Saturday, July 24, 2010


In the rush of the day’s work, In the rush of the day, I missed eight phone calls. At 10pm, after filing out from the beats of the Lagos hustle and flow – my workstation can always pay for a remix - I was rescued by the still of the night to return three; one, to my old boss, and two others, to close friends of mine. The rest I sent text messages; the airtime ran out because the first three calls took thirty minutes. I use an.... mobile line.... I refuse the temptation to use my Facebook note to give free advertisement to any network. They have taken enough of my airtime. Anyways, I will return the other calls tomorrow. I wish Steve Jobs will create an application called Flashercatch. That way, one would be able to tell when someone was actually calling or flashing (Naija-speak). Just then my phone rang.

“Hi boyfriend? I have been trying to reach you for like, forever, hey?” The number was an unknown one. But even on drugs, I would spot out that voice from among a thousand similar ones. “Hi girlfriend, why is your number hidden?” I asked. Laide always called me from her phone.

“Oh, sorry!” She hung up. I was about dialling sleep when my phone rang again. It was Laide calling. Well, she seems to have fixed the network problem.

“Sorry, I guess my niece mistakenly edited my call settings earlier when I loaned her my phone,” she said.

“No probs,” I replied.

“But why have you not been picking my calls?”

“My apologies. I’ve had a breeze of a day and I’m still trying to catch my breath,”

“Hmmn, that’s my poet speaking.”

“And that’s my phonetic diva speaking,” I replied. We both laughed. Laide had a complicated accent. She could do American today and tomorrow she goes all British or both at the same time. It must be the effect of frequent transatlantic flights.

“So, how was your day?” I asked

“Stressful. This job’s a bitch,” she replied.

“So what happened to the big fat accounts, exclusive dinners at five star hotels and the juicy contracts?” I asked. Laide works in a bank. But her passion resides in fashion designing.

“Banking was just an escape route for me. If I had to choose, I wouldn’t work as an accountant,”

“But, it tallies with your course of study,” I queried.

“Yes, but I’m not fulfilled anymore here. By the way it’s too stressful and becoming boring with each passing day, or is it just me?”

“No, dearie. Maybe you need a change of location or you’ve been hit by the Big Real,” I said.

“The Big Realization,” I answered. “Where your true passion lies. After all, Stretch is always better than Stress,” I said.

“How do you mean?”

“Stretch is a better word than stress, because when you're stretched, you don't remain the same, cos then you work in tune with time and have access to a pool of unlimited creativity to maximise your potentials. But when you're stressed, you work to burn out time with less creativity that might limit the harness of your potentials. A stressful job always demands more from you than you could give. A Stretchful job is also demanding, but it helps you realise that you could actually do more than you think and so builds your capacity to grow. How much does your job do for you? Does it stretch or stress you?”

“Hmmn,” she replied. I could feel her ears stretching through the earpiece.

“Find your passion and work it out into a career or get a job that suits your passion. However, if you still want to stay in your present job despite it not being in your line of passion, then you must learn the art of reverse application – applying your passion into any job, whether you like it or not. That means you must find new ways of doing the same thing, so that normal routine will become more exciting again. In that way, you get the best out of any ‘stressful’ job. Doing the same thing over and over again is never fun. But hey, there’s always a ring out of routines, you know?”

“Hmmn. Yummy. Your words feel like chocolate to my senses. Where did you get that from, baby boy?” She said with a wink. I could feel it through the earpiece.

“My father,” I replied.

“Should have known. By the way, how come I’ve never met your father?”

“You never said ‘yes’,” I chuckled.

Laide laughed. “But then, I was not ready and by the way....”

The silence triggered laughter from both ends. We both understood this scenario; this road has widely been travelled. We were history together. The end was scripted years ago.

“There was a time I would have given the world for you,” I brought out a lid to close the reminiscences.

“Darling, I had a lot of issues then. I was confused and then my heart was not big enough to contain you then,” she said exasperatedly.

“Okay, I know. But you know I could have requested for an expansion from the Big G, if you allowed me to,” I teased further.

“Whatever,” she said with a tone of resignation and that American drawl. I replied in kind. That thawed the building ice.

“That doesn’t mean I cannot go the whole nine yards for you,” I said.

“Of course, I know, sweet!” she laughed “You, my poet, will always have a special place in my heart,”

“Yeah, thanks,”

“You too, thanks for sharing. You have done my world a whole lot of good. I’m inspired to reinvent myself and my career. Whoa!”

“Glad to hear that. Stay inspired, girlfriend,”

“Sure, boyfriend!” Laide laughed heartily. “Do give my love to Edna,”

“Yeah, sure,” Afterwards, I talked her into making me an outfit. Laide: banker at day, fashion designer by night. I smiled.


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