Tuesday, August 22, 2006

fasten your safety belts

I can’t believe I forgot about this. I’ve had this for a moment and was going to blog on it but it skipped my mind. It happened on my return flight to Nigeria after my vacation. You know how you always pray not to get an old person or an irritant sitting next to you on the plane, well, I got BOTH! The 1st was a plus sized lady who first dumped her cardigan unto the row of seats behind ours, why? Because she was trying to reserve them for herself. Imagine? She then chose to move to the rear of the plane because she saw some empty seats (we were just boarding, mind you) and thankfully, nobody turned up to claim the seats. So then, I was left to deal with the old man. Our meeting started with me having to stow his hand luggage (a heavy, crammed carrier bag) into the overhead locker and then the potty break (I always go for aisle seats) 5 minutes after he had sat down… before take off! I resigned myself to the fact that it was going to be a long flight. Interestingly enough, it was an educational flight and not so bad after all. It was his first time to London and so he had a lot to talk about. He had gone for an operation and spent some time in the hospital. The following details our conversation. Hope it touches you like it did me. Forget Osuofia and meet…

Ogbeni in London

“What is the name of this plane?” he asks. “I don’t know,” I reply, not really sure what his question really means, plus trying to end the conversation quickly.
“The plane dey run,” he continues. “E dey really run. The pilot dey try. Na Libya I go before but the plane no run like this one. This one dey move. The pilot dey really try.

“you know, this na my first time to London. I no wan believe wetin I see for there. When I reach house tell people, dem no go believe me o! unless dem see am themselves. Everything dey organized, everything na computer. Na bush we dey for Africa o! but, no be Britain colonize us? So why our own no fit good like their own? We go ever reach dat level? My brother, na only to pray o! I no think we go fit reach that level. Abi, how you feel?”

“well, I believe we will get there, just that unfortunately, neither of us might be around to witness it," comes my response. He shakes his head and resumes his diatribe, “The problem be say, we no get any unity for Nigeria. Whether tribal o, religious o, and even political. E no good at all at all. Make we get ourself quick quick o! make our children no too suffer.

“even dog sef, my brother… DOG! Dog get more rights than person sef. See wan sick dog for there, na helicopter dem use carry am. Helicopter for dog! Me as I dey, I never enter helicopter before dem come carry sick dog. Nawa o! even cat sef get house. Ologbo! Cat get house where people still dey sleep for road. Nawa o! I just dey look dey look as I dey for there.

“na operation I go there go do. Na my son bring me come, ma’e I just do am. See their hospital system for there. Everything dey organized. If na one o’clock, na one o’clock. Doctor sef go come meet you for the time make sure say you dey. You see that kind before? Wey doctor go come find you? For Nigeria, doctor go say, ‘You this bastard! Ma’e I come call you? You no well true true.’ As I dey there because of the operation, 3 days, I no baff. Na the nurse come baff me! Can you imagine? Say nurse go come baff you? They love life for that side o! they no dey take life play at all! I no one leave at all. I wan die there. Enjoyment too much but it was too expensive. My son try well well the small wey e do for me but e too expensive. I dey fear dem o! another patient wey dey there dey ask whether I wan die there. I tell am say na the enjoy wey I no dey enjoy for Africa I dey enjoy for here.”

At this point, I am with him all the way because this manner of raw authenticity with regards to his bewilderment is as rare as constant electrical supply in Nigeria. The cabin crew is now walking through offering light refreshments. I get my own surprise as I never knew they served little bottles of alcohol on board. I thought it was just red and white wine. So, I ask for a Jack Daniels and coke. My new in-flight companion asks for a Jack as well after sighting my order and the ‘extremely friendly’ (my ignorant outlook where I automatically convince myself such guys are gay) airhost remarks on how that’s an excellent choice. I mix my Jack & Coke (I’m not an alcoholic o) but old head taps the bottle, spins the cap and downs that sucker! I clearly don’t know a dang thing about some whiskey after that. With his tongue now looser, we resume our (more like his) discourse.

“I buy one DVD wan time carry am go house. E no come work and my son dey ask me why I go buy such DVD sef. ‘in come say make I take am back. I surprise say ‘in talk like that but I come go back sha. Before GOD and man, the boy collect am, return my money. I no lie you at all. You ever see that kind thing for Africa before? Where them collect something return your money? Who born you? Them go ask whether you no see well before you buy am. Nawa o! the thing really surprise me. then them no dey collect money. Everything na credit. For hospital, them no ask me for one kobo. Them say na after them go send bill to my son. Them no dey collect money at all.

“and come see one oyibo woman dey drive trailer by inself! She just naked herself, put leg for steering and just dey drive the big trailer dey go. Na only am dey inside o! big trailer. And na so dem dey do. One person go just drive by ‘inself for any time , just dey go. If motor breakdown, no wahala. Them go just phone, relax by the road and they go come tow am. No wahala.”

The ‘happy’ airhost returns and asks if my man enjoyed his beverage. I said he must have because he just guzzled it in one swig. “wow!” he exclaimed, “Well you’re responsible for whatever happens to him young man, alright?” I just smiled and tried to enjoy a pause from my session with my elderly buddy. It was short-lived though.

“ah! This plane dey really run. Pilot dey try. We done nearly reach, ba? He dey try. If somebody, wan person, get plane like this wan, only wan sef, ‘in go chop be dat o! ‘in go chop well well. Wan single plane we no even get sef. Common plane we no get. It’s a shame o but GOD dey sha. For London, every city get airport. Every city! And plane just dey everywhere parked like taxi. Them plenty no be small. GOD dey sha.”

And with that, my good man shut his eyes and drifted off into La La Land. The whole exchange really got the wheels turning. It is funny how much we take for granted on a daily basis because we are comfortable. Yes we nag and complain on the regular but have you noticed how the topics of our complaints always vary depending on our physical location? While I was in the States and England, I was relatively calm but as I got back, I just started acting up and getting upset over nothing. It boils down to the little things that don’t work. We are regarded as third world/developing but really, we shoot ourselves in the foot and things REALLY should not be this bad. In the ‘developed’ world, they are trying to curb black on black crime but as the black capital of the world (over 150 million niggers [not necessarily who we are but how majority act] locked together in one spot) it is the only crime we have. Ever hear Mos Def’s song, “The Rape Over”? It is far from over. When we were getting screwed by “whitey” I guess it wasn’t our fault but when my fellow black man wants to continuously pull my pants down and give me a thorough rogering, I have to blow my gasket at some point.

Here was this old man who got the opportunity to witness a working system before his number was called and you can gather the effect it had on his life. Tears came to my eyes but I didn’t cry. Cry for what reason? It does sadden me but not as much as it angers me. And I am mad at self too because I don’t exactly rise up to do jack! Why? Because I act like I don’t know how to or know what to do. That is bollocks. Yes I am just one person but that’s how it starts. In that regard, mad props to Dumebi Agbakogba and her Do Something Nigeria movement. She’s a young girl and while she’s still having her fun, she still takes time out to do her widow’s might. I have been a reluctant entertainer all my life. If that is how I can contribute, so be it. As long as I do something. I would like to implore you to do something as well. No matter what it is. I don’t expect you to finish this blog then turn Mother Teresa, but rather hope you really think about it and contribute to the Nigerian turn around however you can. You know how people go to Ibiza and Cancun, etc to chill and tan? We have sunshine all the year round. Jay-Z, Mariah and the like need to start putting Lagos as one of their favorite vacation spots alongside St. Tropez.

And just like clockwork, as if to take me away from my overly serious self and back to the more relaxed clown all are used to, this Igbo dude that had been talking to this elderly lady to my left all flight long goes:

“Oh, das a beaurooful landing.”

BM out like cheap hair weaves.

11 Comments:

Blogger Olawunmi said...

hilarious, but poignant. the stuff that we take for granted here is but a dream to the average person back home. yet our leaders come here aon laundering visits, but they never stop long enough to learn what they can to improve our lot. sad.

10:54 PM  
Blogger DiAmOnD hawk said...

when you noted, I hope it touches you like it does me i thot i was getting ready to read something "Deep" even after the bathroom break...then you said forget Osuofia...KAI...but you're bad

I prefer the window seat...because of ppl that like frequent bathroom breaks...also it gives me a place to lean AWAY and lean on

his candid rantings do make you reflect on the way things are and the way they could be

11:17 PM  
Blogger Don Chi as Blog Marley a.k.a. El Senor Supremo said...

@olawunmi:
i know, right? it ws quite funny but painful. i really don't see how people can sit back piling cash like it's going out of fashion but turn a blind eye to what's going wrong. i'd be pissed driving through a bad road everyday just to get to my 40 acre mansion!

@diamond hawk:
i apologize for sucking you in like that but i'm glad you saw where i was coming from. i actually prefer window seats but any excuse to stretch on the plane is always welcome!

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Dammie said...

LoLoLoL< ooooooookay!!...Did u record this whole convo, or you just can't get it out of your mind?!?.......

Lmaoo @ Ogbeni in London.....lololol

LoL, he didn't try to get ur number?......

LoL, U've been thru alot!

1:51 PM  
Blogger Don Chi as Blog Marley a.k.a. El Senor Supremo said...

@dammie:
Taking cue from my older bro (a writer/designer) I carry a little notebook and a pen everywhere (pisses everybody off) and I took down notes. I'm sad, right? He was a cool guy, just clearly not very exposed and educated. Just needed an ear to while away the 6 hours. thanx my dear. I have had my moments.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous mola said...

Hahaa... im sure the guy made ur Flight memorable...LOL!

2:52 AM  
Blogger Don Chi as Blog Marley a.k.a. El Senor Supremo said...

@mola:
i will never forget that one for real!

4:36 PM  
Anonymous zyl said...

hilarious?.... maybe not. ppl don't tink things can actually work in dis country cos dey never no it happens anywhere.

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Braz said...

Hi there! i just wanted to invite you and your chain of friends to a new forum for africans to meet,discuss on various issues, network and learn from one another.
This forum is powered by nigerians and ghanians and we want to it be powered by all africa...it will be for fun, business connections, networking and advertising, relationships(romance/cordial) advice and possible dating hookups, and so many others things. Of course, its for matured people only. here is the forum address : www.oneafrika.net. join and start making use of the forum any best way you can ;)

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Braz said...

Hi there! i just wanted to invite you and your chain of friends to a new forum for africans to meet,discuss on various issues, network and learn from one another.
This forum is powered by nigerians and ghanians and we want to it be powered by all africa...it will be for fun, business connections, networking and advertising, relationships(romance/cordial) advice and possible dating hookups, and so many others things. Of course, its for matured people only. here is the forum address : www.oneafrika.net. join and start making use of the forum any best way you can ;)

9:40 AM  
Blogger Don Chi as Blog Marley a.k.a. El Senor Supremo said...

@braz:
no worries pa (or ma). sounds like a great idea. will do my best but holla @ http://aramide.blogspot.com. Here reach is crazy.

10:48 AM  

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