Archive for June 2011 | Monthly archive page

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More often than not, the latest trend dictates the types of bag in vogue. The size, shape, colour and every other thing is also subject to this idiosyncrasy. Whatever has been deemed sexy and IN rules! In this light we find various versions on the arms, closets and the possession of the discerning.

There was a time that the small, cute, and delicate-looking were the order of the day. Whether carried underarm, on shoulders or dangling from the wrists the smallie reigned supreme. The size did not vary too much and could either be miniscule i.e. space enough for lipstick, compact and cell-phone, or roomy enough for a wallet, small novel and a few other feminine essentials. That was the basic plot and designers did not stray too far from it. They had a field day varying colour, shape, trimmings, texture and other things that caught their imagination. These were modified to give these accessories the signature look peculiar to a particular brand.

Seasons change and the era of the small has come and gone. The voluminous and oversized is upon us! These purses abound and are not hid from view. The beauty or hideousness of each is constantly on display. They draw attention because of their sheer size and this inevitably shows up the person too.

The bulk of some carry-on bags immediately focus attention on the carrier’s physique. In some instances, the bag seems to carry her rather than vice-versa. Some petite women, thus tend to walk skewed, bending (ever so slightly) under the sheer weight (you’ll be amazed how heavy) of belongings. On the other hand, her full-bodied counterpart will give the same accessory the appearance of a toy when she totes it.

These bags bring to mind Mary Poppins and her magic portmanteau; she retrieved her bed, wardrobe and several other things I can’t remember from its depths! Apparently her bag was bottomless but easy to convey about town. Interestingly enough, ALL the items are NECESSARY and must stay in! What some, will not let on, is that the beauty of some bags is lost if left relatively empty. Stuffing a bag (in this instance) elicits envy and admiration everywhere you go! Being fashionable has its consequences, on the other hand the price to be paid can be odd (or in this instance weighty) in order to maintain the status quo and enjoy the benefits.

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The BRT buses are too tame. Everyone buys a ticket, gets in, takes a seat and gets off at the end of the journey. Nothing exciting happens. No preaching or selling. Sometimes a few people stand. The entire experience is mundane and without colour.

Seasoned Lagosians will recall the days of the Molue. The behemoth described by Fela i.e. 39 sitting, 99 standing (or something akin to that, Fela fans should pardon me). Most of them cut their teeth and learned how to board (usually a running jump) it at various bus-stops within the metropolis. Getting off was also an education in itself. If you’re lucky, it comes to a standstill and you get off. This version of things is an event that usually occurs at the final destination; it could also be a stop where a lot of people were coming down and there was also the opportunity to get a fresh set of commuters.

What went on inside was something else altogether. There were salesmen of all affiliations. They lauded the benefits of their wares loudly enough for all and sundry. Demonstrations, theatrics and much more went into the sales of pain medication, miracle meds that cured everything under the sun, supplements of questionable origin and their potency were also not left out. The ability and dexterity of these professionals was a sight to behold.

In the absence of the sellers, the preachers were there. These proclaimed the kingdom of God loud and clear; the benefits of making heaven and the woe that will befall anyone left behind were summarised in their sermons. Some of these treatises were sometimes short or lasted the entire journey. If you were seated beside either class of people, you had a memorable time at best or an uncomfortable transit.

The ability of the conductor to arrange and ensure that every inch was filled was a rare skill. Once all the seats had been occupied their (usually two that made certain all fares were collected) main occupation was to ensure that those standing had the maximum contact with the person in front and behind. Women that chose to stand had no choice but to be intimate with strangers for the length of their journey. With such proximity it was no wonder that bodily functions let loose were quickly circulated and odours emanating from bodies easily transmitted…Sardines in a tin an apt description for this condition.

As is the case with large numbers, miscreants and other predators were quick to prey on those that left valuables unguarded. Pickpockets managed to operate and if you were unlucky you had to bear it as one of the hazards of public commuting. Ironically though, if you happened to be out pretty late (without alternative means) and wanted to get home safely, a Molue was your best bet. The sheer numbers prevented kidnapping and the ‘last chance’ phenomenon that became the rage in the city. Despite the tortoise pace, you (and all body parts!) would get there in one piece, an impressive record.

Those that made some journeys in these buses find them unforgettable and can still regale you with numerous tales! Molues as we knew them have drastically reduced in number, one would say they quietly died and have been replaced by their cleaner and much quieter kin the BRT. No doubt the changing face of living in a more modern city and finally coming into the Twenty-first century!

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Talking is overrated, or so I thought. The thing is that when extreme tiredness hits I discover that I’m unable to converse and so keep mute. Maybe this is one of the preservation techniques my body has devised in order to ensure that essential bodily functions are carried out. Extreme thoughts, I hear you say but the human physiology is a sophisticated machine with its quirks.

On the other hand there are those that just cannot stop… quintessential chatterboxes. People like these remember having been punished in primary school. They also frequently made the notorious list of ‘noise makers’ at the next stage, so we’re quite familiar with what talking entails.

Some people are wont to do it for the sheer pleasure; others love the sound of their voice and even when spouting nonsense can drone on. When in a conversation with this type, no contributions are required on your part, the occasional nod suffices. We have some individuals that only are people of few words, the barest minimal. A few sentences (in one breath) constitute a deluge!

On the other hand, there are those that engage in meaningful discourse; they listen, wait and actually have a dialogue. Those that attend workshops, seminars and the like consider it serious business and have clear intent for participating.

Nowadays mobile telephony has all but swamped us with devices. It’s a common sight to see people clustered together but not involved with chitchat. The thumbs, fingers (sometimes nails too) and small screens are doing the talking. You’ll no longer find people as engrossed in discussions. Couples, singles, groups, friends, no matter the category we are guilty. People tune out if present company palls and log into virtual space.

Before the advent of this technology, you simply took refuge in memories or surrounding distractions; eventually finding (or making) an excuse to escape. This is no longer the case, we simply bring out (some hold it all the time) and check for the latest mail or the incessant messenger. Funny enough this habit has become ‘acceptable’ and one generally overlooked.

Why take the trouble to invite friends out if you end up glued to the screen the entire period? It simply does not make sense. You can stay home and twiddle your thumbs on the buttons all day. I think it’s a cop out, a lazy way to conduct relationships.
It’s easier to be superficial and unaffected with this wedge.

There will be protests that this is not the case, that the voice is still active and strong. May be so, but how long do people talk without taking off a few minutes to check for the latest update, message or mail that constantly streams unto their handhelds? To have a meaningful conversation now requires more discipline than some of us can muster.

We must ensure that the human voice is not eventually wiped out. The voice must not become archived and used sporadically. It would not do for us to lose the ability of speech. We should work on learning (once again) to use our utterances to conduct and enhance relations in the twenty-first century.

The Incident


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Now I realise he loved me. A forbidden love, but love all the same. I didn’t know he felt that way…I swear! Just thought he wanted to get into my pants.

The kissing was nice. To be honest, more than that! It awakened and stirred cravings that should have been left untouched. It introduced me to my feminine core.

It became hard to do the right thing. The ‘right thing’ had to be re-defined after a while. Right, wrong, black, white, evil and good concepts I had down pat…until he fanned the embers and everything went up in flames!

He was gentle, caring and adored me. Malcolm taught me things, believed in me and his encouragement was par for the course. The gifts were thoughtful and meant the world to me. The most precious of all was the time that we spent together; talking, teasing and gradually the loving crept in. When the fondness became love I cannot recall. Maybe that was what aggravated the mixed feelings and yearnings I also couldn’t explain.

A sophisticated man, older but not old (if you know what I mean). Malcolm was mine; all I had to do was take what he had offered. I could NOT have him. Spectators would say that I rejected him and say that I WOULD not have him as being more apt.

His desire was obvious, but on a leash. I could not describe him as selfish. He came to accept the situation and made no complaints. Malcolm demonstrated his love for me. I knew it was not to be and so I released him. He remonstrated with me for time. Six months he said, (just) six months and everything will be different. Wait for me; give me hope so that I can help Sheila face the end. Reluctantly I agreed to the wait although with the clause that my life would not be on hold.

Twelve months have gone and the pain has ebbed. Forgetfulness has gradually crept in and now I can remember him with some modicum of peace. So speak not of love to me until time has healed the broken heart from an old love.