skip thse msgs nd nt rid dem 4 a month.

7. I like watching British Comedies. I thought THE OFFICE was a hoot. I would gladly sign a petition for more episodes. Rick Gervais had me in stitches!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

And we are (almost) back

I did not abandon my blog. Some things happened that made it almost impossible to blog. Laptop went Kaput. (I am holding NEPA responsible for that one. Maybe I should get the House of Reps to probe them on my behalf. LOL!) and I was so busy at work I could not afford the time to blog at work.

And then a whole month later I got a new laptop, 4GB RAM...I am in speedy heaven, but my internet connection at home has been spotty ever since. I can't even read blogs unless I hook up with my phone. I can not begin to tell you about all the withdrawal symptoms I went through but I am glad its *almost* over.

Proper post later!
(And the reply I owe too)

I am going to do my rounds now.

Thank you all, for the mails and checking up on me.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


So I am a little pissy right now and that will reflect in my post.

Let’s start with your friendly neighborhood police. My friend’s car got snatched. A less than 6 month old 2008 Toyota Camry. When he reported at the police station in the vicinity they asked for a mobilization fee so that they could “buy fuel “to go to other police stations and inform them to look out for his car. He paid N25, 000 (approximately $215). This of course was apart from the other “fees” he had to pay. An example is when another friend’s car was stolen and he had to pay about N5, 000 to have his police report photocopied, and also paid the person that was going to make the copies an additional N500. It does not stop there. Yet another friend whose car was found by the police had to cough up N50, 000 to retrieve said car. And that was not even a new car. For new cars manufactured between 2007-2008, the police will tell you that “if we find this your car…..” as a hint to what your bill will be. So, you get robbed and when you report to the police, you get robbed again. As if the first robbery was not traumatic enough. Police na your friend. I couldn’t even make this stuff up if I tried.

I feel like screaming at the drivers in my office. They come to work in the morning, drop off their various employers and congregate in a common room where they watch DSTV until it is either time to run an errand or time to go home. At the end of the work day, they probably go home flop down on a sofa and declare how tired they are after a “hard” day at work while their wives that run around getting dinner together and the children settled down for the night. Tomorrow, same thing. 5 years later, they move from driver to Senior driver and life is okay. 25 years later, they retire as drivers that have a good knowledge of DSTV and their program schedules. I know I am just drinking someone else’s Panadol on this one. I just really feel like yanking them off those seats and getting them to do something with their lives. Self development, somebody!!!
I have a new colleague who shares my “office” space. He smokes and smells smoky all the time. My poor nose.

The BRT buses are running now and so far so good, the initiative seems to have taken some cars off the road. However, it would appear that the drivers of these buses are far from professionals and drive as roughly as Molue and Danfo drivers. I have seen with my own two eyes as they climb over those thingamabobs that are used to section the road on Western Avenue(I can’t remember the name- culvert?). On 2 different occasions they have also almost run me off the road. And today one was driving half on it's designated lane and half on the "civilian" lane. LAMATA, please o!! before there is a bad story to be told.

A blogger found out who I was and I felt violated. I am really a private person and I was just trying to do a good deed when I contacted him. I thought of quitting my blog. I feel better about it now although a mail I sent asking not to be “outed” has not been responded to.

Finally, some good news: Gbemi reached needy people in Rwanda and Nigeria. I also know for a fact that she has done more than she has written about. I am totally proud and in awe of her doggedness. Not everyone will put their money where their mouth is.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Who is 1st? Who is 2nd?

This post was inspired by this one.

When I was younger, my older cousin introduced me to a friend of hers. Let’s call the friend Patience. Patience had an interesting story. Apparently she was a second wife. I had never seen one of those up close (LOL!) and I was curious to know what would make someone who was such a knock-out become a 2nd wife.

Patience dated Ade (another pseudonym) for about 8 years. They started dating when they were in Uni and kept dating after they both left and started working. Naturally they started talking about getting married and that was when the problem started.

You see, Ade was from a noveau riche home and his family was a lot richer than Patience’s old money, aristocratic one. His mother was a dedicated social climber. The sort of woman who on meeting you would ask you who your parents were. She had grand dreams of marrying off her children to only those that were fantastically richer than they were. Think Christopher Getty and Pia Miller. Clearly, Patience did not cut it so Mother dearest refused to sanction the union. She did not just stop there, she started fixing Ade up with other more suitable brides.

Ade struggled against this and swore to stick by Patience. The struggle lasted about 3years and then Ade married one of the “suitable” brides and started a family with her. He did not however stop dating Patience and he ensured that everyone (including his new wife) knew this.

3 years after that wedding, his mother died. Less than 2 months later, Ade married Patience and started a family with her as well. He did not get a divorce from his other wife. I do not know what the state of that marriage was, but at the time of this story, he had gotten a house with Patience and was living there with her and going to his other house from time to time.

In this case, who really is the first wife and who is the second? Was Patience wrong for marrying a married man? Are there really only black and white areas to this story? No grays?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Where are they now?

Having gone to uni at Lagos State University, I have had more than my fair share of run-in with cult boys. In one case, I was threatened directly with a burning ( he said he would burn my face with his cigarette and went on to try an "obtain" from me for at least 6 months after that).

Other times during class hours, I would hear the loud report of gun shots and take my position under the closest table. An occurence at night? Well that's a long story. Let me share one of many stories:

There was a time when I was reading in school overnight and there was a show ( Miss LASU) going on in school. I only heard (not saw) someone run to the hall and shout “Get out! Get out!" before the entire class emptied out. A classmate who had spent all night sleeping was the first out of the hall. LOL!

I almost fell on my way out but saw a flash of yellow as someone wearing that color shirt helped me up. I did not even look round to say thank you, so intent was I on reaching the exit. I still do not know who it was till today.

Lagos State University had no hostels /dormitories (I don't know if that has changed now) so we ran to the staff quarters. Luckily my friends and I knew a boy who lived in the BQ of the staff quarters so we all crammed into his tiny room - quietly sitting wherever we could, hugging our knees. This was at about 2 a.m. For hours after, the normal night silence was punctuated with the loud tut-tut of gun shots, For about an hour after we got in, people would come up to the door and knock but no-one opened the door. It was either you they were actually people in need or people that wanted to bring the "party" to our hide-out. There was no way of knowing so we played it safe. I still pray that we did not unknowingly leave out anyone that actually needed help.

By about 5a.m, the gun shots finally stopped. We did not leave the room until we saw people walking around. By this time, the damage that had been done was unspeakable, a few people lay around, dead. There was a boy’s body in a ditch near the Engineering department where I was to write a test at 7a.m that morning. Naturally the test was cancelled. Heck, the school was shut down. We also learned that a lot of girls were raped that night while trying to flee from the show venue where it all started.

Apart from the odd sightings of former cult boys running along side some politician’s car (In the capacity of official security detail), I wondered whether they ever amounted to much.

The other day while talking to a few colleagues, the conversation turned to cultism. There were a few boys in the group and one mentioned something that sounded a bit too knowledgeable. We all turned to him as one. After a few minutes he admitted that he used to be a member of a cult and told us that he was left with no choice…it was either that or die. Well, he chose not to die. If he ever killed anyone, I don’t know but for the 4 years I have known him, I would have described him to anyone as a very pleasant and unassuming guy. We even call him guy smiley at work to show you just how pleasant he is. So yep, they live and work amongst us. Hmmm.

Friday, April 04, 2008

London Buki

I was going to post something today but then I learnt of the passing of our own London Buki's mum and suddenly my post seems hollow and full of platitudes.
I dedicate the day to her and her mum.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Here and there

  • I have driven so much in the last month (or perhaps its just that I have driven in a whole lot more traffic than I am used to) that I actually now have nightmares about driving. Be that as it may, I still need to get to and from work starting tomorrow for the week ahead.

  • I remarked to a friend recently that for power, we practice load shedding in my area. That is, NEPA gives us one day off and three days on. She thought it was a delightful idea until I told her that the way it works out is that for the one day, we can be sure that we will not have any power supply. For the other three days, we cannot be sure we will have any power. For example, today is a day on and there has been no power all day. It was only restored at 7p.m. Here's hoping it will be on all night ( I berra wake up from that dream).

  • I just found out that my friend's husband had been physically abusing her. She either hid it well or I just was not discerning enough to see all the signs. The days she "stood me up", the limping, the not looking at people directly. Little did I know that she was struggling to stay alive. Some days he would lock her up in the house. She has left him and has started a new life.

  • The rainy season has started and Lagos is muddy, cold, hot and sticky. All at once.The good news is that things are no longer covered in dust. The bad news is that people keep tracking dirt into the house. I miss the dust....

  • In roughly 2 minutes, my sister will find out that my daughter has pulled her noise cancelling earphones apart. All hell will be let loose. I am just going to sit here quietly and ride out the storm.
  • I have been propositioned by a married man who wants me to be his mistress. He was my "toaster" before he got married less than a year ago (in fact, long before he met his wife). 3 months before he got married: All over me. About 3 months after getting married he started coming on to me again, subtly. 4 months ago, he stopped being subtle. This guy has pictures of his wife plastered all over his phone and has her number saved as "My darling". I wonder how his darling would feel if she found out what he has been up to.

  • Nepa just took light. It's 9:14pm

Thursday, March 06, 2008

On my mind

This is difficult for me to admit, but I am just going to plunge in and do it!
The other day I was watching a movie and there was a couple just doing "couply" things. Looking content and at peace with the world. My reaction would not have been different if I had been sucker punched. I felt a real pain in my gut that gradually moved northward and settled in my heart.

I want a boyfriend. Do I need one? I think I probably do. I have this need to be part of a couple (and yes, that also includes the not so at-peace-with-the world things too). Only thing is, I don't ever get to meet anyone. I go to work, go home. Go for meetings outside of the office, go home. Go for worship on Sundays, go home. I am sure you get the picture.

These days it seems the only way is through the matchmaking antics of friends. I certainly can't just walk up to a guy and tell him that I am interested. My own is as good as finished in Lagos if he turns out to be the sort of jerk who misinterprets that as meaning that you are a desperate maybe even promiscuous girl.

And then because I am a single mother, it is just a tad bit more difficult because a lot of people tend to get put off. And I use the word people because the guy may think nothing of it and then go home and mention that he just met a single mother and his mother, father, brother, friend will advice him against it. This does not bother me as it is a good way of seperating the wheat from the first layer of chaff.

Anyways, I do need to meet someone. Any ideas?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bad Petrol in circulation

Apparently, there's adulterated/bad petrol in circulation. You put it in your tank and your car just either dies out in motion or refuses to start after it has been parked.

There have been no public announcements/apology from the sellers but one particular marketer has been pinpointed: Mobil. Whatever you do, don't get your petrol from them.

Garages and auto-mechanic workshop are getting swamped with complants and they are all traceable to this petrol. Stallion Motors should be able to corroborate this story seeing as they have a lot of cars to repair because of bad fuel woes.

Mobil, I love you and all but this isn't right. At least call it back from the filling stations and dispose of it. If this was America, you know you would. Otherwise you would almost get sunk by the class action suits.

I am not just talking for the sake of it. My car fell victim and I had to cough up cash I couldn't afford to get it fixed. If I was in America, Mobil will not only be paying for a new car, they would give me something for the emotional trauma I have been through.

'Nuff said.

DPR has traced the importation of this pertrol to Oando and they have been asked to pay damages. I wonder if their share price (which was at 173.00 last week and is now at 244.28) will be affected. Read about it here

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mother of your child

I have a post I have been working on for a few day. I was going to put it up in a few days but tonight I came across this video (watch it here, embedding has been disabled) and decided to blog about it instead. I had never heard the song before. Imagine my surprise when she belted out the words "I'm the mother of your child and you're stuck with me for life".

Stuck? Ah! I literally cringed and shut off the song for a few minutes. However, curiosity got the better of me and I started playing it again. The fact that I was watching the video meant that I did not miss any body language that told me what she really meant as she belted out the words. Let me summarize the unsaid things in song: You had better respect me or else I will use our child to emotionally blackmail you and make you sorry that you ever dissed me.

As a single mother, I feel some of her pain. It is hard to find a single mother who won't. The journey to single motherhood is never an easy one. The acrimony, the pressure from outsiders who do not know half your story but are ever quick to give advice. It is all a bit hellish really. It is made especially worse if there was nothing wrong with the relationship before the baby came along. "...9 ½ months ago I was your boo, ever since our baby’s been born you’ve been acting real brand new . I know what she means by asking for respect, but you don't get it by throwing a lamp at the child's father because you caught him kissing someone else (especially as this child is now about 4years old). Nne, move on.

To use a child you claim to love as a means to punish should never be an option. Moreso, the whole thing about declaring that y'all are stuck together for life is just distasteful and a cry for help. No-one is really stuck to anyone. Not mother to son. Not wife to husband. Not brother to sister. Certainly not mother of child and father of child.

And then at the end of the video, she goes: "Ha. It’s gon rain on your head!". That 's like saying "O e ti mo kan kan" ( Loosely translates to mean: You've not seen anything yet!).

Monday, January 28, 2008

Phone call

My daughter was ill a couple of weeks ago. She’s better now, thank goodness.

Anyways, as is the custom, a few people called to find out how she was doing and all. The call that stands out the most in my mind is one that I received from a colleague.

Brief history on colleague: She has a 6-month old son. She travelled abroad(maybe for the first time) shortly after she had her boy. She is a pleasant and really engaging girl. However, her conversation topics always somehow find their way back to her miraculous delivery, her son and her trip abroad. It’s okay when you first meet her, but gets really tiring in short bit. I no longer ask after her son, because I do not want to get 2 minute responses that do not have any bearing on his real welfare.

Here’s a typical scenario: How is Dipo? Normal person will respond: He is well/ He is feeling a bit down.

Her? Nooooooo! A typical answer would be: “He was awake when I left o! He was standing on his bed and cooing at me while I got dressed. I kept playing with him as I got dressed and when I finally had to leave, he looked so sad. I am going to miss him! You know these children are wonderful. They really do know who their mothers are and there is an instant bond.”
On a day when she is feeling extra chatty, she will mention the fact that he has heat rashes as a result of the lack of electricity to power the fans. And how if they were abroad this would not be the case. Then she would remind you that she is planning to travel soon. Once, I asked when exactly she was planning on travelling. "December", she replied. That is soon? Okay o!

Anyway, the phone call went this way:

Me: Hello?
CO: This is CO.
Me: Oh, hi CO!
CO: How is your baby? Heard she was ill. And thought that I should all to find out how she’s doing.
Me: Oh, she’s a lot better now. Thank you.
CO: That’s good. Remember those rashes I told you that Dipo has?
Me: Yes.
CO: Some more have popped up around other parts of his body.
Me: Really? Have you completed his antibiotics dose? (Naturally, she keeps me abreast of her son’s medical history).
CO: Yes o! Maybe that is what is causing all the rashes to come out. The drug may be working that way.
Me: It is a possibility.
CO: If it is not rashes today, it is fever tomorrow. I am just really lucky that he is such a strong boy…………

She went on for maybe another minute. I cannot say I remember all she said, but she did not ever go back to the subject at hand which was supposed to be my daughter. After talking about her son for a bit, she then ended a call without mentioning my daughter again.

A most amusing condolence call.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Being grateful

I have been thinking a lot lately about changing jobs. I am sick and tired of doing what I currently do. The fact that it has nothing to do with my career plan does not help how I feel about it. When I took the job, it was because I could not find a job I was really interested in but still needed to earn money to pay my bills.

In all this, I have tried to keep in mind the fact that I am lucky to have what people view as a “good” job. It has allowed me buy a car, pay for my Masters Degree in the UK, buy nice new clothes and give my daughter the quality of life she deserves.

If I had no reason to be grateful, an opportunity for that came up last week when I walked into a shop to buy a dress. I was not looking at any one person when I walked in. I just really needed a dress in a hurry, so as soon as I entered the shop, I immediately started scanning the room to see if they had anything appropriate. The sales person behind me asked me if she could help me and I turned to look at her. The next thing out of her mouth was “I believe I know you”. Whenever I hear those words I steel myself and prepare a warm and friendly face as I really can never remember anyone. In this case, it did not take me more than 5 seconds to remember exactly who she was.

You see, we were in the same university, same faculty, same department. We even stayed in the same hostel block and lived in the same area back home. I had been to her parent’s house in the past and she had been to mine. There was no way I could forget her. She was also really popular in school. One of the party crowd. I was the opposite, always choosing to stay indoors. Despite that, we got along really well, she being a nice girl and all.

The questions started mentally flooding in: She works here? Why would she work here? She is a graduate. We studied almost the same thing. I wonder how much she earns? It can’t be much. How does one survive on that sort of salary? True, it is an upscale store, but it is a store nonetheless. Is she okay with her life as it is? I hope she is. Not that she’s okay with working here, but not sad. Omigosh, I hope she’s not embarrassed to have me see her working here. I have to put her at ease. Hold on, she does not seem uneasy. All the time, I was smiling and telling her how great it was to see her. And it was.

It was a totally humbling experience for me. If she was embarrassed to see me, it did not show as she gisted with me and still carried out her job professionally. Also, the way I see it that aspect of her life may not be at par with that particular aspect of mine but then life has many facets. How am I to know of all the other ways she has excelled? She may have excelled at being a mother and a wife. At being a truly spiritual being who is close to her Maker and swings in His Holy Will.

As I left that store, clutching my purchase and a piece of paper with her phone number on it, I resolved to be even more grateful for my lot in life and remember the other aspects of life.