To and Fro

To and Fro

I think it was just as the train doors opened at Northfields that I heard the “heave”. The lady doubled over and the content of her stomach came up and out. She waited for the doors to open and stepped out. Continuing to heave even as she did. She sat on one of the benches and continued to throw up. I felt for her. It must be one of those really embarrassing moments. That on top of the fact that she was ill. I think if it had been my stop, I would have offered her assistance.

Not sure if it was the “puke” (excuse me) that smelled like chips afterwards, but I only seem to notice it around about then. I looked around to be sure no one was eating, even though of course, the food may be in someone’s bag.

* * * * * * *

And the old lady tottered to the escalator, and unfortunately, the old lady rolled (tumbled) down the escalator – all the way to the bottom.

An accident waiting to happen: she wasn’t fit and the escalator was as had always being the case very fast: blink, and you “take off”. Fortunately, she seemed to have survived it intact. Someone commented that she was probably in shock but not injured. But of course, the adrenaline may mask the pains from a sustained injury until much later. The only service offered by the immigration officials (mostly due to the anger of the crowd at their negligence) to the lady was to expedite her transition through the immigration process, after that she was on her own.

Lots of people verbally took the immigration officers to task. As one person commented, in foreign lands, the old lady would have been looked after and conveyed round in a trolley, only to return “home” and take a tumble.

Some dude in a jacket but with a funky Afro commented that immigrations had nothing to do with it.

Of course, that caused several comments to be directed at him “No home training; one day he will take the same fall; etc.”

More comments on the immigration service as money grubbers: “going; they say what do you have for them.  Returning, they ask what did you bring for them.”

Someone commented that in other countries, as in the UK for example, citizens zip through immigration, but in Nigeria, as usual the reverse is the case, we had a double line that snaked back up the escalator and the stairway.

While the foreign nationalities line (foreigners sounds xenophobic for some reason) was quite short. And it took them forever to “reconfigure” themselves so that the now “free” officers start attending to some of the people on the “citizens” queue.

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It’s amazing how many things/experiences you can pack into a few days away from your regular territory.

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On Friday night, “we” tried to get seats (for 3 people in case some people start on “flights of fancy” 🙂 for SkyFall (latest 007 reboot) but it was booked solid. Even the IMAX option was fully booked. I think the fact that 007 is a British Spy was responsible to a large extent (quite separate  from the fact that 007 is one of those “Franchises” that have become part of the cultural fabric of society irrespective of country, and it was the 50th anniversary of Bond, etc).

* * * * * * *

I brought back a bag for a colleague and when the brother who gave me the bag put it on the electronic scale at the airport, it was exactly 23.0KG. I think that’s the first time I saw such a thing! Did he throw in a pencil or face towel just to get it to that exact figure (which is what the airline stipulates as the max size for luggage)?. Mine was 22.7KG (I think)

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I like to think at least I tried – harder than almost any other time in my life – maybe I tried too hard too late. Sad. Is there anything else I can do? (Completely out of context statement. 99.9% of those who read this blog entry will have no clue of what I am on about – which is how it is meant to be 🙁



Bundled against the cold
On a cold winters night
I wandered where I know not
Icy fingers can’t freeze my heart
Make me calm as the snow king
I think of you 

I looked at the sky
No stars
But they are there
Shining their light
I wish I was lost among them
Tell me how to define eternity
If not a day without you 

The leaves crunch underfoot
The lady smiled as I pass her by
Do I frighten her?
Maybe it is my eyes?
Do I frighten you? 

I wage war with the sins of my past
They fiddle with my mind
I am of late April
I am supposed to be strong
Stand firm against the tempests of life
I will – if by you 

I pass a man
A mugger I thought
“Jump me” says my eyes
Use the knife in your jacket’s pocket
Strike before the dried blood of your summer victim rusts your trusty blade
He didn’t hear me
Or maybe he thought he pitied me
Because of you 

I am back to my journey’s end
I opened the book
I turned the page
Paul tells me to stand firm if I could
But seek if I wont
So I knelt on the felt
Closing my eyes
I asked for you

The Old Woman

The Old Woman

Standing still at the stop
The old woman tripped
I reached out a tentative hand
She had a firm grip
“Thank you” she said

We stood side by side in the little shade
Watched as the mid-day heat relented
And birds took to the skies
She said nothing
Neither did I

Her silence spoke to me
Of a long life
Of happiness, sadness
Of disaster and redemption
Of failure and success
Of possibilities unencumbered by age

The next bus went nowhere I cared for
She got on the bus.
“Thank You” I said.


A Greek evening

A Greek evening

Tis early eve
Thor’s hammer crashes overhead
Loki is playing with the lights
The Autumn leaves are fallen
They swirl softly beneath my feet
I see nothing.

My thoughts have taken wings
to roam the sky
in the fast approaching dusk
I think of you;
of beauty;
of God wielding the artist’s brush

Am I in your dreams?

27/07/2002 00:43AM (midnight – sad that history is repeating itself)

Are you listening Lord?

Are you listening Lord?

Just before I called it quits for the day, I was lying on my bed with my eyes on the ceiling when I suddenly had an awareness of someone else in the room.

Then I heard a voice ask, “What bothers you?”

I heard the voice yet not a single sound echoed in the room – yet to all intent and purposes I did hear the voice.

I do not know why, but I said out loud, “Lord, can I ask you a question.”

And the reply, “Ask away.”

So I said “Lord, will I ever get married.”

“Son, there are Pauls and there are Peters; Stephens and Judases. If I say yes, you will ask to whom. If I tell you, you will want to know what she is like. If I describe her, you will ask when. If I tell you, you will want to know how. If I say how, you will want a phone number.  Then you will call her and tell her I said so. While there is nothing wrong in that, you would have destroyed your chance at growth; the joy of discovery.

“Lord, will I be rich”

“What is your definition of rich? Rich enough to live comfortably? Rich enough to buy anything – knowing fully well that the destruction of man starts with his endless wants. If I say no, you will lose all faith in life and probably me. You will become a walking brooding shell of a man, and watch life go past you – a self-fulfilling prophesy.

“Will I live long”
“If I say yes, you will want to know how long. Then you will sit down and start estimating how much of your life you can afford to live without me. Then when the time comes, between you and the Devil, you will most likely end of with him. Besides, it is not how long but how well. Stephen didn’t spend as much time as I did on earth, yet he was one of the first to behold heaven on earth.”

“Lord, will you always be there for me?”

“No I won’t – not in the way you want. You are all grown up now with decisions to make. You must learn to depend on people and be there for others. But once you have done as much as you can, I will always do the rest. So if it appears I am not listening, there is no need to shout (even your whispers and thoughts are as crashing cymbals in heaven). There just may be something you still need to do.  

“Lord, will I wake up tomorrow.”

“Say your prayers; make peace with God. That way, whether you live or die, it matters little.”

“Goodnight Lord.”

“Goodnight son. Have a good night’s rest. And if things go bump in the dark, keep thy peace for I am near.”

24/10/2005 (found this today while cleaning out some old docs in my room. Had no title)

Stand By Me

Stand By Me

Did I say I love soulful (sometimes sad/mournful) songs? Don’t get me wrong, I will listen to any song as long as it sounds good to me: pop, soul, jazz, etc. While I won’t go out of my way to listen to (heavy) metal (because of its “dark” connotations), I have actually heard one or two by chance whose beats were not bad at all.
I was helping clean out my Uncle’s study when I came across an audio cd containing about 15 number one songs from a decade or two ago including The Temptations “Papa was a rolling stone” and Ben King’s “Stand by me” which got me feeling … ah well, such is life I guess.

Below are the lyrics of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.”
For all those who currently walk alone not by design or choice:

“Stand By Me”

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we’ll see
No I won’t be afraid
Oh, I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

So darling, darling
Stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand, stand by me
Stand by me

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
All the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won’t cry, I won’t cry
No, I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darling, darling
Stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand now, stand by me
Stand by me

So darling, darling
Stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand now, stand by me, stand by me
Whenever you’re in trouble won’t you stand by me
Oh stand by me, oh won’t you stand now, stand
Stand by me

It’s Safe only if it ain’t Taken

It’s Safe only if it ain’t Taken

I headed out at 8:30PM yesterday to go kill some hours by myself. I tend to think less when I am caught up in the action on the big screen (like most people) and I needed to get away from my thoughts.

Got there at about 9PM just as “Taken 2” was about to start. It appeared they had even stopped selling tickets until some supervisor came around to say they should sell some more as there were still a few seats left. Now this is not the usual state of affairs I like when I go to see a film. My seat of choice is a few rows just up from the central row and if possible right in the middle of the row. Going in so close to the hall being full meant I may have to sit staring up at the screen in one of those front row seats (not in any great sense of the term). I went in and the in the dark made my way up the aisle. First couple of tries and I was told the seats were taken, then I saw a seat in probably the perfect spot. I tried to ask the muscle-bound guy next to the vacant seat if it was taken and wasn’t sure whether his answer was yes or no. So I just decided to try my luck and went in anyway. Sat down successfully. It appears the only good thing about visiting the cinema alone is that sometimes, very great seats come in singles and all the couples that came in of course can’t take them!

Taken 2 was reasonably good though I heard a chap saying the original one was better – possibly. I enjoyed the movie. As usual, I waited until all the credits were done. One of the cleaners asked me on the way out if I enjoyed the movie and I said thanks. I was the last person out of the hall. Went out and saw people still at the ticket stand. Decided to see if anything else was showing and found out Safe (Jason Statham) would be starting in 10 minutes at 11:20PM.

The action was over the top as usual for a great Jason Statham movie. I enjoyed even better than Taken 2.

I think originally there were only 5 of us in the room. No prize for guessing I was the single guy in the room.

Well, that was about 4 hours I didn’t have to be by myself. I was up there slugging it out alongside Liam Neeson and Jason Statham. I also have got more impetus to see if I can turn one of the short stories I have written into a short film. While it would probably be about 15 minutes long, it would still cost a bundle and the logistics would require some inside “connect” with the police to get some real guns for the film. And policemen as extras to handle the guns of course (the scene is some sort of warehouse with several henchmen guarding the action).

I know I am not telling any new secrets or sharing any life-changing info if I say it is better to watch a film in “company” than not.

Have a great week ahead. And if you have got someone, do all you possibly can to hold on to him/her – some missteps are not fixable no matter how hard you try!

Give me the cap

Give me the cap

Day 1: So today, I was my aunt’s chauffeur (excluding the cap :-).

I woke up early to take her to church (St. Johns) in Ikoyi. The church normally has 3 services: a 7am Holy Communion service; an 8am English service and a 10am traditional service in Ibo Language. We usually attend the 8am service (I have been accused rightly by the Vicar’s wife that they only see me when my aunt is in town). After the service, we branched at a petrol station in Ikoyi where there was almost no queue and filled up my tank. Home to breakfast. My uncle and an older cousin showed up later.

My aunt had told me the day before that I was going to take her to a few places and the plan was to leave shortly after breakfast, but that was delayed until my uncle and aunt left.

Soon we were Surulere-bound. We went to the home of a retired couple who were close friends of my aunt. Spent about 30 minutes there and we were offered dinner. But since we still had a second place to touch briefly, it was agreed we should go and come back afterwards for the dinner and a proper visit.

We went to the home of another friend of my aunt who was the widow of some very important figure. I noticed from the burst of the husband in front of the entrance to the house that he has been dead for a very long time. The wife was also an “achiever” in her own right I believe. I dozed a little while my aunt and her friend (and her friend’s daughter caught up on things). I suspect it may have been a combination of the slightly warm room and the fact that I didn’t quite get enough sleep the night before.

After a suitable time, we returned to the first couple’s house. We were invited to the dining room shortly after we arrived. The dinner was quite good – rice, stew, chicken, vegetable, fried fish and fried plantain. Followed by a couple glasses of a very good red wine (as if I know what a sub par one tastes like). The conversation was even more interesting. Some people would probably find it a little uncomfortable. But I have for quite a while realized and accepted the fact that sooner or later (hopefully) we all have to leave this world. A lot of the conversation was about friends who have passed on, and in some cases the manner of their passing (some rather abrupt). I don’t really mind people talking round about me (meaning I don’t contribute much to the conversation – though in this case, there was nothing for me to contribute – the subjects of the discussion were all old enough to be my grandparents). I have of course been told by someone (I care about a lot) that part of the problem is that I don’t talk. If only the person knew (the one million things I would rather have said but would probably not have been welcomed!).

But still it is true that I enjoy the flow and ebb of conversation going on around me. If the company I am in don’t mind, I like being a spectator just absorbing details of how people of all nature live their lives.

The reminiscing went way back to several decades and some possible miracles in certain people’s lives. A few scandals were covered as well.

Well after dinner, we retired back to the sitting room and the conversation continued. My aunt whipped out her iPad to show her friends pictures of the extended family. I must say I can count people from a wide variety of countries among my relations now (think New Zealand, USA, UK, etc.). Though one must realize that the more the family disperses round the world, the greater the possibility that one may walk past a relatively close family member in some distant land and not even know it.

Back home at about 9:30PM. Sitting in front of the TV watching DSTV channel 255 (CI) while typing this out. Which reminds me of the topic of the sermon in church this morning which was on the 3 servants with the talents. So as the Chaplain said, if you don’t exercise your talent, you will lose it. So if I pretend I can write, then I must go on writing so as not only improve the talent but keep it.

So that is why I am putting this piece up!

Day 2: Got in the car with my aunt and a visiting family member all ready to go and the car refused to start. Rain started drizzling. Opened the bonnet and pretended to know what I was doing. Checked the oil. Radiator had enough water. Hmm. Tried a couple more times to start the car but no luck. Had to take the smaller Skoda. I got into the driver’s seat and it felt as if I was sitting on the floor. I am not short but I still almost had to crane my neck to see properly out the front windshield! The break felt like there were gremlins under it resisting my attempts to push it down – the net effect was that the car was bucking like a bronco. I took it slow.

Visited another elderly friend who had just lost her younger sister a couple of months ago. I sat quietly on the sofa writing a story on the BB and “fighting” sleep every once in a while. Such visits and the natural conversations that result brings home to one the reality of life. I sat in the lovely sitting room of a house which was about 43 years old and looking like something from one of those home décor magazines out of some Western country. There were lots of pictures of the family including some of the grown of kids and their children. I couldn’t help but compare some of the middle-age pictures of the host with her current look – age is a strange thing. We are vibrant and all rearing to go one minute, and the next (in reality several years) we can barely muster the strength to get up.

I wouldn’t say being in such situations help me forget my own (suddenly mundane) problems, but it helps me put them in the correct perspective for all of 30 minutes. Unfortunately, once I am out of the particular “setting”, my own issues resume their central position in my mind.

Had a close shave on the way back. Just about getting off the bridge (incoming from Ikorodu to Apongbon), going relatively slowly, and thinking about the same one thing that’s been on my mind in recent months when suddenly (as the driving guides would put it) a harzadous situation started developing in slow-motion right in front of my eyes. The car to my right suddenly jumped ahead “brushing” me on the passenger’s side, got in front of me; skidded towards the central divide while the driver fought to control it; then back towards the center of the road before finally stopping. Meanwhile I had to step on the brakes to stop from running into him from behind. I pulled level, wound down the passenger’s side window while the fellow actually got out of his car. I pointed out that he ran into us. He said it wasn’t his fault, didn’t I see the bus that got in front of him from the other side. I said the bus (which I didn’t actually notice but I believe he was telling the truth – I think he turned towards us in trying to avoid colliding with the bus)  did not run into us – it was he that did. I didn’t get down but suspected the damage should be minor – due to my relatively slow speed, stopping in time and the very slight bump I felt when he made contact with our car. I wasn’t sure of his vehicle though – it’s possible his front axle may have been broken. My aunt said he should apologize and after that we went on our way. Fortunately, the headlights weren’t broken, just a little dent and several deep scratches in the paint work. The bumper may have separated slightly on the right from the body as well.

I was reading a Christian book this morning and some section talks about not living in the past. Asking forgiveness if possible from whomever one has wronged, then also asking God for forgiveness. And finally moving on – I think some issues are easier to move on from than others. The ones that fall under “what might have been” are probably the most difficult.

On a lighter note. Hmm. Can’t think of anything that qualifies. But smile anyway; I think I passed the all-time low point (hopefully) some weeks ago. The future is bright (we hope and believe). And if you meet someone who is having a not so good day, if there is anything you can do to help – including a kind word or just listening to the person “vent” or unload his/her mind, please do.

Thank you for reading.