Sunday, 30 December 2012

Osuofia Moments - Of Bicycles, Cars and Airplanes


I was almost late to work 3 days ago. Now, being late was not the problem, but how do you explain that the gear of your bicycle broke? The thought of it made me laugh at myself. At a time when my mates are buying new cars and renting private jets, I'm wondering why a bicycle should have gears and why the damned thing should even have issues. Right?

It started in July when I bought a bicycle because I got tired of using the weather as an excuse to miss the gym, plus I really wanted to lose some weight. It worked because after 4 months, the same people who kept telling me about how fat I had become, they started saying "You've lost so much weight o", "Please stop losing weight before people will say you've caught some disease". The funniest was my silly brother who said "this boy, you better stop before people will say you've gone abroad to become a taxi driver". It wasn't so far fetched because the same year, I heard some gist about me being a gate/security man. Truth is, even though it was an ignorant rumour, it made me wonder if and what is wrong with someone being a gateman? Those people earn more than some blue and white collar job people.

Amazing how some things teach you a lesson in humility. I came across a 70+ year old woman who jogs at least 4 kilometres every morning. We had a beautiful encounter (or so I thought) one rainy morning when I rode past her, headphones on and all, I noticed she was saying something to me and so I slowed down to say hi. It was after taking off my headphones I realised she was swearing at me for riding past her and scaring her. Ignoring that, she made me realise that if someone in her 70's is jogging daily, I have no excuse not to try and stay fit... I had that fitness frame of mind for, about todays and went back to lazy me.


I had to go to Benue State in December. The journey from Abuja to Makurdi usually takes 3 hours, not this trip. As much as we may love road trips and all, this boy hates travelling. In order not to trouble anyone, including myself, I decided to use public transport. One hour into the journey, I found myself sweating profusely and pushing the bus. Over-heating. The driver had brilliantly forgotten to add water in his radiator that day. In a country where we are so used to "managing", the driver must have had a vision that the bus in it's rubbish state would get to Benue one way or the other. 5hours later, 3 sets of pushing the bus to jump-start it, I was still on the road. Ended up using 3 cars and spending six hours on the road.

I think at that stage, some sympathy would have been helpful. Rather than that, I had 3 friends who said: "Why didn't you just charter a private air-conditioned bus", "why didn't you drive", "You should have found someone to take you". Well, their comments encouraged me to happily fight them for about 2 days for their helpful comments. Truth is, even new cars break. Hummers have accidents and even helicopters crash. Truth is, shit happens.


For the first time in my life I was privileged to go to a particular country. Well it is a privilege because I didn't exactly grow up in wealth and so being able to give myself a holiday, this Osuofia decided to make the most of it. While we are at it, I'm scared of heights, planes and flying. Simple reason: In a car, a driver can step on the breaks, park and chill for a bit if he foresees some problems ahead. Airplanes cannot. Anyway, being a Nigerian, you can imagine my joy when I found out that the plane was a double decker A380 airbus and had sockets (this translates to charging ports for my BlackBerry battery's 1hour lifespan). Then wifi on the plane. Haaayyyyyyy! I had this "na me be this" moment.

So I gave my life to Christ 57 times this year. Why? Turbulence. I was on another flight from Lagos to Abuja, the flight had been delayed for 4hours and finally while flying, the plane kept on shaking/vibrating. The air hostess had scolded me for using my headphones connected to an ipod classic with no internet connection. If only she knew that this boy was scared and had queued his gospel songs playlist... Just incase the plane crashes, the 57 repentance prayers and gospel music would have definitely ushered me to heaven. Of course the plane landed and I returned to my sinful ways....


Cycling, Taxiing and flying, I chose to look for positive sides in all I went through. Not like they were life shattering issues or anything, but, as cliche as this may sound, there is always a positive side to everything. Work has been work, Nigeria has been Nigeria, too many lives lost. Friends made and lost. Good and bad times but one thing I know for sure is, through it all, I'm thankful.

Have a lovely 2013.

Ps, Happy Birthday @EddieMadaki (1 January)

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