Lagos: On Dating Apps and Strip Clubs. 2

The waitress whispers her phone number into my ear.

I take note of it as I sip on my drink.


This piece is one in a Series. A list of all of the pieces in this Series can be accessed here.


I walk into the consultation room.

The doctor is working on a computer further away. She turns around on her chair to welcome me.

I sit on the patients’ end of the consultation desk.

I think there’s a UNICAF page on the computer screen.

Hm, you’re working on some online courses?

She tidies up on the computer.

Yeah yeah. You know, as a doctor learning never stops.

Hmm.

She gets up and walks towards the desk.

We begin to discuss.


The waitress whispers her phone number into my ear.

I take note of it as I sip on my drink.

It’s definitely been a while since I attempted memorizing a phone number in one go. Usually it didn’t have to be repeated so many times, before I was certain I had it.

When I initially asked the waitress for her number, she said it was against company policy.

Said she could get in trouble.

I told her she didn’t have to write it down or anything.

She could just whisper it into my ear while we discussed the drinks menu.


“I just feel like relationships in Lagos are all about money.”

“And the guy is the one who pays for everything.

Honestly, sometimes it’s not clear if you’re actually dating someone, or if you’re just hiring an escort.

I think it is absolutely ridiculous.”

I am expressing my disconcertion to the doctor, in the hope that she will empathize with me.

I am somewhat taken aback by her response.

“Everything in life involves expenses. If you’re in a relationship you have to spend money. Even if you’re getting married, you have to spend money. That’s just what it is.”

Ahhhh.

This woman has scattered everything.

It turns out she herself is a proponent of the unsettling asymmetry of financial responsibility, which seems to be the norm in Lagos relationships.

Ahh.

Nigeria is just an absurd place, with its very strongly patriarchal norms. Some people are fine with it. Some even like it.

I’m just very uncomfortable with the idea of taking responsibility for a fully-grown human being under such an agreement.

Like, why in the name of God would I want to burden my life in such a manner? Am I incapable of appreciating the value of spare money?

And here is this woman trying to make me feel like this is just the way life is. That I have no choice but to accept the way things are.

Ah, I need to travel.

I need to travel and reconfigure my brain.


The waitress is punching some numbers on the POS machine.

I am paying for the drink I had.

I am in a nightclub in Victoria Island. I’m seated by the bar, listening to the music and watching the pole-dancing women up ahead.

I give her my card.

She keeps punching the numbers.

At some point she says she’s adding a tip for herself.

I say Hmm

She says she’s tipping herself one thousand five hundred Naira.

Hahahahaha.

One Five.

A whole One Five.

It seems this waitress took some shots before commencing her shift.

Odindi One Five ni o fe fi se tip. A whole One thousand five hundred Naira is what she wants to tip herself.

At my expense.

Hahahaha.

She’s definitely tipsy.

I express my objection.

She begins to flirtatiously debate. Smiling and teasing and doing all sorts.

That’s the sort of flirting Lagos women know how to do. Flirting to collect money. Financially motivated flirting.

Nonsense.

I insist that I am not going to pay such a exploitative tip.

What rubbish. Where is the money.

She begins to renegotiate.


Part 2.


Image: Mojito somewhere.

Psych Ward Diaries. 02.

The preceding episode in the series can be accessed here: https://mayowaosibodu.wordpress.com/2021/04/10/psych-ward-diaries-01/


Mister Dayo.

Yes, Mayowa.

We’re at the circular sitting area where a number of walkways intersect. Right next to the table-tennis setup.

We’re reading.

Mister Dayo came into the facility with a number of novels. Unlike every other patient here, he actually made plans towards checking himself into this place. He didn’t just wake up one morning in an unfamiliar hospital ward, groggy from sedatives.

I met him for the first time a number of weeks ago. It was in the evening. He walked into the common room, and was introduced as fellow inpatient at the facility.

He was significantly older than any of us. He appeared to be in his late fifties. Clean-shaven head with some gray in his light goatee.

I was very happy to see that he brought books. I had run out of things to read.


Withdrawal symptoms.

That was why he was here.

Distilled spirits.

Those used to be very central to his life. For decades.

He said he began drinking as a child, as an act of rebellion.

Adults were always saying do not drink alcohol, you’re too young. Do not go near it, it’s not for you.

That made us determined to do it, and to satisfy our curiosity about what was so special about that alcohol thing everyone seemed so intent on keeping us away from.

In my mind I was wondering how principally rebellious behavior generally appears in retrospect, especially when the “adults” who were being rebelled against, are at the time long dead.

Like, if you define yourself as the opposite of something, then who are you when that thing ceases to exist?

At some point there was cause to reduce his consumption of alcohol. Abstinence caused him to have seizures. At that point it was pretty clear he needed some help.


I’ve been reading this book. This Crime fiction book. By some guy. Dean Koontz or something. First time I ever came across the name.

The book is about this immensely famous actor and his young son whom the (apparently non-negotiable) travel obligations of his career, have estranged him from.

He attempts to compensate for the lack of father-son quality time with lavish and expensive presents. The strategy does not seem to be working too well.

At some point there’s some sort of a security threat. Some stranger parking his car by the road, to throw death-threat packages over the fence of their expansive compound- Something like that.

So far it’s been a pretty interesting book.


There is a word stuck in my head.

“Profligate”.

I wonder what in the name of God the word means. I came across it while reading another book- also obtained from Mister Dayo’s stash.

This one was written by Bryce Courtenay. Another name I had never heard of before.

It was also an interesting one.

There was this family: The husband, I think died when the ship-assembly factory where he worked, accidentally sealed him in the hull of a ship where he was making some final touches.

The manager of the company- some guy who was trying to impress his father who founded the company- something like that: He was made aware of the possibility a worker was sealed in the hull. However he declined from reopening the ship to confirm.

Some sort of a logistical complication.

These ships need to be delivered somewhere today, reopening a finished ship will cause delays and my father will continue to see me as a failure—- Some tensive family backstory like that.

I don’t think the hull of the ship was ever unriveted. The guy inside probably suffocated to death. Extremely sad stuff.


“Profligate.” Do you know what “profligate” means, Mister Dayo?

Hm. “Profligate.”

He pronounces the word differently. He puts the stress on the last syllable. Pronounces it “profliGATE”. I pronounce it “PROFligate”.

Mister Dayo looks into space for a while. At some point he indicates that he does not know what the word means.

I think it’s a negative word though. I came across the expression “profligate wretch” a number of times in the book. So it most likely is not a compliment.

This is definitely one unexpected source of annoyance.

Like, it’s not like I ever sat down to imagine what suddenly finding myself in a psychiatric facility would feel like,

but I think even if I did that- the frustrating inability to look up new words wouldn’t at all be on my list of things that would get me annoyed during my coerced stay.

It’s a very surprising source of annoyance.

I make a mental note to request a dictionary from the administration. Life is very bad. This word has been stuck in my head for days now.

Usually I would just look the word up on Google and would instantly have the needed information. Now I have to languish in this agony of semantic ambiguity for days.

This life.


That was not the end of that family’s misfortunes. The Bryce Courtenay book family.

After the father died in the sealed hull at the ship-assembly factory, the mother desperately searched for a source of income. I don’t think she ever even got to know how her husband died- I don’t think so.

She was invited for an interview after a series of grueling frustrations. It was for a secretarial position.

After a pretty nerve-racking interview with her potential employer, she was given the job. Soso pounds per month.

She was so happy.

I myself was happy for her. Now at least she would have some funds to take care of both herself and her young son.

Then there was a plot twist:

On her way back from the interview she was accosted by some cruel men. They were evidently very envious of her anticipated financial upliftment. They assaulted her, pushed her to the ground and stomped on her hands with their very hard-soled shoes. They ended up breaking pretty much all of her fingers.

She lay there on the ground, deflated- all hope extinguished, fingers gruesomely broken and deformed- her job appointment letter drifting through the air as it was idly blown about by an apathetic breeze.

Her fingers would never be able to work a typewriter ever again. At least not at any level of proficiency that would make her useful as a secretary.

I felt defeated.

She had been through so much. She went through so much to get that job.

I think she was to resume the very next day- She was skipping down the road from her new office when she came across this inestimably ruinous actuality.

Oh God.


Mister Dayo used to play hockey. Field hockey.

At some point he became a coach. He recently retired.

He says his pension is paid into his bank account on a regular basis. Says his time here just means he’ll be unable to make even more money.

He seems pretty calm. Came here on his own terms. Has no pressing matters in the outside world to attend to.

I on the other hand, am livid on the inside.

I have my life to live. I have stuff to get done. I have some serious life-defining things to do! What am I doing here? Whose misguided, miscalculated, condescending, unilateral paternalism landed me here?

What in the name of God am I doing in this place???

But I try to avoid overt outbursts of this anger and frustration.

That’s the thing with suddenly finding yourself in a psychiatric facility: It is assumed that there is something wrong with you, and so the burden on proof is on you to prove that there isn’t.

Loud, impassioned displays of anger and frustration will only lend more weight to the perspective that you have a psychological problem.

And so I keep fuming on the inside.


At some point, Mister Dayo and I talk about his wife. He says at some point she left to go start hanging out with some guy.

He says he’s not bothered at all about it. Says the last time he saw her, she looked very old. So she doesn’t even seem to be doing all that well.

Hm.

As we discuss, I quietly wonder what “This woman now looks old” feels like for someone in their late fifties. I honestly have no idea.


The FIFA World Cup is ongoing. Mister Dayo says he has a deep-seated hatred for football. Says he thoroughly hates the sport.

He told me of something that happened a number of decades ago. The Nigerian field hockey team had just advanced to a new stage of an international competition. I think they were to travel to Chad or Congo or something, for the next stage.

And then to his utter dismay, the government decided to withdraw the pledged financial support for the hockey team. They did this, so they would have more money to fund the football team- which wasn’t even doing all that well in their own competition.

Football killed my sport.

I feel his resentment.


We all gather in the common room to watch the FIFA World Cup matches though. It’s not like there’s that much else to do.

Plus there are the usual soccer legends who are always a pleasure to watch. There’s Christiano Ronaldo. There’s Lionel Messi.

And then there are some new guys. There’s this Mbappe guy with France who does some pretty magical stuff with his speed.

I wonder how this year’s World Cup tournament is going to turn out. I wonder.


Image: From a 2015 Halloween house party in San Francisco.

Detainment at Abeokuta. Part 2.

This post is one in a Series. A list of all of the posts in this Series can be accessed here.


Olorun lo yo e pe o o try lati salo. A o ba ti yin ibon si e lese!!

You were fortunate you didn’t try to run away. We would have shot you in the legs!!

Osama is speaking, as I am being bound in some pretty thick-looking ropes.

I have been explaining that I came to Abeokuta to check out some tourist attractions. I intended to spend the night in the hotel next door, but decided against it given that my bank account balance was just a little higher than the cost of staying a night.

I spent the past year and a few months living in a country where I was free to spend nights out camping or just chilling in the open expanse of unoccupied desert that generally stretched across the entire archipelago.

I have been in Nigeria a number of weeks, after close to three years of living in three different countries, each on a different continent. Now I’m sitting here on the floor while my hands and feet are being bound by a duo of night watchmen, one of whom is named after an ex-FBI most wanted terrorist. I am gradually coming to a realization that open idle expanses of land and vegetation are not viewed with the same idyllic innocuousness that I personally grew used to seeing them while in Cape Verde.

Here, some ambiguous being lying down on a pile of gravel in an empty parcel of land- in the dark, is not some post-clubbing guy chilling in the night’s air and looking at the stars- what fucking stars. He is a thief, employing darkness-induced anonymity to actualize his dastardly thieving intentions. As a matter of fact he is one of the reprehensible thieves who stole the tires of a neighbouring truck last week. He should be shot in the legs if he tries to run away, and he should be bound in thick ropes by Osama Bin Laden.

There are three entities surrounding me right now. One is Osama. The other is the second watchman. The third stands further back, silent. An unspeaking silhouette. A mute menacing shadow whose name is Reverse Culture Shock.


It is morning.

The ropes have been loosened. Osama interrogates me some more under the newly-arrived light of day. He seems much less suspicious of my story now. I think I don’t look so much like the typical Abeokuta thief.

I am in an acrid mood.

This Abeokuta is a horrible place. Nobody dances in their clubs. Everyone just sits down and drinks beer and looks very composed. Like they are at a job interview. I wonder why you would go to a club and just sit down and look very serious and composed and judgmental. You might as well have just spent the night at your place of work.

I skimmed through about four different clubs last night before I found one that was somewhat amenable to dancing. At the penultimate one I checked, some guy threatened to punch me in the face when I asked for a puff of what he was smoking.

I was like, Okay I am in the wrong place. I am in the motherfucking wrong place and I need to get out of here ASAP.

All of these Nigerian people are just so angry, I have absolutely no idea why.

Some guy chatted me up while I was leaving the last club. Said he loved my dance moves. I expressed appreciation at the compliment. He said I must be very happy. And then said for me to be that happy, I must have a lot of money. Then he asked if I could give him some money.

He didn’t really look like someone who was in need of money to solve fundamental life problems or anything. He didn’t look malnourished or without a place to stay or anything. He looked like someone who was pretty okay, but was in search of more. More money.

Ugh. These people and money.

Now I’m here, trying to make sense of last night. Bound with ropes and verbally accosted and threatened by a very fulfilled Osama Bin Laden throughout the night.

What sort of a place is this?

I am in a very acrid mood.

Osama says I need to call someone. Someone to come vouch for me. Says my father is alright.

Oh God. My father and I have just had a very turbulent year. Some very intense disagreements on life direction. I do not want to bring him into this. Ah Christ.

But Osama has spoken. I make the call. Now my father will have to travel all the way down to the state capital this early morning to facilitate a resolution of this issue. Ah Christ.

Osama senses the pungent displeasure in my mood. Says I should go get some food to eat. Points me in the direction of a woman selling some freshly made rice and beans and spaghetti and stuff. Usual Southwestern Nigeria roadside breakfast combo.

I am not in a mood for food right now. Recent experiences have been extremely unpleasant. I let Osama know I am not in a mood for food. He says I should get the hell up and go eat something.

Again Osama has spoken.


I am eating breakfast.

Rice and beans and spaghetti, with the usual scintillating tomato sauce and some animal protein.

The food is very good. These roadside sellers are generally very reliable with regard to some serious stimulation of the taste-buds.

I am munching on the food. I can feel my mood getting better very quickly. I don’t like it. I want to keep being annoyed and I want to make Osama feel extremely guilty for putting me through this very annoying experience when I committed no actual crime.

I keep eating. Enjoying the food, while being annoyed at how quickly it is ridding me of my acrimonious annoyance and concentrated displeasure.


I am back with Osama.

He just bought some traditional alcoholic bitters from a roadside peddler. I say I’d like to try some bitters. He advices me not to. Says the smell is very strong and my father will perceive it the moment he sees me. Says my father will know I’ve been drinking questionable alcoholic bitters first thing in the morning. Says he himself is circumspect with the drink whenever his parents are coming around.

I am surprised. I am very surprised.

From hearing Osama exchanging morning pleasantries with some neighbouring traders, I know he has a wife. A wife and two children.

Osama. Osama Bin Laden. FBI Most Wanted Terrorist. Hiding his alcoholic predilections from his parents. Okay. Very unexpected. Very very unexpected.

I thought adults could do whatever they wanted, regardless of their parents’ perspective on acceptable behaviour. I thought a man with a wife and two children could drink strong-smelling alcoholic bitters first thing in the morning if he wanted to, and not have to worry about what his Dad and Mum would say.

I am surprised. I am very surprised. Apparently this whole adult thing is a bit different from what I thought it was.

I keep pondering this astounding observation, while contemplating the complications of my own situation.

Osama is happily sipping on his strong-smelling traditional alcoholic bitters.


Image: A different part of the state, but still generally consistent with the environmental appearance of the more rustic parts of Abeokuta.


Now Playing:

Buying Cocaine with Rob.

I am in conversation with Rob and Tom.

We are in Manu’s living quarters. Manu, the very dark and muscular Cape Verdean. Manu with the very irascible bulldog that seems to just hate me for some reason. Manu with the young son. Manu the thief.

A Slovenian tattoo artist is a temporary resident at Manu’s quarters. He found himself stranded after being robbed by some island locals. According to him, one of them jumped out from nowhere and snatched one of his devices. While he was trying to lay a hand on that one, some others came along and snatched his bag and the rest of his possessions. His camera, mobile phone, all gone. Now he’s stranded here, bereft of all of his things, strapped for cash and not quite sure what to do next. He says he has a friend in Stuttgart who he’ll reach out to, to help with some money so he can leave the island. I hope things work out fine.

Manu has been stealing the very few things left of the tattoo artist’s possessions. Perfumes, etc. I wonder why you would still steal from someone in that position. While he’s sharing your living quarters as he tries to come up with a plan to move forward. I don’t know- I guess all of those perfumes and stuff, are a very very big deal to Manu the muscular Cape Verdean thief.


I am in conversation with Tom and Rob.

We are talking about cocaine.

I met them both on this day where I provided some unsolicited help with an open bottle of wine they left at a defunct bar in front of the building in which I live.

I had downed a considerable amount of the wine when two guys came to accost me. I was very hungry that day.

We began to talk. They had both spent some time in the USA. I never actually asked, but I suspected they were deported on drug-related charges- that was just what I felt.

Rob is a cocaine addict.

I’m asking questions, and he’s giving an exposition on what life as a cocaine addict is like.

Don’t ever take it man, it’ll ruin your life. You’ll never be able to do anything sensible with money. Whatever money you get will be spent on it. You’ll always be thinking of how to get money, just because you need another hit.

But it makes me feel very energetic though. Whenever I take it, I’m hyper. I can clean the entire house in minutes. It gives me a lot of energy.

At some point, someone asks me if I’d like to try some. Some cocaine.

I take some time to think about it. Rob has just made me very aware of the severely pernicious consequence of cocaine use, but at the same time I am also cognizant of the fact that such a deleterious outcome is a function of probability- and that it’s not entirely certain that my life will become irrevocable ruined, just because I tried it once.

I’m thinking about what to do.

The prospect seems exciting. Taking cocaine for the first time on some random island off of the coast of West Africa with some guys I recently met. I’m weighing that against the possible life-decimating consequences.

While I make up my mind, Tom says he’s not going to let me do it.

Tom is like Rob’s big brother. He takes care of him.

I mean, Rob is his own guy with his own place, and with this sexually attractive but somewhat repressed Cape Verdean woman living there with him- and whose exact function in his life I can only imagine, given that I never see them outside together.

Tom takes care of Rob with regard to life direction and life decisions. Rob can get very irrational- partly as a personality thing, and maybe also as a consequence of his drug addiction. Tom seems to be relatively sober. He has this daughter he’s always going to pick up from school and stuff. He seems to provide Rob with some sort of general life guidance.

I actually like hanging out with them- the dynamic between the two of them is interesting- Rob always being funny and loud and energetic and whimsical, and Tom always trying to be the more reasonable half of their duo.


At some point Rob wants to go get some cocaine. Says he wants me to come with. I think he feels the dealer will think more highly of him if I come along with him. I’m not quite sure why.

Him and his friends seem to find me very well-spoken and intelligent and educated, but I’m not really sure how to feel about all of that. I’m not very happy with the current state of my life, and I’ve realized that being happy with your life is more important than being described/complimented as being intelligent or well-spoken.

Rob first takes me to his place for a shower. I haven’t taken a bath in days. Maybe weeks. I’ve been paying very little attention to my physical appearance/impression because I’ve been entirely overwhelmed with life problems.

In my head I’ve been like:

My life is in complete and utter disarray. My future is drenched in panic-inducing uncertainty. I don’t care about looking presentable for the next twenty four hours, just to look unkempt again and be in need of another cleaning/grooming session. I’d rather just look very rough and maybe a little insane, while I focus on fixing the real and fundamental problems in my life.


We are at the apartment of the cocaine dealer. He’s from Nigeria. For some reason all of the cocaine dealers I know on the island, are from Nigeria. I am yet to come to an understanding of the factors underpinning that correlation.

We are in discussion with the dealer. He finds it hard to believe that I deliberately decided to put a pause to college studies in the USA.

I am not surprised. Pretty much everyone from Nigeria who once lived in North America but now lives here, did not choose to make that change. It was forced on them. By like deportation or an expiration of status or something of the sort. And so they usually find my story completely impossible to believe. At this point, my F1 US visa is actually even still valid. Haha.

The dealer says he used to live in Canada. Says he had a Canadian girlfriend. Says he tried very hard to impregnate her, so he could get some sort of a residence permit in Canada.

I’m not too surprised. These guys are usually like that. I don’t quite understand this obsessive hunger people have for North American citizenships. Honestly I don’t get it. Above all, I don’t get the debasement they put themselves through all in a bid to acquire those citizenships/residence permits.

A prevalent dream of a number of African-origin guys on this island, is to become romantically involved with female European tourists so they can relocate to Europe with them. I mean, I’m not really one to judge, but you should see the women some of them get involved with. People who could be their mothers. Or at least their mothers’ younger sister.

Back to cocaine.

Rob has made the purchase. The dealer is done expressing suspecting disbelief at my story. Now we are heading out of his apartment.


We are at a club. It’s a cool club. I’m having fun. Dancing and enjoying myself. Rob isn’t dancing. He’s more interested in spending some money he recently got, and being praised for his generosity.

I don’t quite understand his behavior. It seems like he’s experiencing some sort of deep-seated inadequacy, and somehow derives some temporary reprieve for that whenever the people around hail him and chant his name for spending another few euros on drinks for them.

I don’t know why keeps doing that. If he doesn’t know what to do with money, he should designate me as being responsible for making the most judicious use of his money. I really need some money, and I have some very important things to use money for. He’s just throwing everything away on people who’ll most likely begin to make fun of him the moment he leaves the club.


We’ve left the club.

I’m heading back to the studio apartment where I stay. I’m walking by the white bakery I like to buy bread and baguettes from. Their stuff tastes very nice.

There’s this baker-cum attendant they have there: Light skinned Cape Verdean woman. Usually she’s nice. Recently she has been getting more unfriendly though. Without reason.

Sometimes it almost feels like she’s angry at me about something. But she cannot possibly be angry at me at anything, because she doesn’t even know me. Her pregnancy has been getting progressively heavier though. I wonder if her change in disposition has something to do with that.

I wonder if there’s any scientific treatise on the irrationality of pregnant women. I wonder what all of those staunch feminist women will have to say about that.

As I walk past the white building of the bakery, I find myself suddenly hit by the apathetic pangs of heartbreak.

Immediately my mood turns sour and I begin to berate myself bitterly, in pain.

In my personal experience, heartbreak is weird. With the passage of time, you begin to feel like you’re past the severely disorienting trauma of being separated from someone you love. Sometimes you have an almost-complete good day. Everything is fine and everything is alright. And then all of a sudden you’re hit by this fiendish sonuvabitch of an emotional hurricane and you find yourself right back where you started.

I head back to my living space, talking and swearing at myself and at my absent partner and at life and then I swear some more at no one in particular- angry and bitter and indignant.


Image: At a nightclub in Nigeria.

Some names have been changed.

Waking Up in a Brothel at Obalende.

It is about 1am.

Someone is banging on the door.

Come out come out! Una time don finish! Come out come out! Una short rest don expire!

The human being on the other end of the door for some reason assumes I paid for just a few hours. The time has run out now, and I’m supposed to exit the room with the prostitute I’m expected to be spending time with.

I get up from the bed, sleepy and annoyed.

I paid for a full night! I did not pay for a short rest! I think you have the wrong room!


It is about 3am.

Someone is banging on the door.

Come out come out! Una time don finish! Come out come out! Una short rest don expire!

Jesus Christ. What is wrong with these people.

This time I’m too annoyed to properly get up.

I yell furiously at the person to leave me alone.


It is about 11pm the previous evening.

I am at Obalende. I was on the way to Oyingbo on Lagos Mainland, to purchase some replacement parts for my motorbike. Rear brake pads are worn. Entire chain drive needs to be replaced.

Expenses expenses expenses.

The major bridge connecting Lagos Island to the Mainland has recently been under repair. This has led to an immense traffic congestion on the alternate routes connecting the two segments of the state.

I should have gotten to Oyingbo since afternoon, but for some reason I am still at Obalende at 11pm.

Ugh.

I need a place to spend the night.


I am at a bar.

Drinks. Conversation. Flirtatious interactions.

There are lodgings upstairs. This is the lowest-priced in-house accommodation I was fortunate to come across this night.

It’s a pretty interesting room. At least I find it interesting. It’s in one of these like colonial-era Lagos buildings.

Sharp edges. Gable roofs. Windows made of patterned glass panes fitted into metal frames. I spent my early childhood in one of them.

I do not quite understand these colonial buildings though. They look absolutely nothing like what you’d expect of like usual British architecture. I would expect a much higher number of resplendent Victorian buildings and stuff. I mean, there’s the Cathedral at CMS and there’s this Lagos House place close to the Tafawa Balewa Square, but that’s like just about it.

What did all of those British people do when they were here, if they didn’t build like actual legit British empire kinds of structures?

I don’t know. Maybe I just don’t have such a substantial familiarity with British architecture. My only impression is gotten from movies and the internet.

Possibly if I’m in Britain at some point in the future I’ll make sure to pay close attention, and properly delineate commonalities across British architecture and that exemplified in the general colonial-era Lagos buildings.


I am at a bar.

I have been continually extricating myself from the physical and conversational grips of sex workers since I got here.

Handsome man, Sweet Guy, I want you this night, Let’s go upstairs, I want your cassava today, I am going to show you wonders tonight, etc etc.

The usual perfunctory attention and desire that I imagine the sex workers in this place have learnt to express– a consensual façade for what is little more than a largely unfeeling financial transaction.

Woman stop lying, you don’t really like me. Not really.

You have rent to pay. Tomorrow’s breakfast is not sure. That’s why you’re telling me all of these pretentious things. You took one look at me and came up with an estimate of how much you could obtain from me at the end of a night. Now you’re expressing insincere excitement and desire with the aim of realizing your financial anticipation, let’s stop deceiving each other please.

Now I don’t mean to be sanctimonious or anything, but unless there is a brand of masochism where getting paid for having sex with people you don’t like, is perceived to somehow be more enjoyable and desirable than having sex with someone you’re attracted to and who expresses genuine desire for you, prostitution is a pretty sad situation for the sex workers.

We talk about this. Me and the pretentious woman who is trying to get money from me at the end of the night.

Everything is bad. Life is bad. She needs money. She agrees.

She used to be a DJ. Things happened.

I give her something for her time and leave her to go find actual customers. The night is still young.


It is about 6 am the next morning.

Ahhh!! E fuck you four times, him no pay??? Ahhh!!! Na God go punish am!! Ahhhh!!!

I do not understand what is happening. My sleep has been interrupted multiple times in the past few hours. I still need to sleep some more.

Ahhh!! Why you sef no tell am say you no dey okay??!!

There are multiple female voices in the next room. These people are not going to let me catch the last few minutes of sleep I’m aiming for. An additional hour of sleep is just infeasible at this point.

Oya wash the floor wash the floor!!

Someone is scrubbing the floor. The air smells of soap and disinfectant.

Okay that’s it. That’s it, I have to get up.


It is about 8:30 am.

I need to get to Oyingbo.

There was an issue in the room next to me at the very-low-priced-lodging cum brothel. A sex worker was sick, but was not able to take time off work, most likely due to financial pressures.

She found herself with a particularly demanding customer. Their activity ended with feces on the bed. Feces from her body. The unconscionable customer employed his repulsion at the feces as an excuse to escape the brothel without paying for her services.

The soap and disinfectant I could smell was to clean up the room.

It is about 8:30 am.

I just got some gum.

I need to get to Oyingbo.


Image: View from the bathroom window.