Break From Our Usually Scheduled Homebound Transmission

12 Mar

BOY MEETS GIRL –  LEARN YOUR PUNCTUATION

I’ve been feeling the need to write something snarky on the topic of boy meets girl lately. In the past weeks, I’ve come across different articles on said topic– some hilarious, some witty, some frivolously silly, and some depressing. I’ve had one too many conversations with these persons and those persons on same said topic – some enlightening, some infuriating, some shallow, and some deep.

The one thing these articles and conversations have in common – they are all centered on the sticky issue of the beginning phases of the boy meets girl scenario. Aside: I don’t know what that trend says. Possibly there has been an epidemic of mass breakups and now, there are tons of newly released (albeit some reluctantly) girls and boys foolishly lining up to jump right back on the crazy, exhilarating, painful rollercoaster of love they just got booted off from. Madness. But I digress.

Back to the common thread of these millions of articles and conversation – boy first meets girl. There are so many rules governing this situation and so many questions too. How do you know if a guy or girl is really looking to get serious about you? What does it take for a guy or a lady to get serious about you? How do you know if he or she thinks you’re the one? What’s the timeline for a guy or girl to make up his mind about you? How soon or how late should a guy make his ‘intentions’ known?

I’ve seen so many different arguments and answers for and against the questions above. Some say if a guy’s passionate about you, he’ll go hell and high water to make you and him happen. Apparently, if you have to think or guess about whether or not a man’s that interested in you, as in really interested, there lies your answer – he probably isn’t. Others buck against such rules. Some guys need more time than others, they argue. Not everyone likes to jump into these things. Slow and steady wins the race, after all. It all depends, say the ones in the middle. Every situation is different and what works for one might not necessarily work for the other.

Well, Cupid may feel free to sue me if I’m wrong but I kind of think I’m qualified to throw in my two cents. Okay, it’s going to be more of a dollar or two but yeah, it’s my unpatented angle on based on my experiences now and in the recent and distant past.

Herein lies my new theory of life <okay, so that was dramatic> but really though, I believe that when it comes to boy meets girl, men fall into one of four categories – the periods, the commas, the question marks and the exclamation marks and I swear that every girl, including me, has met at least one of each of the punctuation marks.

***

I’m going to start with the exclamation marks! We all know this ninja. This ninja is the one that declares himself in unconditional love with you from the very first moment your eyes meet. If he’s fortunate enough to get your number on the first go, he’ll die happy. If not, he’ll die trying. Ninja will text you every second, hit up your Blackberry every other nanosecond and call you every other millisecond in between. He is the one who insists on staying on the phone while you are asleep just so he can hear you breathe. He is the one who insists on watching you non-stop via Skype while you do your laundry. He is the one introducing you to his mother on your first date. He is the one shopping for wedding rings before y’all have had your first kiss. And if you ever dare to leave him, he’ll make good on his promise to off himself (never mind that he’s most likely doing the world a favor).

My experience dating an exclamation mark was a fascinating one to say the least. It lasted only two weeks and it was quite the drama-filled two weeks. He loved me the day after he met me and embarked on a futile crusade to get me to say the dreaded three words that I have never said to anyone to date. He wanted me glued to my phone 247365 which really got in the way of life. He had an emotional breakdown and landed in the hospital when I bid adieu to his loony tunes. He was ! to the power of a million!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Eighteen-year olds love that sort of thing, they say. Well, the eighteen-year old I was did not appreciate that sort of nonsense. Needless to say, I haven’t messed around with any exclamation marks since then.

Exclamation marks are desperately insecure ninjas best left for bored or equally insecure damsels. They are too needy, too jealous, too possessive…they are not worth their headaches. Yeah, you don’t want to mess around with the exclamation marks. Not unless you’re a thirty-seven year old woman and counting. In that case, I probably wouldn’t look the gift horse in the mouth.

***

Now, what about the question marks? Question marks are trifling ninjas. You will never, ever know where you are with them so stop trying. You most often find this punctuation mark at the end of a rhetorical question. That is, the answer to this ninja is expressly clear, he’s just faking like it’s not.

This is the ninja that you meet in May, who falls in love with you in June, and then in July, tells you that he thinks you need to be free or that it’s not you, it’s him. Well, it is him alright because in August, he will be back again ready to start the crazy cycle all over again and God help you if you let him. If you let him, guess what – he will be the ninja that you meet at twenty-two who will have you waiting on him at forty for a ring that will never come. Either that or he will be the ninja that loves you, and Sally, and Chioma, and Bose and Mariam, and every other effing girl in the world.

Question marks will never be satisfied. Question marks always want more. You will never be a question mark’s only sentence.

I’ve been a foolish girl every now and then but thankfully, I’ve never been as foolish as to run around town with a question mark. The horror stories of those I know who have done so will have to suffice.

***

Now the commas, these are the tricky ones. They are also the most frustrating because they could go either way. You have to wait a good while to see if his long run-on sentence will end in a period, a question mark or an exclamation mark. The comma starts and stutters and starts and stutters and so on and so forth. He’ll go hard today and the next day, act like he just met you. Just when you think the sentence is close to completion, he’s fetching out an eraser and rewriting from scratch.

If you decide to stick around and place your bet on a comma, you will need dollops and dollops of patience because you are in for a long ride that might lead you to a final destination or a dead end and you can never be too sure which you’re going to get.

Sometimes, you get lucky and your bet pays off big-time. Your comma could turn out to be an earnest exclamation mark. Best-case scenario, your comma could even end up being a solid period that rounds up a meaningful sentence that ends with the words “I do.”

Other times, you lose the bet and you lose badly. You might get the comma that suddenly realizes he’s still in love with his ex, or the comma that is only using you to fill in the gaps until the real thing comes along, or the comma that is too much of a punk to put himself out there. I’ve been there with a comma once where I lovingly and painstakingly held my hand over his hand as we traced this achingly bittersweet sentence only for him to run out of words long before I ran out of love.

That hurt worse than I imagine breaking my pinky would, and is probably the reason I now mentally give a prospective comma  a deadline of a month to have at least a noun and a doing word in place. While he’s at it, he can use that same timeline to decide what he wants to be when he grows up (a ? or a . or a !). Any longer and I’m erasing your excuse of a sentence and confiscating your pencils. You can go beg another girlie to let you play with her crayons.

***

The ultimate ninja is the period. He either wants you or he doesn’t. There’s no beating about the bush. If he doesn’t want you, he’ll walk. He has no time to drag it out. If and when he knows what he wants (which is pretty much always), he’ll have a strategy for getting it too. He’s not impulsive like the exclamation mark but he’s not hesitative like the comma either. Simple and short.

I do have to say that if you are not buying what the ninja’s selling, then a period is good for nothing. After all, it doesn’t matter how fat and fresh the trout is if you don’t eat fish.

I mean, I once met a pretty decent ninja in this category. He knew what he wanted and what he wanted was me. I liked that, I respected that. It was just too bad that I just wasn’t inspired by any of the words in his sentence, no matter how hard I tried. So I returned the favor and let him know what it was, period-style.

Nevertheless, I respect this punctuation mark the most. You always know which side of your bread is buttered on with this ninja which is why I would rather him than any of the other grammar tools. If you run into a period that ends your perfect sentence, you’d best be wise and hop on it. You snooze, you lose. Period.

***

El

E said,”I’m gonna run you down.” El heard, “I’m an orangutan”

4 Mar

I am convinced that all Nigerian folks share at least one common trait – NOBODY KNOWS HOW TO TALK AND NOBODY KNOWS HOW TO LISTEN (including me, even though technically, my passport is the color lemon and pink with a dash of unicorn blue).

That is why a group of more than two savages Nigerians cannot have a quiet, civilized conversation because everyone has to talk over everyone else because you know, we really don’t care what you have to say because what we have to say is way more important than what you have to say so we’re going to shout you down, never mind that you’re shouting us down as well. Here ends the long, run-on sentence.

For real, Houston, we do got a problem, doe. A communication problem. A la Cool Hand Luke, “what we have here is a failure to communicate.”

I used to be the most repressed person when it came to communication. I always took an L for gaddem teams I wasn’t even a member of. I won’t call it an altruism factor (given that I can be one of the most selfish people I know at times) but I just hated for people to lose face in front of me (I still do to a lesser extent. Not like people return the favor though).

In fact, sometimes, I would deny having said something just so the other person didn’t realize they had missed a beat. I hated to come across as the nagging, bitching type so I would just bottle it all up. You can imagine how un-pretty it was when everything eventually exploded because I just couldn’t take it anymore. Yeah, cue stark raving beech acting like she lost her darn mind.

I’m glad to report that those nonsense days are behind me.  My tolerance for not speaking out is now zero. I speak outtttttt (anybody, remember that show? Date yourself!)

If it’s not being said, it means there is nothing to be said. But if there is something to be said, no matter how trivial, you best believe I’m spitting it out and I mean every word (unless, of course…I’m lying).

It’s to the point where I can’t sleep if I’ve got something on my mind and I haven’t gotten it across to the responsible party. If I’m upset by something or someone, I have to make it clear to the perpetrator. If I upset something or someone, I make it right as soon as I can by either apologizing (whether or not I mean it) or confronting the issue head on.

I’m not the one for crossed lines and mixed signals, and it pisses me off completely when people especially ninjas* misconstrue my words/intentions or take them out of context. Don’t be effing with the integrity of my words, yo! But that’s exactly what happens in Nigeria on a daily basis, mai pipu. NB: stay tuned for upcoming post on my alarmingly increasing razzness.**

When I say I want a chicken salad sandwich with no lettuce but onions, half a tomato slice and extra mayo, I mean I want a chicken salad sandwich with no lettuce but onions, half a tomato slice and extra mayo. So why the following ‘typical’ conversation at a restaurant will take place is beyond me:

Me: Um, but I specifically said I wanted no lettuce

Waiter (in bored tone): Ehn-ehn, are you sure?

Me: Am I sure? I said I wanted no lettuce and I wanted onions and half a tomato slice. This has lettuce and onions but no tomato slice

Waiter (in Captain Obvious tone): Aunty, you can remove it now

Me: Remove what?

Waiter: Remove the lettuce, then I will go and cut tomato for you (sic)

It’ll be one of those good days when hormones aren’t racing through my entire system at the speed of light so I’ll sigh congenially, tell him not to worry about the tomato, remove the lettuce and take a bite.

Me: o_O….b-b-but this is not…chicken. This is….sniff, sniff, this is…tuna

Waiter gives me a blank stare

Me: Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought I asked for a chicken salad sandwich…?

Waiter: Aunty, please manage it. Maybe the chicken salad has finished in the kitchen.

I’ll then proceed to throw a horrific bitch fit (quite a gory sight) which could have been easily avoided, had the waiter just listened properly to my order. I mean, was he sleeping when I was talking?!

Hair stylists are notorious for this sort of nonsense too:

Me: A light trim, please. I walk out with Halle Berry’s haircut.

Me: The hairstyle I want is patewo. I walk out with suku.

Me: My hair is a no-Pink Oil zone. I walk out having had the contents of an entire bottle offloaded atop my head.

Like, what am I missing here?

Or maybe, I have to spell my last name for somebody:

Me (enunciating): Last name is M.O.F.E.I.D.I.N.L.A.  Pronounced as mo fe idi nla and translated as I want a big booty

Customer Care: M….O….Y….

Me: No, M….O….F….

Customer Care: B?

Me: No, EFF

CustomerCare: L?

Me (shouting): EFF as in fuck it. My goodness, are you a moron?!

So you see, these folks can’t even have effective communication in person. Can you imagine how much worse it gets with virtual communication like e-mails and BBMs? Lawd.

My boss asked someone to scan and e-mail a document. You’d expect an e-mail with maybe a title and a brief note like “Please see the requested document “LeNomDeDocument” attached. Thank you, etc.” but no, said person scans the document , refuses to label it, and e-mails it with no title and just two words, “See this.”

Being the original Grammar Nazi, I cringe whenever I receive yet another e-mail at work with bombastic words and fantastic spellings, commas and periods all in the wrong. Then to make it even more unforgivable, the original message in the e-mail is not even clear. Do you mean So-and-So was here or Thus-and-Thus will be here? :/

In my personal life, I try to eliminate as many sources of miscommunication as I can. I’m non-Facebook compliant. I’m semi-Twitter compliant. I’m non-other social media compliant. I’ve got two Blackberry phones just so I can handle miscommunication. One is my primary line with very few family and friends on there. The other is what I call a decoy which is deactivated more than half of the time. This decoy is where I chuck random folks.  One, this helps me help people save face by not declining to give them my BB PIN when they ask (what a caring soul I am).

Two, given that the phone is mostly deactivated, it spares me from having to deal with misbehaving kings and queens of familiarity who’d like to breed some verbal contempt ‘cause they’re on my BB or people randomly assuming my status update is about them for some gaddem reason and then running with it. Ninjas be out here with big, self-centered egos they can’t back up but that’s a story for another day.

Communication shouldn’t be this hard, really. This shaaat should be sim-pull! If I say I’m not interested in buying the rotten fish that you’re selling, it means I really don’t want the rotten fish you’re selling. If I say mi o se mo, you better accept pe mi o se mo dandan ni, alright? If I call you out for some misbehavior, it’s not because I secretly want to have your babies (o_O), I’m just trying to remind you of your manners which I know your mama taught you. After all, if I did want your babies, you’d know, trust me.

Phew. So long a letter but I’ve just had quite a number of communication misadventures recently that this post had to be written.

To round up this tale by moonlight – what I say is what I say and I say what I say how I say it whenever I’m saying it and I remember how I said it when I was saying it so I ain’t playing with you, huh?***

El

*Ninja being a PC replacement for the word that rhymes with Jigga
**Razzness being the Nigerian term for the opposite of cool
***Points if you know who I just paraphrased.

Le Complex De Napoleon Dans Nigeria…or something, something

24 Feb

So I have popped my Twitter cherry…again, weee! Pause.

Anyway, to the point. I swear, I try to stay out of nonsense. I really do but it always seems to come looking for me.

Let me explain. Now, you see, I do my best to stay cheesing at most times ‘cause folks be tellin’ me all the time that I “look too serious” with my almost permanent bitch face. Yeah, like looking serious is a recipe for failure or something. That’s how I stay winning, beeches, YASSS!

Anyway, back to the point. I’m always cheesing and what-not, you know, doing my best to come across as angelic, affable, easy-going, and so on and so forth and further.

So, the Friday before February 14th, this one cleaner dude stops by my desk (he’s one of the many folks I see and greet most mornings with a non-bitch face) and the following conversation ensues:

Daring-ass MOFO (DAM): Good morning, ma

Me (giving him cursory glance and fake smile): How are you?

DAM: I’m fine, ma. Aunty, I always wanted to tell you something. This your watch, I like it o. Where can I get this your type of watch (sic)?

Me: Oh, ha.ha. Thanks, it was a gift

Note: It was a masculine watch so you guys don’t think I’m dealing with Lady Gaga’s tranny friend here

DAM: Ah, I like it velly much.

Me (fake smile turning into a flat line): Ya, thanks (unsaid: bye for now?)

DAM: You will give me abi?

Me (fake smile-turned-flat line-turned-blank stare): Say…what now?

DAM: The watch, she you will give me? You can give me on Monday, abi?

Note: Monday was February 14th

Me (sighing internally and evoking the grace of God, I manage a diplomatic reply): Ha.ha.ha. We’ll see

The end. Finito. End of. C’est fini.

Well, not quite.

I drag myself into work that following Wednesday, having had quite the awesome long 4-day weekend with Monday and Tuesday off.  I am so depressed to be back, trying to fake like there’s work to be done and allathat. So I’m crossing corridors to get to my office and who do I run across in the lobby? Yeah, DAM.

I give him a quick nod and he goes, oh, aunty, I came to collect the thing.

Now, I honestly had forgotten having even had a conversation with him in the past week so my confusion was written all over my face.

You said I should come and collect the watch on Monday, DAM continues despite seeing my confused face rapidly turning to stone.

The grace of God is still working so I just ignore him and I march on to my office. What do you know but that this bloody DAM follows me! I didn’t even notice until I sat down and looked up and saw his face hanging over my cubicle.

Um, what the hell?

I came on Monday to collect it but you were not here so I came today, he whines.

… …. ……………………………………………………………………………… o_O

Wow. Wow. Wow. Let me get this straight – you admire a watch I have on, inquire about where you can get one, and after I tell you it was an expensive gift, you ask if I can give it to you, and even after I try to help you save face by laughing it off, you have the nerve to come back around to ask me for it again…and as a love gift to boot?! Am I missing anything?!

……………………………………………………………………………..o_O

People, do you see now why I don’t be smiling at folks? NO, NO, DO YOU SEE NOW WHY I DON’T BE SMILING AT FOLKS?

How in the heck did this ratchet-ass dude gather the liver to dare to even hint that I would be giving him any gift of any sort, and on Valentine’s day too no less? Word to our Father who art in heaven, if I’d been giving dude the original bitch stank-face from the jump, ninja would never have dared to step past the word “aunty…”

Somebody insinuated straight up told me the other day that I have a Napoleon complex. Um, hell yeah, I have one! I need one just to get through life because these damn humans won’t let mini-me be great! The hell?

I can’t get through life without some teenager trying to lay his verbal pipe on me when I’m browsing in the bookstore. Once, this little runt (although, let me say this – if he had been just a couple years ago, I just might have been tempted to make him my little sugar baby) came up to me saying he and his friends had placed a bet as to how old I was – 16 or 18? I sighed and let him know I was old enough to have given birth to him had I been a fast little thing in my own teens.

I can’t get through life without folks foolishly trying to pull some “do you have any experience and have you ever worked before?” bullshit on me in the office.

I can’t get through life without some service person trying to crap all over me because they think wrongly that they can get away with it.

I can’t get through life without random folks trying to pick me and swing me through the air just because I look oh so portable and tiny.

I can’t get through life without HEELS. Now, you know the root of my obsession with shoes, thank me later.

I can’t get through life without all this bullshit, which then results in me having to check a beech or two or more and inevitably be labeled the ultimate BEECH myself when all I did was cheese in the first place!

This shaaaat even extends to my dating life. This dating scene in Lagos is a minefield. You can’t politely nod to Bode without him assuming you want him to put a ring on it immediately. You can’t say a cursory hello to Richard without him assuming you two will be in flagrante delicto mode in less than five seconds. Your eyes can’t lazily stray to meet Onyeka’s eyes for fear of the lurking girlfriend or wife who thinks you’re out to steal him simply because your gaze lingered on him for 0.134000^e seconds.

With allathat, there is no way I can step out to the battlefield that is dating without my bitch face as armor. I have to mean-mug when I’m in the midst of raggedy-ass ninjas so none of them are tempted to be brave enough to risk a blow or a pointed barb (the latter I can deliver, the former, not so much but they don’t know that). Other times, when I’m in the midst of male whores (y’all know they have a distinct look and overall persona), I put on my sour Christian mother act complete with prudish frown and pursed lips that scream “God don’t like ugly” and hope that turns them off.

……………………………………………………..#facepalm

I don’t know, y’all, it’s hard out here for a five feet-er. Console me by donating to my shoe fund. All donations will be rewarded with a virtual kiss.

El

This is how we do it!

16 Feb

I am totally ashamed that I don’t update, as I should. El then goes on to make me look unserious because she is constantly updating. I promise to do a better job, can’t promise to keep up with her though.

 

So I just want to say that Nigeria really changes you. I get asked all the time if I enjoy living in Nigeria, and the truth is I do. Another truth is it’s not for everyone, and if you haven’t made up your mind that it is something you really want, then prepare to have a frustrating experience.

 

My aim with this blog post is to make you laugh a little. I’m not a comedian, and I am so not a funny person but I hope you sniffle a giggle for me? Hehe, even if it’s not funny? Thanks in Advance

 

So after staying in Nigeria for 6months straight, I get to go out of the country and I can’t act right again? Pay in mind that I lived in the U.S for over 8 years but that seems to be non-existent at the moment, I really am not acting right!!!

 

I cannot take cold showers, even when it was time for camp, I kept thinking “I cannot take a cold shower, I cannot take a shower”. You might wonder how I survived 6 years of boarding school, I can’t even remember how but I just know I cannot take a cold shower now. I just start jumping in the tub and I get that feeling that I am not washing my body well.

 

Anyway I am visiting a friend for a day in London and the first thing I ask before I sleep is “Hey Girl do we need to put on the water heater because I would need to take a hot shower in the morning” and she’s laughing at me saying “E, this is not Nigeria, the water will be hot when you are ready to take a shower”. Hey! I just had to make sure, can’t be jumping around in the tub, especially when the weather outside is super cold. May I add that the water wasn’t even that hot? Hiss. At that point I was missing my naija bucket and bathing bowl stuffs.

 

Next I’m off to America in the a.m. and as soon as I get to the house, I just feel uneasy. I start thinking “Oh God I need to charge my phone before they take light, and my laptop as well so I can use it to charge my phone if they don’t bring light on time”. I am so not kidding, it was after I put the phone in the charger that I know realized that there’s 24hours electricity. Wow what was I thinking? I was so embarrassed for myself.

 

I get to church on Sunday and they are doing this whole thanksgiving thing where you dance round and drop your offering in a basket in the front. So this girl in front of me leaves her bag on her seat (its one of those bags that don’t have zippers so you can see everything in it), her blackberry with a very attractive pink case is staring at the whole world. I’m thinking to myself “someone is going to steal her phone, she better carry her bag with her as she dances forward” Yet again, I had forgotten where I was. You see in my church in Nigeria, we are to dance forward with our bags, if not… well go figure!

You might think “in a church “? But na so we see am o, just last week I got a bb message talking about someone’s Honda CRV was stolen by City of David. I can imagine going to church on a beautiful Sunday morning, excited to be worshipping, and truly enjoying the sermon that was preached. Then walking out and thinking where is my car? Sigh…the things that happen these days!

 

Talking about cars, I happen to drive in Nigeria; which a lot of people find surprising. It’s a nightmare but I do it still, only on the Island though. The bad part is I really can’t really see when I drive so you can imagine what kind of driving I must be doing. Anyway I went to visit another friend in Jersey and I wanted to do some shopping that day, so we decide I drop her at work and take the car. On the way back I can’t really see what the signs are saying and end up missing my way. Sigh. Already frustrated I get back on the road and need to make an exit, this other car needs to come out of the exit ramp and is wasting time at it (You know we Nigerians we don’t like sme sme) That is how I decided to press my horn o. I had forgotten where I was. People in their cars are turning to look at me. I probably startled them hehe. I can actually count the amount of times I pressed my horn when I used to drive in the U.S and I drove for 7 years there. But yet again, I had forgotten where I was. We constantly have to blast our horns in naija, it’s the only way we drivers know how to communicate with each other, you know, keep each other straight! Ha-ha

 

Should I go on about how I clutch my bag to myself when I’m walking in a busy area, or how I cannot drop my phone just anywhere, how I am constantly checking my jacket to make sure I didn’t leave anything in the pockets that could be pick-pocketed, etc.  That is what Nigeria does to you! LOL. I love my country!

E

This Darn Day Again…

13 Feb

I’d like to begin by thanking the Almighty God for one of the best pleasures in life – hot showers. Amen.

Now that that’s squared away, I have to say that Nigeria has surprised me…and pleasantly at that too.

You see, before I moved back, I used to notice a very interesting phenomenon which would start up from the very second day of the first month of a new year and would keep on until the 14th of the second month.

Y’all know what I mean. Valentine’s Day has been commercialized to the fullest, omg. I used to get so irritated walking down the street to catch the train, only to pass stores decorated garishly with bloody red displays of hearts and flowers when it wasn’t even mid-January yet! Every store would try to catch in on the action – from the major department stores selling overpriced urine perfumes to the local Laundromat offering a free wash cycle for you and your boo of the moment.

It’s not even mid-January yet!!!!! I dreamed of screaming at those stupid stores dressed absurdly in red, and then tossing Molotov cocktails here and there until they all went down in a huge, fiery red blaze (yes, I do realize these musings are akin to that of a psychopath) but I knew that my actions would only be discounted as that of a hater and that, I wasn’t. Well, not really.

Anyway, so my thinking was, oh gosh, if February 14th is that commercialized in good ol’ Yanks, how much more in Nigeria where everything tends to be overdone? But to my surprise, the lead-up to the big old day, when many men shall suddenly discover urgent business trips and last-minute church functions, has been quite…anti-climatic. No displays everywhere, no ads everywhere, no random queries about what my single self is doing on that day…in fact, at some point, I had to check my calendar and make sure the days hadn’t somehow slipped by without my notice (which would then be a sign of a psychotic break and God wouldn’t like that). But no, there’s been no madness about it all and that’s good.

That’s good because I’ve never taken that day seriously. No, no, wait, I’m not one of those bitter folks who try to trivialize that day simply because they keep roasting every single year. I mean, I have roasted almost every other year but ahem, ahem, that’s not the point. I’ve just never taken that day seriously because I’m not one for material items, especially when they weren’t bought by me.

Yes, allow me to toot my horn but I’ve never felt comfortable accepting material gifts from guys (my father is the only exception allowed to spoil me). I almost feel like you’re expected to get down like Halle in Monster’s Ball in return, and I’m a child of God. No really, I’d rather buy things for myself, and I most always do. Now, I’m not Sister Mary who’ll turn down a Birkin bag but you bet I’ll be feeling some type of way about rocking that shaaaat and having folks ask girlllll, where you get that at! In fact, the two consecutive years when I was actively splurged by le man of le moment, I didn’t know how to behave. It was like oh, wow, okay, um…yeah, wow, thanks, um…yeah. I’m usually good at sniffing out surprises but a fast one was pulled on me both times, to his credit.

As uncomfortable as I am with receiving, I do love it when I’m doing the giving (let me take a moment to tell those with their minds in the gutter to exit left now). In fact, I end up doing much even but that’s another story for another day. Anyway, I’m not the materialistic, high-maintenance sort, at least, not at somebody else’s expense. Seriously, one of the cutest things a guy did for me was surprise me with a Mars bar on a first movie date simply because I’d mentioned how much I loved them in a conversation. That made me go all gooey and awwwww inside but I’m a hard babe, I’m a hard babe. But yes, I’m not the materialistic sort.

There happens to be, however, one notable exception. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I always crack up when I remember this. Okay, so the year before I graduated high school, I transferred schools – from a Catholic all girls’ to a heathen co-ed. The move was quite interesting since I didn’t know shaaat about boys but again, that’s another story for another day. So the week before February 14th that year, my best friend then talked me into dating her boyfriend’s cousin who was in UNILAG. She spoke raptures about his looks – apparently, he and the cutest guy in Boyz II Men were twins (not like that one is fine anyway, now that I think about it).

I was in boarding house then but I was studying for some exams so I was allowed to go home weekends. So he calls me that first weekend, we talk for about an hour, and then, he asks me out. My response? AH, BABES WON’T DULL ON VAL’S DAY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN LIFE, I screamed silently in my head while softly cooing, “Yes, I will be your girlfriend.”

So I head back to school and all the girls are agog about my pimp game. You couldn’t tell me shaaaat. Mo ti elevate, ki lo n so yii?! Suddenly, all the boys sweating me in school looked like toddlers. I couldn’t play that, I was rolling with a college dude, you know. I was counting down to the next weekend when I would see my dude for the first time and collect all my gifts. Life was good.

I get home that weekend, meet up with my then best friend and we head to her boyfriend’s to meet our men. So I get to the gate, walk past some random dude sitting on the patio outside, and go on inside. Where is he? I ask my friend. Girl, that was him on the patio, she tells me as she jumps on her hamper in glee.

I step back, confused, onto the patio and stare at random dude. But…but…but…I mean, I’d been told he looked like the cutest dude from Boyz II Men. The guy in front of me was like an anemic Steve Urkel, which was the reason I’d walked past him in the first place! Staring at me like I’m the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ, he asks me to sit down, gingerly takes my hand and goes, “I’m your boyfriend.”

Um….yeah…

I retrieve my hand and sternly tell myself to behave.

“What do you think of me?” He asks.

Um, ninja, wey my gift at?! I think. I surreptitiously glance around.

“Do you like what you see?” He asks again.

No gifts to be seen. Ah, ah, what is going on here now? After all the hype, I get Steve Urkel’s sick brother and no hamper? Obara Jesus, this burden is too heavy for me to carry now.

He’s going on about some theory of love and I realize then, I can’t do this. Mumbling some excuse, I stagger up and flee the house, without saying goodbye to him or my friend. I immediately break up with him via text message in the car on the way home. It’s not you, it’s me. Yes, I used those very lines.

Long story short, I get back to school, having ignored homeboy’s pleading and whining text messages and discover he had actually sent a hamper ahead of me as a surprise. LMAO! The po’ thang!

I got into trouble though because the English teacher had been the one to receive the hamper on my behalf–young lady, dai ris a bottul of whine in diz hampeh. Wai iz a men sending yew a hampeh? Ya, English teacher. I also got a lecture from the vice principal as well about godliness and purity and not letting older men prostitute me in the name of love (like shut up, ninja, I hadn’t even had a first kiss then). I did get my hamper back though, minus the bottle of wine which I’m sure was shared in the staffroom. I never spoke to or set eyes on the gentlefellow again.

Sigh. Excuse me for a second….HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA…..*chokes*

Well! You can see that being that kind of girl doesn’t, ahem, become me. *clears throat*

Anyway, thank you, El, for my new bag *jumps in glee*! Thank you, Dad, for the bonus! Thank you, God, ‘cause I might surprisingly not be sitting at home tomorrow.

Have a good one, everybody. Make those babies.

El.

P.S. – Dear “first” boyfriend who I only dated for a week in the name of Cupid’s gifts, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I can’t remember your first or last name. I’m sorry I haven’t a clue in hell what you look like now. I’m sorry I did you dirty like that. I’m really sorry. You’re still an agbaya though.

XXX Things I Love About You, Nigeria

10 Feb

So I just know I must come across as Negative Nancy in most of my blog posts. Forgive me, please. It’s hard for me to do humor without some darkness to it (ask Chris Rock, go on!). Besides, most of the material I have to work with is dark so trust me when I say my humor serves to lighten it up.

Anyhow, I’m going to pull a Positive Polly today (work with me now).  I keep ranting about all the things about Nigeria I don’t like so much so that I make it sound like the worst of hellholes. It’s not that baaaaaad…okay, only most some times. But anyway, in the spirit of positivity, I want to note the things I do like about Nigeria (coming back to read it should serve me well for those days when I want to bang everybody’s heads into the wall).

  1. Food – Yes, number one is food – not so much the variety of it but the healthiness of it. My obsession with the perfect, healthy diet started a couple of years ago when I was still in America. I discovered to my alarm that despite the fact I was eating moderately and relatively healthy, I was slowly but steadily increasing in girth. It called for drastic action, you know. So, I did my research and found out all about the hormones-infested, pesticide-ridden, and borderline artificial products being churned out as “food” by the food industry. I immediately set out a strict guideline – no sodas, no chocolates or candies, no, etcetera, etceteroo.So I was a little nervous moving back but to my pleasant surprise, I’ve found that it has been even easier sticking to a clean, healthy diet, especially considering the unlimited access to fruits and veggies.  I’m still on my good food regime – fruits, water (tons of it) only supplemented by juices now and then, fruits, very small portions throughout the day, fruits, no chocolates, candies, etc., and I only get to eat ‘swallow’ meals (think pounded yam, amala, etc.) only once a month. Oh, and fruits one more time. I haven’t even been tempted to break my years’ long fast from sodas and join the legions of Nigerians who drink sodas like water. I’ll tell you what – my hips definitely aren’t lying now *gives them a warning look*
  2. Wardrobe – I MISS shopping. With a passion. I miss getting my ass up to run to the mall just to make sure that the clothing stores were doing okay without me. I miss booting up my laptop just to check up on the gadzillion e-stores to make sure they weren’t too lonely without my credit/debit card. My people know me, I’m a SHOE nut. I collect shoes, just not for a living…well, not yet, at least. I browse shoe collections online for fun. That’s my idea of a very good time, not drinking, smoking and bloody posing in Marquee.So you can imagine the withdrawal pains I’ve been going through, not being able to assuage the harshness of reality with a good ol’ fashioned shopping spree (or two or three, if Daddy or any potential mugu love interest is playing nice). But guess who comes to the rescue? My fantastic tailor. The best in Lagos, amen. He can replicate anything you give him (Alexander McQueen & co. ain’t got shaaaaat on him) and he does so at a very, very budget rate. I see folks splurging on some of these faux Nigerian designers (shout-outs to the notable exceptions though) and I just giggle. Abeg, meet me at the roadside any day! So everybody, thank Dee (my mini-me stylist sister) for having a good eye and Mr. Secret-Identity (apparently, it’s a faux-pas in Lagos to ask a lady who her tailor is) for keeping me in good style. It’s just a pity he can’t make shoes. 😦
  3. Um, Spontaneity /Flexibility ati bebe nlo – it’s so much easier to go on the spur of the moment here in Nigeria. If I want to change the color of my car from black to electric red, blink. If I want to dip from work for an unspecified errand, blink. If I want to change my hair once a week, blink. Okay, so not literally (before I have some of y’all thinking I ride the latest model of broomsticks in the night) but you know what I mean. Back in America, you would always have to take some time and think about the logistics of exactly what it is you wanted to do – be it fill that form, notify that official, book that hair appointment, blah, blah. There always has to be a record of everything but here, yeah right, anything goes. For the most part, all your money/status has to do is talk, everybody/thing else will do the walking.And it’s not just the spontaneity of the system. The spontaneity of the people can make for some hilarious moments like WTF. Why is your hairstyle like that?! Some random person at work will screech so loudly out of the blue that it takes hours for your heart to resume its normal pumping rate. Come and join me!!!! This from another fellow at work who is heartily digging into their lunch of eba with okra soup. Um, no….o_O…why would I want to eat from that nasty meal your nasty fingers been diggin’ thru’?! Even the other way around is unsettling. Aunty, can I join you? is the last thing I want to hear when I’m trying to savor my filet mignon in peace (‘cause y’all know I’m bad like that, right? Ha!). All sorts of familiarity, famzzzzz as me and my mini-me sister, Dee like to call it. I’ve had a complete stranger walk right up, take my hand, stare fixedly at my hand and then say “I like your nail polish.” How about you get your germ-infested hand off my elevated person this instant! You bet I reached in horror for my ever-handy antibacterial sanitizer immediately (you cannot live in this country without that, okay?).
  4. Um….um, um, Rent-free living – well, for now, anyway. Currently, I earn peanuts all in the name of “serving my country” (uh huh) but when I finally get back to doing real work, the savings from not having to pay rent and other such living expenses will be quite sweet. Before I moved back, I was completely exhausted from living from paycheck to paycheck, especially living in a ridiculously expensive area like DC. That whole counting pennies to buy detergent for the month was not the business.
  5. Um……x_x….um, oh yeah, The Weather – that is definitely a bonus! Even as awfully hot it gets on some days, I never, ever long for those frigid days of winter again. I mean, I do miss my winter wardrobe (sad face at having Dee steal my collection of coats and shaaaat) but yo, those winters were getting to be on a long, outrageous P. I remember 2 years ago, on the day of my PHR exam (HR certification), we had the madddddest storm in years. It broke all sorts of records. It was like that movie, End of the World or whatever the hell it’s called.Look, I walked in ankle-high snow to get to my exam center with a winter blizzard raging about me. That’s how desperate I was to get that shit over with, by the way, because the entire city had been warned repeatedly to stay indoors. I made it there alive (by some miracle, the center stayed open because other desperadoes like me had congregated there), I got through that exam alive, and then when I stepped outside to get back home, alive no dey dictionary again o!Like, everything and everywhere was COVERED, and not with the blood of Jesus but with that white, cold, filthy stuff called snow, and the storm was still RAGING! Humming “It Is Well,” I sloooowly made my way back home in KNEE-HIGH snow and got lost a couple of times and we’re talking about a mere 10 minutes’ walking distance from my apartment, my people. I nearly cried then but don’t tell anybody now ‘cause then I’d have to kill ya. I had to run my legs and fingers under hot water for over 15 minutes before I could use them again because my heavy-duty gloves and boots failed me. They could not stand up to the madness. So now I’m here in Nigeria, omo, it can get as hot as the Sahara, I don’t care, I will sweat it out to the glory of God (the rainy season is a different kettle of fish). Oh, by the way, I did pass & get my certification. Praaaay da Lorttttt!

Hm, what else? Ummm (or “elmmmmmm” if you want it Naija-style. Seriously, WTF is “elmmmmm”????)….. Sigh. You know what? I think that’s all for now, folks! +_

I’ll keep it real – I had to keep scratching my head before each point, like I had to think real hard before each point would tumble. I don’t know whether to call that sad, or bad, or…you know what, let’s not even go there.

But hey, at least, I made it to Neutral Naomi today, no? *throws confetti*  No worries, we’ll call on Polly another day.

El

I Don’t Want ‘Alabukun’, Pass The Motrin Please!

8 Feb

Sigh, I always seem to be starting off with some side-note but I promise I’ll get to my main point right after this little (I swear!) rant.

I think I have already hearkened to this in one of my very first posts but omg, somebody, call for the death of the word hating. PLEASE. Like now. Like right now. No really, like right, right NOW.

So I’m watching a video by one of the newer artists on the block*, who is singing and pseudo-rapping alongside one of the older artists in the yard** (whose songs are beginning to sound ever so similar that they just blur into one. Seriously, I love his body of work but he needs to shake it up). Anyway, seconds into listening to some analogy of these two men having something like a traditional medicine that takes the pain away (at least, that’s what I got from it but hey, I’m blonde), I realize something so obvious…this song is awful! Like bad. Like really bad. And even though said new artist’s focus is apparently the “party-jollof+fried-music” recipe…it is like really, really bad for a partyjolloffriedmusic song. I couldn’t finish the equally underwhelming, awful accompanying video to boot.

Now, I am the one to not say anything when I don’t have anything nice to say. I’ll just have a giggle with E over BBM or I’ll come to my own darn blog and write what I darn well please. But y’all know my love for commenters and I don’t mind reading their not-nice things to say. So, I scroll down to the comments to see if I’m just an odd-ball or if everyone’s hearing and seeing what I just saw and heard and didn’t like.

Sure enough, the consensus is clear – le song no bueno. Well, the consensus was clear…until said new artist’s mommy, daddy, father’s children and grandfather’s schoolmates came out of the woodwork to descend on poor, unsuspecting, commenting souls for daring to have an opinion about said new artist and his undeserving Pepsi endorsement.

Synthesis of all the defensive comments as follows:

Y’ALL ARE HATERS AND YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MUSIC BECAUSE THIS SONG IS BREAD AND MANNA FROM HEAVEN AND PURITY AND SANITY OF LIFE (I swear somebody said something about this song contributing to the purity of music in there. T-Pain himself would not approve, talk less of God). PEPSI. WHY DON’T YOU FIND SOMETHING TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE, OR WHY DON’T YOU GO AND MAKE YOUR OWN SONG? COKE. HE IS TALENTED AND I’M GOING TO SCREAM IT IN YOUR EARS UNTIL YOU BELIEVE IT BY FIRE BY FORCE. FANTA. Y’ALL JUST HATING BECAUSE HE’S FINE, HE’S TALENTED, HE DRINKS PEPSI, HE’S MULTITALENTED, HE DID MY WEBSITE (www.shamelessplug.com) AND HE’S THE NEXT BEST THING SINCE JESUS CHRIST. DR. PEPPER & 7-UP. UNTIL YOU DO SOMETHING CREDIBLE WITH YOUR LIFE, SHUT UP AND DON’T YOU DARE HAVE AN OPINION. SCHWEPPES.

o_O

To say I was befuddled is putting quite lightly.

  1. I tried to rack my brains to remember when Dbanj’s grandma or Sasha’s grandpa came out en masse to defend them but nothing. And between the two of them, they’ve released some crap I sure don’t like. So why on earth an artiste’s family will come out to disrespect his fans/non-fans for having opinions beats me! Surely, there has got to be a line between your private and public persona? Or other artistes don’t have families to join them in battle? Be a man and take an L for the team and silence us naysayers with a better song. I’d be ashamed, I tell you, mighty ashamed if my family behaved like so. Let my talent speak for its darn self and when it doesn’t, oh well, still shut up then!
  2. An artist releasing a crap song doesn’t take away from his non-crap songs. It is just what it is – a crap song. Nobody was complaining when said new artist released a couple of earlier songs. No, we were dancing to it in the clubs, bumping to it in our cars, and we’ll still do that tomorrow, and the day after, never mind this crap song he’s released now. When we were changing parades and receiving good luvin’, I didn’t see anyone screaming HATERS!!! Now that we don’t want alabukun, they’re yelling HATING CONSPIRACY! Pligganease.
  3. And then if you’re going to defend, how about stick to the relevant points? Nothing irritates me more, frankly, than someone trying to argue their point by negating someone else’s point. How does that get the person on the other side to see your point? Would it not make more good sense to point out what exactly you like about the song or why you think it is a really great song, than to attack why someone else thinks it’s a crap song? You’re talking about “he’s so talented he designed your website…” What on earth does his graphic design skills have to do with the music talent we’re dissecting right now? We’re talking eran didun, iwo n so eja osan.
  4. Must Nigerians like every single song? Do said new artist’s family folks get shot down for everything they don’t like? Why must every contrary opinion of a song, or anything at all, be construed as hating? I don’t see Britney Spears coming to shoot me with a nine simply because I think her new song isn’t fit for dogs’ ears. Kanye West didn’t send me a smoke bomb simply because I didn’t like every single song on his last album (I’m sure if he would if he could though, ha!). You don’t see me cutting folks when they get on Rihanna’s case about having no talent (but she stays snatching your faves’ wigs, hollllerrrrrrrrrrr! I’ll calm down now). So what’s the problem here now?
    I, along with a significant number of others, don’t think said new artist deserves / got his Pepsi deal free and clear and legit…his family and friends now want to shoot us die ni? Miss me with that having to have done something worthwhile before I get to put my 2 cents in. God gave each and everyone of us an opinion, along with an asshole.
  5. The song and video are both balderdash awful. Period.

I broke my promise. My little rant turned into a rather full blogpost-sized one but gee, I just couldn’t help it. I am so sick and tired of people trying to push bullshit down people’s throats, and I’m so stunned that an artist’s family would try to take reviews personal. The hyail?! It’s just business. Let it remain so. Send your little tot of an artist a little e-mail to say “I still love you even when the world doesn’t” or kiss his boo-boo in private to make it all better. However, we, the people, don’t need to see allathat ego-stroking. Keep that for Twitter. If you can’t be objective, just keep quiet.

Like I said in one of my very first posts – I don’t care if it was made/served/delivered/rapped/sung/bought/written in Nigeria. If it’s crap, it is crap and I won’t support it just because. I’ll even go as far as Jesus by not saying anything at all when I have nothing nice to say BUT that is only if you behave yourself, of course.

So, Wizkid, how far now?

El

*Lynxx
** Banky W

I Pledge To Nigeria, blah, blah, blah…To Be Faithful, Loyal (YEAH RIGHT) and Honest, blah, blah, blah

31 Jan

Before I begin, I have a mini-rant. If you don’t read and you’re proud of it, slap yourself (to the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It)! Look, really, if you’re one of those who, when presented with reading material, cringe and squeal, “It’s too long!” when it’s only just a paragraph, I hate you. I do. With a passion bordering on near madness, I just do. I wouldn’t piss on you to put you out if OPC had set you ablaze with a tire, gasoline and a couple of matches.

I don’t even need you to read for pleasure, okay? But just…read…something, anything. Read the news, read a textbook, read a guidebook, read…something, anything. You can never walk a mile in anybody’ shoes but I’ll tell you what you can do – see the world through another person’s eyes…through the words they put down on paper (or laptop screen). So if you’re one of those who can’t/won’t read, DO BETTER!

I digress as always.

Nigerians have got to be one of the most inherently disloyal set of people in this world. I’ll tell you how this revelation was inspired.

So my mother and I were at The Icecream Factory the other day (which by the way has the best apple crumble in Nigeria, amen! I feel a Rate Naija post coming up now even). We were waiting for our order and we both noticed the huge number of people streaming in and out like free lottery tickets were being given out even though the holiday peak period was long since over. Thinking about it now, I don’t think I have ever been to the Icecream Factory and not run into at least one person I know (and I’m the loner sort who knows almost nobody).

“It’s like the new Robert’s Café,” Mama remarked.

And I thought, how sad because I know for a fact she isn’t the only one thinking that way. The new Robert’s Café. It’s a slap in the face to Robert’s Café which, mind you, still exists, but admittedly appears to be in an extended coma. It’s also a subtle hint about the future of The IceCream Factory too as it seems to suggest that in another year or two, we’ll be referring to some new “happening” place as the new Icecream Factory.

Think about it, before The Icecream Factory, it was Robert’s Café. Before that, it was Bungalow. Before that, it was Double Four (I never got the hype though). Before that, it was New Yorker’s (which had the BEST pizza and milkshakes IN THE WORLD back in those days. I shed a few tears when they disappeared without a warning).

It seems like only herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, places with the fast-food model are guaranteed some measure of longevity on the Nigerian social scene, you know, joints like Chicken Republic, Mr. Biggs et al who are smart enough to appeal to both the upper/mid- and lower classes by providing not only snacks like meat pies but light-scale meals like packaged jollof rice as well.

I sympathize with folks who start up restaurants or franchises. I know I would be terrified of experiencing the dreaded social slump most new places experience after a certain time span ranging from 2 weeks to a an entire year. You’ll be the hottest spot on the block when you open in January and before you know it, in March, you’re taboo for anyone who wants to remain kind of a big deal on the social scene. It’s even more frustrating when your main objective was not to become the next big “place-to-be-for-the-moment”, but to make profits and make it for a good while too.

This trend is not limited to restaurants, you know. Oh yeah, clubs and lounges have it so hardddddd dealing with fickle Nigerian customers. That’s why we have all lost count of how many times the club formerly known as 11:45, formerly known as Insomnia, formerly known as who-the-hell-even-cares-anymore, has changed its name. Just who the heck are they fooling anyway? But you can’t really blame them eh? They’re just trying to do whatever it takes to keep everybody coming back.

I mean, what else could all of these places do when they are dealing with one of the most fickle customer base ever known to man?

Seriously, riddle me this, why are Nigerians so disloyal? Why do we have such short attention spans? Why do we focus more on who we’ll see and who’ll see us rather than on how good the filet mignon here is  and if they’ve got that good French wine I’ve been craving after a horrendous week of work? Why does Femi insist on f**king Sade, Jessica, Anastasia, Oge, Farida and every other girl in the Lagos hemisphere when he’s dating Funkadariam?

Why do we lose interest in new things so easily? Ah, never let it be said Nigerians have got the memory of an elephant because we forget WAY too easily. I could write an entire new post on how easily Nigerians forget. We forget all about Restaurant X and its great, varied menu simply because Restaurant Y just opened up last week and everyone’s storming there.

I hate to veer into Naipolitics as an example at this time but gosh, just peep the way politicians jump from party to party to party based on where they think the wind blows. I guess it’s too much for us to expect them to actually stick to the one party whose ideals they staunchly believe in. Yeah, that’s too much hard work, no?

How can a formerly disgraced governor who dressed up as a woman to try to escape his being penalized for stealing billions be allowed to gallivant all about town without a care in the world? Why aren’t we saying anything about the fact that the current “First Lady” has an open EFCC case?

Yeah, disloyal Nigerians. We can’t even do as we pledge and honor our country by crying out against such rubbish. Sigh.

I guess these restaurant/club owners just have to work with what they’ve got. Still, I feel like some of these guys give up too easily (Robert’s Café, here’s looking at you). I’m no expert but I can think of a couple of ways to keep business rolling in spite of the notorious Nigerian customer.

Establishing and maintaining a frequent user/customer loyalty program would definitely go a long way. I might be missing something (I already said I’m no expert, gee) but this seems to me like such an easy way to retain customer loyalty.  Buy 9 meals, get the 10th free! Buy 6 books, get a free movie ticket! Attend 15 church services, get a husband!

Additionally, I wouldn’t wait until your business/outfit begins to peak and drop in terms of popularity before you do something. It’d probably be much easier to think up innovative ways when you’re at the height of your game so you reel your customers back in before they even think of taking their attentions elsewhere.

Anyway, The Icecream Factory, I still love you. You’re the place for the best apple crumble ever…for now.

El

Rate Naija: Registering to Vote

21 Jan

So I’d like to share my registration experience with y’all because to my surprise, it went much less painfully than I had anticipated.

You know, politics in Nigeria is like a minefield. You never know what sort of ridiculousness is about to spring up any second. I like to embellish beautifully describe my tales for your enjoyment but look, I don’t even need to do that when talking about Nigerian politics and leadership. The ridiculousness just spills all over. Dog is to cat as ri-damn-diculousness is to Naipolitics.  Check it out:

  1. All schools, both public and private, are to remain closed for an ENTIRE month so INEC (the bums in charge of the elections) can use the public schools as registration centers. I guess they thought they were being fair by asking the private schools to close as well even though they weren’t going to be used (never mind that the private schools are and will always be light years ahead of their public counterparts). An entire month without any notice of any sort? That’s the value we place on education? Whose brilliant idea was this? As my present boss says, the problem with Nigeria is intellectual laziness. Uh-huh. Oh and get this, the school the President’s kids attend stayed open despite that directive until 234next.com called out their asses.
  2. INEC has another brilliant idea – hey, why don’t we round up these afflicted youth corpers and have them handle the registration? Oh yes, not only will we do that, we will also give them a week’s notice and 3 days’ “training” (which consists of bundling all the corpers into some location that can’t take them all, reading some boring ass materials to them and attempting to do “practicals” with hundreds of corpers per laptop. Y’all know I didn’t put myself through all of this nonsense. I can see a disaster coming miles away, and I’m not a white man who insists on sticking around to watch Godzilla munch on human cookies instead of getting the hell away).
  3. So the actual registration has begun and numerous glitches are being reported all over the country. Yeah, we all so did not see that coming! Stories of

– Waiting hours in the line only to be turned away eventually

– Only 2 people being registered in the space of five freaking hours!!

– The registration officials coming to work with uncharged laptops!!!! Where the hell do they do at??? Oh, I’ll tell you. At the Nigerian Immigration Service, for starters. I made the mistake of going to renew my passport on one of my vacation days. Got there at 9:00am and didn’t get out alive until 4:00pm like it was a full-time job and only because my agent managed to cut the line o_O. Dudes, I waited all outside for those hours and when I finally got in, the actual process took literally 10 minutes. Jesus wept.
I eventually got to see for myself what the hell was taking so long.  Believe this or not, the power supply kept being disrupted every 15 minutes and every time that happened, the computers the guys were using to enter in information would SHUT DOWN ‘cause they had no back-up power. So they would have to restart the computers (the kind that still have diskette drives so imagine how SLOW) and then connect to this slow ass server. You bet I was weeping along with Jesus. You want my advice? Renounce your citizenship and ask the Ukraine embassy for a passport. I mean, allathis on top of a stupid green passport that can’t even do you any favors!

I digress.

Anyway, these dumb-as-rocks INEC folks are now trying to make scapegoats out of these long-suffering corpers (like the shitty pay they get isn’t enough) saying that they expected graduates to be able to handle laptops but they couldn’t. Oh, that makes sense ‘cause I guess INEC was the one who bought millions of laptops for the public and private schools to use so that this generation could be IT-savvy, right? Like, how dare you complain about the results of an educational system that you yourself have broken beyond repair? And of course, INEC was the one who handled the excellent, quality and timely training these corpers received so why, oh why are these silly corpers messing registration up for everyone eh?

See, I didn’t even have to embellish nothing. The ridiculousness is inherent in the plain facts. Naipolitics, a tragicomedy playing now in screens near you.

I think it’s clear now why I headed to my registration center with a resigned, “I-just-can’t-go-to-war” kinda attitude even though I was a little excited ‘cause it would be my first time voting (I’m not as young as you think, btw).

It was strangely anticlimactic. I got there (it was a school opposite my office and not far off from my house because apparently, there will be no driving on Election Day) and was number 6 in my particular queue. It took about 30 minutes before it got to me and I sat down gingerly on the crooked bench wondering shallowly if it would stain my black dress.

Finally, it was my turn and sat down while one of the corpers entered in my details, took my picture and captured all my fingerprints. Then I had to sign and put my thumbprint in a register. C’est fini – 45 minutes only including the waiting time.

The only minor glitch I experienced was the fact that I was asked to come back the next day to get my voter’s card ‘cause they didn’t have a spare machine but overall, not too bad considering the tales from hell we’ve been hearing.

So El is ready to vote and is crossing her fingers that it does count this time.

Have you registered to vote?

El

E: Lets go there…

19 Jan

Living in Nigeria is an out of this world experience I tell you!  I have been here for 6months now, no quick trip to another country, no weekend get away…6 months straight! I’m now a lot darker than I was when I initially got here, at least 3 shades darker (no kidding). I attribute that to the weather, but really it’s not like I sit out in the sun or anything? Oh well, I know I haven’t blogged in a long while (apologies) but today I want to talk a little (okay maybe a lot) about an issue that is so dear to my heart.

I am probably not alone but I HAVE A REALLY BIG PROBLEM with the service industry in my country. Mediocrity in this country is always on a high, most people have gotten “used” to the system and just learning to flow with it. I may be thinking of it too deep and eventually end up getting “used” to it too, but I can’t!, Not yet at least.

One beautiful evening I went to E-bar with a couple of friends. It’s about 5 of us; we order suya, chips and drinks. One of the girls who is a regular advises us that if we want to order anything to-go to do it while we are doing our eat-in orders because it would take a while to bring stuff out. I’m thinking no problem, our orders to-go will probably be ready when we are about to leave. So the waiter brings out 4 peoples orders, we start digging in, thinking the last persons order is on the way. But what do we see, the waiter brings the order I made to go, all wrapped up, which is exactly what the last persons order was (one chicken suya). So I start talking about how it doesn’t make sense, and my friend is arguing back that what the waiter did is normal and right, and that’s their procedure there at E-Bar. They place each person’s order at a time, and then go on to the next person. With a puzzled expression on my face, I allowed her win the argument, shaking my head at how people get so used to the system and forget what should actually be considered “normal, reasonable and sensible service”.  So wrap up a chicken suya for someone to-go, when someone that wants to eat-in is patiently waiting for the same thing? Had it been that we were on different tables, I would understand, but we were all on the same freaking table!!!

My friend I’m talking about here moved to Nigeria about a year before I did.

Second Example, El and I went to the newly opened “Four Seasons” right by the shoprite road. It was my first time there, driving towards the gate; I had to stop because the security guy was standing in front of the car and writing something down. I figured it was my tag number. So I’m complaining to El, like this is my first time here, you can’t just stand in front of my car and expect me not to run you over. How about you come to my window, say hello, and tell me what you are about to do. Even after he took my tag number, he just waved me over, no smile, no nothing! Way to make me feel welcomed. So I’m thinking I should mention something about it to him on the way out, but El is like no, it wouldn’t make any difference. Well you may be reading this and think it makes no sense for him to tell each customer what he’s about to do. But I’ve worked in the customer service industry, and every time I picked up a call, I had to say “Hello, this is Esther, Thank you for calling XXX center, how may I help you today”. If I could do that for the over 500 calls I received a day, I’m sure he can do it for every car that drives in. PS: The parking lot in that place is like really tiny with space for like 20cars?

El moved about the same time I moved…LOL!

About 2 weekends ago I visited Olumo rock with my friend. The last time I visited was in 1995? The place has really transformed, now modernized and all. I guess we have Gbenga Daniel to thank for that, but then I think I overhead the driver and our tour guide discussing about how it was Osoba that started the process and paid off the people around to re-locate and blah blah blah. Anyway, we drive up to the gate and a man comes out to discuss the various services provided. For example if you have your camera and want to use it, you’ll have to pay N100, as opposed to if you used their own photographers, you will need to pay N200 per copy. Errr we’ll use our camera thank you very much! Next, we can pay N250 for a tour guide, but he thinks it’s a waste of time and we would do fine by ourselves. Uhm, but how do we truly enjoy the experience without a guide? He shows us the different prices, if you want to walk to the top its N500, the elevator is being serviced at the moment so we don’t have that option. So what if I had brought my excited grandmother, she would have been so disappointed (I later find out that the elevator hasn’t been working for about six months, tsk tsk. So we sort out all the logistics and were given tickets. As we walk towards the steps which is somewhat sealed, I was having a conversation with my friend, I don’t quite recall what we are talking about. The security man collecting the ticket says “Ki lon so”(What are you saying?), and I reply “Ki len yin so” (What are you saying?????!!!!). Something must have sparked inside of him because he begins this rant about how I’m not his mate and I am rude to him. He angrily tears off our ticket and walks away. I am so confused at this stage because I am thinking why ask me what I am saying when I wasn’t even talking to you in the first place? I just figured the poor man was cranky and probably hates his job.  Took us about an hr and a half, we finish the tour and head back down. I am really thirsty so I walk into their “Café” and towards the counter where there are 3 woman sitting behind it. I say “Good afternoon, can I get water please”. This funny lady goes “uh”, I am about to repeat “water” when the other lady helps me and says “water”. After bringing the water she asks me if I “care” for any food and I’m like “no, thank you”. I ask my friend if she’s hungry and she’s like she doesn’t like the environment so she doesn’t want to eat. As we wait for them to bring our change, my eyes catches an angle of their kitchen, couldn’t see the whole thing but what I saw wasn’t bad at all. The following conversation occurred between me and the lady

“Please can I see your menu?”

“Are you trying to make an enquiry?”

“No I am just trying to see your menu”

“That’s why I am asking because if you want to make an enquiry you would have to go through a procedure” (at this point she is reaching out to get a book out)

“I am asking you if you have a menu because I would like to see what you have so that I can possibly make an order”

“Well we only have friend rice and chicken right now” turns to face another woman “ as I was saying”

I just stand there like WTH? My friend is also looking very puzzled saying “customer service is a big problem in this country”

The friend I was with here hasn’t moved back yet.

I know I have done nothing but rant and you are probably tired of reading my stories, but I really do have more silly stories like this. Like I would walk into a company, get bad service and feel really bad for the owners of the company because I am not sure they are aware of the way their employees are watering down the company’s reputation.

Why is the service industry so bad? I really want answers!

My answer is simple. Mediocrity, na him cause palaba. We have to get used to the weak systems and standards because that is what is available. I mean, if there were many other options, places with bad service will be suffering right now. But because all these place don’t have competition, they shove nonsense down our throats and expect us to “get used to it”. (Don’t even get me started on the Fashion industry) I say we start creating competition, give people a reason to jump out of their “comfort zone”

Happy 2011!!!

P.S: Forgive me for any errors you catch 🙂

E