Of Summer Rendezvous and Stolen Wine.

Mister Wang is on the balcony.

I’m not quite sure what he’s doing. I think he’s just taking in the view. Or maybe he’s having a phone call- I’m not quite sure.

I am in the kitchen section of the college HQ. There is a stash of wine bottles by my right.

I never really used to pay attention to the wine. In my head, it was in the same category with the like shoulder-high rack of wine bottles in one of the meeting rooms. The one with a table and an iMac and bookshelves and sofas.

I had that room to myself on a recent afternoon. Reclining in the extremely comfortable chair, reading about a newly-popular deep learning library called Keras on the iMac screen. Thinking about neural networks and activation functions and feeling like some grey-haired Stanford professor.

In my head, the assortment of wine bottles to my left were not for consumption by mere mortals like myself. The wine was arranged there for a different species- one I had never encountered before.

In my head, the bottles by my left were not wine, they were art. To be protected from contact with my inquisitive epidermis, lest those invaluable vessels dripping with rich history, instantly crumble into regrettable dust upon contact with my lowly Homo Sapien skin.

But the bottles of wine in the kitchen- the bottles of wine here by my right? These ones are different.

Like a few weeks ago I walked into the HQ kitchen and saw a half-full bottle. I paused mid-stride to make sense of what I was seeing.

Wait, this wine is for drinking? This wine is to be drunk? By human beings?



Okay. Okay. Okay I get it now. I get it now.

I think there had been some sort of a celebration at the HQ a number of hours before. Hence the wine.

Mister Wang is on the balcony.

I intend to transport one of the wine bottles into my backpack.

I do not know if that is stealing. I know chocolates and general snacks are accessible to all, but I just don’t know about the wine.

I don’t know if it’s expensive wine. To be honest I have no idea how to identify expensive wine, either by the bottle or by the taste. I think confirmation bias could make otherwise unremarkable wine taste expensive. To like me the uninitiated, it definitely would. It probably would have much less of an effect on expert tasters and stuff though.

I wonder if Mister Wang on the balcony can hear my thoughts.

I wonder if he has already perceived my intentions. He gave me a brief glance a few seconds ago.

I don’t know. He seems to be very engrossed in whatever he is doing.

I don’t know. Or maybe he is just being disingenuous.

The wine bottle is in my bag.

In my head I am coming up with explanations for my actions. I am advocating my innocence to the skeptical college-faculty superego in my brain. I can see myself in front of a disciplinary council, drawing on ethical frameworks and logical arguments to exonerate my very pitiable self from impending doom and desolation.

The school administration has been expelling people in recent times. I wonder if I could get expelled for stealing wine from the HQ. I don’t know.

But wait, I don’t even know if this is stealing. The wine is definitely accessible to general staff. I think. For students? I don’t know. For a student sneaking a bottle into his bag to drink back at the dorms with his girlfriend? I have no idea.

The wine bottle is in my bag.

My head keeps dancing about in a web of ethical conundrums as I head out to Market Street and begin to skateboard down to Powell.

A Kenyan classmate just helped me with a wine-opener. She says something about having some sort of share in the wine.

I’m not quite sure what she’s talking about. There’s only room for two this night.

I head down the stairs. About ninety percent of the class is home for summer break- and so the building in Nob Hill which functions as our dorms, is largely empty. The girlfriend and I have been making use of a number of different rooms in the building, in addition to our assigned rooms for the summer.

I call one the “flute room”, because during the session one of the occupants used to play the flute.

It was somewhat ticklish for me being in that room with the girlfriend, and thinking about the relatively innocent conversations I had had right there, with the occupants of the room a number of months before.

Hm, if only these people knew what we’re doing in their room now. What we’re doing with their beds.

Today it’s a different room. This one has a view of California street. Like my room.

I’m heading downstairs, wine-opener in hand.

The stolen wine should set a very stimulating mood for the night.

This night should be a very interesting one.

It’s a number of days later.

I am having a conversation with a resident assistant- a classmate from Malaysia. She is telling me about a strange discovery she made while locking up one of the rooms in the building for the summer.

The room was supposed to have already been cleared out, and so she was surprised to find an unempty bottle of wine in the wardrobe. Along with a blanket. And a number of other things which had very tenuous strings to their consequently ambiguous owners.

Hm. I wonder where the wine came from. I wonder how it got there. I wonder how it got opened, and I wonder what activities the beings who drank from the bottle intended to engage in.

Hm. I wonder.

This life is a mystery.

Image: Drinking (unjustifiably?) expensive wine at Shiro- an interesting Pan Asian restaurant in Lagos Nigeria.

Traveling across Lagos During the Violent #EndSars Protests in Nigeria. Part 3.

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

A guy just zoomed by on a motorbike. He was sitting on a new television. The TV bounced up and down on the seat of the bike as he navigated his way from the Lekki-Epe expressway, into a nearby street.

I think it was a a fifty-five inch flat screen television. It looked so wide.

Another guy walks by, topless, with a trolley full of baby clothes and a pile of other baby things.

“Iyawo mi loyun o!! Iyawo mi loyun o!!”

His wife is pregnant.

I see her nearby. She is indeed pregnant. She looks very happy. There is a boy walking alongside her. I think he is her son. He is practically bouncing with excitement about the baby things.

I am not quite sure how to feel about what is going on.

These people are looting a shopping mall up the road. The ongoing #EndSars protests have set the stage for general, all-encompassing anarchy in Lagos. People are being gunned down indiscriminately, police stations are being burnt, transportation has been shut down, and now innocent shopping malls are being looted by protesters.

I mean, I understand how shutting down transportation can coerce the government to pay effectual attention to pleas for societal reform, but I honestly fail to see how vandalizing, breaking into, and looting a beautiful shopping mall which was built by hardworking people is a part of any well-meaning protest.

The road is crowded with people on their way back from the currently-being-vandalized mall. With food and electronics and all sorts of stuff. It’s like Santa Claus’ plane crashed nearby and everyone is getting in on the mountain of Christmas presents in the rubble.

People line the side of the streets, watching. Some with fear, not sure how safe it is to join in the looting. There were gunshots at the mall about two hours ago.

Others watch with envy, wishing they had a motorbike with which they could quickly cart away a 55″ TV for themselves.

I am not quite sure how to feel about what is going on.

I really like that mall. The black Skechers boots I’m currently wearing, I bought from the branch at Ikeja. The pink skinny jeans I have on too. And a good number of my other general clothing items.

It is saddening and scary watching these people thoughtlessly and rapaciously eviscerate the evidence of people’s sweat and hardwork, without even a smidge of nagging compunction.

It is very scary.

Life is difficult. In spite of these difficulties, people strive to build stuff. If, in spite of the plethora of diverse difficulties that abound in this plane of existence, I strive to build something physical in this place, is it not possible that some day, in the course of some arbitrary protest, some random beings will vandalize and completely ruin the physical indication of all of my sweat and suffering?

This is scary. This is very scary.

One general trend, is that these people are vandalizing and looting buildings which appear to represent a level of wellbeing and prestige that they feel is inaccessible to them.

It’s actually pretty hilarious because social standing is very relative. I wonder what’ll happen if the guy with the pregnant wife, or the guy with the stolen 55″ TV, gets home to realize his living space has been burgled by the elements in the community who see him as a rich man.

Because you know, there are protests and everywhere is fucked up and everybody is stealing from everybody else.

I wonder what’ll happen. I think it’ll be freaking hilarious. Get back to the house with a stolen 55″ TV to realize your entire living room has been scraped clean. No sofa. No mobile phones. No sound system. Even the food in the kitchen and in the store has been carted away. Hahahaha.

All for the want of a stolen 55″ TV. It would be so difficult to restrain my laughter at such a person hahaha. As long as it was safe to do so, I would laugh very very loudly at them and feel good about it.

And then there are the usual excuses. Nigeria is bad. There is no money. There are problems everywhere. If I’m to be honest, I’m pretty sick of that pretextual refrain. That is the trivializing excuse for like every fucking soieital malaise in this place.

Someone steals, the economy is bad.

Someone is an inveterate fraudster tainting the international impression of a country and making life difficult for legitimate individuals who happen to share said country of origin– Things are difficult, there is no money.

Someone kills- We all know how Nigeria is.

I’m pretty sick of it. Of course there is some credence to the position that hardship generally compels people to engage in activities they otherwise would never seriously consider, but it’s definitely being overplayed. Like deeffinitely.

In fact, a festering deleterious thought attractor state like “Everything is bad and everyone does bad stuff therefore doing bad stuff is not that bad because its prevalent, even normal and you’d actually be missing out if you don’t”, could even inspire engagement in people who normally would not have involved themselves. Like some reverse causality stuff: People are more likely to do these things because society has normalized it.


Everything is bad.

I need to get to Ikeja.

Transportation costs are ridiculous today, because the roads are shut down.

I have run out of cash in hand.

I need to get to Ikeja.

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

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.