You know those people that go to America for one month and then on their return home suddenly start calling Police men – The Feds? As in, our stand-on-the-road-munch-groundnut-and-beg-for-50naira-policemen. Feds. Running down everything about Nigeria while attempting to be an IJGB. You literally just want to slap them and say c’mon will you adjust right now. What nonsense Feds?
Or they start calling recharge card – top up? And mallam’s shed, corner shop. Ki lo n je top up?
So tired of their stories, I thought we should all gather round and laugh at them together this lazy Saturday.
I mean, I’m sure we all have that one aunty, whose ‘overdo’ makes you roll your eyes sometimes. She gets to go to London, not because she has any business there, pretty much just to be able to say she’s been to London, possibly after selling everything she owns. Ok ok I’m kidding. She goes to help a distant relative of yours who just had a baby, then after a few weeks of wearing turtle neck and leggings under her iro and buba, comes back to tell you that there is no Sun there.
“There is no sun in that country o, Oloun gbo!!!.”
“One month o, just one month, see how my colour has changed? See how my skin is fresh. There is no Sun in that London. That’s why the people are fresh like that. Cool weather. I did not know my complexion was fair like this before o. See my face. My dear you have to go there. Everything is working,the sun is not frying their brain and making them black. In fact just pray, pray o, so that you too will go there one day. You have too, God will bless you so you can go there. S’ogbo?
And though you hear the tiny exaggeration lurking beneath her words, you pray, and God blesses you; you get a scholarship to do a Masters maybe, only for you to get there and people are wearing sunshades, because the sun is shinning, like Lagos sun. The only reason it’s not frying their brains is because they are wearing head warmers… or not. The cold is swallowing the heat pretty much. But people spread clothes on the line outside, for sun to dry them. You want to call your aunty and tell her that your oyinbo neighbour has a cloth line at his back yard, complete with pegs dangling, but you get distracted by London, all of it. The right hand driving, the many shops, the people; too polite to ask you to repeat your Yoruba name, their running, as though someone is chasing them, the tube. You forget to call, and to be quite honest calls to Nigeria are not cheap.
Like your Uncle, the one that’s not exactly your mom’s brother but always calls her sister mi because they are from the same village in Ekiti. Tracing their history, they both found out that his grandfather bought land from your mother’s grandfather and both farmed on it back in the day, hence- generational siblings. Since he returned from a trip to France in 1998, paid for by his office, only that one time he went, his dark blue French suit has over the years remained his Sunday best. Over the game of draft and knocked down bottles of star, he tells anyone who cares to listen how Paris is so clean and shinny.
“That place? They have Aife tower… You know Aife tower?…You don’t know Aife tower? What are they teaching you people in school these days. I have a picture, I will show you. I stood in front of it. Big like this, and tall. it’s like heaven. Very clean o. You won’t find any litter on the floor in that place. Police “catch” people for throwing things on the floor. You dare not. You will just see them with their power bike vroom vroom. No litter. That’s why they live longer, no pollution. This our own government needs to take corruption seriously. I remember those days of Buhari’s KAI, or was it WAI and bla blah blah, on and on, he keeps talking.”
You watch as alcohol releases unrelated words noisily from his lips.
You grow up and save money to go to Paris on vacation, to see this magnificent Aife of a tower. You see it as your plane approaches decent and you smile to yourself. Such beauty, surrounded by lights, sparkling light. Dazzling light. Way too much light. What manner of brightness? You get out the departure gate and breath in France hastily. The smell of stale urine that hits you makes your tummy revolt in distate.
Speaking of urine, remind me, I’ll probably need to do a blog post about grown men peeing by the side of the road.
As you are driven to your hotel, you see litter. There’s litter on the road, there’s litter thats being chased around by the cold wind. There’s someone’s left over sandwich on the side walk, just there, soaked by rain and looking like baby poo. You want to ask where the litter catching Police are and their vroom vroom bikes, but you look up and the Eifel is there, sitting on her throne. Majestically so. Your eyes catch it for a bit, in admiration, through the car window, until it starts receeding and disappears in the cloud of exhaust and mist.
I should tell you about this hair dresser in Ibadan my mom had long ago, he said he was going to New York for training; hair makeup and skin care, for six months. This dude was legit calling his people from Lagos and making them think he was State side. God punish landline.
He didn’t even reach the airport but his stories of New York were the coolest. I won’t tell them today, another day perhaps.
But meanwhile, let me know the fake stories you were told or hmmmm the fake stories that you told. And on an ending note, you all really need to start telling people that there is no power outage in Nigeria please. What you say you become, at least in people’s minds.