Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Saint or Insanity?!
So the mushy day of the mysterious St. Valentine is over. Clear your eyes. Yes! You and you, and you over there wondering what the hell it is you did last saturday.
I’m really indifferent about the Val’s and all that soppy love wan-tin-tin. Mscheww. I really don’t care. And no, I’m not sad or lonely…or in denial for Pete’s sakes!
There was something peculiar about Val’s this year, maybe it’s because it fell on a Saturday…or because people were actually happy to be distracted by it…something to take their minds off credit crunch and pay cuts and all, who knows?
But really, Val’s was really different in Lagos this year.
Even on Friday at work, I heard ‘there’s a delivery for so so so and so at the reception’ like a hundred times. Cakes, red roses, white roses, chocolates. I ate gladly (noo o! not the roses, I just smelled those ones and gave my fake smiles and congratulations) but frankly, I thought t’was just show-off o! Because, all these adult lovers should have taken full advantage of the day falling on a Saturday and just kept their peace! Instead of sending loud KEEP OFF MY BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND !!! messages to fellow colleagues.
I woke up on Saturday morning to find my inbox full. Some of the messages from family…and some guys who wanted to try their luck with invitations to Bambuddha, Planet One, movies etc , wtf?! Don’t they gerrit? I’m not a fan of St. Valentine! The only invitation I woulda accepted would be to the White House or Turks and Caicos…to be alone for the weekend…or forever sef!
I walk downstairs to buy cereal from my neighbor’s shop in my red flip-flops that she sees me wear every single day and she goes, ‘Ehhh oo! As per lovers’ day, me sef I have already ironed my red hollandias, lemme go and ask my husband how far’ … I just ignored her. Old timer will not keep her mouth shut and just give me cornflakes.
Then my neighbor Ara, whom I used to jog with every morning (before I got a job on ‘the island’ and she got herself pregnant simultaneously) comes over and calls me outta my bathroom like there was some emergency, only to ask me ‘how Val’s go be?’ …shit. I wanted to slap her…but I just considered her bomboy…and the fact that she’s almost a married woman…and that I was naked.
It was ‘water-leaf soup day’ (which by the way was the most exciting thing about Val’s day for me) and I dressed in black and blue to go to the market, another neighbor, a timer as well, accosts me on my way to find out why ‘I’m not wearing red and where I’m going and blah blah blah’. Nonsense old woman!
I walk to the bus stop and I tell you, there’s not a single person who didn’t have a touch of red, I thought to myself, ‘I must have missed the dress code to ‘The Cupid’s Ball for Retarded People’…even the village women selling garri and okra by the road were in red… I wonder who or what was responsible for this massive awareness…we should use these media to communicate to them the need for family planning, causes of HIV, breast and cervical cancer, tuberculosis and a host of other deadly avoidable diseases.
I waited almost 20 minutes for a bus, eventually I got one for twice the normal fare. There was a plastic red rose beside the steering wheel…maybe that’s what I was paying extra for, God only knows.
So so many ‘About-to-wed’ rides everywhere, some pastors/prophets must have promised these couples marital super glue for getting married on Valentine’s Day. Lol.
Omo come see market!!! Stupid plastic and ceramic roses everywhere, cheap I-LOVE-YOU cards and frames and stuff scattered on mats…people scrambling to pick the best of the worst, I just jejely squeezed my way through, wondering what St. Valentine would think of the madness.
‘Buy your plantain ships, buy one chop two, special Valamtime promotion! Na me dey fry am, na me dey sell am, special Valamtime thing!!! Ships here, Ships here!!! Aunty buy o!’ he he he he.
‘Lofas’ Day special, buy two shaki get one ponmo fisi! Na true, take am cook Fal soup! Sister! Sister!! Buy shaki, roundabout, tongue, yansh, leg, ifun, anytin, get ponmo free’ Yee pa!
I walk to my snail customer’s stall and she looks up and smiles and says, ’Happy Fal’s auntie’, I almost walked away, but I thought ‘my water-leaf soup cannot work without the snails’, so I just smile back and buy my stuff.
The woman selling vegetables was something else this Saturday o! She looked like that witch Gaetana from ‘Second Chance’ abi what’s the name of that Mexican soap again? Red wrapper, red lipstic, red beaded earrings and even red eye shadow, I thought to myself, ‘ki lon shele?’. There was no way in the world I was going to buy water-leaf from this woman, I walked round the market and I didn’t see water-leaf, like a prodigal daughter, I came back. The woman gave me extra 300 naira change, when I gave it back, she said ‘ Auntie no vex, na my husband I dey think, na Val’s dey shack me’ and she smiled. I coulda sworn she painted her teeth red as well.
It appeared the snail woman thought I had forgotten to collect my snails, after paying 2k! who on earth forgets that sorta thing?! I heard her shouting ‘Auntie! Auntie! Shey Falantine lo je ke gbagbe igbin yin ni?’ (is it Valentine that made you forget your snail?). I was irritated, she still hadn’t removed the shells, which was the reason why I had left it with her before.
The journey back was terrible, mad hold-up, double transport fare, the conductor kept hissing and asking no one in particular, ’shey Falamtime lo fa gbogbo eleyi ni?’ (Is it Valentine's Day that caused this one?) I tried to stop myself from laughing.
I have never celebrated Val’s day (except mandatorily –at college once and twice in church), last year, I picked February 14th to take my Oracle Certification while half the world was engulfed in sin and the other half was doing whatever they were doing ‘legally’. If the government made the day a public holiday, I may be more siked about it, but until then, I don’t see anything special about it. I mean, even my parents went out together, my mother forming that she was ill that she needed to go to the clinic, only for them to come back with ice cream and pizza. Mscheww, agbayas.
Val’s has come and gone, some people have broken up because of what happened on Saturday, some girls will end up with unwanted pregnancies or worse still HIV and some kinds of STDs, some men will end up with reduced or no savings, while some people’s love will grow and wax stronger after this year’s Valentine’s Day. As for me, I remain the same.
Let’s look for something better to hype now, like my sister STANDTALL!!!