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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Normal = Abnormal • Abnormal = Normal (sense 2)


I have written articles about the fact that, in our society today, normal has become abnormal and vice-versa, here and here.
This present write-up shares the same title. It only means it in a slightly different sense. Enjoy please.

Anytime from 7pm everyday, my neighbourhood comes alive with vibes from generators of all kinds and sizes.

I live in a flat that is part of a two-story block of six flats. Every flat has it’s own generator. You can imagine the blend of sweet sounds you get when all generators from the six flats are on.
Behind my house is a big church. Even though I’ve never actually set eyes on their generator, I can tell it’s a big generator that runs on diesel. It know it’s sound.

Of course over time, you get accustomed to the noise and it becomes normal. Quiet becomes abnormal. The day before yesterday, I was with a couple. We were sharing about the situation of things in the country when he shared a joke:

A Nigerian travelled to a country where power supply was constant. Every night, he found it difficult to sleep. The doctors checked him, took his history, ran tests and found that he simply could not sleep because his new environment was too quiet. His “treatment” simply was a soft music noise CD that played him recorded noise from generators anytime he wanted to go to bed. From the very next day, the “patient” found his sleep.

Bizarre as it sounds, the above was probably a true life story. It could have happened.
I have had similar experiences:

I had been so used to poor internet services that I was literally irritated when I had a fast connection. I mean, fast wasn’t just right.

I had been so used to a poor power supply that when I moved to an area of town where the power wouldn’t go out for days, I could begin to feel sick.

For the fact that we’ve experienced bad national leadership as a nation for decades, we’ve come to take it (bad leadership) as normal. I’ve heard citizens say they are OK with public officials embezzling funds as long as they “just do something” to help the masses “no matter how small.” Pray, are those not the kind of ideas that emanate from a sick mindset?

Nigerians have become so used to abnormality. We have come to terms with poverty, unstable power supply, bad roads, bad leadership, corruption, lack of security etc.. We just laugh through it all. Despite all the ills, we still found a way to be ranked the happiest people in the world.

I imagine that when the situation improves and things finally become fixed (if they do get fixed), we wouldn’t initially enjoy them because they wouldn’t be things we’re anymore familiar with. It would take some getting used to.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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A Spirit in My Bathroom


Days ago on a morning, I got in the bath and got washing.
My phone’s music player was on, blasting away.
The song that was playing hadn’t finished when, suddenly, it was interrupted by another song – from the same phone.
This song played for a few seconds then all of a sudden the initial song started playing, interrupting the second song. I wondered what was happening. Why was it flipping wildly between two songs? I was alone in the bathroom so there wasn’t any question of anybody flipping any dials.

Soon enough, song 2 resumed again cutting the first song, then song one interrupted song two again.. and the cycle continued for a while. I could almost conclude my phone had developed a mind of it’s own. At that point, my mind went wild with all kinds of imagination. What exactly was happening? There was lather all over me so I didn’t bother going over to take a look at the phone. I just continued bathing, a little alarmed.

As the crazy deejaying continued, I started wondering if there was a spirit in there with me toying with my phone. I just couldn’t find any other explanation for why a phone would behave that way. The thought got me a little scared as I felt more certain that there was some spirit person fiddling with buttons on phone.

Soon enough, my bath was over. I dried up and reached for the phone. “5 missed calls”. That explained it. The queer thing’s just that the phone chose to pick a random song from my collection as the ring tone.

Did that then eliminate the thought that a spirit was in that bathroom with me when my phone was “autodeejaying”?

Even if He wasn’t the one toying with my phone (and I know He wasn’t), a Spirit was right there in that bathroom.

He’s an omnipresent Spirit
He’s a Spirit you can’t hide from
He’s a Spirit that knows all your thoughts from afar
He’s a Spirit who sees right through the very self of you

He is God and He’s everywhere at the same time.

“I can never escape from your spirit! I can never get away from your presence!
..I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night – but even in darkness I cannot hide from you..”

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

The strangers you thought you knew.


Who are the people closest to us?

By proximity:
Family? Friends? Co-workers? Classmates?

By influence:
Family? Friends? Our screen idols and other people in the media? The government? Religious leaders?

There are people whom though we’ve never personally met, we still feel “close” to. Some of them are constantly on our minds. Reason may be because they directly or indirectly touch our lives. We might have gotten fascinated with how they talk and carry themselves around. You may have found that their world view is similar to yours and, snap! you just feel a sense of intimacy with them. We have favourite senators, favourite actresses, favourite footballers, etc.

Some time ago, I felt quite close to an actress – Stephanie Okereke, for my empathy for a role she played in a movie. She lingered in my subconscious for quite a while. I’ve felt that way for a number of other people even though I’ve never once met them in person. It’s a transient feeling.
If I got to meet Stephanie in person and she turned out to be everything I thought she was not, I wouldn’t be too shocked.

But, having lived with my siblings for a long time, having cemented the belief that I know each one of them thoroughly well, I would certainly be shocked if I was presented with the “reality” of any of them being everything I thought they were not – in terms of everything. The same would apply about people I’m very close friends with.

I once discovered found that an inseparable friend of mine loved to eat chalk. While it may not be a big deal to eat chalk, I was confounded at the realisation that the discovery was indeed a fact. She had some form of a “disorder” called Pica. You know, I couldn’t take it. I denied it. It was such a big deal to me at the time. There are some things I’ve never thought could happen to myself or the people around me. I’m more at home with the fact now. It’s more funny to me now than astounding. My friend was at a time a teacher in a primary school. I imagined, “you’d ask.. Where did all the chalk go?”
If she was a guest at your house, you’d do well to offer her some chalk instead of biscuits. Strange, innit?

At least one other friend of mine has pica. She’s OK and normal.
Pregnant women could also experience pica, in various forms.

There are aspects of people’s lives that may never surface for the outside world to see. Right now, I never assume to know a lot about anybody, no matter how close we are.

Some of these aspects are actually actively hidden – stowed away by the individual.
Some remain hidden simply for the fact that nothing warrants their showing up.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Lessons from my tie-and-dye


Now, what lessons can I learn from my adire (tie-and-dye)?! It came out of the soapy waters (of life) triumphant. So will I. 🙂

My mama sent me two nice tie-and-dye tops. I rocked them both this past week. I had been scared to wash my new tops. I simply didn’t want them to fade. Much as I didn’t want to wash them, I had to.

So, I got some soapy water and put my adire in it. I washed gently. Some colour came off but on the whole, it still looked good. It probably looks more beautiful now than when it was new. It’s akin to how denim “matures” after one or two washes.

Despite the wear and tear that life’s brought on her, a twenty-one year old woman’s surely more beautiful than when she was a new-born.
Aged wine definitely tastes better.
Fermented “burukutu” is definitely stronger. One shot and you’re sprawling on the floor.
When I get a new jeans, I wear it around the house so it stretches and loses that touch of it being new. I like my jeans better when they’re old and faded.

In the same way,
Love in relationships should grow as the relationship ages regardless of the familiarity that sets in. Your wife should look more beautiful at 60, grey hair, wrinkles and all.
We grow wiser through the hardships we face. We come out stronger.
When we make a mistake, we learn one more way things shouldn’t be done.
Faith in God becomes stronger as we experience tests and trials.

It’s just the natural effect that ageing has on these things. I’m trying to see the good effects that everyday wear-and-tear has on people and things.
The more wear-and-tear we experience in life, the better we should come off.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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“you’re the one who’s actually mad”


That’s what a mad man would say to a sane person.

There’s this mad fellow who roams around your neighbourhood. He constitutes so much of a nuisance that you and your neighbours organise to apprehend him and hand him over to the appropriate authorities.
After some planning, you surround him. You catch him and he begins struggling to break free. “Mad man, calm down!” You shout. On hearing this, he relaxes and turns to whoever just called him a mad man. He laughs “It’s you who’s actually mad, not me.” You roll your eyes thinking the mad man’s said that in retaliation. Just so you know he means what he’s just said he boldly points at you and says again. “I mean it, you’re mad and you don’t know it.” He says a few unintelligible things and concludes his speech with a quote from George Washington.
You can see that the mad man means it when he says you are the one who is actually mad.

From your viewpoint, he’s the mad person. From his view, he can see MAD written all over you.
The question then is, “who is actually mad”?

That’s just what society has become.
Insanity has become sanity.
Sanity has become insanity.

The pressure’s all around and the sane person may lose confidence and begin to feel like he’s the one who’s insane. Why? It’s because the insane outnumber the sane. A lot of people fall out of the right path because of the pressure to feel among.

I agree it’s difficult to maintain tough principles not to err but in the end, it’ll be clear to everyone that it’s actually well worth it.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

They keep us locked in a cycle of fantasy


I’m enjoying a song from a popular secular album. It’s about, guess.. how a girl’s been blowing his mind and all. That’s familiar enough. Most other tracks on the album have this same theme. Many hit (and “un-hit”) songs are themed on the secular perception of love. I say, secular perception of love, because I believe, what they preach actually isn’t love. SENSUALITY and LOVE are two different things.

“Girl, shake that thang. Girl, you’re my world, you blow my mind.. Checking out that backside, I just wanna take you down the aisle” blah..

In the colourful music videos, they paint these things to be a picture of perfect bliss. They lay these sweet lyrics so deftly – to the beat of neatly arranged music that we listeners just sink it all. We passively save all the messages and values passed from these songs in our subconscious. Then we inadvertently live them everyday – at work, at school.. everywhere.

The kinda life they portray is this:
You walk into the club at 2am. See this chic sitting all by herself at the corner. With all the “swagnificence” you can muster, you walk up to her and chat her up. By 5am, she’s in your bedroom (not for a prayer vigil though). That’s bliss right?
Next, you’re talking about how you see the fire in her eyes, and how her lips taste like strawberries. How you love her so much that you just wanna put a ring on her finger and march, hurry, walk her down the aisle.
Then you make her your wifey and you guys live together happily ever after in perfect boy-girl harmony.

If things were actually like that in the real world, all your favourite hollywood stars wouldn’t always be talking and singing about heartbreaks and exes and divorce lawyers and alimony and two, three different baby mamas..

What these songs and music videos portray is all fantasy – the kind of fantasy we actually love to see. Things don’t work like that in the real world. Go get a brain transplant, then reinforce your kidney’s filtering mechanisms.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Showed Gpa a “cool” feature on his phone.


I certainly made my grandpa’s day this morning. I showed him a feature on his phone address book he didn’t know was there. I showed him how to not waste time when searching for a contact.

If the contact started with an alphabet closer to Z eg., Veronica, he could start scrolling upwards from Z instead of having to scroll a long way down from A (which had been his style). My grandpa was so glad he shouted, “Praise the Lord..” I smiled “Hallelujah” as I rolled my eyes in my mind.

To Gpa, that was an achievement. To me, whatever. While the tendency is to despise whatever was happening, I chose to learn from it. What, to you, is a big deal, is mincemeat to somebody else. What, to you, is not a big deal is a huge task to some other person.
My grandfather’s apparent weakness came to the fore only because we were dealing with technology. Then, I could easily shine (or outshine). If we were to judge who was smarter based on some other parameter, he’d definitely beat me pants down.

Remember, you can’t be better than everybody else at everything else.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
 
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