Story For The Gods – A Deconstruction.

As promised, Tola wrote a rejoinder to my ‘exposition’ on Olamide’s Story for the gods. I’m glad for that because her piece provides context by providing insight into the song as an entirety, rather than just a/the major part like I did. I’ve learnt many things from her piece.

In spite of this though, I maintain many of my reservations. Some of which she shares at the end of her piece.

Please enjoy.

AfroVII

Olamide SFTG

There’s been a theory making the rounds recently, that the club smash by the rapper Olamide, Story For The Gods, is an ode to date rape.

I read Toixc’s views on the joint and I kept shaking my head like, nah….

As with most folk accusing homie of glorifying date rape, dude examined the chorus, which on its own can be rather misleading,

Mo ti mu dongoyaro, dongoyaro, dongoyaro

And monkey tail, monkey tail, monkey tail

Aro bami gbe claro, claro o, claro o

I want to do sina today, sina today

She said she cannot wait o

She said its getting late o

She said she want to faint o

Ah, story for the gods

Now she saying mo r’ogo

O ti kan mi l’apa o

O ti kan mi l’eyin o

Story for the gods, the gods o

Translation:

(first four lines)

I’ve been drinking (dongoyaro, monkey tail)

View original post 921 more words

Olamide’s Story for the gods: An Exposition

Mo ti mu dongoyaro (dongoyaro, dongoyaro)
And monkey tail (monkey tail, monkey tail)
Aro bami gbe claro (claro claro)
I want to do sina today, sina today

She said she cannot wait o
She said its getting late o
She said she want to faint o
Ah, story for the gods

Now she saying mo r’ogo
O ti kan mi l’apa o
O ti kan mi l’eyin o
Story for the gods, the gods o

Olamide’s Story for the gods is a jam and a half!

It’s also a terribly, terribly inappropriate song.

The song was released a few months ago and like everyone else, I got taken with the melodies and rhythms. Top notch production. I’d hear it come up on the radio while driving and turn the music up. It would turn up on my music playlist and I’d leave what I was doing and zone into it. My jam. Dude’s lyrical dexterity, the way he bandied the words together, his now-typical mesmerising english and yoruba flow. Madness. The many lingo I couldn’t relate to because they were either too street or too deep for me. Those didn’t really matter.

Or did they?

One day, I zoned all the way in and felt the need to know what dude was actually preaching to me in this awesome song.

I was distraught.

It’s interesting that this song is still a hit on the radio while Olamide’s labelmate and protegé, Lil Kesh’s Shoki, which was released after Story for the gods, is getting banned. What is the NBC looking at? What is their criteria for the suitability or otherwise of a song to be aired on radio or its visuals be viewed on tv? They claim Shoki is a street synonym for ‘quickie’, but very few people knew this and it is not a subject matter of the song; whereas…

Story for the gods glorifies narcotic/alcohol influenced date rape.

Let me translate the chorus for you as literally as possible:

I have drank dongoyaro (a local herbal drink)
And monkey tail (another local herbal drink, sometimes used as an aphrodisiac)
Madman, give me the claro (a local slang for weed)
I want to do sina today, sina today (sina is street lingo for adultery or fornication)

She said she cannot wait o
She said it’s getting late o
She said she wants to faint o
Ah, story for the gods

Now she’s saying “I’m in trouble”
“He has broken my arm o”
“He has broken my back o”
Story for the gods, the gods o

“Story for the gods” is street speak meaning “what you’re saying is of no worth or value”. Other iterations you may be more familiar with are “You’re yarning dust” or “Story for tortoise” or “Bull shit.”

Now you know what you’ve been singing or humming along to all this time. What does this make you feel?

Dawning realisation? Anger? Shame? Befuddlement? Denial? Disgust?

What are your thoughts? Perhaps I’m mistaken about something or the other. Or perhaps I did not do the translation justice in some way.

Leave a comment.

Pretty Shitty

My brain goes dead sometimes. Like a light switch, it just stops functioning. Sometimes. Worse, outwardly, everything appears to still be functioning properly, and in a sense, it does. But when things are operating normally without instruction from the control room, that’s far from normal or proper.

I said something I shouldn’t have to someone I shouldn’t have. Some details are still mighty sketchy, but the details I did know should have remained with me. But my mouth was disconnected from my brain, you see, and… blab blab blab.

I’ve irreparably damaged three of my friendships now. A budding one, a long time acquaintance and a bond that goes back over 10yrs now. Not to mention what relationships there may be between these people.

And for that, I feel pretty shitty right now.

Smashed Mirrors

True story.

I’m driving over the two-lane overhead bridge at Jibowu heading towards Yaba last night when I notice the headlamps behind me. I’m moving quite swiftly, yet this dude is determined to edge past me. I let him. Punk ass. He’s a white Honda legend.

He seems to be in a big rush. Or he’s just a jerk. I decide it’s the latter when we reach Yaba bus stop where there appears to be some hold up. I’m not far behind him. Two cars are in a stand still behind a danfo bus, which has stopped right on the main road to offload and pick passengers. And the rest of us, peasants, must all wait till he’s done, whether we like it or not. White Honda legend shaunts himself in between the two cars and I actually see a burly hand shoot out the driver’s window to warn the second to not push his luck. Like I said, jerk.

The first car we met behind the danfo manages to squeeze past and go on, powerless to do anything about the idiot danfo driver. Then white Honda legend proceeds to do same, except he doesn’t. He shaunts in front of the danfo and comes to a full stop as well, such that none of us can possibly squeeze past him. Great, I think. Dude isn’t just a jerk, he’s an asshole.

Then his door shoots open and out comes the burliest mobile police man I’ve ever seen and I’m like. Aha! He’s already doing waka at the danfo driver and gesticulating “I go finish you hia today”. Me I’m just like “Ghen ghen, action feem is about to sele for here…” Mopol guy doesn’t go straight to the danfo driver… He stops at his boot, pops it and out comes a big, big gun. This was no AK47, or those tachere rifles with cellotape and chewing gum holding them together which the ordinary policemen carry when they’re asking you, with their bloodshot eyes and beer bellies hanging well over their belts, if you have anytin for dem for di weekend. Even though it’s only tuesday. Nah. This gun was like something Arnold Schwarzenegger carried in the 90s and with the guy’s build, he looked like that black, muscular guy in the first Predator film. Sans afro.

He cocked the big gun.

I was nearly sure I was about to see blood spray out that driver’s window. I stared transfixed, because I don’t flinch from seeing anything. My mind is constantly in record and analyse mode, can’t be missing out on witnessing any available action.

He didn’t shoot. Thank God. It seemed like he would. Whew.

Instead, he used the butt of his weapon and jammed down on the danfo’s side mirror, only twice till it was ripped out of its hinge and unto the floor. Then he stamped on it with his huge boot till it was nothing but wrangled plastic and a million pieces of once mirrored glass ground into the tar. Then he walked back to his car, entered it and drove forward. To park properly. Uh oh.

No one had to tell the danfo driver, he cleared off immediately, making way for us responsible citizens. As I drove past white Honda legend, I saw him come back out of his car, big machine gun still in hand, and heading towards the remaining headstrong danfos, presumably to herd them into their bus-stop and some sense into their heads.

It so happened that the errant danfo was headed towards the traffic light at Sabo like I was, and I trailed him all that way.

Two things I noticed:

1. The mirror on his passenger side was also gone. I wondered if the circumstances of losing that one were similar to this.

2. I’m not sure the last time I saw a danfo driven in such an undanfo way. So sober and so… sane.

Viva Las Gidi 3: Fine Boy

This story is fictional and again, inspired by @88factor”s illustration but is also based on actual occurrences and experiences.

See the first here and the second here.

________________

Viva-Las-Gidi-4-1024x583

Idris was working the back of my head when it happened.

I knew it had happened. He knew I knew it had happened. I could see from the way Baba Lasisi flinched and, catching my reflection’s eye, quickly looked back into his newspaper, that he too knew it had happened. And yet, none of us said anything; we all just acted like nothing had happened. I think it’s called denial what I was going through as I sat there and let the buzzing go on behind my head. I can’t speak for Baba and Idris though. I can’t say what made them not say anything. I can’t speak for anyone else either, all the other folk who discovered what had happened later. What happened must have had a way of leaving everyone who saw it dumbfounded and unable to tell me when they discovered it.

I’m still not sure what caused it. It could have been one of or a combination of several things…

Goal!

Spain had scored again and the entire stuffy room of young men and the odd girlfriend here and there had either groaned, winced or just fallen into a grave silence at the occurrence. I witnessed Idris through the mirrors visibly wince while glancing up at the suspended tv to see the replay. Everyone seemed torn by the goal, all except Peter. He had jumped out from behind his customer and lifted Idris clear off the ground screaming “Gooooooooaaaallllll!” directly in his face. Followed after dropping him by, “Tiree zero! I don win, men. You musto pay me my money today. Next time you no go bet wit shampion! Haha! Rubbish Eagles.” As Peter returned to his customer, leaving a dejected man in his wake, Idris’ girlfriend, the daughter of theiya alata  who also sold indomie and bread just outside, came over and gave him a peck, which drove the entire Fine Boy Cutz into a frenzy of slobbering catcalls and whooping hecklers. In all of this, somehow, the device buzzing never left just behind my head.

It was when Idris’ full attention returned to what he had been doing I realized something was amiss. From the way he froze for a few seconds, the gears in his head audibly whirring and then looked up to see if I was looking, I could tell that a problem had presented itself. If that was not enough to convince me, seeing Baba Lasisi, who sat directly behind me, look away the way he had made me sure. And yet, none of us said a thing. Idris just returned to what I would later discover were attempts at corrective measures.

The match came to an end, the spectators dragged their dank selves out and away dejectedly and the fresh air was let back in, thankfully. Idris finished his work and removed the protective cloth around me, letting me up, all the while refusing to meet my eye. I paid him and tried to make small talk while I expected he would be trying to swindle me out of my change as usual but no. He seemed really distracted as he handed me my correct change and stepped out. Probably in search of his gehfren. I looked in the mirror one last time, swiveling my head this way and that to be sure I looked good and having assuaged all doubt, left, hailing Baba Lasisi on my way out. Ordinarily, the old man would choose that time to reminisce on the years back when he was more tormentor than mentor to us kids while I would be trying to escape his nostalging, but not today. Today, he seemed really engrossed in whatever stale news it was he was reading in those papers and replied my hailings with only a grunt.

As I made my way down the street, odd stares burned into the back of my head. Everytime I tried to meet one of them, the eyes got averted, a mischievous twinkle in the eye every time. Friends I had grown up with, new neighbours, ex-girlfriends, street boys, young uns… They all would just looked away.

I arrived home and stepped in front of the small mirror hanging in the bathroom, wondering what it was that had happened back at Fine Boy that had Idris so spooked. As I turned my head this way and that, my little sister, Yimika, steps in behind me and bursts out laughing manically.

In turning to look at her, I catch a glimpse of the profile view of my shadow, cast against the wall by the lone bulb affixed to the wall just above the door. My previously nice, round afro is now flat at the back of my head, forming a wedge-shaped crown.

_________

VIVA-LAS-GIDI-MID-RES

The Big Picture Viva Las Gidi by @88factor

Viva Las Gidi 2: Shooter

This is the second installment in the Viva Las Gidi project inspired by (a section of) an illustration by @88factor. See the first here.

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Viva-Las-Gidi-3-1024x654

Idris shoots. Stupid boy.

We discussed this before we started. “Don’t just be shooting anyhow o. Ees not only you daees playing.” And naturally, the missile he sent flying gets easily deflected.Stupid, selfish boy.

“Ah! Mo block e!

Haha. This Peter is just a clown. His heavily igbo-accented yorubanglish is a tragedy to the ears but a comedy to the spirit… but the comedy is lost on me right now. Who wants to hear the braggadocio in the nonsense omo-nna’s voice when he is flailing one with it in such ill-timed mockery? Him and Abdul are leading us 3-0. Somehow, his deflection brings the ball my way and it is revealed to me from above the perfectly-timed opportunity to teach this Peter a lesson in how not to kick men… or boys when they are down. This is divine orchestration and I am the tool the almighty has chosen to use in humbling this wicked child.

I can see the opening I need to aim at and I swivel on my dunlop slipper-clad toes to take the deadly kick that will transport our worn and patched double-leather into the waiting monkey post. My target is the space between the pile of school bags which make up one upright of our makeshift post and Peter’s heavily-planted bare right foot. The space is barely a foot wide, but that is more than enough to shoot through.

As I move toward my missile, I hear the crowd begin to cheer behind me. They can see what I am trying to achieve and, impossible as it seems, they are cheering me on to greatness. All around the arena, chants of “Tolusky! Tolusky!!” are picked up and echoed on till they rise up high and crash down into my ears and spur on my growing momentum. The dust around my feet whirls up excitedly creating a cinematic effect. My left foot is planted firmly into the ground just behind the double leather and my right begins the drive for the deadly shot. This is magical.

The dunlop on my right foot is hardening and expanding to envelope my whole foot. Through the soles of my now shoed left foot, I feel the studs sprout out underneath and create a firmer rooting to the ground. My focus is still on the ball but I can make out from the corners of my eyes that there are now socks and shin guards on my swinging lower limbs. Flashes of light appear and disappear in the periphery of my vision distracting me momentarily. I glance up in the middle of my hyper-timed drive to realize that Idris is now clad, like me, in full gear; as is Peter in his full goalie regalia. The stark white upright has replaced our school bags and shoots into the ground a good yard, at least, from Peter’s right foot. My target has increased, but then so has the distance between us.

My right foot connects with the glistening Brazuca with a resounding thud which silences the entire arena. I can see the ripple effect that the impact makes on the lush carpet grass around me even though that should only be visible from some distance. As the ball sails away towards my target, it spins wildly, clipping and sending grass flying up and away from it. It slowly comes out of hypertime, its speed increasing by over a thousand times in the process. Peter’s eyes cannot even see the shot anymore; it is that fast. This is proven by the big ‘O’ his mouth is frozen in. But for his neck swiveling to allow his eyes follow the ball as it rockets past him into the net, he doesn’t move. The crowd goes wild!

“You dey crase! Why you dey shoot like dat nah? You think say na full field you dey play?”

I blink away the sounds and images from my mind’s eye to come to terms with the realities of Idris yelling at me for my correct lago. Apparently my shot went wide. Very wide. Sailed over the fence and into the next compound.

“Eyss! Amokanshi! Odabi pe like ees you dat will be climb di wall and bring di ball o. Daz how Baba Lasisi catsh me last week.” says Peter as he rubs over his buttocks, reminiscing on last week when he got a nice walloping for his sojourns over the wall.

I break into a jog to gather enough speed to make the leap and first perch atop it.  Scrambling over the moldy not-so-high fence into the Ajagajigi compound is usually a simple feat, but not as simple as retrieving the ball itself. We always have to look out for Baba Lasisi. What are we expected to do? He won’t toss the ball back and he chases us around the compound with a stick every time we enter the compound, whether by gate or fence. This time seems easy enough though, no Baba Lasisi in sight. I grab the double-leather and also seeing the felele we lost just last week, make for it.

I am still bent over, arm outstretched and fingers wrapped around it when I hear a low, undoubtedly canine growl behind me.

Uh oh.

____________________________________

Omo-nna – Yoruba slang for person of igbo descent
Double-leather – Soccer ball popular in the 90s designed with white pentagons and black hexagons and made from a layer of rubber and one of leather.
Monkey post – Makeshift miniature goalpost
Brazuca – New FIFA-approved soccer ball for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Lago – Slang for a missed shot
Felele – Small, single-layered rubber ball

Viva Las Gidi 1: Ajagajigi

I know… I know… I’m here to make amends.

This is the first of three serial posts which will go up today at 3hr intervals. That should help me catch up nicely on my Every Day This October challenge 😉

@88factor is a fellow illustrator and sometime last year, a beautiful piece he did called Viva Las Gidi inspired a series of tales I wrote for Art Stories on TNC. The illustration was a collage of sorts and so each story was inspired by a different section.

Please enjoy…

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Alhaji Ajagajigi throws the best parties in town. No one can ever rival an Ajagajigi owambe. If you ever catch wind that an Ajagajigi groove is going down near you on a certain day, you must do one of two things: one, move very, very far away the day before the party and do not return until at least twenty four hours after you have heard the party has finally come to an end. Two, if you will not run away, you must surrender entirely to the Ajagajigi groove machine. Cancel all appointments, turn away all visitors, exit your abode and yield yourself totally to the gyration that is about to go down!

Shortly after we moved into this area, my baby sister was born. As is customary in Yoruba land, she was to be named in a celebratory manner in the presence of family, friends and well-wishers eight days after her birth. On mama’s arrival from the hospital with our new bundle of joy, the neighbours came to wish us well, sneak a peek at the new baby and… inform my father that he may (would) have to shift his baby’s naming a day forward or two days back. Didn’t really matter which, papa could just not hold his daughter’s naming ceremony on the day his customs said it was to be held.

I remember Baba Lasisi licking the tips of seven of his gnarled fingers counting the days to the day Ajagajigi had announced he would be celebrating his latest marriage, to his wife number seventeen. Looking upon Baba Lasisi’s heavily scarified face, one could see the relish with which he licked each finger tip, like he could actually taste the shaki and brokoto and pomo and cow leg and orishirishi and turkey and lots and lots of beer that he would undoubtedly be having that day. He and the whole neighborhood had been invited, as they, we now, had been since Alhaji took wife number six and the neighbours seemed rather convinced that we could not possibly hold our own modest celebration a whole three streets away from the Ajagajigi’s. Papa was and still is a traditionalist and would have none of it, he would name his daughter on the day he was supposed to. He was not convinced. We have long since been convinced.

That fateful day, the realization of what an Ajagajigi party entailed began to dawn on us from early in the morning when we would awaken to what appeared to be a great exodus occurring outside our gate. The sound of rustling clothes and slippered feet accompanied by excited chatter and anticipatory chuckles making their way up to the Ajagajigi household would soon mingle with the talking… no, sorry, shouting drums. The shouting drums, ranging from the konkolo omele to the mighty Dùndúnwould be present all of that day… and all of that night. Tents would magically appear, coloured plastic chairs under the tents would follow, with iron tables of course, then the guests would fill the chairs, then their stomachs, and as the skies darken, the chairs would be pushed aside and the tables folded up to make room for the many green and brown and a myriad other colours of bottles that would then make their appearance, ushering in the gyration that is bound to come along when such bottles appear. The noises would begin to subside around four or five a.m. the day after.

That year, my small sister was not named until three days past the day she was supposed to be named. You see, an interesting occurrence was discovered. Because we had only recently moved into the area, many of our few guests had not previously been to our house and so, on reaching our neighbourhood and discovering a party going on, assumed it was ours and just settled in. The few who made it a duty to find the celebrants to greet them specially and make their presence known, would wander through many streets in search of us or our house until they would either tire and just settle into the party too or turn back to whence they came in frustration. When daylight returned, our guests would be found strewn in the streets all around alongside the staggering drunks and Ajagajigi guests who had ensured they were nicely entangled in the much refuse that it would take the entire day to clean up. These guests had to be cleaned and rested before they could join in any new celebrations. The ones who had returned home, after being placated over our old Nitel phones, would be given a new date and clearer, more precise directions to the house.

We were convinced, oh we were… No party like an Ajagajigi party. In the following years, we would time our celebrations, much like others in the area, to coincide with the Ajagajigi parties. This was found to be a rather economical way of celebrating… co-celebrating sef, our own ordinary little celebrations and turning them into a bigger thing than we could ordinarily afford. The only challenge which would then exist would be our guests locating each other… but what does it matter? The most important thing was that there were celebrants, there was a celebration and there were friends to celebrate with. One could celebrate, drink and gyrate with friends they were just meeting, could they not?

Me and mummy have been planning Yimika, my younger sister’s eighteenth birthday party. We hear Alhaji is about to take wife number twenty-two and that the celebrations will be occurring two weekends from now. Yimika turns eighteen next week thursday. Perfect timing.

The Way Here

I watch Ayomide sleep and can’t but wonder “How close am I to the real thing?” Does the child see me and think “Farce”? Am I good enough?

The road to get here was murky, thorny and stony all at once. Before I found myself here, it was easy to look into the eyes of the man I blamed for the childhood I detested. Now, I look back and see with pristine clarity that I perhaps judged the man too harshly. No, not “perhaps”. Without doubt, I judged him wrongly.

“Walk a mile in a man’s shoes…”

I cursed the man and his shoes. Who wanted to wear such smelly, stupid shoes? Then in trying to put as many miles as I possibly could between the man, his shoes and myself, I stepped right into the same shoes and walked the same miles I tried to run from. The more I tried to be different from him, the more I became him. What’s worse, the man I tried so vehemently not to become wanted as vehemently as I did for me to not become him. But in my foolishness at the time, I found his methods incredibly, and interestingly, foolish. Such foolishness.

I was wrong. Clearly.

It was when I must have just hit puberty and had begun to try to find my way for myself that I realized, or so I thought, how wrong his was. How could all the other kids have mums except me? How could I not even know her? …what she looked like? …if she loved me? She couldn’t possibly, and it was all his fault. Why else would she leave? Certainly couldn’t be my fault and if it wasn’t mine, whose could it be but his? It was my father’s fault my mother left and no one could tell me any different. It was my dad’s fault I had no mum…

Sigh.

Such utter foolishness.

With that entirely flawed notion in mind, I went against everything the man ever told me: the lies, the truths and the misyarns. Everything. Everything the man tried to protect me from, I flung myself at. I went shining lights into the places he’d always hid in darkness; went seeking the people he’d barred from me; went digging up the dead things he’d buried away. And everything I sought, I found.

I found out the man I thought was my father was not.

I found out the woman I expected would be my mother was my grandmother.

I found out the man that was indeed my father was long dead.

I found my mother wanted nothing to do with me. Never had.

I found that the man I had always thought to be my father was the most selfless person ever walked the face of the earth, as far as I was concerned.

But all this I found out too late.

“A man who knows not the mistakes in his-story is doomed to repeat them.”

Already, Morolake was pregnant and we were expecting Ayomide. Just like my father had impregnated my mother out of wedlock. Just like my father had been conceived before the man I call father had wed my grandmother.

Rolake and I were to be wed though, that was the plan. We would be wed after Ayomide was born. We would be the generation in which everything changed. We would not be like the men before me, bringing children into the world who would have no mothers. We would be different. We would be different.

We turned out to be the same, just not in the same way. Morolake died before Ayomide was even a year old, leaving me all alone to raise our child. And thus, once again everything was much the same. One man, one child.

Perhaps our entire lives are all an effort in futility. Perhaps everything we fight to not be are the very things we are cursed to become; doomed to endlessly repeat the cycle. Perhaps I shall strive all my life to be as good a father to my daughter as my grandfather was to me and she would only run run run from me and everything I try to teach her.

I see now that my grandfather, was indeed the best father and mother he could possibly be, considering all his shortcomings. A man worthy of emulation. An inspiration to me and to  my daughter. The way she looks at him, the way she stretches her hands for him to lift her, the way she says “gwampa”… Sigh. I wonder if I can ever be as good a father to her. I wonder if she will ever look at me with the same eyes. Eyes filled with pride and joy.

“A man who knows not his history…”

How can I show her? Show my daughter the shortcomings of all the men who came before her. How can I raise her without protecting her from the horrible realities of her past? Am I to repeat the mistakes of my father? Am I doomed to fail before I even begin?

Damned if I do. Damned if I don’t.

Now I see even clearer the dilemmas my father was forced through while raising me. Now that I am faced with same, I see the wisdom in his choices and I realise that I must protect my daughter from his ugly truths. I must maintain, for as long as I can, the hero vision she has of him. Wise, strong, dependable grampa.

“Gwampa will catch me before I fall.”

“Gwampa will always be there for me.”

“I love gwampa.”

I love grampa aka daddy. I appreciate him. He knows that now. I’ve told him in thought, word and deed. Now, I can only hope that one day, Ayomide will say also “I love you, daddy”. And if we are lucky, we won’t have to go through half the murky route my father and I had to go through before we arrived here.

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This was one of several pieces which made up a week long series titled For Our Fathers hosted by @Rolayomide on her blog</em>

Not Just Another Ramble

Because I don’t know what to write and many things are popping all over my head.

Yesterday was #NoHornDay and I’m proud to say I managed to honked my car horn only once all day. Just one tiny little tap which came out of nowhere before I could stop it. But it’s fine though. I said what I think about the #NoHornDay initiative in the previous post which you can read here.

Ooh, I just had an idea what to do with this post. Yeah, I was serious when I said I didn’t know what to write. I’m just going to freestyle the whole thing through. You’ll see what my idea was as I go along.

Today is the 16th day of October, meaning it’s the midpoint of the month. This is the 14th post I’m putting up in this ‘blog everyday this month’ challenge I’m doing. If you do the math, that means I’ve missed out on one day/post. Not cool. Technically, this is yesterday’s post, I plan to post another before the day is done. I’ll make up for the one I missed with two in November 🙂

Before the #NoHornDay post, I reblogged Super Woman, a story I wrote and illustrated not too long ago for Art Stories on TheNakedConvos. That’s something I’m going to be doing now and then going forward, reblogging some of my favorite Art Stories. This way, loyal Nostalgians who don’t frequent TNC get to read them and enjoy the art.

Before Super Woman, I told a mildly mirthful tale of how and when I first met MoCheddah. She’s a doll.

Before that, on Day 10, I shared A Quote I wrote which is the probably the shortest post I’ve ever put up on this blog. I wonder if I will be forced to surpass that brevity before the month is over. Yes, I know ‘surpass’ is used wrongly there. Call it poetic justice. Bite me.

Interesting, but what inspired that oh-so-deep quote was the same thing that formed the subject matter of the two previous posts: The Linda Ikeji/Intellectual property/Copyright debate. Over the previous weekend, there’d been a lot of drama over Linda’s copyright theft of one MrAyeDee (looking back, this might all just have been one huge publicity stunt), which culminated in her blog being temporarily shut down, allegedly by Google. I wrote first about what I felt about the whole drama, focusing on the Intellectual Property/Copyright debate and then about the reality of Cybersquatting, something MrAyeDee has been accused of doing.

Now, I find myself in the predicament I was in at the beginning of this post a little too often. Where I’m saddled with the obligation to write a piece and have nothing to write. Several times when I’ve found myself in that position, I simply write up something about not being able to write, killing two birds with one stone. That was the situation I found myself in on Day 7 and that was the solution I came up with when I wrote a small ramble between 11pm and midnight.

The long weekend of two weeks ago saw me on the road. I took a road trip with old, new and not-so-new friends across several states in south-western Nigeria. Many adventures. The three posts I put up over those days were road inspired. This one was about the toll the journey was taking on my body, this one was about the terrible state of the roads and this one was a little fiction I came up with inspired by a small moment we experienced on the way back.

The night before that trip began, I’d written another piece of fiction inspired by real experiences. I’ve done a little bit of event photography and something I bet annoys ALL photographers who cover events was documented in that tale.

The day this challenge really took off was the 2nd day of October. I reblogged the first Art Story I ever posted on TNC. A touching tale, if I do say so myself, which dealt with the issues of tribalism, age difference in marriage and judging books by covers.

On the first day, I spontaneously decided to embark on this challenge. Probably the second shortest blog post here.

So there you have it. If you didn’t realize yet, this was a recap of the challenge so far. If you look close, you’ll see that there are links to all the posts, so you can click to whichever may have piqued your interest.

Please enjoy 🙂

Honk Your Horn For Practicality

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Today, October 15th, is Lagos Horn Free Day and from the title of this post, I bet you think you already know where I stand on the subject. Walk with me.

I love scenarios. They make it harder to argue against sensible points and make bad points more apparent. Now, let’s paint a few scenarios:

You live in one of those nice, enclosed estates where the street lights (which somehow exist in the first place) still work and where, on a quarterly basis, they harass all residents for estate dues as they drive out of the estate gate in the morning. Like many people in Lagos, you leave your house really early in the morning, before the sun even comes up. As you drive down one empty, well lit street, you come across reverse lights. They are backing out of the open gates to a residence, right towards your car. You can see the head of the young lady in the driver’s seat swinging this way and that to use her rear mirrors but you can also tell that she somehow hasn’t spotted you. You have only a split second to alert her… and you begin flashing your headlights at her, even though you know the eager street light overhead has swallowed them. She runs into you. It’s Lagos Horn Free Day, so you didn’t honk for her.

Another scenario:

You hit the highway and you’re gunning up one of the numerous bridges when you hit a little ‘hold up’. After years of living and working in Las Gidi, you know now that every second counts and the smallest pocket of traffic could be the one responsible for making you late. You’re growing impatient. You take a peek around the avensus in front of you at the road in front of the danfo further up front to see if you can perhaps spot the reason for the traffic and… Behold, the road is free, bereft of vehicular or human traffic. The danfo is picking up passengers and is neatly parked on the road so no one can pass till it’s done. The avensus in front of you won’t toot his horn to let the danfo driver, his conductor and their passengers know that this is utter madness. You won’t toot yours to let the avensus know you agree. The passat behind you can’t honk to agree with something you haven’t expressed. No one presses their horn because it’s Lagos Horn Free Day.

Final scenario:

You arrive home late from work, tired. You point your car at your gate and pause for a moment debating what to do next. Typically, you honk and the gateman, who knows the sound of your horn like he knowns his mother’s voice from even a street away, scurries to throw them gates wide open like he’s overjoyed to see you. But today is Lagos Horn Free Day. So you throw your car in reverse and proceed to three-point-park right in front of your destination, so you can go knock on the gate or just open it by yourself. Stress.

And those are my scenarios.

I believe the Lagos Horn Free Day initiative is a laudable cause. It strives to reduce noise pollution in Lagos, which is undoubtedly an issue which needs tackling. I doubt there’s any real research out there but I’m sure if there was, we’d marvel at the amounts of cases of stress disorder, mental illness and depression that are direct results of an abnormally high level of noise pollution here. Something is being done and that is good.

However, I wonder at the practicality of driving in Lagos today without the use of your horn. It is widely known that Lagos roads are a place of pure insanity and a school of thought I wholly subscribe to says “Drive in Lagos like you’re the only sane one on the road”. I believe this is called ‘defensive driving’ – a form of driving which involves a mix of paranoia, unnecessary bravadoccio and frequent useless bouts of road rage. Sigh. Why should there even exist a thing such as defensive or offensive driving? Why? Only in Lagos.

Here’s how I see things… Honking is the severely temporary solution to a problem and has now, sadly, become a problem itself. Lagos Horn Free Day brings awareness to and attempts to tackle the resultant problem, which is all well and good, except that the initial problem hasn’t been effectively tackled yet. If this time, energy, funds, publicity, etc were channelled more towards curbing bad, nay very terrible behaviour in our driving, we would hardly need to drive same resources towards changing the adaptive behaviour we’ve cultivated.

Also, and rather sadly, it’s worthy of note that our best changes in road behaviour have come about as a result of perpetual policing and not mere education aka nicely suggesting. Cases in point are our better use of seat belts, the absence of hawkers and road side traders (in certain locations) and the more steady application of insurance policy. We are a hard headed people and the only way we tend to see reason is when it is enforced upon us. That’s just the hard reality.

I’d honestly hate to see such a good hearted initiative as Lagos Horn Free Day go from educative to enforced, especially if the previous issues haven’t yet been properly addressed (Lastma, I’m looking at you) but I also have to admit that that’s the only way this will become entrenched.

So in conclusion, my stance is: In Lagos, the use of horns is a very necessary evil… but only for now. I’ll try my best to adhere though, so help me God.

What’s your stance?