A good week of the mid month to everyone. I don’t know what to say except that I had a very good day today. It’s hard to pinpoint what is actually making me grin from ear to ear so I’ll just keep rambling on and on and hopefully the coin will drop into the slot somewhere along the line. I spent the weekend at my friend JB’s and we did a lot of catching up as we always do after a considerable time apart; he lives in the Lekki part of Lagos and I on the mainland and all who know Lagos know that these two locations are traffic miles apart! Anyway one of the things I went to do on the island was to give a television interview on what my life is like as an actor. One of the questions Simi, my interviewer, asked me was what my most embarrassing moment was. My mind went down memory lane and a smile lit on my face. I don’t know why it wasn’t that hard for me to recount given my, I think, shy nature but I thought I’d perhaps share it with you.
I’d gone to live with my maternal uncle in Oturkpo, Benue state for a year with a view to study hard for my JAMB university entrance exams. My JAMB result of the previous year while enough to get me into the university of my choice, had not met with the very high grades required by the department I applied for so I had to sit for it a second time. My uncle was the vice principal of a teacher training college in the town and this provided me with the perfect environment for study even though, to my chagrin, it was to be under his stern supervision. Alas, what goes around does come around. My father, of blessed memory, had bought him up as a child and tutored him through school in the old fashioned ways of the missionaries – the cane. Truly, the adage that goes, if the alligator will eat its own eggs, what won’t it do with the hide of a frog, rings so true. I, as well as my siblings, received second hand the taste of my father’s strict upbringing when his arm was beginning to tire. My uncles, maternal and paternal, received it first hand. My dad, not fondly called ‘Teacher Egbui’, then a standard (primary) school teacher, was famed and feared as the teacher whose arm never came down. He could go through the entire school in the village with the cane and not tire – my uncles had the misfortune of living with him. But that is a story for another day. Suffice it to say that my dear uncle was determined that I made the high grades required for the university of my choice. I stray again… Sometimes I fear for my children, and my grandchildren when I grow old; I’ll probably kill them with stories! Sorry, my most embarrassing moment.
It was about noon. I had just finished studying for the morning and was getting ready to go to the market to buy ingredients for lunch – yes I was also the cook of the house. I came out to the backyard with just my towel tied round my waist and a pail in my left hand to fetch water from the tank at the back of the house. The tank was a five hundred litre tank. The kind that have no taps but can only be accessed by removing the top lid and bending over the edge to scoop the water within with the bucket. On this particular day the tank was only a quarter full and so I had to stand on a stool to bend over and scoop the desired amount of water needed for my bath. As I did so, the towel loosened from my waist and fell to the ground. My uncle’s quarters, a large four bedroom bungalow stood in the middle of a row of six houses that formed the senior staff quarters with no fences demarcating them. Each building had a two bedroom servant quarters annexed to it. Some ladies about my age, to whom my uncle had leased the servant quarters, four in number, one of whom I fancied, were plaiting each other’s hair and sharing gossip on their veranda. I could feel the warm sun on my naked behind and the sudden hush behind me. I straightened up and looked at the ground behind me. Sure enough there was my towel lying on the hard ground far below and beyond my reach with the chickens pecking for food around it. Barely breathing I dared to cast a glance at the girls to find all four of them staring back at me as if to see what my next move would be. I calmly turned round, bent over, scooped my water, came down the stool, set the pail on the ground, picked my towel, tied it round my waist, looked them in the eye – at which they averted their gaze – picked the bucket and went into the house! The next week one of the girls, not the one I liked, came over to ask if I could go over some old examination question papers with her. Mind over matter!
I learnt, still am, that no situation is irredeemable no matter how hopeless. Here’s where I welcome all kinds of experiences even if it’s under the aegis of anonymity. Heck, I’ve shown you mine so you show me yours. :) Have a great week everyone and may every cloud carry a bold silver ling with it.