Psych Ward Diaries. 02.

The preceding episode in the series can be accessed here:

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.


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.


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.

Stolen Binoculars and Free Food.

I just stole back my gas cylinder from Yengis’s apartment.

Well it’s my gas cylinder to begin with. It’s not really stealing if it’s yours right?

No. No I don’t think so.

I don’t think so.

Well I was hungry. And Yengis was asleep. So I had to silently creep in through the window. I tiptoed across his studio apartment- across the strange smelling Senegalese rugs and grotesque traditional masks and a sound asleep Yengis, and and re-obtained my gas cylinder.

I needed to cook some food.



I saw Izmir Bamba wearing my boxers yesterday afternoon. One pair of the three dark-grey Old Navy boxers I bought in San Francisco.

Dude didn’t even have a care in the world, strutting across the verandah of my living space wearing my underwear- my fucking underwear.

Like what the fuck dude. At least try to be a bit discreet with it, don’t flaunt my own boxers in my face guy.

I honestly do not know how he got a hold of it. I’ll seriously need to count my underwear to know how many I have left. Everything has been disappearing recently.

I think first it was my binoculars.

No no, first it was the ten escudo note that was on the stool by the wall when the police arrested me at the beach.

Neighbours didn’t even care that I was languishing in the cell at the police station the night before. Without having committed any actual crime.

Day broke, and then they also broke into my apartment to see what they could salvage.


And then there was my binoculars. Initially they used to borrow it. Especially that Lucio Cape Verdean guy. He is an annoying guy, I don’t really like him.

There was this day he was telling me I needed to learn to speak better Creole. With a very heavy air of condescension.

I was so annoyed. I felt like letting him know my thoughts on minority languages and their current state in the world regarding their relative incapacity to provide speakers with generally desired social mobility and the worldwide language shifts that occur as a consequence of that, but I decided to just let it slide. I was transporting a substantially voluminous container of water from the well behind the hotel back into my living space- I wasn’t really in the mood to engage in an argument.

And then like every two hours some random guy usually walks by my living space screaming “O LUCIO!!!! O LUCIO!!!!” At the very top of his voice.

It’s very very easy to dislike someone whose name is a recurrent source of disturbance to your life.

So yeah initially they used to borrow the binoculars. And then each time it got more and more difficult to retrieve it.

The first time they returned it after like a few hours, marvelling at the thing and wondering what end they were to look through.

The next time it took a bit longer.

The time after that I had to go upstairs to extricate my binoculars from the evasive hands of the pesky Cape Verdeans that lived there. It was broken. I was annoyed. I had to fix it with some glue. There was a part of the binoculars that the glue could not quite take care of- I left the entire thing to hang on the wall by the cord while I figured out how to fix the issue.

And then they stole the entire thing.




I played some soccer today. With the Cape Verdean guys.

I haven’t played soccer in years.

I was surprised at my performance. For some reason I seem to be much  better at soccer than I remember. I scored like three goals. And I was generally a considerably contributive member of the team. I wasn’t expecting that. I wasn’t expecting that at all.

I’m thinking maybe it has something to do with mind-body co-ordination. I haven’t experienced much physical growth in the past few years, given the end of adolescence- and so maybe that has given whatever part of my head is responsible for physical co-ordination, time to become accustomed with the way my body has turned out to be post- puberty growth-spurts and all. Mind-body co-ordination is possibly not as good when your body is changing so quickly. I don’t know. That’s just what I think though.

There are teenagers who are extremely prodigious at football. And their bodies are changing very quickly. I don’t know. I don’t know. The co-ordination thing is probably just one way of looking at it.



Today has had its ups and downs. I was expecting some funds from the NGO in Nigeria that I have some sort of an AI research associate arrangement with. This afternoon’s walk to the bank turned out to be purely recreational, with absolutely no funds reception at the end of it.

I do not even have much time to dwell in this disappointment. Nino told me the Cape Verdeans are making some cachupa this afternoon. Cachupa is this interesting traditional Cape Verdean meal fundamentally based on boiled corn. Nino said the food would be ready in about an hour. That was like forty-five minutes ago. I need to get back to the hotel. Like now. Like right now.

The funds coming from Nigeria can keep doing whatever it is they are doing in international airspace, en route this island.

I need to get back.

I have to get some of that Cachupa.



Some dope ass Senegalese food. I had no idea people boiled carrots in stew before this.