Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Look mama...No hands!!!!

It’s amazing to see how completely and ridiculously wasteful we humans can be sometimes. Very wasteful lot. We have so much and use it so little.

Once, a close friend of mine (name withheld for my safety) was on her way to work very early in the morning. She had to meet up with the staff bus at about five in the morning. As she waited for a car to go by, so she could cross the road, someone walked up to her. With all confidence, he walked up to her and gave her a mind-blowing slap on her back (aka. ABARA). In pain and surprise, my friend looked up at the stranger. Alas, it was a mad man. A mad man!!!

God gave us all legs for very important reasons - To wear red bottoms. To dance Azonto. But most importantly, He gave us legs to run from mad people, and oncoming trailers and trigger-happy policemen. Run for our lives. Run Run Run. Unfortunately, my friend forgot. She looked in the face of the mad man and said, “Blood of Jesus”…#pause…I wonder if the man was puzzled, amazed, or angry before he landed another one on her back. I guess I’ll never know. Anyways, after the second one, she remembered. She remembered that she need not be wasteful of her God-given legs. She ran. And she lived happily ever after – Keyword, *Lived*.

Another instance of wastefulness that comes to mind is when I went ice-skating for the first time (only time) in my life. I must have won something that day because I thought I was capable of conquering the skating rink (the ice-block thing). That day, my friends – who I’m still not sure I’ll ever forgive – drove me to the spot. I pulled the ice skates on and got on the ice. For the first two seconds, I was smiling. However, within a few minutes, I was still on the ice…Only this time, I was skating with my face. You know how in the movies, something happens and you have no memory of the incident? It was the same experience. One second I was on my feet, the next, I was on my face. I wasted my wisdom. My wisdom would have told me “Sit your butt down in that house”. Fortunately, I didn't have to put ice on it..I already fell on ice.

When I was younger, loads of guys on the street would show off on their bikes. “See me, See me. I can ride standing.” “Yeeeeeees, I’ve removed my legs.” “Look mama, no hands…I’m riding with no hands.” Enough stunting full ground. I, on the other hand, always had at least, one hand on the bicycle. Who wanna die? O_o

One day, those boys grew up and became okada riders. I don’t know if I’m the only one who’s seen okada riders forming stunt at top speed. They remove hands. One time, I was standing by the road, about to stop an okada. From a distance, I saw the guy remove his hands and then spread them out. He was grinning widely. I was still trying to recover when I saw him lean back on the motorcycle. At top speed. O_O I had stretched out my hand to stop the bike before the stunt-show and had forgotten to put it back down. The bike guy moved next to me, smiled and asked where I was going. Again, Who wanna die? I dropped my hand and gave him the evil eye. If God wanted you to ride a motorcycle without hands, especially on Lagos roads, don't you think he would have cut them off? O_o

Plenty of people with gifts they refuse to or can't use. Limbs and brain they haven’t maximized. This made it all the more wondrous for me when I saw someone who used something he didn’t have. Yes, go ahead and read that again. I don’t wanna say too much -You, see it yourself.

"Look mama...No hands!!!!!!!" O_O

Yours truly, Rantalot

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Stilettos and Pain

I’d love to meet the guy who said fashion is easy. He must be on some kinna cheap kitchen smoke (Don’t ask me – dunno what that is -_-). Anyways, I’d love to meet him so I can smack him in the face with my 6-inch stiletto. All ten of them. At the same time.

Looking good – or at least, trying to – is a lot of hard work. Hard, sweaty work for women. I’d say for men as well, but I would be lying -_-.

Mr. Man wakes up in the morning and takes a bath (sometimes), not minding that the water touches his hair. He digs into his closet (cumbod) and whatever his hands find, he throws it on. Orange on purple. Red on Green. Indigo on Violet. Anything goes.

 He rubs ‘pomade’ on his hair, carries this weird looking backpack with funny patches everywhere. He’s done dressing up. Off he goes. You still see fine-as-heck babes crowding him -_- #pity

Not Miss. Lady. Never Miss. Lady.

Miss Lady doesn’t even wake up in the morning ’cause she didn’t sleep at night. She spends the entire night keeping her curls in them hair rollers. So, she wakes up at noon. To take a bath, she carefully covers the hair with a scarf, a shower cap and for good measure, adds an extra shower cap. They dinno born the water well to touch that hair. After everything? O_o

Miss. Lady has to shave all the time. Even George Bush’s daughter can’t afford to come out of the house with a bush for an armpit. It is a crime. Missy has about seven hairsprays, each one with a diff purpose. Each one critical. She digs through her entire closet about twelve times because she’s looking for that lilac top. She finds the lilac top and decides it’s the wrong shade. The dig continues.

By the time she’s got her cloths on, she’s sweatier than before she had a bath. She finally starts to put her make up on. Eyebrows need trimming. Foundation has got to be the right shade. Eyelashes nko? *sigh* Many girls are now used to looking at the world through their eyelashes…Long story made short - we’ll give make up another hour and a half. Dressed, made up…she’s looking for the perfect shoes. It’s red. It’s shiny. Its high. Heels. The necessary evil. She slides them on and she’s off. With every step, she sends a prayer to God.  “God please protect my ankle.” Sometimes she’s got to wear it for so long she starts looking for ‘moral support’. Babes in heels should never walk alone. It’s as risky as sky diving. When Miss. Lady wants to mix colours anyhow, she has to have an excuse. Currently, the excuse is ‘colour blocking’. *Phew* Even I am still trying to get a hang of that one.

After everything, you with your pomade hair will now vex because she’s ‘late’. Mschew.

Today, I went to retouch my hair. A girl’s gotta look pretty, no? Well, my hair and my scalp got burned. As I gritted my teeth in pain, I thought to myself that if I was in that kind of pain under different circumstances, I would cry. But if you’re in a salon of your own free will and you’re crying, what will you say is doing you?  *Smh*

Yours truly, Rantalot.

Friday, June 15, 2012

"Ha You Doing..."

Once upon a time, my mum worked at a company that ran a yearly program where they would send two kids to the Unites States to attend a youth camp. To qualify, you had to compete with a few other kids. They would interview you and then decide on who they were sending to 'Hamrica'. At the age of 14, I had mastered the art of talking nonsense with a lot of class. This made people think I was very intelligent, which I am (most times...okay, sometimes...alright once in a while). Anyway, this talking classy nonsense skill is what I used to grab my first ticket ever to obodo oyinbo.

I grew up in one of the most gangster places in Lagos (I shall not mention which, so you won't go there and gather evidence to destroy my rep -_-). Growing up with three boys guaranteed me an automatic tomboy ticket. I rode bikes, played ball, got dirty, fought (with my mouth) etc...I believed I was a tough kid. So in my opinion, I was ready and prepared for the experience of a lifetime. *sigh*

On getting to Hamrica, I was picked up by some white folks who I was to stay with for a night before setting out for the actual camp the next day. I was tired, hungry and sticky. When we had reached our destination and I had washed up, I stayed in the room they assigned to me and waited for someone to call me to come get lunch. Ten minutes passed...then twenty...then thirty...then fourty-five....then an hour. Plane food is horrible, so you can imagine how starved I was after an entire day's journey. I decided I was going to go ask for something to eat. I had to either swallow my pride or do guy and die in another man's country.

I went to meet the oyinbo and asked for something to eat. They apologised profusely and offered me a seat at the dining area. That's how they brought biscuit. One biscuit. For me. O_o BECAUSE OF WHAT NA??? I sat there and looked at the biscuit for like a minute, wondering if I should ask when the next flight back home was. They must have thought I was just amazed by the biscuit. "It's a muffin." one of them said, smiling. I looked up, smiled sweetly and thanked her deeply. Then I decided I was going to make the best of the situation. I cut the biscuit into tiny pieces and chewed each piece for like 10 minutes. They say when you eat slowly, you don't eat as much as you would, otherwise. I ate very slowly. I even used fork and knife, and you know how them things can waste time. But after I had put in all the effort, I had to come to terms with the fact that if one stick of okin biscuit won't fill me in my own country, biscuit or muffin or whatever they wanted to call i t, would not fill me in another man's country. I drank plenty water to cushion the effect. Water...e no get enemy true true.

The next morning, I was dropped off at a spot where I met a bunch of other JJC campers and we were driven to the camp from there. I hadn't bothered asking for breakfast before leaving. Receiving another biscuit would have broken my heart. So I carried over the hunger from the previous day. I was eager to get to the camp where I was certain I would find correct food. When we arrived our destination, we assembled on the field. Introductions were made, they talked and talked. I didn't understand most of what they were saying anyway. About an hour later, we were finally directed to the dining room. It looked very nice and airy. I was excited that I was going to be eating in such a cozy environment. A few minutes later, they asked us to come get our food. It was a buffet setting. I grabbed a plate and joined the line. I got where the food was supposed to be and saw leaves everywhere. I kept moving, sure I would find something for me. Anything. I saw more leaves. Leaves and some funny looking liquid thing. I almost cried then. Maybe I even cried.

After I had gone the entire length of the food line and still had an empty plate, I had had enough. I went to find one of the counselors. "I can't eat your food." I said with whatever energy I had left. "Why?" She asked. "Because I don't understand it." I answered. She finally directed me to where I could find bread. For two weeks straight, I ate bread. I would change it up every once in a while. One day, I'd toast it, another day use butter, another, jam or maybe peanut butter. I was missing home desperately.

There was this day when we had all just left the pool. It was a pretty sunny day. I was walking towards the room (tent) and I saw some oyinbo babes lying under the sun. As omo naija wey no dey carry last, I joined them. I'm a hundred and fifty percent sure I knew what 'sun-tanning' was, but I cannot say for sure what side of my head I hit against the wall to make me carry my already black body to start lying down under hot sun. One chic asked me what I was doing. I told her I liked the sun. *sigh* They were following me from home, obviously.

When camp ended two months later, I went to finish my holiday at my aunt's for two weeks. I was happy because it was home away from home. I wasn't disappointed. It was a naija house with naija food. It was a good two weeks.

I remember that my cousin, her friends and I went to the movies once. It was my first time in a cinema. No cinemas back home then. We all sat in the back, all cozy-like. There was one other kid in our group from naija who was on holiday as well. He was sitting next to me. At a point, he put his head on my shoulder and asked if he could kiss me -_- I remember very clearly that the movie was an action movie...well, either that or horror. So I have no idea what touched his brain. I looked to my cousin for help, but she was asleep. Hamrica can drive you crazy.

The two weeks went by and I came back home. *Whew* Boy, was I happy. I had really missed home.

I resumed school the next week. Standing mellow and quiet (very unusual), I was waiting with my classmates to be put in our new class. Suddenly one of the girls in my class looked at me and said "Ha you doin?" in the weirdest accent I ever heard. It was more Yoruba than anything else, but you could tell she was going for the Hamrican accent. I was too stunned to answer. Apparently, she expected me to have developed an oyinbo accent in the two and a half months I'd been away. Can't blame her really, I've seen footballers play in France for years and come back with a Chinese accent (it sure as heck aint British).

There's no place like home, ya know. *wink*

Yours truly, Rantalot

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Nothing is Permanent??

Nothing is certain. It's been said that change is the only constant thing. The guy that said that - his head is totally there.

A couple of days ago, I came out of the house. There's this tree in the compound, and perched on it was a cock. The thing looked so confident and proud sitting there. I was a bit far away so I moved closer in a bid to chase the thing off. Slowly, it turned it's head around and stared at me. Looked me square in the eye. I can bet my right leg that that animal spoke to me in mind language, but I need the leg to go out tomorrow.


Anyway, the cock spoke to me "Yes? What do you want?" I have some telepathy thing going on, so I replied, "What are you doing on our tree?" Mr. Chicken laughed. "Your tree shey? Is it you that put the tree there?" I paused. I thought about it. I was sure nobody in my family had planted the tree. So, I walked away. The tree was the cock's tree that day.

It's the same way, people buy cars and automatically think it's theirs. Sometimes, they park in one place and walk away feeling proud. The 'Na Me Get Am' attitude. However, after a while, several guys/girls start posing in front of the car to take picture. You can go through a guy's phone and you'll find pictures of him by a car that somebody else parked there. The buyer of the car finds out he's only a caretaker after all. He makes sure the thing is clean and looking good so the owners can use it.

This is also how the status of some kids changes regularly. On Monday, they may be motherless, Tuesday, Fatherless on Wednesday, and on Thursday, have parents again. Unfortunately for them, its not their fault. Parents can be very fickle. When a child does well in school, for example, the father will sing his praises. "That's my boy.".."He's my son." But the next day, he might do something bad and that's the day his father disowns him. "I'm sure this one is not my child." Then he'll tell your mum..."Whoever the father of this child is, take him back."

Mothers are much nicer. They say "Monkey no fine, hin mama like am." My mum, on the other hand, is in a class of her own. The other day she said I'm adopted. I said she should take me back to my parents that live in the big Hollywood mansion she stole me from. She said she picked me from the bin. So I should shut up or I was going to end back up in my 'first home'. *sigh* Other days, when I ask why I don't have curly hair like my brothers, she says I'm the gateman's daughter. ƪ(˘.˘)ʃ So you're getting my drift?? Nothing is certain.

Men have always believed they're the boss of their home. The head of the family. Oga. Daddy etc... This is the status they assume until their wives get pregnant. Some men travel the length of Lagos or Ibadan in one night. Living in Ikeja, he goes to Yaba to get a certain kind of ewedu. That's the exact one he has to get. But when he returns, the urge has changed. He has to go to Mowe to get one kind of plantain. And on his way back, he gets a call from wifey to branch and buy ice cream from one....*sigh* and he gats do am. So who is boss gan gan??

Even babes feel very cool with their bodies. "Don't tosh me." "I'm not in your class"...."Don't near me"..."No just try am" etc... Until they reach where they don't have mouth again. Reminds me of when I was a young budding teenager. That's when a lot of girls are most conscious of their bodies. Anyway,I had this horrible cough and  I went to go see the doctor. He decided he wanted to listen to something with his rope thing on his neck. Only God knows what, because he said I should remove my cloth. O_O I removed and removed. He still said I should keep removing. I was on the verge of telling him my heart is beating fine na. I wondered if he had hearing problems. But I complied cause I wanted to feel better. So I stayed there. All my shakara ended. I wasn't boss in that hospital room.

When I was done, I went out to my mum in the waiting room. I was livid. "Mummy, that evil man said I should remove my cloth. Can you imagine the violation?" ( -̩̩̩͡˛ -̩̩̩͡ ) My mum jus looked at me and hissed. "What are you hiding?" She asked. (-_-). I can bet my left leg that you can't imagine how I felt (OK, I'm going to need that leg tomorrow as well.)

Even in school, when you lose something and someone asks you where that thing is, you say 'The real owners have taken it."

You may be boss today, but tomorrow might be another story. It's cruel maybe...but it is what it is ƪ(˘.˘)ʃ

Yours truly, Rantalot

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Good, The Bad and The Sad

This past weekend was probably my longest this year…(taking a minute to see if I’m exaggerating)…Nah, that’s about right. It was an incredibly long weekend. Grab yourself a cup of cold lemonade and settle down for the gist. It’s a pretty long one. For those living in Ajegunle, Sango or Ikorodu, zobo’s fine. All’s well that ends well (-_-).

One of my mentor’s sister had waited on God for about 15 years for a baby…and then...she had...wait for this ...TRIPLETS. O_O God can like to show Himself innit? Okay, so that’s where the story begins. She and her husband got this miracle, and my friends and I planned to go with my mentor to celebrate with his sister in Abuja. We also decided a road trip would be loads of fun. So we set out.

The bus moved off with us the passengers at a pretty okay pace. We were all happy and excited…Yaaay, right?? Well a few minutes after we left, we found traffic. There had been an accident. The ‘pilot’ had to maneuver his way around all the corner-corner in the area. We made a lot  of unfruitful turns. Street boys created several ‘toll gates’, each one, about 10 feet away from the next. Various cars and buses paid ‘toll-gate officers’ for passing the small corner streets. To divert a bit, the government needs to inform the people about temporary toll gates…so people can plan better ( ‘,‘).

Finally, we found a way out of the fracas and got on the free express again. We were excited again. The driver who finally had enough room to display his skills started looking for all the potholes on the road and then entered them with glee. He did this so much so that the guy sitting in the back, on the tire spot said, “I feel like nauseating.” The plenty bumps must have juggled his vocabulary around (If you don’t hear from me, be sure he read this post and kidnapped me, which would be sad, because my mum won’t pay). Several bumps and potholes later, I discovered that apart from our DNA and fingerprints, we have something else that sets each and everyone apart – Tummy growls. My tummy growled in hunger, as did all our tummies. Some in soprano, some in tenor, others completely off-key. However, the traffic had set us back a few hours; we couldn’t really stop and get some grub randomly. So we settled for gala and lacasera. I’m not crazy about gala…as a kid I would make my dad buy me like five and then eat half of one. It’s called ‘showing yourself’. Anyways, this day, I ate gala because hunger isn’t very picky. Some of the guys bought dodo ikire – dodo fried in some kinna gunky funny thing, I think – and I tried some, definitely not my thing.

The bus we went in was one that had a DVD player. Cool stuff, yea?? We asked the driver to put oyinbo film. He slid a Van Damne collection in the player. After the first movie, we all got a little tired of all the violence, but it kept going. Going that long made me wonder how Van Damne survives all of that throwing around and being thrown around.

We saw some incredible sights. Once, we saw clouds sitting on some hills. It was beautiful and I remember feeling sorry for those who don’t believe in God.

People got sleepy. One guy’s head ended up on another guy’s shoulder. I guess we’re most vulnerable when we’re unconscious (-_-). Being a princess and everything, I had to stretch my legs, so I raised them over the chair in front of me. I kept hitting the guy sitting there. If he looked at me funny, I would bat my eyelashes just so and everything was fine.

We passed Owo town in Ondo State. I saw signs stating the fact and claimed the state. After all, my father is from there. I was proud of all the hills and everything. We stopped over for a bit and someone wanted to buy recharge card. He said “EMU-TEE-EN”. I’m like “Why are you talking like that?” He said that’s how they talk. I sharply disclaimed the state.

It was a long journey, but finally, we got to our destination. We ate and slept. And there was night and there was day.

The next morning, we went to the church for the dedication of the babies. It was amazing seeing those beautiful big babies. The parents’ faces were beaming with happiness. I was astounded at how great God is. We danced. My friends and I sang. While we were getting off the rugged stage, I stepped on this spot that looked firm. And mind you, I was in one of them sexy heels you see around. I stepped on that not-so-firm spot and landed on the floor, in front of the entire church. My friend picked me up, shame and all and I smiled to my seat.

The pastor was a fervent man. I loved the passion and love he seemed to have for the church. His wife was really cool too. Had this amazing voice. Sultry. After the service, we moved to the rice and stew department. We left the reception pretty early because we wanted to go to the cinemas that evening. We got back to the hotel to rest up for a bit. I took a short nap, as did we all and woke after a few minutes. When I scanned thorough the different social networks on my phone, my heart broke.

Rev. and Rev. Mrs Ayodeji Cole
It was everywhere. The sad, heart wrenching news. There’d been a plane crash. Drastic. It was almost too hard to believe. Then a few minutes later, we were told that the vibrant Pastor we had encountered earlier that day, and his wife, were on that plane. The shock I felt is quite indescribable. I was stunned. Crying seemed too heavy too do. They had left three little boys behind. We heard of so many others that had gone down with the plane. Carelessness had cost many people their lives. Greed, wickedness. I wondered how horrible people with family and friends on the plane felt if I was feeling the way I was. Earlier that morning, several lives had been lost in a bomb blast. It was a sad day for the nation. Very sad day.

A few hours ago, I was talking to my dad and he mentioned that a politician also died and that he was a big big man. I told him… “When people die, there’s no big or small man.” We have to treat those around us, even if they aren’t as ‘classy’, well. We must learn to appreciate the moments we have and enjoy them. Love hard. Live well. Pray for our nation. It’s the only original home we got anyway.

Yours’ truly, Rantalot

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tiwa n' Tiwa

Yoruba people are amazing people…Haters stand aside (-_-).

Truth be told, they’re also an incredibly hilarious race. They have to be, to converse on the phone the way they do.

You see a Yoruba babe on the phone. She’s talking to her grandma, perhaps. She respectfully kneels down when she’s saying ‘good morning’. She answers questions with nods and head-shakes. Apparently, grandma can see her from thirty miles away. Once, I saw a chic trying to direct someone to where she was over the phone. First, she moved to a spot where there was enough space to move her hands around. Then she started pointing and demonstrating to her friend (over the phone) how to get to his destination.

Yoruba people are also very ‘seniority’ conscious. They can break somebody’s head on top of a 2-month gap. “Am I your mate?” “Am I your father’s mate?” When you remind them it’s just two months and they should take it easy, they go, “Can you buy two months in the market.” Dem no dey take ‘Aunty’ or ‘Uncle’ or even ‘Boda mi’ play. When a woman marries into a Yoruba family, she can’t call anyone in the family by name – not even if she’s twenty years older than them (I don’t get my people). As a Yoruba girl growing up, and even now, it has not been easy. I wouldn’t know how to tell those who should be calling me aunty apart from those that I should be calling aunty. So I developed the NO-NAME skill.

If I see someone and I’m not sure, I just smile and say “good afternoon” (you also have to be very careful not to speak Yoruba. They have pronouns for older people (it’s hard work). If the person is not looking at you, tap him or her lightly on the shoulder and say what needs to be said. If you eventually have to call the name by force by fire, depending on how much is at stake, improvise. Some people, once you call them by name, your whole family will hear and start calling you names. “Omo ti o l’eko….Rude child…” Etc.

Yoruba people like plenty activity…plenty ‘owanbe’. They like to party. If you see a Yoruba woman owing a lot of debt, trust me she used the money for aso ebi. There’s a party next weekend and the lace they’re using is about 30 thousand naira. Rather than repair the small fridge that spoiled, she will buy the aso ebi. The best part is, she doesn’t know either of the people getting married. The bride’s friend’s friend’s friend’s brother’s cousin’s step-sister invited her. Still, she buys the lace. Who wan carry last??

I like how my people are very respectful. Very. Very. Respectful. Even when they’re insulting someone. Say an elderly man vexes a young Yoruba girl. She would look at him calmly and ask…“Excuse me sir, ejo e ma binu o. Se ori yin pe rara bayi?” Translation à “Excuse me sir, please don’t be angry. Is your head correct at all like this?” Some of them will even kneel down to ask (-_-).

I think the most superstitious people in Africa, probably the world, are Yoruba people. If you hit your big toe on a stone in the morning, go back home. If you beat a child with a broom, his ‘something’ will disappear. Pregnant women should not go out in the sun or they should put like two hundred pins on their bodies to ward off the every spirits *shivers*. If you take too much sharwama, you’ll grow a second head (ok that one’s a lie). But you get my drift, no?? Must have been hard growing up in them days. 

The Yoruba people are also know as the “H’ people. Vowels can never stand alone. They come with a specially packaged ‘H’. If you hear someone say, “Ham not hallowed to heat ere hagain”, do not be afraid. It’s a Yoruba person come into town. They put the letter H where no one else can, and remove it when no one else can. My suspicion is that the first few Yoruba men (Oduduwa and co), were created the same day God created the letter ‘H’. If you’ve got another explanation, please free to share.

Ham a Yoruba girl hand ham proud of hit (if you can successfully read that, you are certified to marry any Yoruba person you like.) I love my people. They’re very respectful and very friendly and very family oriented…plus loads more. We rock o jare. *winks*

Yours truly, Rantalot