Month: October 2010

Surely There’s More?!

I’m in a weird mood today.

This morning I was struck by how mundane life can be.

Five days a week, I wake up, have a shower, dress up and head to work. I sit at my desk counting down to the earliest second when I can exit the building without looking like a skiver. I think of all the things I could be doing at home and the grass seems greener on that side.

I get home and all the wonderful things I planned to do evaporate like rain on a hot summer’s day. I didn’t write jack, read my bible or practice on my guitar. By the time my eyes are sealing themselves shut, I can’t think of anything I’ve done besides watch Home and Away, Eastenders and stuff myself with twice my recommended daily allowance of calories in one sitting.

Is this it? Is this all life has to offer?

At the weekends, I hang out with family and friends. We gossip some, go out for a bite, watch a play, movie, go to a party…whatever floats our boats. Other times I shut myself away, desperate for some MEE time. On Sundays I go to church and listen to yet another sermon and sing yet another song, while sitting next to the same old people.

Is this it? Is this all life has to offer?

My days roll into weeks, my weeks into months and months into years. Before I realise what’s happening I’ll be dead and buried. Hopefully I’ll have written a few books and been married with a few kids, grand kids if I’m fortunate.

There are only so many movies a girl can watch. So many gossip sessions a girl can have. So many birthday parties, weddings and leaving do’s a girl can attend. So much dancing a girl can do. So much food a girl can eat. So many sermons a girl can hear. So many songs a girl can sing. There is only so much money a girl can spend. I don’t even have the space for all the garbage I buy!

I can’t shake the feeling that at the end of it all I’ll be asking the question, ‘Is that it? Is that all I did with my life?’

Surely there’s more to life than this?! 

THE SUMMER of 2006: Dr Ashewo

In the first half of this post published in September (http://bit.ly/9rUqiw) I told you about the unexplainable fainting spells I used to have and how one of my mum’s friends suggested I see a ‘prophet’, as there seemed to be no medical explanation. Needless to say, the prophet was useless…just as I had prophesied.

As a result of the his incompetence, I found myself in an EXPENSIVE clinic, sat opposite a well respected doctor of Nigerian heritage who is also friends with my mother. 

‘What’s wrong with your daughter?’

‘I don’t know doctor. Na so so faint she just dey faint. She has seen a number of doctors on the NHS and no one’s been able to come up with a diagnosis.’

‘My dear, how do you feel just before you pass out?’

‘One minute I feel normal and the next, I feel lightheaded,’ I whispered.

‘Speak up, I can’t hear what you’re saying!’

Bear in mind that on top of this strange ailment that was plaguing me, I was also contending with the worse bout of hay fever I’ve ever had. My head was constantly pounding, my eyes were permanently red and watery and my nostrils had been made redundant by my blocked nasal cavity. I also had to endure the shame of walking the streets looking a hot mess.

 Having red itchy eyes meant I had to ditch my contact lenses for my 5 year old glasses. I didn’t have the energy to fuss over my hair or dress up. I looked like a tramp. Really.

I was weak, frustrated and irritable. Sensing my mood, my mother echoed my earlier response.

N a wa o, this your pikin no fit talk?!’

I couldn’t guarantee that my response would be polite so I ignored his comment.

He ran a series of tests and after asking further questions about my personal life, he concluded that it was most likely a result of stress.

‘All you need is rest. You’ll be fine.’

Turns out he was right. After a week off work, I felt brand new.  My first day back in the office, I was told by HR that I’d have to get a sick note from the doctor and so I found myself sitting opposite that well respected doctor again.

When I first walked into his office, he didn’t recognise me. The glasses and red eyes had been replaced by grey contacts. Gone were the ill-fitting trousers and hideous jumper; I was wearing a pretty summer dress. The previously matted hair had morphed into a sea of flowing locks. My flawless (excuse the vanity) skin was enhanced by my best friend, MAC NW45 Studio Tech. I looked more than alright.

‘Ahn, aren’t you Tee’s daughter?!’ he said in amazement.

You should have seen his face. I would have picked his chin off the floor but I didn’t want the saliva dripping from his mouth to collide with my perfectly manicured nails.

‘Yes sir I am.’

‘Sit down my dear,’ he said, eyes gleaming like 20 carat diamonds. ‘You girls of nowadays are bad! The other day because your mother was here you were dressing like Mary Amaka. Now she’s not here you want to confuse all the men in London?!’

I stared at him in shock. Surely he didn’t just say that to me?! I smiled like an idiot. I needed that sick note.

After handing over the note, he pulled out a business card from his pocket and scribbled something on it. ‘I’m going on holiday in a few days with my family but when I get back, I’d like to take you out to dinner. I’ve written down my private number, call that one, no one else answers that phone.’

I couldn’t believe my ears.

‘Oh and when you’re coming to dinner don’t wear that your Mary Amaka dress o, dress the way you are dressed today.’

There were so many things I wanted to say to the well respected doctor who is also friends with my mother, but when I opened my mouth, all that came out was, ‘yes sir.’

If only I could turn back the hands of time.

xxx

MEE

Before you Do, Make Sure It Flushes

I apologise in advance because I’m about to gross you out.

I walked into a public toilet this afternoon. As soon as I walked in, I heard a familiar sound. It was similar to the sound you hear when you throw a rock into a pond. Accompanying the sound was a deep throaty groan.  I had to stop myself from laughing out loud.

This public toilet is only used by a few people, all of whom I know. The guessing began.

I wonder if that’s X or Y. Y’s voice is quite high pitched though. A’s voice is husky but I’m sure I just saw her leave the building. Is G in today? Hmn.

A few seconds later, a familiar smell began to waft my way. Coma alert!

My first instinct was to run out of the loo but the miscreant in me stayed put. I really wanted to see who it was. Never mind that I would embarrass her.  I scrunched my nose and waited. Three minutes later (yep, I was counting), the loo went quiet.

Aha, she’s finished!

I wasn’t sure how much more of the stench my nostrils and stomach could tolerate. I heard her attempt to flush. Nothing. She tried again. Nothing.

If I wasn’t in a public toilet I’d have thrown myself on the floor in fits of laughter.

She tried again. Nothing.

I’d repeat the words that came out her mouth but for decorum sake, I’ll pass.

The door of the cubicle opened. Out stepped a woman I’d never seen before. Our eyes met.

I tried. I really did but I couldn’t help myself. I burst out laughing!

The poor woman went red.

‘How long have you been standing there?’ she asked.

‘Long enough,’ I replied still laughing.

‘Oh my god! I’m sorry, I have a bad tummy.’

Still laughing, I nodded in understanding. I really was trying to stop but I couldn’t!

 ‘What do I do? It won’t flush!’

I couldn’t respond. I was laughing so hard my shoulders were shaking violently.

Embarrassed, she ran out of the toilet!

‘COME BACK!’ I thought to myself, ‘You still haven’t flushed and  YOU DIDN’T WASH YOUR HANDS!!!’

My Fault? Never!

One Friday I packed my bags ready to go away for the weekend. Destination? As far away from home as possible. Somewhere where I could pretend my life wasn’t mine, albeit for a couple of days.

I was sitting at my desk willing the day to end when I realised I had forgotten to pack my contact lenses. A disaster if your eyes are as bad as mine. I had a train to catch in less than an hour and the lenses I was wearing were daily disposables.

I remembered that my opticians have a branch a few doors away from my office. Phew! I called the branch and after explaining the situation, the guy on the other end of the phone assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem. He’d call my branch to verify my details and give me a call back.

He called back with bad news. They didn’t have the particular brand I wear in stock so he couldn’t help me.

‘Can’t you  give me any brand?’ I asked.’

‘I’ll have to get the authorisation of your opthamologist before I can do that,’ he replied.

‘Then get it!,’ I screamed down the phone.

I was getting irritated. I knew there was no way I’d be able to go home to pick up my lenses and my only hope wasn’t sounding promising. I’m not sure why I was getting angry at him.  It wasn’t his fault I forgot my lenses or that they didn’t have my brand in stock.  

My phone rang again and the news was no better; my branch wouldn’t give him the authorisation he needed.  Flames began to escape from my ears and nostrils. I hung up and called my branch. Before the guy who answered could churn out any annoying scripted greetings, I jumped down his throat.

‘My name is MEE. I asked your xxx branch to call you to authorise a pair of replacement lenses. Why wouldn’t you do it? Am I am supposed to spend the weekend blind? Would you be satisfied if I get run over crossing the road? You’ll be happier when I’m dead eh?!’

Somebody say drama queen!

‘Please calm down madam. I need your details so I can pull up your account. I did speak to the guys from xxx branch. Unfortunately we cannot authorise a different brand of lenses without a check up.’

‘That’s a load of rubbish and you know it. I recently swapped my monthly lenses for dailies and didn’t need a check. Now you tell me that you cannot swap one brand for another without a check? Does that make any sense?!’

With each word, my voice was getting louder. By the time I completed the rant, my vocal chord was near snapping point.

‘I’m sorry madam but there’s nothing I can do.’

‘There’s nothing you can do? Why do I pay you every month if you cannot provide a service when I need it? Tell me why you are in business? Go on, tell me, I’m waiting!’

I was so angry I started to scare myself. I didn’t recognise the person speaking. I was being uncharacteristically rude. Surely, I wasn’t getting worked up over lenses? I’ve slept in my daily disposables more times than I care to admit  so the lenses couldn’t have been the real issue.

The truth is that I’d been frustrated and stressed for a while, hence the break. My anger had very little to do with the lenses, they just triggered the emotions that I’d been burying. I knew I was being irrational.

When I eventually calmed down, I was ashamed of myself.

When things go wrong, human beings NEED someone to shoulder the blame. Someone must be held responsible for our problems.

That someone, is never us.

Still Alive & Kicking

Hey people!

I’ve had a few messages asking if I’ve gone cold turkey on blogging. I’m hoping you’ll all be pleased to know that I haven’t!

I’ve had an incredibly busy couple of weeks. Work’s been really hectic and on the personal side of things, I’ve never sung so much in my life! The other day I got home at 11.30pm and said to my friend, ‘I’m home early today!’

You get the picture.

In the midst of the many goings on, I did find the time to join twitter. *covers face in shame* Feel free to catch up with me there @WailaCaan

I will put up a post or two at some point today but if you don’t hear much from me this week, know that it’s not because the shingalinga has worn off!

xxx

Waila Caan

Ini Mini Mani Mo. Guess Whose Bum Is Now on Show?!

Note to MEE et al: 40 dernier does not equal opaque!

As I type this, I’m on a train staring at some girl’s butt cheeks. She’s wearing 40 dernier tights (I know these things), a long multi-coloured vest (let no one tell me it’s a dress!), a grey cardigan and a cropped jacket. Pity that none of the 4 layers she’s wearing is long or thick enough to cover her pink-pant-clad behind.

Why oh why do we do these things?!

One day last week, I went to M&S on my lunch break. As I was leaving, I noticed a member of staff clocking off her shift. Like my friend on the train, she was also wearing 40 dernier tights, a teeny weeny dress and short jacket. She ran ahead of me and that was when my eyes beheld her in all her glory. In her rush to don her jacket, she had hiked up the back of her dress…or what there was of it. At size 18-20, there was a whole lot of bottom on display.

Throw in the fact that she was wearing a thong for good measure.

Unfortunately for her she was running and I couldn’t catch up with her to inform her of the rapid per second depreciation of her bride price. I guess what she didn’t know couldn’t hurt her. 

I understand why people do these things. On days when I’m feeling too sexy for my skin, I pull out my black Lycra mini skirt (watch out fellas!). I also convince myself that my 40 dernier tights are opaque enough should there be any incidents or accidents. When I leave my house, the hem of the skirt is halfway down my thighs but by the time I get to the station, it’s just about covering my behind. I spend the whole day tugging and tugging at it. On those days I conveniently forget how much I insult girls I see doing the same.

‘If she’s not comfortable why did she wear it?!’

‘Don’t pull it down o, leave it! Abi you wanted to wear mini?!’

I usually return home vowing never to wear the skirt again. A few weeks later I’ll see the skirt in my wardrobe and think, ‘I haven’t worn this skirt in a while.’

It’s only after I’ve left the house I remember why.

xxx

MEE

EKENE DILI CHUKWU: We Praise The Lord (for journey mercies)

My Uncle T is one of my favourite people in the world. My only problem with him is that he is as unreliable as a flat tyre. He always means to but never does. Over the years, I have learnt not to believe anything he says. Believe me, it’s for my own good.

Once upon a time, my mother gave him the task of picking me up from school, transporting me to the airport and putting me on a flight from Lagos to Abuja, where she would be waiting to meet me.

‘I’ll pick you up from school at 1.30pm,’ said Uncle T.

1.30pm came and bags packed, I waited. And waited. And waited. Uncle dearest didn’t show up till 7pm. In the five and a half hours of waiting I cried, cursed and slept intermittently. By the time he arrived,  I had missed the last flight out of Lagos and my mother was furious. We were supposed to be travelling from Abuja to Warri early the next morning and determined to stick to her plan, she decided the best thing to do was put me on a night bus to Abuja.

Night bus?! Night Bus? NIGHT BUS?! Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

I was traumatised. In my mind, I was too posh for such modes of transport plus I was scared to death! A 15year old girl travelling on a bus filled with strangers at night? What kind of adult sanctions such madness?!

‘Mummy, what if someone kidnaps me?’

By now you all know my mother was a militant.

‘Are you a fool that someone will kidnap you? If anyone comes near you, scream!

Fear tactics were clearly not working. I resorted to tears.

‘Why are you crying, are you a baby? I’m sure other students from your school enter night buses. You are spoilt. You think your father is Babangida? My friend, get on that bus and don’t let me slap you!’

I don’t know how she planned to slap me over the phone but knowing her, she could have made it happen.

And so I found myself on an Ekene Dili Chukwu night bus full of strange looking human beings. There was only one thing to do to make the journey bearable…sleep. I slept hoping to wake up 10hours later in Abuja.

We don reach Ore o!’ someone shouted.

I opened my eyes to find that the bus had stopped in a massive car park. You wouldn’t have known it was 2am. There were bukkas (canteens) everywhere, all blasting a different genre of music. Makossa, Fuji, R&B, reggae, gospel, allahu akbar…name it!

You no go comot?’

I looked up to find the bus driver looking in my direction?

Where did I know I was that he wanted me to get down? Hiss.

‘No, I want to stay on the bus.’

You no fit siddon for bus. Na only you go dey here.’

Tears flooded my eyes. This is it. Someone will steal me in this place. Uncle T, see what you have caused!

‘Daddy, that’s my house captain!’

I looked behind me to find one of my juniors at school standing behind me, excitedly whispering to her father.

Thank you Jesus!

‘My dear how are you? Are you travelling alone?’

‘I’m fine thank you sir. Yes, I’m alone.’

‘Come out with us. Let’s go and stretch our legs.’

I shook my head.

Daddy must have smelt the terror oozing from my every pore.

‘Have you entered night bus before?’

I shook my head.

‘Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. Oga driver, I beg leave am make she siddon for bus.’

The driver agreed. Phew!

And so I found myself at 2am sitting in an empty bus in the middle of nowhere, quoting bible verses I didn’t know I knew.

A few tears and 30mins later, we were on the move again. My daddy for the night bought me roasted corn and a bar of Bounty…both of which I was afraid to eat.  He seemed like a really nice man but at the time gbomo gbomo aka child snatching was a lucrative trade. I couldn’t take chances.

Stuffing the food in my bag, I went back to sleep.

The next time I woke up, it was to the sight of my mother waving at me. We had arrived Abuja.

‘See,’ she said as she wrapped her arms around me, that wasn’t so bad was it?!’

Yes it was mother, yes it was.

Half A Bed For Rent

I’ve been living alone for just over a year and ladies and gentlemen, I LOVE IT! After years of putting up with people and their issues, I finally have my own space. It might be short lived though as I’ve been considering moving into a flat share to save a few pennies. I can’t be paying rent for the rest of my life. Time to plan for bigger things.

I was scouring the internet to see what’s available and I came across this advert on one of those find-a-flat-mate type websites.

“I am looking for a ‘straight’ black African Christian female to share my lovely fully furnished double bedroom in a clean modern apartment in North Finchley. This is a great opportunity to live in a luxury modern flat for a token.”

I immediately made three assumptions. The advertiser must be straight, Christian and black African herself. A perfect match given her criteria, I was curious to find out what her expectations were. I ignored the emphasis on the ‘straight’ and carried on reading.

“You will also be sharing a fully fitted ultra modern kitchen with dishwasher etc, a modern bathroom, large lounge / diner.”

As expected.

“There is a large sofa bed in the flat and if either of us needs privacy (i. e. having boyfriend over) the other can use it.”

Huh? Why would I need privacy if I had my own room? I didn’t get it. I re-read the advert from the top.

“I am looking for a ‘straight’ black African Christian female to share my lovely fully furnished double bedroom…”

Ah, I see. Half a bed to let. It’s a one bed flat and she is looking for a ROOM MATE. The emphasis on the word ‘straight’started to make sense. I’m supposed to share a BED with this strange ‘African Christian female’ so she needs to be sure I can resist the temptation to jump her in the middle of the night.

Wait, if she is a Christian why would I need to exit my spot on the bed for her boyfriend? I thought Christians didn’t do sex before marriage? Oh sorry, I forgot, it’s the 21st century. Silly me.

So, will she change the sheets after Mr Boyfriend leaves or how will it work? Will I need earmuffs for the night? The morning after, when I need to shower and get dressed, will she slide my clothes and things under the door or will I have to get them out the night before? Will Mr Boyfriend be comfortable knowing I’ve been banished to the sofa while he and his ‘straight black African Christian female’ are visiting psychedelic realms on my overpriced £500pcm half of the bed?

I think I’ll take the flat. It’s the only way I’ll get the answers to my questions.

xxx

MEE

Chantelle, Her Bag & I

Today was yet another interesting day on the Northern line. I boarded the train this morning with my guitar in tow. Yes, I know rush hour isn’t the time to be logging baggage on the trains but I didn’t have a choice so tough! Anyway, mindful of the fact that my guitar would potentially be occupying someone’s standing space, I did all I could to move it out of the way. In a rather unladylike fashion I shoved it between my thighs and resigned myself to the knowledge that no one would be chatting me up in that state.

Heaven only knows when the subject of the story hopped on the train. I was engrossed in the book I was reading so I was unaware of my surroundings. What I do know is that after a while, my thigh began to itch. I instinctively stretched one hand to scratch it, the other firmly grasping the book I was still engrossed in.

I couldn’t find my thigh.

I looked down in surprise and behold, there was a strange black leather handbag blocking access to it. That’s right, some woman had dumped her bag on my thigh! I guess it was all she could do seeing as she needed both her hands to grasp the newspaper she was reading.

Erm…I DON’T THINK SO!

I wasn’t sure how to react. It’s not every day a stranger assumes they can use your lap as a baggage rack.  Surely, she must have been aware of what she’d done? In true MEE fashion, I wasn’t going to say anything. Yep, that’s right, I’m a chicken! I found it funny and felt a little sorry for her; after all, she was sandwiched between a pole and a million bodies. I was about to return to my book when our eyes met. Just as I smiled at her, she looked at me like something the cat dragged in, kissed her teeth and returned to her paper!

Nah Chantelle, BAD BEHAVIOUR! I’m sure your mama taught you better than that?!

‘Excuse me, can you please take your bag off my lap?’

Yes, I decided I wasn’t having it. No way was she using me as her baggage rack after that ghetto display. She looked at me again, kissed her teeth and then snatched the bag off my lap.

There was no point taking the woman on, verbally or otherwise. She looked like she would tear a few strips of me and then grind me to powder.  

A wise man picks his battles wisely…so does a wise woman.

Putting her attitude down to mental health problems, I returned to my book in humility.

xxx

MEE

Things Are Getting Chilly In Chile

This morning I woke up to the news that three miners had been rescued in Chile. You would have thought they were my brothers…I was ecstatic! I can’t begin to imagine what it felt like to be rapped underground for 2months. *shudder* My prayers have been with them and still are.

It must have been hellish for all the miners and their families but I dare say one wife was given a double portion of heartache. While her husband of 28years was languishing beneath the earth, she discovered he has been having an affair for the last five years!

Like that wasn’t bad enough, the mistress decided she also had a right to keep vigil by the mine…and there, they met.

Like that wasn’t bad enough, the first letter Mr Miner allegedly wrote while trapped, was to his mistress. 28years? Wife? Ki lo n je be…what is that?

Like that wasn’t bad enough, he asked BOTH women to be at the mine waiting to greet him post rescue. Is he for real?! Apparently he loves both women and wants them to be friends. Sigh. There must be something in the air underground.

According to reports, his wife has given him an ultimatum; it’s me or her, take your pick. Can you blame her?

In my opinion, he’s lucky to be given the option. I doubt that I’d be so generous if he were my husband but hey, what do I know, no  one has married me… yet.

xxx

MEE