Saturday, May 27, 2006

"For the Laughs" Series (Vol. 1)

"I always arrive late at the office, but I make up for it by leaving early."

"The light at the end of the tunnel is the light of an oncoming train."

"As I said before, I never repeat myself."

"Time slows if you're on the outside of the bathroom door."

"Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife."

"Men who don't understand women fall into two groups: Bachelors and Husbands."

"Behind many a successful man is an exhausted woman."

"My wife ran away with my best friend. I sure miss him."

"If Windows is User-Friendly, why do you need to read a 672-page manual?"

"Computer Lie #1: You'll never use all that disk space."

"MONEY TALKS ... but all mine ever says is GOODBYE!”

"If you're not confused, you're not paying attention."

"It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by then I was too famous."

"I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done."

"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it."

"How to make God laugh: Tell him your future plans."

"Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so."

"Since light travels faster than sound, people appear bright until you hear them speak."

"When there's a will, I want to be in it."

"Winning isn't everything, but losing isn't anything."

"Oh Lord, give me patience. But give it to me RIGHT NOW!"


Warning: The foregoings are meant to be taken lightly.

A Day in Life

Grrrrrrrrrh!!! The alarm goes off.

Lucky little thing – it isn’t within my reach today. I stand up, put it on snooze and stagger back to bed to snooze likewise.

Ten minutes later – grrrrrrrrrrrhh!!! It goes off again. This time around it is within reach and (poor me) I put it on snooze once more. However, I slip out of bed and kneel by its side with blanket and all, struggling to start my day with some devotion, but alas I doze off again.

Grrrrrrrrrh!!! My obstinate morning crony goes off again – though so much loathed, I find it hard to do away with my alarm, or else…your guess is as good as mine!

Thrice it goes off every morning and you can be sure I am almost fully awake by then.

I stand up, cursing the cold weather and the early morning classes. Swagging towards my wardrobe I reach for my toothpaste and brush.

“Damn it”, I cuss. The toothpaste is finished and I keep forgetting to get a replacement. As usual, I squeeze life out of the poor thing – it gets its own fair share of my petulance (as if it has any feeling at all). I grab my bath case and all, heading for the shower.

During my short travel to the bathroom, I remember I have to prepare some sandwiches for lunch (By the way, I am not a breakfast-lunch-dinner person. I only eat when I am hungry. It might end up being once or twice a day. I don’t care, because that is the only time I enjoy eating. Quite a number of people have complained about my physique, but I think it’s one of the best in the world).

I open the refrigerator, to take out all the fixings that will make up my much-adored sandwich. I love my sandwich rich and bursting – with sardine, jam, butter, egg, meat loaf and any other junk I can lay my hands on. I hurriedly make two and place them in the toaster and retrace my steps back to the bathroom to take my shower.

Looking into the bathroom mirror, I can see my scruffy face.

“Oh no! Not today”, I tell myself consolingly, “I’m already late.” The shave will have to wait till another time.

I take my shower after a hurried teeth brushing.

Subsequent to applying generous amounts of body lotion, spray, hair cream, roll-on et al (no thanks to the cold weather), I face one of the time-consuming decisions of the morning – which clothes do I put on? Not because I have many, but it’s either they are not pressed or they are dirty! But not to worry, I always have a way around this - details some other time.

Getting dressed at world-record speed, I remember my sandwiches. I dash to the kitchen. Oops! Poor little things – they are burnt brown-black. Away into the dustbin I dunk them, as they are beyond salvation.

Back to the room I proceed to complete my dressing. I grab my knapsack, keys, wallet, head warmer and my cherished Sony Ericsson W800i phone cum walkman, wondering why I must attend this early morning lecture if I’m feeling this irritable (come to think of it, it’s not really compulsory I attend).

Nonetheless, I find myself locking the door and rushing to the lift.

Remember, Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” You got it! The lift refuses to open after a two-minute wait that seems like ages. Hence, I opt for the staircase and guess what – Yes! You are right once more – the lift opens and I fly into the enclosed shaft.

“Good morning”, I greet the two fellow sojourners inside the elevator, grinning from ear to ear (as if I really mean the compliment) and I plug my ears with the earphones of my “little piece of technology”.

Stepping out of the building, I am attacked by the first gust of cold wind.

“Damn it!” I cuss as I remember leaving my hand gloves upstairs. Too late, I can’t go back.

Oblivious of my immediate environment as I listen to my favourite Beautiful Nubia songs, I stroll (or better expressed, I hop) the 20-minute distance to school. On typical days unlike today, I always enjoy the opportunity (which I hardly ever get) of being on my own to ruminate on quite a lot of issues, as I leisurely saunter to school.

“Wally”, Tomi an Indonesian in my class greets as he tries to wave and at the same time delicately balance on his bicycle. I wave back, wondering when these guys will be able to pronounce my name properly (guess they might never).

You might wonder why I am trekking while other colleagues pleasurably ride their bicycles to school. Poor me, I don’t know how to ride one. Why not learn (comes the question)? The answer – I keep procrastinating.

With a sigh of great relief, I enter the school building dislodging myself of all unnecessary clothing accessories that have shielded me from the cold weather, as I head for the coat rack. I check the venue for the lecture on the notice board (never really bother to know the venue until I get to school).

Swimming through an ocean of “good mornings” to colleagues, I skid to the lecture room. I hurriedly join my prestigious and notorious assembly of backbenchers. We are most of the time three – Mario (a Mozambican), Nevin (a Zimbabwean) and myself – with some occasional members. It’s actually great fun sitting at the back of the class, as you are chanced to safely pass little tittle-tattles about the rest of the class, out of the range of the prying eyes of the lecturer.

As I fidget through my bag looking for my lecture notes, it just occurs to me that good old Murphy is at work again – I brought the wrong lecture notes to class! Never mind, “when there’s a mess, there’s always a means.” (Axiom/pun is mine).

Without saying, I share Mario’s notes.

We saunter through the morning lectures characterised by a quarter of an hour coffee break every now and then, as we refreshingly look forward to the lunch break.

“…So ladies and gentlemen we’ll see tomorrow. You can start working on the models on Thursday.” says Dr. van Dam, signifying the end of the morning lectures and the beginning of the much awaited lunch break.

After reading and sending a couple of e-mails, Mario and I head for the restaurant downstairs. There is always a lot of binges down there but you end up picking what you are familiar with, for two main reasons. Firstly, you wouldn’t want to experiment with your money and lastly, you’d like to avoid excessive damage to your bowels.

Mario and I join Pema and Kencho (two Bhutanese colleagues) on a table for four as we all wolf down our different kinds of déjeuner. As a way to aid digestion, we gossip (Oops! I mean “discuss” because guys don’t gossip) about various issues – our almost-becoming-boring stay, lectures and lecturers, assignments and exams, ladies, politics, sports, computers – and any other interesting subject that will pass for guys’ “intelligent” deliberation.

“Guys, let’s go and play some ping-pong men”, Pema suggests. We all agree. After disposing the remains of our meals, we head for the table tennis room to savour the remaining part of our lunch break. As usual, Pema beats us all.

The rest of the afternoon is not uneventful with Mrs. Sturrock’s presentation skills classes, where you experience all sorts of deliberations from individuals originating from different parts of the globe. We all have great fun during these lectures – at least nobody dozes off.

At the end of school today, I decide to go shopping for some groceries alongside with Suki (a Bosnian-Herzegovinan colleague) who doubles as my intimate pal and a “mother-in-law-to-be”. I keep teasing her that I’d do anything to marry her 16-year old daughter but she tells me incessantly that I’m too old for the girl.

However, she is willing to consider my proposal if I can show evidence of a personal bank account (running into millions of US dollars); buy her an 8-series BMW power engine convertible, a yacht and a house in Paris; sponsor her annual summer holiday trips and provide all the good things of life for her, so she doesn’t have to work for the rest of her life.

With all these suicidal demands, I sometimes reconsider my proposal and “love” for this teenager that I have never even set eyes on – I think it’s better to remain single than to self-destruct. Or what do you think?

Suki is always fun to be with as we talk about everything and nothing in particular. Today she recounts how her country’s national flag and coat of arms are continually being changed due to the disagreeable stances of the two coalescing countries.

After a shopping extravaganza that seems like eternity with Suki I head back home. Entering my kitchen, I empty out my bags as I endeavour to put “what”, “where” it belongs. I stand gazing up to the ceiling trying to remember what I forgot to buy. Could you remind me, please? Yes! You’re right – toothpaste! Never mind, there’ll be a way around that tomorrow morning. Why cross a bridge before you get there?

I take out my pot of soup from the refrigerator, to warm on the electric cooker (no microwave). I wonder why I keep warming a pot of a soup I hardly eat from.

I pour myself a drink and pick a packet of biscuits. I change into something light, switch on my computer. I try to read and send some e-mails, catch up with some latest news back home in Nigeria while I enjoy my snacks.

Subsequently, I make a couple of phone calls. During my talking expedition, Godwin (a Nigerian colleague and flatmate) rushes in and alarms, “Wale, your soup is burning!!!”.

I dash to the kitchen. Too late, the soup’s turned into a thick dark paste – that will be the second in three weeks! So much waste in one day – first the sandwiches, now the soup. I really feel bad about these happenings.

I stroll back into my room to complete my phone calls and tidy up other necessary activities.

Finally, I stand on my balcony gazing aimlessly into the moonless dark skies, taking in some fresh air. This is one aspect of my day I greatly relish, because it avails me the opportunity to switch-off from every distraction and allows to me to think – on anything. The length of time I spend is dependent on what is available to ponder on and how cold it is outside.

I step back into the room to complete some personal and devotional chores.

“Aawwwwwwwwh”, I yawn as nature comes knocking and my bed, beckoning. I pick up a John Grisham bestseller that I’ve been reading for only-God-knows-how-long. This is my last companion for the day, as I lay on my bed reading with sleepy, drooping eyes through the pages.

I can’t see the words any longer, so I put off my bedside lamp and.…..

“Good night”.

Bouncing Back

This morning, I decide to wipe the dust off my writing pad, after months of ineluctable muteness. All slip-ups are not mine – no thanks to the numerous lectures, assignments, examinations, fieldwork, group work, and other “brothers (or are they sisters?) in (h)arms”. Yes, that’s what these activities have been as I agnise the impairments they’ve infringed on my writing rights. Never mind, I’m just trying to push the censure somewhere else. Guess, I’ve to get a working schedule, if I’m to meet up with these obligations.

I realise there’re so many articles to finish up (many still unwritten). I can’t find my scripts and scribbles through which I’ve tried to express my thoughts one time or the other. I decide to tump over the whole room, (furniture, wardrobe and all) looking for bits and scraps of paper. I step back and stare after moments of unrelenting rummaging around – it looks is if a hurricane had just hit this shell! The poor room itself seems to be agonizing from weeks of accumulation of dirt.

Hello, shell”, I soothingly say to it “I promise we gonna do some cleaning-up today. I promise.

Nonetheless, scripts or no scripts, time or no time, I’ve decided to be like that lil’ ever-ready rabbit that just keeps going rat-tat-tat no matter what. That’s my resolve and that’s what I’ll keep to ‘cause I’m bouncing back to these web pages, and this time around, there ain’t no stopping me!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Like a Fleeting Zephyr (Part 2) - A Short Story

Fred could inescapably be described in simple words – happy-go-lucky. An initial notice of him never left an impressive opinion of a striking personality. Brown eyes, a firmly fixed nose, a pair of small lips that twitched intermittently, coupled with a smooth-shaven face did complement his gangling physique.

They met for the first time at an ordinary spot but in an unusual circumstance – a Chicken-and-Chips kiosk.

“Chips please”, they both chorused at the stand ordering for the crispy-looking bouquet of chips, at the same time. Looking inexpressively at each other, Fred offered her a wry smile.

“Please I’m very sorry”, the kiosk-tender alarmed, “this is the last pack I have for today. Just about closing for the day. I guess it’s only one of you that has to take the bunch.”

They involuntarily stared at each other again. “All right”, said Fred, “ladies first.” The kiosk-tender chuckled. “No, c’mon”, exclaimed Amy, “I’d always do without the chips. You go ahead and take the stuff.”

Fred took a mock bow, “I insist.”

The tender giggled out loudly, “Senorita, honour the gentleman’s request. You can have the chips.”

Amy, defeated, unwillingly took the pack, as she fidgeted through her handbag to pay for the snack.

“Care for some mayonnaise or ketch-up?”, the kiosk-tender inquired.

To be continued...

Adewale Ajani

© AMA January 2006

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Like a Fleeting Zephyr (Part 1) - A Short Story

“No. Thanks, Hilda. I think I’d rather stay indoors to read some novels, have some nice burgers and watch some movies. You guys should have a nice time. Cheerio.”

“C’mon Amy,” Hilda replied with an insisting tone, while appraising her swimming trunk in the mirror, “you’ve been very busy with the volunteer group all this while. I think you deserve a break – take some time out at the beach, enjoy the warm radiant sun, meet a couple of guys…”

“I said no!”, snapped Amy. Hilda turned from the mirror and strolled in her direction, with a persuasive look on her face. “Hey, you’ve been unnecessarily edgy about this whole issue. A couple of hours at the resort won’t…”

“No! No!! No!!! Please let me be!” Amy screamed and burst into tears as she ostentatiously flung the hardcover magazine she was reading at an enthralled Hilda, who narrowly missed being hit by the novel by a trifle.

Standing perplexed and confused for a few reclusive moments, Hilda mustered up some courage to approach Amy, who had withdrawn into a niche of her bed, uncontrollably sobbing. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I didn’t mean to do that, but…” she paused, “…you won’t understand.”

Hilda stooped toward her disquieted mate staring at her, obviously carked as well. Eventually, she sat on the edge of the bed dotingly close to assuage the feelings of her perturbed friend. “Amy, it seems there’s more to this issue about going to the beach. I’m quite shocked seeing you reacting like that.” She rhetorically inquired, as she soothingly stroke Amy’s hair. “I know I’m in the dark about something. All this while the feeling won’t go. Please tell me, what’s the bother and whole emotions about?”

Amy looked up. She momentarily stared into Hilda’s extremely bewildered face, searching for an assurance deep within those eyes. Her gaze dropped. “Forget it Hilda. You won’t understand.” Hilda didn’t give up. “Come off it girl. I can’t live with this feeling about you hiding something away from me. It makes me feel creepy and untrustworthy. Please whatever it is, you have a confidant in me.”

Again, Amy burst into tears. “All right, I will”, she mumbled between sobs, as Hilda affectionately drew her toward her bosom, “I will…”

To be continued...

Adewale Ajani

© AMA January 2006

Confessions on a Restroom Floor

Weird as it may seem, I always look forward
To an opportunity of visiting my restroom
Not only to answer nature’s ineluctable call
But to wassail the short privacy and secrecy
Availed me by none but Artemis* herself

Strange are the things I do and cerebrate
As I ticklishly and relievably counterpoise
On the rim of the majestically white throne
To refreshingly eliminate from my bowels
Spin-offs from the process of digestion

Stupefying are the thoughts and cognitions
That vivaciously gush through my intellect
“Eureka!” my mind involuntarily exclaims
As I discover long-searched-for resolutions
To erstwhile intricate daunting life’s issues

These unacknowledged life’s time-outs
Are always cherished and fully optimised
As I bizarrely sojourn in my restroom
With books, scripts, newspapers and all
That ordinarily don’t get my attention

* Artemis is the Greek goddess of nature

Adewale Ajani

The First Time...

So beauteous the sight
Yet so cold the touch
So awesome the feeling
Seeing it the first time

Heard so much about it
Seen pictures of its immaculacy
But nothing can be exhilarating
Touching it the first time

Stepping into it I dread
Yet the longing is irresistible
Inadequate a handful is
Holding it the first time

Boldly I embrace its fall
‘Never seems to suffice you
When you experience the snow
Falling on you the first time

Adewale Ajani
© AMA December 2005