Wednesday, February 24, 2010
It was, I think, in the late eighties when the prowess of the Enugu weather made our country proud by enacting the Aesop tale of the fox and the stork. The details are a bit hazy but I do remember the African Cup of Nations football tournament was round the corner and every country vied to qualify for the knockout (second) stage of the tournament. The first stage has different groups comprising about four to six countries with each country playing one another with a view to rack up enough points to qualify for the second round. The competing countries play two matches; one in each country’s home turf. For example if Zambia and Malawi are playing two matches, one will be played in Malawi and the second leg in Zambia. If each country wins in its home turf, then the goal difference between them is racked up and the one with the greater aggregate wins. However any goal scored against the host country doubles in points making it imperative that the guest be prevented from scoring any goals at all (legal) costs. The particular country we were playing with was Algeria and the first leg was to be in their country. We, known for our typical good spirits and sportsmanship, went there to play and got a very cool reception. Our boys were taken to a city in the northern part of Algeria where distant snow capped mountains bordering it glistened in the pale sun. Our boys, unaccustomed to the freezing weather, were unable to cope and played like old women trying to flee a rabid dog, and lost. Our wretched crestfallen boys trudged back home to prepare for the second leg of the match in a last attempt to qualify for the elimination round.
Our incensed sports body hurriedly met to decide how best to both give the Algerians their just desserts and qualify for the next round in one fell swoop. The initial plan was to play the match in Sokoto, a city in the north that is part arid desert and averages temperatures of 42C until one man advised them to designate Enugu as the venue for the match. With some reluctance and after much argument, they agreed. Enugu, which means ‘the city on the hills’, is actually surrounded roundabout by the hills and combines with the extreme humidity the tropicals are known for (and, as far as I’m concerned, is where the ozone layer opened up) to raise the city to the temperature of a blistering pressure cooker. The match was fixed for 2pm. They came, and we played, they kept fainting, and we kept scoring, and they lost and we won, and they complained, and we, we stuck our tongues out at them! The stork triumphed over the fox! It was a sweet joy for everyone, even me – I’m not particularly interested in football except for my beloved Arsenal.
I sit here thinking about Enugu, my beloved valley in the hills where I partly grew up and mull over my work there, running about on barefoot, and possibly half naked, in the scorching weather and pray my days there are mercifully short. Then again, I never know what could jump out at me and make me reluctant to leave; they almost always do, so I will be on the lookout. Have a great week everybody and those of you in the freezing weather, think about us here while we in our scorcher think of you there. Cheerio!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Good week everyone! Right, how many things do I have in my head today? Not many, but I do feel a swollen head from the enormity of the thoughts in it. First is a song or should I call it classical music piece that I have been playing in my head over and over, and over again. Lovely piece though and since I’m have no clue on how to write music ( my droll music teacher in secondary school killed it for me) I’ll simply refer everyone to the movie I heard it from. The movie is called the, I think, "Valentine Caveman" starring Samuel L Jackson as a homeless classical music genius who had so many spirits playing in his head, both good and bad.
Now I know why the blues I’ve been feeling have been playing this song over in my head! Valentine’s day and Frieda. I had a horrible Val’s weekend and she’s still not talking to me. All we’ve talked about since then have been plans of what we want to do for the next three months, business, what to do, which family to call but no playful pulling of the cheeks, even the “I love yous” have been brassy. I wouldn’t even dare smack her on the bottom let alone venture between them – but, hehehe, I do know that when it does happen, it will be well worth the wait! That piece has been playing in my head ever since and has been so apt via the one star instrument I know that comes nearest to expressing complexities of my thoughts that even the spoken language cannot, the piano. Its ability to make me transcend the normalities around me to the pure subliminal sphere where my mind always wants to be, with its erratic yet consistent and purposeful fluttering like that of a butterfly, makes her my favourite of all musical instruments.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
The situation in this country is becoming unbearable and what makes it even more annoying is that no one heeded my suggestions in my earlier posts on ways to deal with this prevalent problem. I cried, shouted, begged to no avail. Everyone thought I was talking rubbish, until now. I have now become like Cassandra of the Greek mythology whom Apollo, the god of the sun had cursed after she’d repeatedly spurned his love advances. She would be able to see the future but no matter how much she cried and clamoured, no one would believe her. I’m Cassandro on two counts.
Firstly, did I not, in ‘A River Runs Through It’ suggest that we patriotic Nigerians, and in legion, go to the central corridors of power of the country and empty our bladders and offend them into action with the stench of their corruption? Did I not? We would not be here now if we did as I bid. Secondly, did I not, in em - bo! I can’t remember which post - did I not beg for support in joining me to ask Frieda to let me buy a motorbike. Not a sports bike but a touring one. Would I be bothering myself with the fuel scarcity going on now? I’d be riding free as the bird without a care in the world. What Betty uses in a day my new girlfriend would use in a month! But noooo, you lot just had to focus on the dangerous side of an only ten percent accident rate that occurs among bikers! As if I’m a teenager who perpetually throws caution to the wind. Indeed! But, all is not lost; I’m a very reasonable man who understands that people do err when they don’t see the big picture. So now, with the current and likely chronic fuel crisis, can you dump Frieda’s wagon and get on mine and try to convince her to let me get a bike so I can discharge my pressing duties with ease. I love her and do intend sticking around for a while so I’m not going to be reckless. Remember, one good turn deserves another!
I’ll quickly post this and rush off to Maryland (Lagos) to see my colleague and friend and get some black market fuel for the day – hint, hint! Have a great week nevertheless everyone!