Lagos Girl

I am not a Lagos girl. Zinny now is and this post is from her. NOT ME. I REPEAT, NOT ME!!!

Enjoy.

************************************

I am a Calabar girl, born and bred. I thought I’d always be a Calabar girl… until Lagos.

I was raised every inch a lady. How to walk, how to sit, the proper decibels at which to speak given the occasion, how to observe other people’s personal space, whether standing or sitting, how to observe rules of polite behaviour when speaking, like ‘please’, ‘excuse me’, ‘may I?’, ‘sorry’, etc. These all formed part of my home training growing up, at a time when formal etiquette schools had yet to make their entrance. And about the only abusive term I was allowed use of was ‘you are silly’. My dad was that particular! So it was that I blossomed into a lovely young lady who observed etiquette and frankly could not understand it when others wouldn’t.

This, until I was thrown into the cesspool that is Lagos… Thrown, because I was unprepared. Imagine my horror and utter confusion to find that everything which formed the basis of great relationships and a structured society was upended. I was introduced to a society where everything unacceptable is the norm. Even worse, unacceptable is considered cool. Death rides with conductors hanging out of buses whilst speeding through Third Mainland Bridge. Who does that?! Why would you want to do that?! Jumping out of buses that are still in motion. What are you trying to prove? That you are death proof? So was Humpty Dumpty…until he fell.

Lagos is the stuff nightmares are made of. For the longest time, going out was daunting. Why, oh why is everyone soooo angry and suspicious? And where are you all running to? Really! Sir, do please, pretty please, tone down your voice. We are perfectly capable of hearing you – thanks to the two ears the creator planted on our heads. And you might as well lose the viciousness while at it: some things are not worth the hypertension. Errrrrr, Oga, we want to go to heaven in our own good time; no point driving as if hell’s own hounds are giving chase. Ha! If only I knew I was practically alone in thinking this.
Gotta say, Lagos has done a number on me. How do I know this? I’m numb to most of the things that used to make my hair stand on end. Progress, huh? I think so too.

In Calabar, I would go to bed to the occasional bark of a dog and soft music playing in the background. Now I go to bed to the sound of blaring horns, screaming tires and humans who want to prove to each other that they know more abuses in the Yoruba language, and this at roaring volumes expected only in tunnels, so those of us who have nothing to do would be held captive. As it turns out, this is now music to my ears. As it plays on, I sleep on.
In Cally, I would awaken every morning to birds chirping, tweeting in the trees outside my room and the crunch of farmers’ boots on the way to their farms. Now I wake up at what is internationally recognised as an ungodly hour -4 A.M.- thanks to the loudspeaker in the mosque which is situated on the street directly across my house. During Ramadan, I am woken up at least three times a night by that darned gramophone. Oh who cares? I’m alive and it’s a new day, thank you Jesus!

One of my best features was my catwalk: a measured, somewhat seductive way of moving my hips in time to my feet. It was, if I say so myself, musical and paced just right. I am what people call shapely and my gait helped emphasize that. But noooooooooo, Lagos said it was snail pace and utterly unnecessary, when my job description did not read ‘model’. Buses zoomed off before I got to the spot where they had been standing. Conductors cursed and jeered. So I learned to gallop. It’s a cross between walking and running. Forget seductive, forget beauty. I need to get to where I’m going and do so in time. What’s the point of pacing yourself just so if it is lost on everyone?

In secondary school, in Calabar of course, we used to eat to time. If you hadn’t finished when the bell went off, you had to chuck your food. I was that girl who stood at the bins after every meal throwing away half my food because I couldn’t rush eating. There were times when students engaged in what was called massacre. They would rush at the servers with giant bowls and cart away huge quantities of food or an entire pot of meat or fish. The servers would be helpless to do anything because they were few and we were many and there were no prefects to bring order to the chaos. Even in those dire times, I would stand back and watch because I did not have the capacity for such violence. I was too ladylike for such extremities! I would be mauled! Not anymore. Now, when there’s scarcity of transport here in Lagos, I find myself rushing with the spring of an accomplished acrobat and the menace of a wild animal.

And don’t ask me what I do to my food.

Temperament wise, I have always called myself a melancholic. I won’t speak unless I need to. I enjoy my own company. I’m mellow and soft spoken; aggressive only when arguing a point (and that you can blame on my profession: Law). That’s all in the past now. I have undergone a whole personality change. I don’t remember what bedroom tones sound like. I scream at conductors with gusto. I am brash for no reason. I speak pidgin like an upcoming Warri babe. I even think in pidgin now (scary!). I tend to get bored of my company too soon. I look at me sometimes and I don’t recognize me. LAGOS!!!

Lagos is not just a place, it is a culture; an identity; a frame of reference. Lasgidi. Lagosian. It is an identity a lot hold dear and beat their chests loudly to in proclamation. It is an identity I loathe and embrace in equal parts. Think about it, what does Lagosian mean? It means one is tough, ready and able to do the necessary to achieve success, even if that means exerting grievous effort or taking on the lowliest of jobs. It means one is acclimated to traffic and its accompanying exhaustion and yet can still rise before cocks crow the next day headed for new traffic. It means one is aggressive enough to stand up to touts and their ilk and the quickest to head off in the opposite direction if a rape, beating, theft or murder is taking place. It means one can spot a cheat a mile off and never misses an opportunity to make an extra buck. It means one can live in filth without flinching. It means clubbing and working are one and the same and aso-ebis would never leave the no.1 spot on ‘trending’. It means strangers and beggars deserve the same treatment: ignore.
Lagos, the owners claim, is survived by only the fittest. Well, I have survived two years and counting and intend to do so until hubby dearest whisks me off to a destination island where we would spend the rest of our days. Come quickly honey, for although I am surviving considerably, the tell-tale signs are beginning to show. You see, all hustle and no fun, and there you have it – the perfect recipe for aging.

I just found my new tagline…

Lagos: Age Quickly.

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About cikk0

I think I'm proper sane. A lot of people seem to think different. Oh well... Locate a brother on twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/cikk0

Posted on August 7, 2014, in Funny, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.

  1. I was laughing as i read this post. The learning to gallop was just so funny. Nice write up.

  2. Lagos is the stuff nightmares are made of!!!

  3. Beautiful words from an expressively crystal clear beautiful mind. I find the piece as engaging and truthful as representing the consensus horror of all newbies trooping into the Lagos sociosphere. However Zinny I’m constrained to wonder why it is that you’re still waiting for your whisk-away hubby, when it is possible that he could just be very near you. I guess I should say we need to read more of you.

  4. Brilliant! But I still wonder how u left out the Cops (n LASTMA). Nice one anyways. My punchline;”when the job description did not read ‘model’. Still LoL. Bravo! This is the Zinny I know.

  5. Excellent write up twiny! True Picture of lasgidi…..enjoyed my read n d humour really something…! A measured somewhat way of moving my hips in time to my feet….that worked on my imaginary mind! Nice diction and wit; bravo!

  6. Oh my Gherd 😦
    The death of the catwalk. Pure heartbreak.

  7. Lolll@MissMeddle. I know, right?

  8. Thanks, everyone. Twinny, appreciate
    @jiworoblaw: hmmmmm….who could he be? #puzzled#
    @KingMax: cops & lastma are a whole ‘nother story. stay glued.

  9. Sure to always deliver. An admixture of pure talent and howbeit…Lagos sense! Well done bro.

  10. Nice writeup sis..proud of you!!!

  11. Zinny…you sure do know how to mix up raw honesty with humor…what amazes me is how you describe the obvious in an unusual style…truly a lovely piece…you’re gifted

  12. “This is Lagos”….. Lovely piece!!!!!

  13. Accurate, bare and humorous. Within my first 60 days of working in Lagos, I sorely missed Calabar too. However, after 5 years of living in Lagos, Calabar now seems like a cul-de-sac to me; a town meant for rest, recreation and cuisines.

  14. Oluniyi Fagbenro

    What a piece from my very own Zinny.

    You can literally live in her descriptive prowess and must I say that’s 110% true about our Lasgidi!

    Bad news may be…hubby could also be a Lagosian!!! lol! tongue out!

  15. By the way you still move your hips seductively…. I suspect that you haven’t been left behind enough…..”learned to gallop” 😂hahaha…. the only reason behind this excellent write up is your love for LAGOS!!!! Keep it up girl

  16. Reblogged this on Sublyme and commented:
    Lol…Lagos!!!

  17. 😁😂😂 The spirit of Lagos #changeyourthinking #nolaggingbehind Beautiful piece! I’m still glued for more write up…#talented

  18. This is a great peice of work. More grease to your elbow

  19. I couldn’t stop till I got to the end… A good read… The “thinking in pidgin” part tho, hilarious… But putting aside the hustle and bustle part of Lagos (las-gidi), to a very large extent Lagos brings out the best you in you, you make efficient use of all your senses to the maximum… A nice write up… Keep it up!!!

  20. Reblogged this on Malvin'sBlog and commented:
    A good read for every Lagosian or aspiring to be one…

  21. So… I decided to read the piece just before I hit d sack… babe, u just made my nite! Hilarious piece! Couldn’t stop laughing till the end! Thumbs up babe!! That’s talent!

  22. The piece kinda feels like CMS on a Monday morning a bit crowded and like CMS filled with flashes of exciting views. Like seeing a well fleshed out hips, glimpses of nice panties peeking out from well rounded behinds due to ruffled tops caused by alighting from a danfo bus hurriedly,views of erotic cars like Range Rover HSE Sports and Mercedes Benz S-Class 2014 models etc. But it can get better. I know you personally. You are a Loki with a Cherubs face. Coming from a respectable family you are trying too hard to keep a leash on your writing. I feel you should not try to control your muse so much. Unleash it. It is a very lovely writing but am like Oliver Twist, I want more and especially since I know you can do it. You are writing like a Calabar girl, with flashes of the Lagos girl showing. Please write like Omo Eko perhaps with flashes of the Ekaette showing. I know fans of both your literature and hips might not take my comments lightly. But before they come at me like a danfo conductor, they had better know I am a fan of both your literature and hips. In all it was a nice writing and worth the time.

  23. Excellent piece Ezinne,dis can as well be a bestseller.ezekiel

  24. TIMOTHY ONYEMESI

    CALABAR GIRL

    A fascinating piece from the brilliant mind of a cognitive ago, the embryology of a literary incandescence. Someday, I would have the honour of saying, I was there when she started.

    Yes, Lagos – Eko Akette, Eko Owenjele, would always be what it had always been: An energy pattern that demands a continuous obligation, a state within a state, sporting its own peculiar cultural language, its folklores, phraseologies and technical terms which am pretty sure startled our Calabar Girl and other JmcJJc (Junior Middle Class Jonny Just Come) and what about Eko’s (Lagos) Dictatorial control mechanism which tends to direct and regulate the quantum mechanics of both your social and economic functions.

    But despite all these higgledy – piggledy and ambivalences, Lagos still remains in our a priori assumption, “An Eldorado” with a formidable electromagnetic attraction and ironically “The Valley of Hinnon” by the possible convolution of providential reversal.

    I am delighted to see that you have overcome the challenges and cleavages of polarization of cultures, process metamorphosis and conversion crucible of Eko Akette. You’re welcome Calabar Girl. My heart is now in the right place with my head sitting-square on my shoulders. How my heart bled each time you left the house at those dangerous early morning hours and the thoughts of ugly possibilities and realities of our flawed ambient environment ravaged me.

    Thank Goodness, it’s all over now, you’re now a veteran. Congratulations Lagos Girl that was a Calabar Girl just yesterday.

    By the way, what happened to your translucent glass tube? Shattered?
    As for Mr. Right? Holy Moses! The way you are Babygal? Shimmering and Glimmering like a Diamond cube, your provocative starry eyes, your superlative “cut” loaded with that irresistible sex appeal and what about your titillating rolling gait that would startle the static electricity of any man with flesh and fire.

    Oh! Come on charming darling, you know it and I know it that you are “A rattledazzle” of a ravishing beauty, the quintessential glory destination of a many men.

    Take it easy Babygal, very soon the right dude would glide in with love in his eyes and in his heart, placing his mind on you mind, thinking your thoughts and singing your songs. Your rhythm and blues. A rosy for you and lily for him.

    You are welcome to Lagos Ezinne, fulfill your pleasures and live a “Thousand” years.

    Tim Onyemesi

  25. I promised to comment and I always keep my word! You had me laughing throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Keep it up! You done well for yourself:)

    P.S- We should come up with an the Ajoku girls’ view on the world blog-type thing…but my chapter will be too intense abeg…which is why my blog is still private. hehe.

    • Ugo, thanks a mil. You did open the door and lead the way, you know. And what with the English degree to boot! Thanks again.
      The world-view blog thing should be interesting to do.#fingerscrossed.

  26. Your write up is really good “brilliantly interesting” in my words, I just stumbled on the blog for the first time, Babe you should write a book, I love every bit of your work.

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