Archive for September 2010 | Monthly archive page

My Person

Sep
2010
28

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I guard my person (all my body parts i.e. bare arms, breasts, buttocks etc) very jealously when inside public transportation. Of course there are those that simply delight in violating me. These come in the form of elbows, (person beside you!), knees (attack from the rear!), the thighs and the knobbly knees of the chap beside you can also do some damage. Mr. Macho, requires space for the sacs to breathe (so he spreads his legs as far as the east is from the west and every other person can take a jump!).

People simply don’t get (comprehension is a vague reality in their world) that invasion of my personal space cannot be tolerated. I understand perfectly the peculiarity of sharing a bus with total strangers for certain distances; the ritual they want to enact with me is what I take objection to.

The soft swell of my breasts, abdomen and my backside get the very points of adjoining joints of fellow commuters. In this battle to keep my orbs safe the trickiest is safe guarding the chest area; this often entails a tango or a waltz of the upper arms in junction with a twist here and there.

God was very creative when making people and so He made them small, big, medium and then various in-betweens. The combination of these souls when commuting comes in varied forms. The more ample companions usually take up more of the allotted space than the not so generous in proportion. The most humorous of the saga is that the little person on the row gets shoved, squashed and vigorously sandwiched between the others. Even when the individual has gone the whole hog in shifting, they still get moved by the greater mass that most be accommodated!

In all, commuting and moving about in public transportation is another survival skill that’s to be perfected and honed in the great City of Excellence. It makes for interesting tales and incidents whilst going about the activities of seeking your daily bread. The tales of passenger to passenger, passenger to conductor, LASTMA to driver encounters are a telling for another day.

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Escalators are funny things; don’t get me wrong, they get the job done. For some people, well, getting on them is the tricky part! They don’t know what to do, they’re apparently quite helpless in the technique to use.

I watched the other day, when for more than two minutes two young ladies were trying to ‘catch’ one. These were babes and they had fun figuring it out. They hooted and chortled at their dilemma, but eventually mastered it and were on their merry way! Putting your foot on the right step so that you don’t fall is not as easy as you might think! Some people make it look so easy and one forgets that there are people that are not so fortunate. Scenes where bigz gals were also in a quandary has also been enacted before my every eyes. In this instance, they were accompanied by a young (gentle) man that came to the rescue when he figured out that their distress was real and not a funny prospect.

It’s almost like riding a bicycle for the first time, you may just fall! In this case though, the fall will probably be in a very public place and could elicit some derision from observers. I applaud the people that don’t let anyone fluster or rush them, when they’re trying to figure how the contraption works and as a result embark and disembark safely.

The other thing about these moving stairs is when people choose to walk on them. What this means is that the speed at which the escalator is moving is not quite fast enough. Watching makes you feel like you’re the one moving and not them! Remember when you’re standing still and a car moves, leaving you behind? It’s like that and again makes one recall the technique of black-sliding in dance. You make progress, but at incrementally minute speed and it like takes forever too!

Crowded escalators are not attractive either; too many stationary bodies, moving under the aeigis of the mechanical engine. Some looking ahead, others chat, but all await the point when the ride ends and they must move under their own steam once more.

A door that swings both ways is a really useful contraption. You could push it outwards or better yet pull inwards (whichever caught your fancy) and you’re free to either come or go as the case may be. It’s interesting how human beings don’t follow the rules of this device and just use part of its function. Sitting down waiting for Jimmy to turn up I watched as the swing door suffered from this quirk of the human nature.

Out of maybe twenty people that waltzed through the door, one in five pushed outwards. On entering the premises they all pulled inwards; exiting was the fun part! Leaving had them pushing the doors out. The more arduous rote of pulling inwards (i.e. towards them) was the norm adopted. Again, maybe the door was stiffer on the outward journey and so it was far less work to pull inwards than push outwards.

The few that went against the flow i.e. pushed inwards to enter the building and once more pushed out to exit were not many. They didn’t seem to be more endowed with muscles either, but rather utilised the double hinges on the door to achieve their aim.
What this says about human nature I’m not sure, but for a thirty-minute wait on that Thursday afternoon I discovered that because something has a built in capacity does not mean that people will use all those characteristics, even if it makes things easier! Makes you think…

Awash in Spittle!

Sep
2010
14

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The correlation between a foul smell (or what is perceived as one) and the resultant saliva that correspondingly flies out of the mouth of the average Nigerian is a mystery that is yet to be unraveled. Science ought to find, a very (scientific) explanation as to how a second (sometime less!) after a whiff of the stench is detected out comes the (flying) spittle at 120kph. In fact the Spitting Cobra is readily put to shame if truth be told.

If a survey were to be carried out and the data collated accurately, it may be discovered that the salivary glands of our fellow countrymen may produce more than two buckets to nsure its availability for this stated purpose. The frequency with which this action is performed would deceive one into thinking that this was the sole purpose for which the Almighty created that all important gland and liquid!

Some people choose to deposit it in the gutter, if one is at and. Others are certainly not shy to let loose as it pleases them, and dump it on the closest surface. One of the most fascinating sights has been to see some exit the windows of a moving vehicle; thankfully, this was witnessed from a distance and so it can be reported that in these instances that the spit made it safely to the tar.

The times it managed to land on another person is one I’ve not been privy. Once upon a time, one chap let loose and it almost (though not quite!) made contact with yours truly. The baleful eye (you know what I’m talking about people), I turned on him ensured that he apologised immediately and left my immediate vicinity.

Fine, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that the various scents, savoury aromas and the not so, plague our nostrils as we go about our daily business. There are times when, your respiratory system experiences a glitch, so you don’t breathe well. These instances will happen, but is the solution for us to let loose and send the spittle flying in every and in all directions?

Some maybe more sensitive than others, but is spitting the solution? Having spat in response to that foul smell doesn’t make it go away. At times, the stench gets more concentrated and an overwhelming nausea is the result. I’ve certainly not seen continuous and repeated spitting during prolonged periods of a stench fest. Out comes the saliva, the face scrunches up, nose is held, or a hankie held to it and yes lots of gagging sounds but certainly not continuous spitting!

I’m also not certain if this act by one person sets others off. Mayhap, the first serves as a trigger and the others go off. I’m certain that this is a subjective thing and that it can be controlled by the regulars that indulge in it. It’s rather interesting to note that when indoors and an unpleasant smell tickles the nostrils, the first response is not to spit. At least if it is, most certainly not on the floor of the room (I certainly hope not) where they are! It must be a psychological thing me thinks, but the fact that we seem to be riddled with it as a people calls for an investigation of this societal phenomenon.

To sag or not?

Sep
2010
07

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As in all things, extremes aren’t good; in fact they can be pretty ugly! Moderation and balance should be what to strive for in all matters be it health, family or fashion. Although with the likes of Lady Gaga and others like her, you begin to wonder…

Sagging has its place…or does it? On a two year old and peers of his ilk it’s downright cute! His pampers peeks out ever so slightly and he walks about very confidently holding mom or dad’s hand and looking simply adorable. It still looks pretty great on slightly older boys too (mostly children, although some teens have also managed to pull off this look), but it certainly beats anyone else that doesn’t look that good when they attempt this feat.

The slight sag (on an adult male) that’s almost unnoticeable (is he or is he not?) is tasteful, but when it’s all over the place and the individual ends up looking like an irresponsibly dressed tout (when you’re not one) is a total…no! Gangs of university or teen-aged boys and tweens do this (all the time!) and one can only roll the eyes and shrug; they don’t know any better and the hormones are raging at this stage, so it’s best to stay clear. A few instances where the trousers are halfway to the knees (how do they manage to walk like that?!) and the Tommy’s, CKs and unlabelled underwear are in plain view, makes one wonder how much more havoc and undress we can endure in the name of fashion.

When a full grown man that should know better does it, it’s certainly cause to despair. Maybe this situation calls for investigation because it’s a mystery and needs looking into. Again, it could be the case of following the latest trend without censoring its dictates to the rules of reason, or the man in question may have taken leave of his senses. Certainly, men can be and have also been known to be guilty of this slip up as well so the fashion mishaps are transgender too!

On this particular occasion (a wedding, how much more formal can that get?) it was a case of the latter case of sags gone awry! My man swaggered to the front to take a photograph of the happy couple and behold his navy blue knickers (sorry, boxers!) were on display for all and sundry. At that point in time he was the focus of all eyes and not the couple. Since the chap also wore a tee-shirt I guess that about says it all! A tween so he may have been excused for looking as shoddy as he did; his ensemble on the other hand has become a fashion statement, a trend and a classic in itself and it usually works, but on this occasion it just fell short of the mark and looked both tacky and distasteful. We were not spared this awful sight until he had the picture and retreated.

He was with (maybe not with with, if you get my drift?) a babe and I’m not certain how she felt when she saw this visual display. She may have been proud, astonished, confused or simply indifferent to how he looked and so didn’t see anything amiss. If she was, guess that says it all! Although I refuse to accept indifference, after all his appearance did rub off on her…somewhat.

Not all men are guilty of this, and as with the womenfolk the fashion phobes are also ever present among the chaps, but getting it wrong in the arena of the sag is just too pitiful and painful (for those that have to look at it). The mantra for this (me thinks) when in doubt about sagging, take my advice…DON’T!

Social Etiquette 2

Sep
2010
02

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We must remember that the handshake is a ‘foreign’ concept that was introduced eons ago. Admittedly it’s now the commonly accepted mode universally and as such has its attendant code inscribed.

In trying to apply one of its many codes, ergo, a lady first extends her hand to be shaken. This means that it’s left to the woman’s discretion to initiate shaking of hands, in whatever context i.e. socially or even in the business world. This is all well and good in Europe, America and nations over the sea. How feasible is it in Nigeria? What happens when someone older (a man of course!) extends his hand for a handshake and you decline? As the lady in question, I guess you could shake your head and say it’s your prerogative. In the societal confines that we live, doesn’t this mean that the woman was not raised properly and is simply rude? How in the world could she have left an elder’s hand hanging?

Leaving the ethics of whether the person imbibed the manners taught as a child let’s break it down further. You attend a business meeting and meet a man you don’t know, he’s older than you (obviously) and introduces himself and extends his hand. You ignore it thinking how badly mannered the gentleman in question is and the effrontery he has shown! We all have egos and that part of our beings is quite delicate. Isn’t it better to save face (yours in this case) and shake the man in question?
Apart from embarrassing yourself (culturally) you also stand the chance of bruising his ego and that is not a really wise thing to do. Someone you’ve just met that’s just trying to be friendly just had his nose put out of joint.

Another scenario: once more a man that has heard so much about you, your work et al meets you and without any prompting, the chap demonstrated his friendliness, proffers his hand. This was at a corporate soiree and you chose to commit social suicide…not wise at all! Especially since the gentleman in question wields a lot of influence in your industry…

Let’s take this out of the corporate environment for a minute, you meet your father’s old class mate for the first time and mixing the traditional mode (kneeling or curtseying), he not only extends his hand but also draws you into a warm embrace. In that instance, do you choose to ignore this gesture and disgrace your family? The consequences of ignoring this particular handshake have a ripple effect that reaches beyond that single meeting.

These are some of the questions that dog us if we choose to apply the original norms of the etiquette of the handshake whole hog!

Behaviour cannot be taken out of context and the culture of a people affects societal rules of engagement. This is what is and there is no way we can ignore it. We currently operate a hybrid culture, and must have it in the forefront of our minds as we conduct the business of living. Unlike the Chinese that have everyone interested in learning how to use chopsticks, we have accepted some foreign norms that have become part and parcel of ours. Understandably, no matter how ‘modern’ our society is cultural subtleties will survive and trump the 21st century ways of doing business.

Again, dependent what part of the country you live in, it is not done to touch a woman that’s not your wife, whether formally or otherwise. It is usual for women to be acknowledged with a verbal greeting, a handshake or brief embrace. The mode is dependent on the familiarity of the parties concerned. Generally in society whether corporate or social, women are usually acknowledged by verbal greetings. The more sophisticated go further and shake and even peck the cheeks of their female friends. The air peck is another phenomenon that we have borrowed from the ‘oyinbos’ and is currently making its rounds in the higher echelons of bigz boys and gals and has taken over in the celebrity enclave. That is fodder for another time!

It’s very ‘normal’ for men to proffer their hands first to womenfolk in the Nigerian society, this will continue and there’s no way (short of announcing it nationwide) to enforce the ladies first perogative. So hate it or love it…the gentleman handshake is here to stay!