Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life, etc, but first, I have questions. And comments. And you should have tea, because this may take a minute.
Because of the party trick I do where I have more than one thought in my head (sensational, I know), I’ve decided to write them all down, just like old times.
1. I’ve had so many brushes with truly horrible customer service in the past few months, it’s becoming a problem of my existence. What is up with Nigerian service providers? And what is wrong with we the consumers, accepting that we are deserving of the crap we’re ceaselessly fed with a cracked funnel? Knowing Nigeria, it’s not even an actual funnel. It’s an Eva bottle that’s been hacked into two. If you’re ever lost and you find yourself at the MTN office at Opebi, the world is asking too much of you if we expect you to not commit a homicide. It’s bad enough that they make you stand outside under the sweltering sun (while they chill underneath their ACs and call people in one after the other at the speed of a geriatric snail). No, no. This is still the honeymoon phase. Where I parted company with my mind was when one of their reps came outside to “control the crowd” and told us all in no uncertain terms to either “be orderly” or get out. On top of my money. My custom. But the worst part is that everyone meekly shuffled back to where the sun was shining the hottest, like it was no more than they deserved. Stockholm syndrome, obviously.
We’ve accepted shoddy service as a thing of national pride. It is our prized idiosyncrasy. We showcase it at competitions and we always win the big blue ribbon. Talk to any Nigerian about a frustrating experience with customer service and the competition is on and it is brutal. They will top every one of your stories with something more incredible, and tell you that is it because of that small thing that you’re vibrating? Please calm down and eat meat pie. I’m not making this up.
2. We are all in agreement by now that adulting is hard. So hard is this global scam, grown men have decided to damn it all and live lives as six year old girls. I wonder if those who went before us had it this difficult, but they have done us a great disservice by not disseminating this information very clearly. The Perils of Adulting should be a mandatory subject in secondary schools.
For some of us, this thing is not just hard, it’s impossible. I was talking to someone a while ago and at the end of the conversation, I was irrevocably convinced that I missed a very crucial adulting meeting where certain crucial hack manuals were handed out. It’s either this, or I’m a simple-minded loafer. Because, people seem to instinctively know certain things which are Gaelic to me. How do you guys always know what to do? Where to go? What to read? How to write a cover letter? How to flirt? It’s more frustrating than soap that just won’t lather, I tell you. I can’t seem to fathom the things that everyone else just gets. So, I always feel like I’m a step behind. A day late, a dollar short. I think all the self-help books I disdained in my youth are coming back to bite me in the bum.
3. Speaking of adulting, what is happening, friends and family? Dearest ones, why is it hard for most of us to find love and Happily Ever Afters? Last week, on Twitter, someone started a thread for the advertisement of single and yearning people and I was quite frankly astonished by the sheer volume of responses. And some of these respondents seem relatively normal. I mean, if I wasn’t holding out for Mr. Darcy (or Mark Darcy, I’m not picky at all), I would’ve seized people left and right. What are we doing wrong? I don’t have the answers, but I have theories. We live in an age of unprecedented levels of self-absorption. In this heyday of excess, we’ve been told that selfishness is okay, nobody is indispensable, nothing is sacred. That we should live our best lives and burn bridges in the pursuit of happiness and smother all problems with shea butter and coconut oil. The Internet has also lent its benevolent influence to the dating landscape, but I’ve talked enough about that in one lifetime. The result of all this is that we have little patience, strict expectations and attention the span of a gnat’s arse. We also have the comparison to other people’s lives to deal with, thanks to the peephole of internet voyeurism, never mind that these lives are carefully edited and curated for your viewing pleasure. Now, there’s nothing wrong with any of this, but all together, this spells disaster for any liaison between two selfish people who are trying to live their best lives and have no qualms burning bridges while comparing themselves to strangers on the Internet.
Again, this is merely a theory.
4. Freedom is a very tricky thing. It’s the buzzword of the zeitgeist and five zeitgeists before this one. We spend our lives advocating freedom. Every social cause is hinged on the fight for the freedoms of people. However, the insidious problem begins when the fight for freedom infringes on the very freedom it’s fighting for. Is your brain wrinkled yet? No?
Seriously, though. We have to accept that coins have two sides. You can sanction the actions of people by law, but you can’t censor their thoughts, their ideologies. Is it always a good thing? No. Do I think that certain opinions and ideas should be squashed like a bug and swallowed by a frog? Absolutely. But, it refutes the very freedom we fight for when we tell people, “Shut up and accept my own.” Feminism, in particular, runs the risk of going this way. Please, understand. Feminism is not for a select few women to instruct all the others on how to behave. It should be advocating autonomy. Does it not refute the entire call for equal rights for ALL women when some want to tell others who to be and how to act? Think about it. Take your time.
5. I don’t talk enough about friendship, which is very remiss of me, because I have been blessed by friends who are determined to love me despite myself and my flippancy. I can’t imagine why they stick with me, but to all my friends, all three or four of you, I’m grateful for your affection.
Alright, now, put your hankies away. And be kind to your friends.
6. I keep thinking about the sermon at mass yesterday. The priest talked about prayer, and how to pray, and it made me think of how we’ve somehow made praying a humdrum affair. There’s a certain prayer rhetoric, a Christianese, if you will, that we’ve adapted. It’s like there’s a go-to template for all occasions. And perhaps this is why people find prayer boring. The repetition, the insincerity, the sense of “fulfilling all righteousness”. Again, I don’t have the answers, but I think prayer should be a gabfest. Informal, sincere and original, not puffed-up phrases learnt at the feet of a blustery pastor.
7. As always, I leave you with good music. Think Tank by Tank and The Bangas is a stellar neo-soul and spoken word album which is peppered with some jazz, funk, and even rock. I’ve had this album on replay for over a year now and I guarantee you that the feels are always brand new. Go forth, find it and enjoy.
That’s all the time I have, kids. Stay tuned for your local news.