Yesterday in the bus, I watched a full-grown bearded man litter his space with the shells of the groundnuts he ate. His mouth was busy all through the journey; he bought gala, Coke, water and then groundnuts. It’s not even my business what he did with his mouth but the way he littered the floor was sickening. I would have been less angry if he was a teenager, but he looked like a family man with 4 children, a wife and possibly a side chick. He was already eyeing the babe who sat beside him. He even bought her Fanta and codedly asked for her number ?, but she completely ignored him and looked outside the window. By the time he alighted at his bus stop, his space was littered with things he ate: the groundnut shells, the empty bottles, and the gala wrappings. I immediately started imagining how dirty his house must be and if he bathes well sef. After all, his beard and hair were very unkempt and bushy.
Why do Nigerians litter the floor? Whyyy?
Raheema is my elderly friend’s daughter. One time during my mama’s birthday as I was walking towards the house, I caught her smiling and looking at me.
“Why are you smiling, Raheema?”
“Aunty Funmi, you’re fine,” she said.
For some seconds I didn’t know what to say – her response made me stagger. I hugged her and said thank you. It’s one memorable moment I hold on to and pray never to forget. She’s five years old, bubbly with love and isn’t afraid to express herself. She makes me want to be a child again, free without the thought of withholding praises and admirations. But who says I have to be a child to do that? Now, when I meet people who I truly admire, I tell them. I don’t care what they think but I know they are pleased, the smiles on their faces tell. It makes me smile too.
I used to nurture a fear of not making heaven. But now that the fear is totally gone, I have a new one – the fear of not being able to dance. You see, for me, dancing is more than the movement of my body to the rhythmic melodies and beats of the song. It is my ability to utter joy without words, and once I’m unable to express it, I know I’m done for. Temi ti bami patapata. I can dance anywhere – it is the one thing I’m not ashamed to do. Just play music. Even if there’s no music sef, my mind has its own playlist. So, when I’m in the queue waiting for the bus, or at the reception waiting to be called in for the interview, or making a new batch of black soap, I’m dancing. But the interview dance is in my mind o, before they’ll think I’m running mad ?. Now imagine when I’m having my bathe with the phone at the window sill and I’m raising legs and shaking bumbum to different songs bellowing from my phone. Chai! It is Joy, untainted joy!
I have a good friend whose name is Ben, even though he barely calls as he used to ?, I forgive him sha. I admire Ben a lot. He is one guy who has unlearned the stereotypical roles women have been subjected to and learned to look at us as he sees himself – human and equals. He listens too. Ben went from “Funmilola, you’re too vocal and overly ambitious, you’ll make any man who wants to marry you feel less and intimidated” to “I admire you, you’re highly opinionated and in Christ. I told my sister about you. I told her you’re a feminist”. It’s a sweet thing to watch men who are willing to unlearn and relearn societal standards set for men and women. It’s sweet when they realize that my dignity is not in a man’s hands neither is it tied to my relationship status. The society has conditioned men to think they are more superior (placing more burdens on their shoulders) and has reduced women to a lot of domestic bullshit. Social conditioning has done a lot of harm to many people’s mindsets. So when you see people who have or are trying to unlearn these standards, you have to give them their accolades.
I find this thing annoying, very annoying; I’ll flag a keke down only for a passenger like me to get down and tell me to ‘enter inside’. Enter inside to where? Why did you get down?
“Sister it’s not like that o, my bus stop is close, that’s why.”
“Ah brother, don’t worry. I’ll get down for you.”
It’s not me you’ll use scope for. It’s even worse when there are two guys at the back and then you want to sandwich me into the middle. Why should you get down for me to enter? Who made that rule? The other day, that’s how one stood at the front seat, waiting for the second passenger. When I got there, I asked her if she’s boarding the bus, she said yes. Then I asked her why she hasn’t entered, she then asked me to enter first. I said: “no, I met you here, please get into the bus”. She jejely entered the bus. No time for plenty talk.
Did you hear of Baddo? The cult group that killed people in Ibeshe – a community in Ikorodu? See ehn, my mouth can’t talk of the evil this wicked group perpetrated in the area. It was said that the killings were money ritual something. They entered victims’ houses through the window, killed them by hitting their heads with a grinding stone, used a white handkerchief to soak up their blood and didn’t take a pin from the house. See, I couldn’t sleep during this period; residents were advised to sleep in different parts of the house so as to be at alert. Rich folks even hired private vigilante members for their houses.
When night came, sleep evaded my eyes. At the slightest noise like this, I would rush to the windows to check if someone was lurking in the compound. It became my nightly routine. During the day, I would then sleep like mumu. Then one night, after a series of sleepless nights, I heard my dad and mum snoring in their room. Even one of our dogs was seriously sleeping. I gave myself brain and went to bed wondering what my vigil is for.