Thursday, January 18, 2007

The essential guide to mortgaging your life: #1 The arrival. (First written: Jan06)

For want of anonymity, I choose to keep certain details of this ‘tory’ un-divulged. This includes the name of the country in question amongst other sure giveaways. As this blog progresses, if it progresses, my reasons for anonymity would gradually become evident and just maybe appreciated. (Question to self: Why does this sound like a roundabout definition of cowardice?)

Naija is the only place where airport employees consistently ask for pepe. Right? WRONG!! The country I reside in at the moment is even much worse because they can’t speak English but they’ll somehow get the message across that you’re being taxed. You can either try to convince a non English speaking, quasi-hungry, military dressed dude, with a permanent smirk on his face indicative of a 100% success rate at taxing foreigners that he does not deserve your hard earned $10. This would easily take you at least half an hour oooooor, you can just get in line, shut up, pay up and save your self the trouble/time. Personally, I make up for the financial loss by dropping the money with an accompanying “olodo, ode, anu-ohia”, serving it up with a soft smile.

Naturally, I had done my research about the country and all so I was particularly interested in the president and his obscure idea of leadership. The first evidence of dictatorship I witnessed hit me like a double backhand slap.

Right out of the airport, I was hungry as hell and asked the driver to take me to the nearest restaurant, so that I could loadup anything that had a remote semblance to pounded yam. After munching up, I was glad when I realized that the waiter was pretty fluent in English. Receiving my bill, I paid in dollars and requested that he spread out my change in the local currency. I’m always in a hurry to build up my forex collection.

When the guy handed me the kishi and started to walk away, I took an exciting look at the latest addition to my piggy bank and I remember thinking to myself “I think sey this oyibo mugu dey understand english” So I call out, he comes back and I explain again; “Like I said before, I need you to give me as many de-nom-in-a-tions, diff-e-rent notes, as possible”. Counting my words to make sure they sink in. The guy gives me a look like “this black dude must be a completely retarded dolt” His grimace (a bit like someone dancing Awilo on the toilet seat cos he’s having a hard time taking a dump) made me take a closer look at the cash and I realized I was in error. I apologized and waved him off while I stared at the notes in utter amazement. Every single denomination, -as in- all the notes, small and big, even the coins had the same picture, that of the incumbent presido. I’m like “wetin be this?”

Still trying to work out how an entire country can let one man, still alive, breathing the same air as everyone else stamp his face allover their doe, it became apparent that that was only the
beginning. My fellow country people, you wont believe what happened next. The presido himself, begin stalk me oh! Yeah, you read right, the president started trailing me. I walk out of the restaurant and BAM, the guy dey there dey look me, right in the eye. I’m walking to the car and he’s still got his eyes on me. All the way back to my hotel I could see him stealing glances from every corner. Almost every other building had a huge picture of the bobo; you know that type of a portrait that stares at you from every angle. The type you see on CNN articles chronicling Saddam’s tyranny, exactly that type of dope shit. It’s very unnerving to see the huge photographs right in front of every building. I guess he was trying to achieve an omnipresent-effect, trust me, it was working!

Thought to self: “Omo, which kine zone be this? Na so I like money reach? I should have rejected this transfer!

I conjure up a mental image of my expected 12month remuneration and it hit like a shot of morphine. Calmed me up completely, infact there was a slight tinge of a residual high. My train of thought brazened up. I be naija man, nothing dey happen.

Misguided confidence??????

Next: The essential guide to mortgaging your life: #2 The desert.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Don Agustus Del Pedro Hugo

I've always been amused by latinos with their compulsory four names and the fondness they've got for every one of them down to the very last phoneme. Don Agustus del pedro hugo is no one I know, its just one of them latino names unconnected to anything but I’ve grown to like, cant even remember where I heard it, nevertheless it really does sound nice to say. Don Agustus del pedro hugo.

My boss is “latino”, he’s from Ecuador, workaholic/party animal (aren’t we all? lets just say he takes it to another level but that’s a different story). Anyway, he summons me into his office to discuss some upcoming jobs and I’m seated, chilling, watching him work on his laptop. He has got this huge external monitor newly hooked up to his laptop, its always left blank but by pushing a couple of buttons on his computer, it doubles as a larger laptop screen, he only uses it when he needs to show someone some stuff, apparently for the convenience of not having you walk behind his desk just to take a peek at his laptop screen.

So as I dey siddon for there directly facing him, dey revise all the job related issues for my head, the IT guy (Russian, half competent with English) walks in and the following conversation ensues.

IT guy: Can I look into the SPAM problem now?

Boss: Just a minute let me round up some important issues.

Misunderstanding my boss, the IT guy starts to get behind the desk, my Boss cuddles his laptop like a mother would do a baby, making sure to tilt the screen away.

Boss: I said wait a bit, “padasdee”(Russian for wait). I need to finish this.

I’m thinking this must be some pretty confidential shit. IT guy grabs a seat next to mine.

Boss seemed to be pushing one of them arrow keys, and staring dreamingly into his laptop with a half smile. The IT guy gives me this “are you pondering what I’m pondering” look, important issues my ass.

After some 10 minutes of waiting while he rounds up some important issues, he turns to the IT dude and says “Let me describe my problem to you”. Just then he closes his laptop in an attempt to give himself room to gesticulate; he uses body language to a fault. However, it seems that no one ever told my boss that when you’ve got an external monitor connected to your laptop, the act of closing the laptop shut would switch your laptop display to the external monitor. No one mentioned to him that this would always happen even if while pretending to be rounding up “some important issues”, you were indeed secretly looking at porn. Hardcore porn or not, the display would still switch to the external monitor.

It put a whole new twist to the definition of “unsolicited porn”.

What do you do in a situation like that? How do you tell your boss that he has unwittingly got some serious explicit shit out in the open? So there I was frozen, looking at the most unheralded blast of lesbian cunnilingus. Picture this, a 40 inch screen, half covered with pu_ _y and there is some tongue and some fingers and… I think u get the picture.

To think that this Latino dude should know that something was off with our faces white with surprise and our pupils dilated like one Naira coins (its not like we’ve never seen a "hairy octupus" but the scale, the venue, the circumstances), my boss, completely clueless went on ranting about how he receives emails he does not request for, and how they keep asking him to buy Viagra he does not need, the guy just went on and on and on dey yarn excess without an audience, we were there in the flesh but our minds were long gone.

He must have felt like talking to a brick wall when he traced our line of sight and went into a frenzy like he’s just seen the queen of the coast. “OH SHIT”, “GADEMN”, “WHAT THE FUCK”, “FUCK”. Stumbling over himself he quickly opens up his laptop, the external monitor goes off. We (IT guy and I) come back to earth and then he looks at us probably in the same fashion Judas must have looked at the crucifixion.

Well, after an uncomfortable stretch of silence he had the guts to say “now that’s the SPAM I’ve been talking about

Somehow, I managed to put the lid on a mushroom cloud of laughter.

IT GUY says to my boss “Yeah, right!”

The lid came off slightly; I morphed it into a cough, bottled it up again.

Ever been part of someone’s very embarrassing moment?