Firewood

“No no no no NO!”, Juanita groaned in her sleep. She was just about entering the limo her crush had rented for them to take a cruise in, but alas, mama!

” JUANITA!”, her mother yelled from the other end of the house. “Coming, mum!” Her High School Musical blanket came off and she slipped into Sharpay slippers to meet her mother.

Tall, lean and toned, she stood regal in a stiff business suit, her hair in a tight bun, muscled legs planted firmly in court shoes.

“Good to see you’re up, Juanita. I have a busy day today so I pasted your list of chores on the refrigerator.”

“Okay, mum”, she mumbled as her mum click-clacked away. Curious, Juanita went into the kitchen. Mum usually told her what to do. The refrigerator was enclosed in stickers of Troy, Gabriella, Ryan and Sharpay, and the list was affixed to one of them.

“Pick weeds in the compound.

Tend to the garden.

Wipe clean all the windows.

Do the laundry.

Rearrange Juan’s wardrobe and room.

Scrub all the bathrooms.

Scrub the kitchen floor.

Sweep and mop the whole house.

Take my clothes to the tailor for mending.

Walk the dog.

Cook stew and black soup. There’s money on the table. Haggle expertly, please!

Cook dinner, jollof rice with lots of onions!

Make chin chin for Juan and his friends. Don’t mess up the recipe this time!

The painter will be coming. Glue your eyes to him. I don’t want any of my gold missing!

Arrange the books in the library. You know the order.

Don’t have any friends over, you’ll get distracted.

“Arrrgh! Just kill me, mom!” She stole a glance at the wall clock. 7:09 am. The house was grand, a duplex her dad had built when he’d hit a jackpot. She set music playing and psyched herself to work.

8:00 am- weeds plucked, the garden tended. My back aches from bending over.

8:47 am- windows wiped and rooms dusted as thoroughly as I could. I think my hands will soon fall off.

9:56 am- house swept. Oh, my back!

10:42 am- house mopped. Mom, can you see your reflection?

11:30 am- clothes are frying in the sun. Happy now?

12:16 pm- bathroom dirt is eww😑

12:40 pm- dog wants to walk me instead🙄

1:20pm- my eyes are glued to the painter, mom. And it’s worth the investment💑👶

2:00pm- did a tornado hit Juan’s room?😵

2:15pm- I can’t be ostracized from the world, mom, I’m taking an IG break.

2:50pm- tailor’s done mending. On to the market.

3:50pm- things are expensive mama! I did what I could!🤷🏽

4:30 pm- why wouldn’t you let me have a friend over? Cooking alone is boring!😣

5:40 pm- my jollof rice tastes better than yours😋 and it’s an onion feast.

6:30pm- why does Juan get chin chin and I don’t? It’s yummy tho😋

7:00pm- the kitchen floor is fit to sleep on.

7:05pm- uh uh, I’m so not touching the library.

Continue reading “Firewood”

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A Little Something

I have this war that wages within me sometimes: to ask or not to ask, to give or not to give. Life gets more interesting as each day passes. We humans have an innate urge to help if the help helps us, and that’s just about it. If you know you’re gonna get burned, don’t do it. “What’s in it for me?”, is the first question on our lips.

Some men will not help stranded ladies with rides if the day does not end with getting her number and booking a room🙅. Some women too are quick to offer their account details before they give information. How did we get here? Friends, if you want to help, help. It’s no longer help if the recipient is literally in your debt, and has to pay back almost immediately. Let’s drop the Godfather code😪.

For some ladies, him sponsoring your education automatically means you’re marrying him👰, forget that he smells like a skunk, and she getting him a job makes him her busboy. Can we move past this lifestyle already?

Recently, I was trying to locate a place I hadn’t visited in years. Though I knew the general layout of the area, my search hadn’t brought me to where I wanted to be. So I asked around. One fiftyish man sprung to my help. I was already thanking my stars as he seemed to be so concerned for my wellbeing, walking some distance with me and confirming my ultimate destination by asking others.

On one stop, we had gotten to a similar place but not the one I was going to. He thought it was my final destination and so said to me, ” Abeg, find me small something wey I go take hold body.” Ugh! It was obvious that when he first saw me, he was calculating how much he’d demand eventually for his ‘help’. I was a quick earning to him. His greed ruled him and not his altruism. Sad. And he can pass for my father👴 too. I didn’t acknowledge his statement because I too was low on loose change. As fate would have it, I wasn’t where I wanted to be so why should I pay? We were redirected by another person who it cost absolutely nothing to show the way. I could then go on by myself. My Knight dutifully described the place and I thanked and blessed him as profusely as I could before he most likely took the hint and walked away.

Ahan! How low can we stoop as people? Would it not be better if I see your assistance as something worth appreciating monetarily, I tip you as I deem fit and you go away rewarded? How do we price our help to others, anyway? I feel asking me to pay you already gives me strong reasons not to. We should be able to swallow our “thank you” and be content. Stop feeling entitled, guys!

You thought I would leave you without a treat? You must be kidding😄.

Your sweet beef rolls,

Scribbles

19000100

Don’t fret at the title, we’re not talking binary here. What would our lives be without those small compasses that steer the Titanics and Boeing 747s or the ever faithful, highly reliable Google map?

Have you ever been lost on the way and wavered between asking for directions and blasting the road maps, insisting on instinct to lead you? You know how the inner man tells you ‘take that right, take the next left’, but in your heart of hearts, you’re watching your fuel gauge and it keeps dropping. Alas, dear friend, the gas stations are on strike. You’re in a conflict. You don’t want to be seen as a stranger yet you are definitely lost.

At what time do you flag the next pedestrian or anyone that looks like they know the terrain to ask “please where’s the way to…?” There’s this clarity that descends on me when I do that and I start to look for the landmarks pointed out to me until I reach my destination. Yay, at last!

At the bank one sweltering day, I joined a long tortoise-crawling queue. It’s such a problem to withdraw the money I deposited. How? I kept slots on two queues (what better way to never keep all your eggs in one basket?) The first queue stopped moving after a while. Human patience is so fragile. A shuffle here, a sigh there and you can tell they can’t wait to be rid of the obstruction. I was inquisitive enough to take a look.

A young man graced the front of the ATM. I asked if he needed help. He shrugged indifferently. I watched him start his transaction again so I could understand where he had roadblocks. When he got to the amount he wanted to transfer, he keyed in a most interesting figure 19,000,100.

That’s nineteen million one hundred right? So I also thought. The machine didn’t think so and told us he couldn’t transfer that amount. He then confided in me that he wanted to transfer the money to someone who was waiting to receive it. “And how much do you want to send?”, I asked innocently.

“Nineteen thousand one hundred”, came the sure reply. I thank my stars I quickly pulled myself together. Within me, I was spread-eagled on the ground. Only him and goodness know how long he repeated that failed transaction without calling the attention of anyone who could help. It is, according to him, nineteen thousand 19000 one hundred 100 which will give 19000,100 when combined. As a good citizen, I put him through. Nominate me for the Nobel Peace Prize, 2019 already. I saved a mob protest from getting any worse.

At what point do we ask for help? For many of us, there’s the strive for independence. We take life as a competition so we don’t want the other party to be privy to our business. We’re scared others are out to do us harm. While that can be called fair, we should learn to be humble enough to ask for help when direction could help. It makes life easier. You scratch my back, I scratch yours.

On the other hand, where exactly is the difference between 19000,100 and 19,100? It goes beyond the number of zeroes, the position of the comma and the position of 1. The line is drawn at education. This generation of youths has grown a cold shoulder to anything highlighting intellectual development. It’s too much work. Some parents don’t invest knowledge in their children, the children too (this group is for my mates, the older generation and the younger ones) don’t see beyond the now. In the end, there’s a big gulf and it keeps widening as the half-baked and unbaked stay so while the baked find reasons to stay fresh and worthwhile in their fields.

I hope that young man learned the difference between 19000,100 and 19,100. We should strive to be better at whatever we do, who we are and what we represent. Those of us still in the classroom or lecture halls, I implore us to focus more so we do not end up as the society’s disappointment. The teachers too should give more value beyond the schoolwork. It is an arduous task but I believe it is worth the effort.

In a recently trending video, a young lady was advising parents to not force education on their children. She said you can take the horse to the river but can’t force the river to drink the horse. Of course, the river would never drink the horse but the look of abject confusion on her face when she repeated the erroneous statement twice was for me, priceless. Education cannot be overemphasized. The same goes for asking for help.

No one can do it alone. You’re strong where I am weak. It is logical I let you know I can use that strength you possess and you can use mine and we are the better for it.

I would want my child to know how to tell 19000,100 from 19,100 and I’m sure you would. So let’s make the necessary investment.

Your sweet chicken pies,

Scribbles

Don’t Make Her do That

So this week kicked off not too badly: I turned out a delicious batch of yummy crusted edges vanilla cupcakes, courtesy K’nifies Munchies😋. Noon got me high up beneath the sun, walking to my rented but not paid for shop front. I’ll be calling my Landlady, KC henceforth.

KC was so sweet, she obliged to help me take out my one month old plaits. I had to refrain from keeping them an extra month before y’all start wondering why the hair has molds. About three hours into the unweaving of my hair, this tall slender fair skinned beauty walks in. She would be a head turner, really. Her clear even spaced eyes and pert nose were enthralling but they were no match for her lips, full and naturally lined with the most beautiful dentition I’ve ever seen, honest. Her voice was now the killer. It was musical, to say the least, like an out of tune instrument.

We ladies spoke extensively. She’d lost her father last month and was recounting how he died while welcoming his grandchildren from a trip and eating his garri and vegetable soup. He was found with his head buried in his food 😔.

The conversation was engrossing till she got a phone call from a guy. First few words and I could tell the guy was a thorn in her flesh. “Where are you, where are you?”, he repeatedly asked, “I’m at your sister’s place now. I want to see you”. The even teethed lady held her peace, giving the evasive answers of women who’d rather not hold that conversation. My question is this: don’t the men have antennae that receive those “I don’t want to talk to you” signals? Guys, please, they are highly affordable and once installed, will save a lot of time and airtime. It will be a good investment, like this cryptocurrency thing, to get one.

An advantage of this antenna is that it can measure the building frustration of the lady in question by looking out for monosyllabic answers “no”, “yes”, “okay”, etc, hesitation before a reply (she’s inhaling more patience from the patience snuff box, trust me), and the imaginative eye roll. When you think she did, she did. All these go to tell you that she’s not into you at all or she’d rather talk later.

Well, the above indicators are all within the socially acceptable range but when she starts to cook up fibs, your emergency lights should come on. And that is the time to make the emergency exit from her life.

To the persistent demand for her whereabouts, this grieving daughter said, “I’m in church. You know we’re still having evening prayers in church.”

Don’t make her do that!!

How could you?! How possibly unlikeable are you that one has to lie to get off your back? And the pesterer said, “Where is your church? Let me come and see you.”🤦🏽 Oga, what is your emergency? She got so pissed she hung up on him and told us how he calls at odd hours of the day, 1:00am! He actually imagines she’d pick up and say heartily, “Oh my Romeo, I’ve been up all night waiting for your call🙄.”

Maybe we forgot to add it but this too must stop in 2019! You can already tell if she doesn’t like you. Don’t deceive yourself that it is shakara, it’s not. I didn’t hold it against her for lying, heck, if it was me, I might have told him something else but not church. This man pushed her to the extreme. She must have felt that using the church will let him say something like, “oya, when you’re done, let me know”, and leave her be. Oh well🤷🏽.

Did I mention that the antenna does self evaluation as well? It can tell when you’re becoming annoyingly persistent. It also shows you when is the best time for best reception. The antenna increases your sensitivity so it is easier to draw inferences from things you’d otherwise ignore.

I hope this broda quickly installs his antenna so he’ll be better guided with his besotted. And I hope you, yes you reading this, install yours.

Disclaimer: this antenna is also available to the female folk.

Your Sweet Cupcakes,

Scribbles

The Hawker

I did something incredible today. I woke up!! I had been enthusiastic about making a few sales today and so it was with energy that I set about mixing and cutting out K’nifies Munchies doughnuts. After hours of exhausting work, my doughnuts were ready and off I went out of my scenting kitchen to go sell my wares. Have you ever been hit with a meteorite before? I was today.

I had prearranged with a friend who owned a shop that I’ll use her front as my spot. Guess who I saw there? Nobody. She’d disappointed me. Everywhere was locked up. The rush hour was past and I was dejected. I called a friend to pour my worries on how to sell off K’nifies Munchies doughnuts. He gave some not too appealing suggestions. When I hung up, I cried. I fell on my knees and wept to God. This was not the prayer I’d prayed this morning. I mean, things were looking up!

Then dad encouraged me to go to another friend’s shop (he wasn’t around for the teary scene). I went. Some kids were analyzing the doughnuts: “It will be sweet o. Me sef, I like the chin chin”, (I’d supplied chin chin to the shop earlier in the week). “I like the chocolate one”, “I like the yellow one”. At least, the kids gave pure honest reviews and though they were without money to get the tasty doughnuts for themselves, I knew their souls hungered.

Few minutes later, my runaway friend called that she’d opened. I made sure she knew of the tears I shed because of her. People walked past my doughnuts with longing glances and others without any (that particular sect will be focused in life). One teenage girl bought the first one. One young man had bought for his crying little girl on my way to the shop.

Now, I’ve fought a lot of battles, but the intrapersonal conflict I waged on myself today was going to leave my doughnuts as the casualties and the strength I had to muster! With some extrinsic motivation (in the form of the barber that shaves my beards), I walked down the street. I was now a hawker.

I started with a terrain I knew with nobody I knew around. I had to go on a friends-making spree. “Good afternoon”, I greeted at passersby who sometimes acknowledged or who tried their best to ignore the tempting goodness in my hand. At a junction, I made quite a few sales. I knew people here, and they could be called acquaintances. Time to go to the other end and the shyness I’d driven away resurfaced. How would I manage it? A friend of my sister’s, who was sitting in her mother’s shop encouraged me: “You’ve already sold this much na, just continue.” “I can’t”, I replied. “You can!” And off I went, a transparent container filled with doughnuts.

“Your sweet doughnuts!”, I called intermittently, drawing attention to my wares. I walked the length of that lengthy street and sold once. Ouch! Took a left and headed for the market. There, I made a few sales (thank God for Ozioma, the woman I buy soup items from, in her continuous #50 support), although I was disappointed that a market with so many prospective customers will have so few willing buyers. Left the market, took a right into another street and was pleasantly surprised when an ex-admirer bought quite a lot from me. He left my produce down to #150 worth.

Now the challenge truly started. It was almost dusk and I had only #150 to earn. No one seemed to be willing to make me and themselves happy: Empty my container and enjoy the doughnuts, all for #150 or less. I returned to my friend’s shop and punctuated the thoughts of passersby with “Your sweet doughnuts!”.

I refused to give in to my friend’s suggestion of eating the rest and was already quite tired to walk another distance; night had already settled. “Your sweet doughnuts!” caught the ears of a young man who had bought for a girl while I was at my sister’s friend’s mother’s shop and he came toward us. By now, you can already guess I was praying. He brought two young boys with him and asked if they wanted doughnuts. Answer? “Yes!” I happily sold the last of my doughnuts, blessed the man and pocketed the crisp note.

After they left, I sang the hit song, Jesus you love me too much o! that my friend laughed at me. I was so grateful.

I hope I didn’t bore you, and if I did, I hope you learnt a few of the lessons I did as you painstakingly read your way through. It was a wild dream for me to hawk my wares, and I’ve had that dream before although it didn’t quite go the way today went. I had a plan A, no plan B, and when I was stuck, I fell on my knees to ask God, “Lord, what are you teaching me?” I had to greet people I never would have glanced at, had to take a lot of rejection, had to keep going because my container was not empty. I learned some humility.

Sometimes we feel tired and discouraged and that goal we set seems unattainable but it usually is if you put in the right effort. I was almost a victim of Near Success Syndrome. When I sent kisses to Heaven after my last customers left, it was because I knew my fulfillment would have dropped a notch if I hadn’t sold all.

Friends, it’s cliché but:

Never Give Up!

Your Sweet Doughnuts,

Scribbles

Cleansing Time!!!

So I walk on the street the very few times I get the chance and it is always a nouvelle feeling the way the bile creeps up my throat at the sight of the debris that is piled high on both sides of the ‘road’ and how the ones that escaped the piles are strewn like rose petals on the floor. Isn’t it amazing how we neglect our environment? Now, this doesn’t apply to everyone as some people live in such impeccable states of cleanliness, the blood of Jesus would be a waste on them, but to those who neglect their immediate environment, I have a few things to say.

It’s a reflection of our inner parts. Scattered dirt awaiting sanitation one Saturday a month (is that still enforced?) may be the indicator that a life is swarmed by flies…there’s confusion on how to move forward, neglect on the things at hand and the past in jeopardy. Internally, it could be warning signs of depression.

*Disclaimer: certain people are naturally disorganized*.

When I take those walks and have to sidestep the dirt, people are sidestepping others because they don’t want to be corrupted by their filth. Is the filth your personality or temperament, or just the unwise decisions you make? January is already a big boy but it’s not too late (I hope!) for you to do some sanitation! Rake it all up and burn away!

You know the feeling when you’ve aired your room or changed your bedsheets? Yeah, our lives can totally be like that- clutter free and you can find yourself waltzing as you achieve those resolutions with more clarity.

If you don’t mind burning a few mental and if necessary, physical calories, then be my guest! The blessing is yours.

Most affectionately,

Scribbles