Looking for heaven, found the devil in me – Florence + the machine.
Life perplexes me. No, that’s not entirely true. It’s people –yes, people- that I find perplexing. The way they behave, their reactions to things I do, their reactions to my reactions to things they do, and so on and so forth; as they say.
It has always been this way, I think; this perplexedness of mine. While growing up, I never could quite understand why I had always had to quarrel with everyone over my wardrobe choices. What’s wrong with wearing ankara buba and lace sokoto? They’re made of different materials, yes, but so are Jeans and T-shirts but nobody complains about that.
Though I was left to my own devices eventually, that came with it’s own consequences. My elder sister never let me wear anko with her or let me be seen within her vicinity in public. She might have even denied my relation to her on occasion.
Over the years, I’ve had similar incidents with people, like the time I convinced a friend to watch American Horror Story and she later called me that night to curse me in ibo, and the Ofada episode of 2015; incidents -like the one I’m here to write about- that have more or less made me come to the realisation that despite my best intentions, humans are just very confused and confusing creatures.
A couple of weeks ago I was travelling home (Lagos) from Ibadan for the weekend; allies to visit, booty to plunder and all that. Then about 20 minutes into the journey when we were on the expressway good and proper, the man sitting beside me decides to bring out a book and start reading.
Now, the thing is, I can’t read in a moving vehicle. I just can’t. And it’s not just limited to myself either. I get nauseous even if someone directly beside me is doing the reading. I don’t know why it happens; it’s kind of like sympathy pain but you know, with motion sickness.
Anyway, the man starts reading this book, titled born to taste the grapes; a Christian book by the looks of it and when I tried convincing him to put his book away because it was making me dizzy, he just gives me this funny look and continues with it.
After surreptitiously watching me writhe in discomfort for a few minutes, he turns towards me and says: “Is the book really disturbing you?”
No, not the book. I love grapes. They’re delicious. It’s the reading of the book. In a moving bus. I would still feel the same if you were reading a newspaper. I know it’s unusual but trust me, it’s definitely not the book.
Okay, he says and that seems to mollify him for a bit but after a little while he turns again, hesitates for a second, then asks: Would you like me to pray for you?
Wait, what? What?
See, this book is strong. There may be negative forces inside you that’s reacting to it. Maybe that’s why you’re not comfortable.
No, thank you. No forces. You know what, never mind. I feel a lot better now.
I still think we should pray. Give me your hand.
What? No no no. Wait. Seriously, n..
Oh, dear God.
Then he launches into this spiel where he’s speaking in tongues, bathing things in blood, battling demons; casting and burning them, and everyone in the bus is staring at us, wondering if we were both mental; and he is staring at me, probably wondering why I hadn’t started convulsing up and down in demonic defiance after all that verbal immolation; and I am staring out the window, watching the dense foliage flash by and brimming with equal parts anger and mortification; trying to think not-too-murderous thoughts until I couldn’t take it anymore and alighted two bus stops from my destination.
The thing is, the only thing that really rankles about that ordeal is knowing that I was doomed the moment I decided to open my mouth. That no matter what I did or said after that, I’d still end up becoming a testimony in some church that Sunday.
I don’t understand people. Never have and probably never will. Why do I even bother?
IV: You know, I hardly agree with you about anything.
Oh, really? I’m shocked.
That’s not surprising, you’re a bit daft.
I was being sarcastic.
Sure, sure; Whatever you say. Point is, this time I have to say I’m with you 100%.
Wow, that is surprising.
I mean, which normal person does not like AHS? And please don’t get me started on that ofada thing. If you’re going to ask someone to get you food, you have to be specific. Do you want ofada rice, the stew, or both?
I know, right? I mean, you can’t just say “help me buy ofada” and then get mad when I buy you only ofada stew and meat.
Exactly!! You’re not a mind reader. You can barely even remember what you wore yesterday.
Oh, please. Spare me the indignation.
That’s just a cruel and unfair assumption. And completely untrue.
Okay, fine. What did you wear?
Ah, Erm.. give me a minute.