Sunday, June 21, 2009

Discovering LG 2

If you haven’t read the intial story FIRST, please click here to do so. For those of you who have been following, this here is the conclusion:

He fired off a gloating “I told you so” look straight at the waiter then turned fully to face LG as she drew out a chair and sat down.

Only that something was horribly wrong: she wasn’t LG!

She was Woomie!

“Surprised?” she asked, as he stared at her with his mouth agape. He was suffering from a very bad case of shock if not he’d have noticed 2 other mouths drop too.

It couldn’t be! He couldn’t help but to stutter, “Bu - bu - but, you aren’t LG!”

“Of course I’m not LG. Were you expecting her?”

It was difficult but he swallowed a mouthful of expensive water before he could get his tongue to loosen from the roof of his mouth. “C’mon Woomie,” he said “you definitely knew I was expecting LG here. What are you doing here instead?”

She signalled the hovering waiter to order something or the other before turning to face him. “What am I doing here? I’m waiting to see LG too, of course! Or did you think you were the only one curious enough to find out her identity?”

It took that sentence for all his anxiety to return in full force. “Look, look, Woomie. You know this date with LG was supposed to be a secret. It wouldn’t be nice for her to come now and meet you here.” He looked around frantically as if expecting the real LG to show up. It would be embarrassingly difficult explaining Woomie’s presence at this scene. The coincidence was just too much.

She however, didn’t seem inclined to budge an inch. He appealed to her once more. “Please, just forget I told you about this, OK? It’s all well and good if you want to find out who LG is. No problem. I’d suggest you go to the bowling alley or somewhere nearby and wait. I’ll even flash your number when she comes, alright?”

Woomie broke out into a big smile that did absolutely nothing to boost his confidence. “Secret?” she said. “You think this date of yours is a secret?” She laughed mockingly, “Why, the whole Blogville already knows about it! Look, so many of us have been waiting like you to find out who LG is.” And to further bamboozle him, she turned and waved to the couple at the next table.

“You see those two over there?” she asked as he nodded reluctantly. “The guy’s FBA while the lady with him is the one and only Bumight. Why are they here? Exactly for the same reason why I am.” And like as if she held his puppet strings, he kept on nodding. Now it made a bit of sense why they had focused on him all evening.

But Woomie wasn’t done yet. “You see that group over there looking at that car on display?” His eyes followed her pointing arm. “I’m even surprised you didn’t recognise a few of them. Say hi to Rayo and Esquire”. And true to her words they turned, saw her pointing in their direction and walked up to meet him at the table.

“Oh no!” he thought as he covered his face with his hands, “This is so NOT happening!”

She waved at another group and individually, they walked up to his table and began introducing themselves: Lil’ Woman, Tobenna, Naija Shawty, Dante, Miz Cynic, Ibiluv, Poetically Tinted, Charizard, even one of the Cerberus was there as well. There were even a whole lot of others he didn’t know and as they filed back to their original positions one by one, most with smirks on their faces, each name sounded like a nail driven into the coffin of his embarrassment and shame.

She sensed how he was feeling and put out an arm of comfort on top of his. “Look, don’t you realize that LG is the biggest mystery in Blogville? None of us has ever seen or spoken to her and yet she seems to know each one of us so well. Believe me, we were all just as curious as you are.” And he was still shaking his head when she gave him a wink and added in a conspiratorial whisper: “But honestly, I don’t think LG will come.”

His jaws dropped then he stuttered once again “Wh - wh - wh - what do you mean: not coming? What makes you think so?” Then he narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “Or did the two of you set this up to make a fool out of me?”

She laughed and picking up her glass, took a sip before replying him. “Oh c’mon, relax! It’s not what you’re imagining.” Then she leaned in close and dropping her voice a few octaves, proceeded to lecture him. “Think about this for a second: who do you really think LG is?”

“You?” he ventured.

“Stop being silly” she snapped “I’m not LG. But you see that lady over there?” And she pointed at someone she’d introduced at the table previously, “That’s LG.”

But then she continued pointing. “You see that one over there? That’s LG too. And that one? LG. This one? LG.” And the pointing game continued as she labelled every single female there as his possible date for the evening.

Woomie went on, “The point I am trying to make here is this, LG could be anyone and everyone. She’s a character, an enigma, the alter ego of any and every single female here in Lagos. You never know, she could be a petty trader, pharmacist, receptionist, café attendant, even a Senator’s daughter. Anybody who knows how to write and has access to a computer is LG. For all you know, she could be the girl next door or she could even be YOU!”

And at last, much as he tried not to comprehend her logic, he finally understood. LG, like Naughty Eyes, like Woomie and the millions of other bloggers out there was just a character, a phantom. She could be real or she could be a figment of anyone’s imagination. And gradually he did come to terms with the latter line of reasoning. LG, as far as he was concerned might have never existed at all. She couldn’t possibly be real.

Then with a smile, he did what he ought to have done a long time ago. He raised his hand and beckoned to the waiter to take orders for him and Woomie. And as they shared dinner together they clinked their wine glasses as he proposed a toast: “To LG!”

“To LG!” Woomie replied.

Eventually when dinner was long over, the bloggers having trickled away in disappointment, he saw her off and stood at one of the exits to The Palms reflecting on how this evening had gone.
What a date, he thought. What had been initially begun as a date with LG had finished in a date with Woomie. And where he had thought he would be discovering LG tonight, he had ended up discovering a whole lot of other bloggers. And they had discovered him too…

One more look at the borrowed watch made him realise how late it was and the long way to get back home. Just then he felt someone tap him on the shoulder and turned around to see who it was. It was that friendly enemy of his, the waiter.

“One lady say make I give you this thing” he said as he thrust what looked like a folded paper napkin into his hands before hurriedly walking away. Puzzled, he unwrapped it slowly to reveal a note scrawled with a beautiful feminine cursive:

“Sorry for standing you up but that was way too public my dear, don’t you think? Let’s meet up again next week, same place, same time…You know who.

PS: And please, do keep it to yourself this time. Norrin’ do you.”

With a steady hand, he folded the napkin same as before and tucked it into his shirt front pocket. Then just as calmly he flagged down a vehicle and jumped inside.

As the Lagos night swallowed up the yellow commuter bus, the woman sitting beside him couldn’t help but wonder why her fellow passenger was smiling like he’d just won the lottery…

PS: Nigeria didn’t trash Tunisia after all… Disappointing…

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Discovering LG

Anonymity always intrigues me. Quite recently, I “met” a popular female blogger and our pleasant interactions to say the least, made me realise how radically real-life personalities differ in features and character from how we imagine the blogger’s persona to be.That “meeting” inspired this piece of faction but which part is fact and how much is fiction is left to the reader’s discretion…

The story begins…

Patience, he told himself as he nervously tweaked his tie for what must have been the umpteenth time. Just a few minutes more…

He glanced around once more before looking at his watch - no, make that his brother’s watch. It was hilarious indeed. Here he was waiting for someone whom he had absolutely no idea what she looked like, timing her with a wristwatch that didn’t belong to him and struggling with a tie that wasn’t his either. If only he’d known the dumb thing would add to his tension by strangling him, he wouldn’t have bothered going through the pains of borrowing one and stuck with informal dressing instead. But he had a first impression to make anyway. And a lasting one too…

Adding to his discomfiture was the location for their date. The Food Court at The Palms had been totally her idea and for the past 20 minutes he had been sitting at the table glancing at his brother’s watch, fumbling with his brother’s tie and dodging the daggers the attendants were shooting at him with their eyes.

Fools! No matter how eager they were to kill him, he wasn’t going to order anything more than the over-priced table water until she arrived. Yes, even in the midst of his anxiety the humour of the situation never failed to strike him. He could scarcely afford the dinner but at least he could still afford to laugh at himself. The odd mixture of fear and excitement he felt seemed to radiate from every pore of his body so much so that the couple sitting at the other table caught the vibe and cast him sideways glances.

It was amusing, he thought, that all this had started like these things usually start, with a comment. Or rather, a series of comments…

It all began back in those days when Naughty Eyes used to wander the fields of Blogville, a cyber-nobody, wondering what act of internet delinquency he’d commit would grant him the much-craved notoriety. Would a wildly racial, controversial and biased post do the trick or should he just stun blogville and poach one of Afrobabe’s pictures?

Those juvenile thoughts had been utmost in his mind when he first spotted her comments. No one can really say on whose blog this meeting took place but he took note of her words: impish, short, witty, and cryptic. He skipped to another blog and she was there. Then on to yet another. And another, and another... She was everywhere!

Before his café ticket expired, their connection was so strong he already knew several things about her: she was a frequent blogger, wrote a very funny blog liberally sprinkled with pidgin English slangs, the high sense of humour very evident even in her comments and she was usually one of the first to leave them on others’ blogs. She was LadyGuide a.k.a. LG. He couldn’t believe this. Could this be love at first write?

And slowly their dance had begun. He did the foolish things most young men do. He studied all her archives and comments to see if he had any rivals. Luckily he didn’t seem to, aside from one Orunmila Chief Priest like that but that one could be easily “settled”. He chased her from blog to blog leaving coy comments on hers and she did same on his. Sometimes he’d shock her by radically contesting her views, other times he’d apologise. One foot first and then another: side-step, duck, weave, jab… they danced to a tune that only both of them could hear.

There were landmark days; special moments. Like the day she called him: my sweet potato. Saying he was ecstatic didn’t even cut it close, he was way over the moon! Never one to shirk from the spotlight, he then launched a campaign, proclaiming his affection for her to everyone on Blogville.

But like long distance relationships, love comments on Blogville just weren’t enough. He was single, lonely, desperate even. He thought long and hard before deciding to make the shift from virtual to reality.

There were other landmark days, like the days he sent her e-mail. First one step and then another: jab, side-step, duck, butt, weave… they still danced to that tune only the two of them could hear. And the culmination of their dance had reached its crescendo, a dance that started with a comment and peaked with him asking if she’d agree to go on a date with him.

And oh goody goodness, she had agreed! But then there were several conditions: all interaction between them would be via e-mail. No phone calls, no meetings, not even a picture so he could know what she looked like. She would fix the day, place and time. All he had to do was make sure he dragged himself there. She had gone as far as describing the table he’d sit at. With all the instructions, he wasn’t even sure who’d eventually foot the bill but he’d still come prepared.

Sitting at that table now, he couldn’t stop wondering what LG would look like, think like, talk like, sound like. To the best of his knowledge, no-one in Blogville had ever met her and the fact that he would be the first didn’t do anything to make his breath come easier. It was just like meeting… Who? Obama? In fact no name he could think of even came close. Would she be tall, fat, light-skinned? Or short and dark? Maybe she was butt ugly hence all the secrecy? Nah! LG had better be beautiful or else…

Or else what? Hey young man, who the hell died and made you judge? Look who’s talking of beauty. Monkey like you? How much do you have in your pocket? Go and siddon jo! Didn’t you clean out your account just for today?

Imagine if your younger brother were to walk in right in the middle of your date and demand for his tie, wristwatch and shoes back, ehn? You are saying “Tufiakwa!” and shaking your head abi? Think it’s impossible? Shebi, you told him what you wanted to borrow them for and where you were going?

But no matter how he tried to shake them out of his head, the avalanche of weird thoughts roared through his skull like soldier ants intent on conquering the egusi soup pot on Christmas day. Left, right, left, right, lef, aigh, lef aigh… Aboooooouuuut turn! An observer looking closely at him would wonder why the young man with the glasses kept muttering to himself and shaking his head. They might even conclude he was insane! Oh well, he muttered then shook his head again for emphasis.

30 minutes now, LG hadn’t still arrived and that couple were still looking at him funny. Once in a while they would lean towards each other and whisper something before looking at him again. “Thank God I’m not the only weirdo in the Food Court this evening!” he thought.

45 minutes and that lousy attendant came to clean the empty space directly opposite his table as a sign to chase him away. How long can you make a 1.5 litre bottle of water last? I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out!

“C’mon LG! What is keeping you?” Then he got worried. Could it be LG had caught whiff of the fact that he had broken the last commandment she’d given him and wasn’t coming anymore? Maybe that was it… For she had sternly given him the final condition if he wanted to see her: Keep this a secret. Tell no-one in Blogville of our date. And she had meant absolutely no-one.

He squirmed in his seat. So what if he couldn’t help telling Rayo about it. They told each other everything - okay, not exactly everything! But did that mean he had to go and tell Esquire, Woomie, Standtall and Afronuts as well? Of course he’d sworn all of them to secrecy but there was no telling who else knew. Or maybe he was just imagining all of this.

He was locked in a battle of stares with the lousy waiter cum attendant who was approaching to disturb him again when out of the corner of his eye he spotted a feminine figure walking directly to his table. The nosy couple killed whatever they were gossiping about and looked up to closely inspect the oncoming lady. He couldn’t see her well himself seeing as she was in the line of his peripheral vision but he knew, he finally knew that his date with LG was going to go well. There was a god in Blogville after all.

He fired off a gloating “I told you so” look straight at the waiter then turned fully to face LG as she drew out a chair and sat down.

Only that something was horribly wrong: she wasn’t LG! Or rather, she definitely wasn’t the LG he was expecting to see…

To Be Continued… Watch out for Part 2 featuring Nkem Owoh, Emeka Amakeze, Stella Damasus and Patience Ozokwor.

To GOD Be The Glory…

PS: OK, I’m just kidding. You can click here to read the story’s conclusion…

PPS: Shayo is going to be on the house for all Bloggers on Saturday, the 20th of June at Solid Gold Exotic Dancers/Female Revue Bar, 25/27 Opebi Road, Ikeja, Lagos. Just mention my name to the bouncers there to gain admission. You can even fit to search for the event on Facebook. But if the bouncers brush you that day, no be me send you oh!

The concluding part of this story came up on Sunday 21st June, just after we must have woken up with hangovers incurred from intake of excessive shayo after watching Naija trash Tunisia in the on-going World Cup qualifiers on Saturday.

**Special Announcement**
For those of you bloggers who play Baba Ijebu, LG says I should give you the following “confirm” numbers for Week 26: 16 - 23 - 12 - 17 - 6 - 8 - 21. If them perm correct and you jam jackpot, remember to keep aside her “commission” oh!

Plus a special MTN voucher worth N1000 from me: 3930 0516 6933. First blogger to recharge with this PIN should leave a comment here thanking me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kindly Bear With Me… For I Too Am Tired.

A man is supposed to be a man - bearing his burdens, solving his problems and keeping his business very much to himself. I have done that too long and like another blogger once said, I choose to do myself a favour by writing this.

My apologies for starting this way. I’m supposed to post the concluding part of my earlier discourse I know but for some unknown reason I cannot bring myself to do this, at least not for now. Something seems to be wrong with me and being unable to place a finger on what it is only makes it worse. Whatever it is, the symptoms are similar to those of lethargy Laide blogged about not too long ago.

It definitely doesn’t help that my cover had been unceremoniously blown and by a close family member, no less. Actually, FBA says it so well in this post: Blogville sure has changed. And I feel SO TIRED… I recall back in the days when Badderchic wanted to go private. How ironic that I, one of the staunch advocates who discouraged her should toe the same line and go private myself.

Dear discoveress: you know me. I love writing uninhibited (apologies to DiaryOfANigerianGirl) and as earnestly as possible. But how can I rush here to recount yet another crazy experience I’ve encountered or gossip I’ve heard when I know you’re right there looking over my shoulder? You are reading this. Assessing me.

I can’t write like I used to anymore. I wish to express myself, type it out, lay it all out on the floor, dirty linen and all. But I recall you are reading this and so I end up stamping hard on the brakes instead, wondering what my family thinks when I blog about them. Would you for example, take offence if I were to tell them that you once had a lousy ex?

I have mulled over the options: going back to being private, locking down my blogs, even contemplated deleting everything and re-opening shop under a new alias and URL. But who would I end up deceiving? You or myself? I am so tired…

Nowadays I rather choose to be harsh on myself instead. Nothing I’ve done lately seems to go right. My dreams aren’t coming true. Love is totally evasive. Faith is dying. Hope is non-existent. There’s only one 8-letter word to describe what I presently am: F. A. I. L. U. R. E. Wait, that’s even seven letters.

Before you get me wrong, no this is not a pity party. I do not seek any. I need not your comfort either. I am just trying to use this outpouring as a catharsis, a balm to soothe my troubled soul. If I depress you, I am very sorry. The truth is I haven’t really liked me in a long while.

I strongly believe being idle is mainly responsible for why I think these thoughts. I am so redundant even the devil’s workshop denies me employment. Too much free time… The reasons for my depression are legion - so numerous that I tire of complaining. Like Rip van Winkle I wish to lie down only to re-awaken when things eventually decide to get better. Other times like now, I just want to rant, rent my heart out, rush here and pour it all out to you guys before I explode. Scream till I am empty inside. Then I catch myself. I am after all, a man…

I wouldn’t be so down if I had work. Whatever was I thinking when I resigned? Now, four months later, respect down the gutter, no stash, no cash and an on-going recession I keep wishing I could turn back the hands of time and rescind that decision.

Nothing breaks the spirit faster than going from independence to dependence. Going back to depending on your mom who worked so hard to raise you to be self-sufficient in the first place. Nothing kills the spirit quicker than the awareness of being destined for great things and doing nothing towards achieving them. The only thing more frustrating than the possession of myriads of untapped potential and talent is not the inability to use them but the knowledge of the possession itself.

It hurts to have interviewers shun you. It hurts even more when you volunteer to organizations and they never even call you back. Whatever happened to the love of free labour?

I dislike what I am: an inaccurate mathematical, biochemical, engineering equation. Output defies all attempts to equal input. Efficiency is in the minuses. Some look at me and think I must enjoy this existence: sitting home, watching TV, eating, sleeping, making night calls. Is this the life?

Many times my mind skips back to the varsity exam halls. I see me struggling to walk the straight and narrow while all around me my peers scheme, cheat and over-load their course forms. What was all the honesty for? Sitting here I see people half my age rocking True Religion, iPod, Acer and Blackberry. They trawl the web stealing credit card info and defraud gullible white chicks using phoney profiles on Yahoo Messenger and countless dating sites.

The dude besides me poses as an Interswitch Customer Service staff and a couple of fools actually call him and handover their PINs making him a couple of hundred grands richer. Scams are the new hustle and many times I am tempted to join in. After all I can write better stories than the dumb spam mails they send. Blast this conscience!!!

Then I check myself. I can’t do it. All those years spent raising me right ought to count for something. I may be poor but I’m proud I was raised right. Now if only that pride could be traded for cash…

Right now, as I slug it out, I’m still scared to think: what if I don’t make it? Other times I look and I can even touch it, smell it, that someday when I’ll be rich and famous.

Nothing is impossible. Getting my mind past “nothing” is half the battle. Yes, FAILURE I am. But one cannot be so bad at anything forever even if working hard towards failure. Luck happens. The suicide survives a drop from 30-feet while the 10-foot fall kills the optimist proving that the best will randomly occur even when we wish for the worst. Life happens.

I will look back one day and wonder if I really wrote this.

No doubt, someday there’ll be a kid who’ll be having these same feelings and feeling the sky will never be blue. Maybe then I will look into his eyes and see me. When I sign that autograph for him, I’ll remember me now and remember that nothing is impossible if only I set my mind to it.

Despite what it sounds like, this is not a pity party. I will be fine. After being down so long, the only way to go is up. So Help Me God.

I am after all, a man…