Saturday, June 9, 2007

"Can I Help You?"

I’ve been trying to write my final year project, read for my 1st Semester exams (8 courses), come up with a really good short story to submit to The Okigbo Review, keep a patch of Nigeria clean, and I have come to the following conclusions:
* Multi-tasking is not as interesting as some people make it sound
* Multi-tasking is not for me.

More Proof:

My mother and I thought it would be a good idea to get some snacks at J & G (a nice fast-food and African-dish place) after church one Sunday. I also needed to get a packet of biscuits for my Sis. (I ate the one she’d bought the day before, only to realize that she wanted to offer it to a friend of hers the next day- Sunday).

My mother parked in front of the place and I promptly got out, got the snacks, crossed the street, walked some distance, found an open store, purchased the said item and sighed happily. So far, so good.

I began the brisk walk back to the car, all the while watching for a safe opportunity to cross the road. I noticed 3 or 4 newspaper boys eagerly trying to sell newspapers to my mother. They has effectively blocked her window.

Ah! Thank God, I thought, cuz you see, my mother keeps telling me to be careful when I cross the road. She even holds my hand, and when there’s the constraint of distance, she watches me like a hawk and sometimes freely shouts advice at me. (In a bid to encourage me to learn the fine art of road-crossing, she once told me about an Okada (Biker) man that “broke one girl’s legs completely”. Hm).

She says and does all this because she firmly believes that I cannot cross the road, and indeed it has a great element of truth. (Unfortunately, too, one day she witnessed this inadequacy as we were out shopping. I was nearly hit by a biker and car at the same time). Enough said.

While I kept watching out for a safe opportunity to cross the street, I kept glancing at the car to make sure the newspaper boys were still blocking her view, all the while thinking, Since when did she start buying newspapers? Hm. Walk faster, sha. These shoes make me walk funny. Or lemme just cross the road now-now…Thank God I got the biscuit. What are we going to cook when we get home? Can’t I cross now…

To cut the story short, I crossed the road and was just too glad to ponder over the fact that as I approached the car, the windows started sliding up.

Oh… I didn’t know her car could do that automatic window thing, I thought not-very-brightly. (This is a car she has had for 5 years now).
I got in, happy as ever, and then I heard a strange, bass voice say in a very unfriendly tone:


My heart must have stopped, skipped a beat, frozen or what-ever they usually say. I’m not sure I replied at all, and I was out of the car as fast as a bullet.


The newspaper boys were laughing hard, as is expected, and the few people present were watching me in amazement as I stood there, dazed. I remember putting my hand on my mouth – the classic Western expression of lady-like horror (thank God for ‘secondary reflexes’).

A similar white Benz parked in the exact spot my mother had parked. What a terrible coincidence. So where was she???

Confusion set in, but I managed to look composed (I believe) as I searched for her car.

Ah! Look at her there! Relief!
The car was parked far ahead, directly opposite the store I’d just left, and my mother was seriously waving her hands to get my attention... ever since I left the store, she told me later.

She’d wanted to spare me the walk back to the car, but I guess I needed the lesson on the pitfalls of doing/thinking too many things at the same time.
But then again, I don’t seem to have learnt the lesson at the moment…Tsk tsk.