Psych Ward Diaries. Addendum 2.

I’m going to call Mr Dayo today.

I’m chilling in this alright apartment at Victoria Island. I have no serious doubts with regard to my sanity or mental wellbeing, and I’m plotting some schemes to enable me discontinue my enrolment at that soul-eroding university.

Life is good.

I call Mr Dayo’s number.

The phone rings for a bit.

Someone answers. It is a woman’s voice.

“Hello?”

“Hello, Good evening. My name is Mayowa. Mr Dayo gave me this number.”

We speak for a bit.

I mention how I know Mr Dayo. I say we spent some time at the Psych Ward together.

It’s his wife.

The one who he said left to go live with some guy.

Hmm.

We exchange some more words, and then she says something that completely suspends my thoughts.

“Mister Dayo is dead.”


Sorry What?

Mister Dayo is what?

It takes me a while to process the implication of that statement on all of the things I was initially planing to say.

Sorry What?

“He died late last year.”

I am thoroughly disoriented. And very sad.

I do not understand.

She says he died in his sleep. That the autopsy said it was some sort of a heart condition.

I feel so sad. And shocked.

We keep talking.

She says he got depressed when his friend died.

I recall him mentioning that.

After my time in the Psych facility- When I regained access to the internet, I googled his friend’s name. He was spoken of, as someone with a renowned reputation. Like someone I should know by name.

No results on Google.

Most likely for people in Mr Dayo’s generation, the establishment of their careers/reputations predated the prevalence of the internet. In Nigeria at least.

Dated newspapers, physical memorabilia, and collective memory are probably the places where they still exist now.


We talk a bit about their relationship.

She says his family interfered a lot. Says that was very frustrating for her.

I recall him mentioning something like that. He said his siblings were trying to turn him into a Pastor of sorts. Said he was like the black sheep the family.

I am extremely sad to hear that he’s dead.

I was looking forward to catching up, and laughing and recalling our shared experiences in the Psych facility. We spent a number of months as inpatients in the hospital. In such close quarters and insulation from the outside world, there’s little else to do but talk to pass the time.

This is so so sad.

My own life in like the past two years has been full of its own tumults I’ve had to navigate, and so calling or paying a visit hadn’t been anywhere in my plans until now.


We keep talking.

I mention that he was also pretty upset because she left. He seemed largely nonchalant about it in our discussions, but he had to be upset. He had to be.

She says she never left him. That she never went to live with any guy. That she had just one husband. That she’s a Christian. That she’s a Pastor blah blah blah.

Mhm.

Oh now you’re a Christian. Now you’re a Pastor.

I’m not so surprised anyway. It’s not like I expect her to be so forthcoming with tales of her affairs, while answering a call on her dead husband’s phone.

We exchange some more words, and then say goodbye.

The phone call ends.


I delete the phone number. Mr Dayo is permanently unreachable now.

I take some time to try making sense of everything.

This was completely unexpected. Completely.

Damn.


This post is one in a Series. Feel free to view the other pieces here.


Image: Random stretch of Lagos countryside road.

Psych Ward Diaries. Addendum 1.

The past few weeks have been pretty chill.

I got this serviced apartment here at Victoria Island Lagos, to stay for a bit.

I do not earn a monthly salary. Every now and then money comes into my life somehow, and then I’m responsible for staying alive and well until the next financial inflow.

I initially paid for a week or so. I don’t have enough money to pay for a longer stretch of time at once. Maybe I might if I put my mind to it, but I’m still raw from my last attempt at trying to rent a space nearby. At Lekki Phase 1.

I paid N400,000 into the bank account of the real estate agent. The “Mr Olu” who walked me into the compound, greeted the security guard, opened the doors to the apartment, and showed me around.

N400,000 was supposed to be rent for a year. Or six months I think. I’m not sure now.

That was last year. I never got to move into the apartment. I never saw “Mr Olu the real estate agent” again. I later realized that the email address with which he corresponded with me, was different from that on the agency banner hung out on the building’s front gate.

Say the banner of the actual real estate agency had the email “olu_something@gmail.com”. This guy’s email was “olu_somethingg@gmail.com”.

The second email has two “g”s.

I knew his email address was weird, but I assumed it was because the intended one was already taken. That can definitely happen with email addresses.

So I thought he was just making do with an address which was lexically similar. What I did not notice at the time, was that the email on the actual agency banner did not have that anomaly.

I mean, it’s not like you scrunch up your nose to scrutinize every letter in the email address on some banner outside the building where you intend to rent a space.


All of that was last year.

I went to the bank to make a complaint. They said they would freeze the recipient account, and that the fraudulent guy wouldn’t be able to withdraw the funds.

That was good to hear. They said to recover the money I would need to contact the Police. The Police had the authority to request a reversal of the funds transfer.

I stopped by the Police station to narrate my ordeal. At some point they said there was a special department that dealt with digital fraud and stuff. Said I would have to pay about N200,000 for a start, to access the services of this department.

Haha.

I was trying to recover N400,000. To do that, I had to pay the Police N200,000.

For a start.

Hahaha.

I took some time to weigh my annoyance. Was I angry enough at Mr Olu to undertake such expenses even if they could eventually add up to, or even exceed the amount I was trying to recover?

Hmm. I didn’t think so.

In all it was a very confusing experience.

It all felt so legit. I’m still not sure if I was intentionally dispossessed of the funds, or if there was some sort of a misunderstanding.

Like, there was another guy- some like, seventy year old man I spoke with on the phone.

He said he was the owner of the house. The Landlord. Mr Olu was just the agent. Helping him get new tenants. The “landlord” was asking me questions like:

“Hope pe iwo o kin p’ariwo ninu ile? Awa o like ariwo o.”

“I hope you don’t make noise where you stay? We don’t like noise makers here o.”

Like, how can a seventy something year old man who asks such questions, and who sometimes doesn’t answer my calls because he says he’s in the mosque, not be legit? How?

I don’t understand. I honestly don’t.

At some point I called the numbers on the actual real estate banner. Some guy responded on the other end. Said he was the one the agency was named after. That he was Mr Olu. The real Mr Olu.

I told him someone was impersonating him. I spent some time expressing my frustration and annoyance on the phone. He said all that was difficult to believe, because I was the first person to make such a complaint. Sensible point. But not at all placating for me.

Honestly it was this whole annoying episode. I’ve just had to take my mind off it, and pay attention to more inspiring and encouraging things.

Mr Olu. Has his office on Lagos Mainland. At Palmgrove. Talking to me and showing me around the apartment like a responsible human being. Fraudulent motherfucker.

It was to my utmost shock, that the security guard said he didn’t really know the fake Mr Olu. Said he was just some guy walking by the house, who proposed to show some prospective tenants around.

The fact that he had access to the building and keys to the apartment gave me the impression he was undoubtedly legit. Legit to the point that I thought he would feel insulted if I asked too many questions.

Motherfucker.

“Mr Olu”.


I’ve been trying to buy a motorbike. A cool dual-terrain kinda bike. I’m looking forward to some off-roading soon.

I found this guy on Jiji.ng. Jiji.ng is like the Nigerian EBay. He had a cool Scrambler for sale. I liked it. He was located in Abuja, the country’s capital.

While I made preparations to send him the funds for the purchase and delivery of the bike, he was telling me stuff like “Don’t worry, there’s no problem. I’m a family man.” to increase my confidence in him.

Family man.

Mister Olu was very likely a family man too.

Bruh, I’ve been swindled by family men, don’t even go there. Don’t even try that line on me Mister Man.

My N400,000 from last year is still nowhere to be found.


It recently occurred to me to call Mr Dayo.

Mr Dayo from the Psych Ward. The fellow inpatient.

The sixty year old ex-hockey coach.

The last time I saw him, I was at the hospital for a post-hospitalization checkup. So the doctors could see if I was properly recovering from a mental illness I never had in the first place.

Mr Dayo was sitting on a chair in the walkway. Looking very relaxed. We spoke for a bit. He seemed very comfortable and chill. I had collected his phone number earlier. I said I was going to call him later, after he had been discharged.

That was close to two years ago.

I haven’t exactly been in the frame of mind to make the call. I’ve been dealing with struggles of my own:


So, post-hospitalisation, my parents enrolled me in a university.

It’s this university that’s owned by this pretty prominent church in Nigeria. The church’s ideology is principally based on concepts like deliverance from demonic oppression and the breaking of ancestral curses and the holy murder of destiny-devouring witches and other such esoteric phenomena.

The university was founded by, and is managed by the church.

At 5AM every morning all of the students gather in the chapel to cast and bind some demons real quick before commencing the day. Repeated failure to report at the chapel could get you suspended.

On average, students spend about 2+ hours everyday collectively binding and casting out demonic powers.

And that is just the very tip of my disconcertion iceberg with regard to that university.

I would never in my right senses have agreed to be enrolled there. But I was fresh out of Psych Ward. Fresh out of 3-months of daily antipsychotics, and full of daily-reinforced doubt in my decision-making abilities:

I obviously didn’t know what I was doing with my life. Everyone obviously knew what what was good for me. Everyone except for me myself.

A couple months after being discharged from the Psych Ward, I ditched my supply of antipsychotics and lost all of the Psych-Ward weight. I gradually became more and more certain that the entire Psych Ward thing was Bullshit. And I became angry at everyone who made it or let it, happen.


I’m going to call Mr Dayo today.

I’m chilling in this alright apartment at Victoria Island. I have no serious doubts with regard to my sanity or mental wellbeing, and I’m plotting some schemes to enable me discontinue my enrolment at that soul-eroding university.

Life is good.

I call Mr Dayo’s number.

The phone rings for a bit.

Someone answers. It is a woman’s voice.

“Hello?”


This post is one in a Series. Feel free to view the other pieces here.


Image: On the balcony of a room at the Prest Waterfront Hotel, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.

Lagos: On Dating Apps and Strip Clubs. 1.

I’m in conversation with the doctor.

She just said something I find counter-intuitive.

She said at any given point in time, female sex-workers are less likely than women in general to have sexually transmitted infections.

Hmm.

Hmm.

Hm.

Well first it depends on the place.

I’m in a clinic on Victoria Island (VI). Victoria Island is one of the more affluent parts of Lagos. Sex workers here would generally be in association with a more affluent and health-conscious clientele. And consequently I imagine their employer would ensure they underwent medical checks on a frequent basis.

And so first I think her perspective varies by location. I’ve spent time in different parts of Lagos and so I’m somewhat aware of how different things can be. Take Obalende for example.

Second, I disagree with her choice of words.

Her words were “They are cleaner than the general woman you come across on the street”.

I don’t know about “cleaner”.

I don’t see how someone who has sex with other people for purely financial reasons, is cleaner than someone who doesn’t. I don’t see how that works.

But I definitely see the logic in her thinking.


I first visited this clinic a few weeks ago. I had some things I felt I needed to discuss with a healthcare professional.

I was in VI for the weekend.

There’s this interesting DJ guy (I think. I don’t know who exactly is behind it), who throws really cool parties I like to come around for. Pretty frequently they fly in DJs from other countries to perform. I think it was a few weeks ago they flew in Hanna Hais from Paris. It was fun.

I’m not sure who exactly is behind the Instagram page that announces new parties, but whoever it is definitely has considerable international exposure. People generally seem to be aware of this, because there’s usually a substantial expatriate presence at the parties.

The events are cool, and the prices are fine. Nothing like the usual overpriced bougie Victoria Island events. I get annoyed by a lot of them because they’re so much about spending money and exhibiting financial capability, than they are about genuine interactions with other people.

Lagos can get very annoying. You can spend an entire week going out every night in Victoria Island and still not feel like you’ve really met anyone. I think it’s partly because at events in Lagos people generally keep to themselves a lot:

They go out with people they know.

When they’re out, they talk almost entirely with those people they went out with.

And when they leave, they leave with the people they came with.

Lagos makes me miss cities I’ve lived where people frequently go out with the primary intention of meeting new people.

The only people I know in Lagos who regularly do this, are the women who go out for parties and stuff, with plans to meet guys who will pay them for sex.

Like seriously. And it’s normal. Like, very normal. That’s just the normal thing. It even has a name.

See, let’s not even go there yet. Let’s still talk about some other stuff.


I got a ride from the hotel where I spent the night, to the clinic- all the while wincing about the inflation that came along with the COVID-19 pandemic. Everything is more expensive. The places I stay whenever I’m in VI, are now about 50% more expensive than they used to be. Hotel prices have gone up, and I’ve quickly realised that my personal surveys on the cost-effectiveness of different hotels around VI are now outdated. A lot of things are different now.

I got to the clinic like Okay I’d like to speak with the doctor.

The clinic is actually very visually appealing. Medicenter. I found it via a Google search. A considerable amount of effort went into the aesthetic of the place.

Got a brief glimpse of CNN on the TV in the waiting room. Something about Lebron James getting the COVID vaccine. I spent some time wondering why that was on (inter)national TV.

The receptionist was like Okay sir you’ll need to pay the fee for somethingsomethingsomething.

Which is twenty thousand Naira.

Sorry what?

Hehehehee!!!! Wetin happen? What is the problem??!!

In my head I was thinking: What is this person saying?

Just to see the doctor? I’m not sick o. I didn’t come here with a heart attack. I’m fine– I just need to talk with a healthcare professional.


For some sort of a reference, twenty thousand Naira is like the cost of eight very solid meals. Say we label meals in any city from 1 to 5 based on price. 1 is a meal from like a roadside stall or a food truck, and 5 is the priciest of the priciest. Then by eight solid meals I mean eight meals which are a very good 3. And so depending on how frequently you eat out, that could be the amount you spend eating out in say a week if you eat out everyday or a couple weeks if you don’t.

People generally convert into dollars and go Oh X Naira is equivalent to Y dollars or so. I feel conversions like that are misleading because they do not take into account the purchasing power of the concerned amount of money, and how that varies with location. So whenever I hear stuff like “Soso people (whose primary legal tender is not denominated in USD) live on X dollars a day”, I’m like Jesus Why. Why.


I had some back and forths with the receptionist, and then at some point she said I should come talk with the manager of the place.

She took me into a different room. The manager was this dark-skinned thickset woman pointing out some things on a MacBook Pro screen to someone who looked like a young nurse.

The receptionist introduced me. And then the manager and I began to exchange words.

I explained that I just intended to talk with the doctor and ask some questions.

Usually with a hospital in Lagos, any sort of visit requires that some you have some sort of membership account. With a first-time visit you’ll need to have this account created, and this usually comes with a fee.

I was aware of this, however I was really just at the hospital for information. I wasn’t about to begin a treatment routine or anything, I was just there to talk with a doctor. And so it was pretty unsettling to think I would have to pay for the full package. I asked questions to know if there was a way around it somehow, but that didn’t seem to be the case.

I liked the way she spoke though-

So, I enjoy learning new words, I enjoy using new words, and I enjoy hearing people use interesting words.

The manager (she herself a doctor) and I exchanged some interesting words, and then at some point I thought Ah to hell with it. I’ll just pay this money and keep moving forward with life.


That was the first time I visited.

That was a few weeks ago.

I got here this morning and told the receptionist I intended to see the doctor for a follow-up on the initial appointment.

Got another glimpse of CNN in the waiting room.

The receptionist was like Okay sir you’ll need to pay the fee for somethingsomethingsomething.

Which is Sososo thousand Naira.

HAAAAAA!!!!!

What do you mean?!

I didn’t really register the amount she mentioned. I just registered the range. It was not too different from the amount I paid the first time. It might have even been the same thing.

For a follow-up?

The receptionist and I began to debate.

At some point she said I could discuss with her manager.

Manager wasn’t on seat so I had to give her a call.

We began to discuss.

Yes, hello?

Oh Yes Hello! Yes!

I began to explain the situation.

At some point we began to exchange words.

You this woman. You’ve come again. With your voice and your English. All you Doctor people. Leveraging my anxiety and my need to hear pertinent reassuring words from a healthcare professional. Leveraging that to empty my bank account.

Where is the money?! Where is it?!

We debated a bit more.

At some point she went, Alright don’t worry you can go see the doctor. I’m going to let this one slide.

Yeah that’s right you Manager Doctor woman. You’d better let it slide.


I’m in conversation with the doctor.

She just said something I find counter-intuitive.


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


Image: A My Coffee shop at Victoria Island.

Traveling Across Lagos During the Violent #EndSars Protests. Addendum 1.

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


I am at Victoria Island.

I just walked past a number of soldiers. One of them gave me a thumbs up as I walked by, I’m not quite sure why.

I keep walking. There are more soldiers ahead.

Now, I am aware that the fact one of the soldiers gave me an unexplained thumbs up does not mean the other soldiers are going to be as nice. The fact they are all wearing the same uniform does not mean they think alike. They might not even like each other— much less a third-party.

I keep walking.


Hey! You! Where you dey go!!??

I think I wince a little at the suddenness of the bellow. I turn around to figure out where it’s coming from.

It’s a soldier. It’s a soldier standing in the grass.

I knew it. I knew that thumbs up was too good to be true. Now I’m being welcomed back into unwelcoming reality.

He wants to know where I’m going. I mouth something about my motorbike. Sprockets are worn, the bike is important for transportation, etc etc. I reach into my bag to show him the worn sprockets. At some point he nods and lets me go.

I keep walking.


I am walking down Akin Adesola street. I recently walked by a restaurant that reminded me of an aborted meeting with a business partner: From what I heard, he was a gambling prodigy- exceptional at making bets on soccer games. I provided some capital to fund his gambling. I employed some of my data science skills to analyze his gambling history and proffer suggestions aimed to improve his betting strategy. Ah, I had such exciting visions for what we could accomplish together.

It’s been a year since then. I have not received any profits. There is no tangible news on the whereabouts of the capital. In fact he even still obtained some more money from me with a web of flagrant shameless lies.

Ah, this life. I shouldn’t be stressing myself right now. I shouldn’t be walking about during these violent protests. Right now I’m supposed to be chilling and swimming in a resplendent pool of gambling profits, worrying about what to do with all of the excess funds available to me.

Nonsense guy.

I had to delete his contact details from my mobile phone. Just coming across his name while scrolling through my contacts, always spoilt my mood.

I keep walking.


There is this very imposing, impressively white building by the right side of the road. I think it’s the headquarters of some oil company. “Nestoil“, or something like that.

I feel like the building grew out of nowhere. A while ago, I spent about a month living in a nearby hotel here on Victoria Island. I was on vacation- I needed some time to recover after some immensely traumatic experiences I suffered a number of months prior. I walked along this road a number of times. I never saw this building.

Nestoil.

The building is so white though- wow. Hm, I think I need to walk by the front gate to get some inspiration this afternoon.

Nestoil.

It’s considerably hilarious really, how an arbitrary sequence of Latin characters can all of a sudden, come to be imbued with meaning and prestigious significance.

“Nestoil” to me, is usually just supposed to be a random concatenation of alphabets. Maybe it would make me think about “Nest” and “Oil”, and think about “A nest of oil”, as a metaphor and possibly wonder if it’s a very good one.

Right now however, looking at this awe-inspiring, dazzlingly white building with “Nestoil” written on it, immediately makes me give the word substantial regard.


There is a pickup truck approaching. There are arms waving wildly outside the window, and pointing. The arms are clothed in military uniforms.

Wait, wait wait. I think these arms are pointing at me.

The truck gets closer. Some heads and faces are now visible.

WETIN YOU DEY FIND FOR HERE???!!!

One of the soldiers is asking me what my business is, in the area. It is a rhetorical question. He is telling me to get the fuck out, or else.

All of a sudden I realize I am the only non-military human being on this road, as far as the eye can see.

Jesus Christ I’m in trouble. I am in trouble, Jesus. I need to get out of here. I need to get out of here, like right now. Nestoil and their interesting building and their inspiration can wait till another day. I need to get the hell out of this place, Jesus Christ.

I turn around and begin to walk briskly towards Falomo.


I am walking by a roadblock. It is being manned by a soldier. He is doing something on his phone. He doesn’t seem to be aware of me as I pass by.

Hm, will this one be friendly? Or will he be hostile? Should I greet him Good Afternoon? Should I —-

MAYOWA GET OUT OF HERE— GET OUTTTTTT!!!

I keep moving.


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

Government Policies vs Pregnant Women.

“Abdulmalik! Jo ba mi gbe iyawo mi si inu Marwa e! Ki o ma gbe lo si hospital!

Abdulmalik, please take my wife to the hospital in your commercial tricycle!”

The driver is expressing his overflowing agitation into his mobile phone.

He repeatedly slams his palms against the steering wheel in frustration.

“Oh my God! What sort of situation is this?”

He very visibly panics as he inches the car forward through the unyielding traffic. Our view through the windshield is illuminated with an agonisingly dense population of brake lights. The night is full of troubling red and the exasperated blaring of horns.

We are at Victoria Island. I am on the way to Ikoyi. I learnt about an Art Exhibition taking place somewhere on Norman Williams street about fifteen minutes earlier while scrolling through Eventbrite. Something about a commemoration of Women’s Day with a group of all female artists. It sounded interesting. Plus, I was free.

I’ve been experiencing issues with the Uber app since I changed my phone, so I hailed a Taxify driver.

We have been in the traffic for about thirty minutes now, but we have not made any respectable progress. My dissatisfaction with the situation keeps threatening to spill over, but whenever the car moves forward a few feet the annoyance diminishes a little. With every of these dishearteningly widely-spaced lunges, I experience a relieving influx of hope in vehicular transportation as a workable means of getting me to Ikoyi this night.

The driver is evidently annoyed at something other than the traffic. There seems to be an emergency of some sort.

“Please, what’s the problem? I can see you’re concerned about something.”

“It’s my wife!”

Now I’m wondering what’s happening to his wife.

“She is about to go into labour! And she is at home! We do not know how to get her to the hospital!”

“Ahhhh!” I was not expecting that at all.

A few weeks ago, the Lagos state government banned the operations of commercial motorcycles and tricycles (known as Keke Marwa). This has led to considerable transportation problems in the state, because those vehicles are a pivotal means of transportation for the vast majority of people. And there is currently no real replacement for them.

“I’m talking with my neighbour who owns a tricycle to take my wife to the hospital, but he is worried the police will disturb him on the way.”

“Hm, and the hospital doesn’t have like an option where they can arrange for one of their vehicles to transport a woman in labour to the hospital?” I ask.

I can tell he finds it somewhat absurd that I would think a hospital in Surulere (a town on the Lagos mainland) would have such services. However he is too disturbed by the situation with his wife and unborn child to express his bemusement.

He quickly shakes his head. “No they do not. Plus there is also a traffic jam at Surulere!” He bangs on the steering wheel some more.

“Ahhh!!” I cannot even begin to imagine the intensity of his anguish.

The infuriated horns keep blaring. The unsettling brake lights keep glaring at us in red. Our vehicle has still not gone anywhere.

I find myself beginning to do some arithmetic.

“If it took thirty minutes to get here (which is nowhere), how long is it going to take to get to my destination? And how much is Taxify going to bill me for the journey?”

I open up Google Maps on my phone. It says Norman Williams is about two miles away- an hour and thirty two minutes by foot.

“Alright”, I think to myself. “If I run for some of those two miles, the entire trip shouldn’t take me all that long.”

Vehicular transportation is not that workable after-all.

I turn to the driver. “Sir, it seems we’ll have to end the trip here.”

“Noo!! Ma lo si ita!! Don’t go out! It’s not safe! Don’t go anywhere please!”

He is not talking to me.

“Bi si ile! Jo, bi si ile! Give birth to the child at home please! Give birth to the baby at home!”

Ah.

I don’t really know what to say. I have no experience with women in labour, so I do not really know what to think of the safety of delivering a baby at home. From our earlier conversation I know the driver has like two or three kids so he probably has some sort of emboldening experience with childbirth that is guiding his decision.

He ends the trip, and I hand him his money.

I head out of the passenger’s door.

“Thank you very much Sir! All the best with the baby situation! And congratulations in advance!”

“Haha thank you very much!” He very briefly turns his head towards me and smiles.

I head out into the traffic. It is drizzling. The air is a mixture of water vapour and the bitter exhaust of frustrated vehicles.

I slowly transition into a jogging pace. Time to get to Ikoyi.

 

Government Policies vs Pregnant Women.

 

Image Credits: Me! 🙂

View from Falomo Bridge, between Ikoyi and Victoria Island, Lagos Nigeria. (The next morning)

Visual Art and a Funds-Bereft Researcher.

Ogun.

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Ah, dammit. He said he was going to alert me when it was time to leave. He didn’t. And now I’m stranded here.

Dammit.

I put on my clothes. Get my glasses.

Where are my shoes?

There is an Art Exhibition today. It’s taking place at Victoria Island, Lagos Nigeria.

About twenty minutes ago, my mind was almost completely set on not going. But look at me now- all dressed up and what not. Watching my younger brother get dressed for the event had a rousing effect on me. Talk about peer pressure in action. Hah.

Right now my life is largely centered around procuring direly needed funds for The Language Project. I’ve been sending out applications for grants, fellowships, etcetera. But no luck, not yet. Not yet. Hopefully all that changes soon. (And please if you do happen to be aware of any open opportunities for funding, drop a comment below and let me know about it, thanks.)

I leave the house. It’s time to head for Victoria Island.

 

Lagos.

42ACBCE3-6774-4F57-801F-61466DDD170E.jpeg

I’m drifting across the ground floor of the Civic Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos. Taking a look at the art pieces up for display. Yinka Shonibare’s work is center stage. Hmm. Some of his book are up for display too. I pick one up and browse through. Title is “Criminal Ornamentation” if I remember correctly.

My phone vibrates in my left pocket. Call from my younger brother.

You, you, you left me stranded right? Right?

He says he’s on the topmost floor. Alright, We’ll eventually come across each other. I keep involving myself in the art pieces on display. Some of them are actually considerably interesting.

There are various sorts of works being exhibited: Oil on Canvas, Terracotta, Video, Audio, , 3D animation, Virtual Reality, etc. Works centered on issues ranging from life in Lagos Nigeria, to emigration and the slave trade in Libya, to artist impressions of Lagos in 2115.

Interesting.

I keep browsing.

4AD9BF13-C6EF-4C97-9660-FCC2C9D5C295.jpeg

I see some people with cups of wine. Naturally I become curious as to how they got the wine. I search through the different galleries.

Where did all of these people get wine? Hmm?

Eventually I come across a number of people seated around a small table. On the table is a bucket containing a number of wine bottles.

Aha. Gotcha.

I immediately walk up to one of them.

Hello (waving), is the wine free?

A few minutes later I am viewing the works on display at a nearby stand, cup of Rosé in hand.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

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I keep browsing through the art on display.

 

All of this takes a couple of hours until the end of the exhibition.

That cup of Rosé lasts much longer than it should. I am not in a hurry at all to finish it.

My phone vibrates in my left pocket. Call from my younger brother. We discuss where to meet.

 

I Should Not Have Smoked: A Viscous Midnight on THC.

I am not at ease.

It is about 12:30 AM.

I am perambulating the darkness-enshrouded streets of Victoria Island, Lagos Nigeria.

I am not at ease.

There is THC in my system. I feel particularly vulnerable.

:: It felt like the ingestion had for that space in time, dispossessed me of my cognitive shell- the protective exterior forged by training and thinking and identity-moulding experience, and that in that period in time I was a naked inchoate mind- exposed and soft and malleable- being bullied about by the intimidating darkness and the midnight island air.

I am not at ease.

I should not have smoked.

I am not at ease.

I should not have smoked.

I am moving about, not precisely sure in what direction I am headed, trusting that intuition and its sibling unconscious sense of navigation have things under control- although my conscious mind is far from feeling convinced.

I hear the voices of my parents in my head. I find myself walking through feeling-beams made of words- their words. Like discontinuous ropes of constituent raindrops in my path, each beam making sure to smite me in its own unique way.

There was the person who something horrific happened to, while they were out at night in Lagos.

Ahh.

That smites me somewhere in my face.

There was the old man who got lost in Lagos, in search of his child who preceded him in being misplaced.

Ahh.

That smites me somewhere else along my physical frame.

There is a scalding verbal downpour today.

No public transport tricycle has passed by for a considerable amount of time. 

Jesus, great. One proactive thought. One proactive thought. One thought that in contrast to an indulgent revelling in haplessness, actually endeavours to commence searching for a path towards a means of direly necessitated extrication from this foundationally perturbing situation.

I’ll need more of those. I’ll need more of those proactive thoughts, I’ll need more of those.

I have training. I have experience. The task before me should not at all be a problem. It just feels like the direction-designating, directive-effectuating resource that is my mind, is running on Vaseline. Everything is just so, slooowww.

And I feel detached from it.

I feel like I am a separate entity- disparate from this facility that is my mind, and experiencing my personal consciousness from the perspective of a passenger.

I’m attempting to prod the driver: Hey! Hey! I need to get somewhere! It’s late! And I’m here on the road!

But the intravening pathway feels blocked. The conduit through which the urgency borne of my disconcertion should be communicated, feels clogged. 

My agency-driver is on THC.

Ah, I shouldn’t have smoked.

I find myself going in and out of a number of restaurants. I am not sure what is happening. I am saying something to the attendants. They are responding. Apparently I am making sense. I find myself browsing through menus, glimpsing different options and their accompanying price tags.

Mayowa, what are you doing here? It is 12:30 AM! Is this what you are supposed to be doing right now?

I keep perambulating.

Next I’m engaging in disagreements with a number of security guards.

These people are so hostile, all of these people are so hostile. Nobody even appears interested in taking time to calmly exchange words. Not even the security guards, not even them who should be the guardians of the night.

My parents had chilled me appropriately with richly-gruesome stories before I left their house for Lagos earlier that evening.

In the midst of my unsettlement I find myself walking towards a building. For refuge apparently.

::There was a glowing emblem illuminating the muzzle of a formidably composed guard dog.

I find myself drifting towards this building. The gates appear so strong and confidence-inspiring.

Ah. Let me relax here for a while. I should be safe here. I don’t think anyone will come to enact any adversarial intent on my own existence, at least not while I’m here.

I stop to take a look at the building.

In my marijuana-induced- haze, I gape in awe at the intimidating imposingness of this building.

Jesus Christ! This building is so big! And tall! Yeh!!

At the top of the building, I make out a name. In bold glowing red.

“THE MIKE ADENUGA BUILDING”

AHHHHHHH. Jesus Christ!! MIke Adenuga!!! Yeehhhh!! You were the one who built this thing??!! Yeeehhhhhh!!!! 

Look at how huge this building is!!! Yeehhhhh!!!

I have definitely seen bigger buildings before, but the THC in my system appeared to have temporarily undone a learnt imperviousness to the sheer magnitude of such buildings.

Yeeeehhhhh!!! Mike Adenugaaa!!!! Yeeeehhhhhh!!!!

Now I see why people speak of you with regard in this country. Yeehhhh!!!! Look at this big building!!!!

Jessuuss Chrisstt!!!!!!!!!! Mike Adenuga oooooo!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

I should not have smoked.

 

 

A Viscous Midnight on THC.