THE TABLE AND TIME!!

It was the stare off of the decade!

There I was, sitting across the table with trembling eyelids begging to be shut for a second, with eyeballs teary from all the wind that was getting into it.

Seated on my table was my laptop staring back at me in all its brightness unmoved by my shaky state. The timer for its hibernation when left untouched had been set to five minutes. How five minutes had not lapsed baffled me. I felt like I had been staring for twenty minutes already. I groaned inside as tears began to form on my eyeball. In seconds, there was enough to fall from my eyes onto my face.

By now, I could hear the pleas of my brain to shut my eyelids. With a determination fuelled by my unflinching laptop, I kept them open. I lasted another ten seconds and that was it. I could not take it anymore. I wanted to scratch my eyes so badly and wipe the tears that were now flowing uncontrollably off my eyes and face.

My laptop had won. I had lost to a machine. I was a sore loser. I laughed out loud as these ridiculous thoughts filled my head. I was being very silly.

Why had I entered a staring contest with my laptop again? Oh yes! The words on my laptop’s screen were not making any sense to me. I had mouthed the words several times to make them make a little bit of sense but to no avail. My jotter where I scribbled those words lay on my table by my laptop. When all efforts to comprehend the anatomy jargon proved futile, I resorted to staring. There was a slim chance that staring long and hard at anatomy’s puke would make it come alive in my brain. I took that chance. I stared and stared. Out of nowhere, the thought of outstaring my device popped in my head and for almost five minutes, I left my eyes wide open.

Then, I was back to reality. Anatomy was my reality. Slowly, I read the first few words of the page aloud.

“The superior vena cava (SVC) returns blood from all structures superior to the diaphragm, except the lungs and heart…”

Even as I did, my mind remained transfixed on the word “returns”. There was something about the word, something awfully familiar. I felt like I had to do something about the word. I could not continue to the next sentence until I figured out why the word meant so much.

As I picked up my phone to look at the time, it hit me. “Returns” was a song my friend had sent to me the previous day. He asked me to listen and share my thoughts on the song. I reached for my headphone and connected it to my phone. I slouched and put both my legs on my reading table as the melody of the song filled every inch of my inner ear. Oh it was such a good song. It was so good that I did not realize how soon it took for it to get to its end. Playing it one more time should not hurt, should it?

I must have played the song at least ten more times when the realization that I had not made it past the first paragraph of the page I was in my anatomy text jolted me. Hastily, I disconnected my headphone, took my legs off the table and sat upright. Angry at the fact that I had just wasted forty five minutes of my time on frivolities, I grabbed my pen and started to copy my text into it. With that renewed resolve, there was no stopping me. I was going to read three pages without pausing for a break, not even a water break. If I had to go, I would hold it in till I was done with those three pages. Yes! That was the moment! The moment anatomy was going to make sense.

I must have scribbled in my jotter for almost a minute when my phone beeped notifying me of a message that had just come in. No! Nothing was going to stop me, not even a text from anyone. But then, anyone could be anyone. It could be Dad who had promised to send in money that day. It could also be my supervisor asking me to submit my write up. Both suspects were capable of sending a message at such an ungodly hour. I sighed heavily as I dropped my pen and picked up my phone. It was not going to take too long. If it was not Dad or my supervisor, the text was going to have to wait.

I laughed out loud as I read the text. It was from a friend who was a fan of a rival football club. Through his text, he threw soft jibes at me and my football club over a loss to a smaller team in the league the day before. I quickly sent in a reply telling him to back off and focus on his club. I dropped my phone and was about to return to anatomy when a message from him came in again, only this time, it was a voice note. I had to listen to it. For the second time that night, I reached for my headphones, plugged it in and listened as he went on about how abysmal my club had been all season. I was not having any of that. I could not just seat back and watch his mocking remarks go without a reply. If anything, his club had been far from decent all season. I had to give him a piece of my mind. No, texting was not going to do enough justice. I had to reply with a voice note. We went back and forth for a while.

One time, when he did not reply as fast as he had been doing, I exited the messaging application and randomly browsed through my phone. It was then the Bird app icon decided to enter its stare off with me. I stared at it, it stared right back. The silence in that spell was deafening. In that stillness, it called out to me softly. It told me that it was not going to take up to five minutes of my time. It said to give it just a tap. What harm could a tap do? It asked. I sighed heavily and assured myself that it was not going to take up to five minutes. I was just going to check the trends and that was going to be it. I glanced at the clock across the room. It was 4:38am. Doing the math, by 4:43am, I should drop my phone and return to my study. I decided to extend it by two minutes, 4:45 just seemed perfect.

I looked up at the clock again. The time was 4:53. How had twenty minutes gone by so fast? It felt like I had been on the Bird app for only five minutes. Okay, just another seven minutes. At 5am, there will be no stopping me. For the second time that night, I slouched on my seat and put both my legs on the reading table.

It was 5:02am. Another three minutes and I will be all anatomy’s.

I gasped as I raised my head to look at the clock. I threw my phone on the bed, took my legs off the table and sat upright and revived my hibernated laptop. I hissed and cursed at the Bird. Why was time never patient? Why did it fly so fast? At that point, all I wanted was a knife to cut the wings of time and keep it from flying ever.

Until then, I had only been able to read a single paragraph out of the… I hurriedly checked the number of pages left. 157 pages! How had I not known that this was a 157 page text? To make matters worse, the font was ridiculously small. I was livid.

My back hurt from all the slouching. I decided it was time I moved to my bed to ease the pain. I put a pillow up against the wall while I rested on it. I put my laptop on my lap while my jotter was by my side. I bit my pen when it dawned on me that I had to go over the paragraph I thought I was done with.

About ten minutes in that position, I realized it was getting cold. I pulled my blankets up to my thighs. The back pain had still not gone. For that reason – not that I was getting sleepy or anything – I took the laptop off my lap, put it by my side, took my pillow off the wall, placed it rightly at the head of the bed, lay down, put my head on my pillow and pulled my blanket up to my chest.

Perfect. Just perfect. In this position, nothing was going to stop me, absolutely nothing.

The sound of my pen dropping onto the floor from my bed woke me up. I took one look at my laptop and hissed. I managed to place it on my reading table without really leaving my bed. A pang of guilt hit me. Almost immediately, I suppressed the feeling by consoling myself with the fact that exams were not until two weeks which was just enough to complete a fifty seven page text of anatomy jargon.

Under my blanket, I ran into sleep’s warm embrace to be ushered into dreamland.

NIGERIAN MENTALITY 2: ALTERNATIVE BIRTHING METHODS!!

My people, my people, how una dey? How body? Hope say una dey kampe! I been think say I no get part 2 on top this matter but as e be like this, part 2 don land brekete! Lol!! Okay let’s get serious! This pidgin thing is not for me at all. Lol. 

I was watching something on YouTube the other day and I was surprised to know that people still think this way. I was and I still am wowed.

Caesarean section (CS) is not a taboo. I feel the need to say it again, CS is not a taboo! IVF is not a taboo! Surrogacy no be taboo!

How do you open your mouth and ask someone ‘na natural birth or na artificial birth?’ Like what?! Or ‘I know you are a lazy girl, so that is why you did CS.’ ‘The job no complete, she no push am.’ Sadly, a lot of people speak in the nonsense regularly. And we condone a lot of the nonsense as well. We need to keep this filterless people in check regularly.

Caesarean section, C-section, or Caesarean birth is the surgical delivery of a baby through a cut (incision) made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. IVF is a medical procedure whereby an egg is fertilized by sperm in a test tube or elsewhere outside the body. Surrogacy is an arrangement, often supported by a legal agreement, whereby a woman agrees to bear a child for another person or persons, who will become the child’s parent after birth.

I think we should be thankful to God that there are multiple ways a woman can have a child rather than tearing people down. Do you know what people are going through? Some women don’t have a uterus and hence can’t carry a baby. Some women have an illness that will not permit them to have a normal vaginal delivery. And some don’t just want a vaginal birth, they have elective c-sections, and guess what? It is their choice to make!

It is completely okay to want to have a natural birth, to want to give birth like a Hebrew woman, that’s fantastic! It is in no one’s place however, to embarrass people or make other women feel less because of their birthing options. 

A child is brought into this world and that is valid. Surrogate baby or CS baby is not written on the child’s forehead. There is too much stigma attached to what there should be exposure to. People need to get informed! Congratulate new parents; it is not your business to know what kind of birth they had. That the child is here and healthy is what you should care about. Do not even get me started on the ones that want to know the sex of the child before they tell you congratulations or the ones that stress you in your period of wait.  

Honestly, the journey to parenthood can be different for everybody. Spend more time spreading love rather dabbling into things you have zero knowledge about.

Stay blessed people!

AFOMA & Queen N.

CHRISTIAN VIBES: GOD IS ALWAYS WORKING!!

One of the songs that has thoroughly blessed me this season is ‘Way Maker’ by Sinach. A particular line in a cover goes like this ‘even when I don’t see it You’re working, even when I don’t feel it You’re working, You never stop, you never stop working.’

The song has been a real blessing, confirming the goodness of God. God is good in all situations. I mean, all situations because that is His person, He is good!

In a bid to unwind and let go of some stress, I went on YouTube and clicked on a Nigerian movie, more like series -about 8 episodes. For whatever reason, I wanted to see how it was going to end (it wasn’t that interesting). Let me give you the gist.

The mother-in-law (MIL) hated the daughter-in-law (DIL) and her son was a cheat, but he ‘loved’ his wife (I have never been able to understand this mentality). The MIL did everything to try to drive the DIL out of the house. She went as far as sending men to seduce her DIL with the hopes of collating pictures that would defame her character. However, her plans failed repeatedly.

On a particular occasion, the man was playing the part of an important businessman who was interested in the DIL’s company and insisted on having the meeting at a hotel. 

The man got there ahead of time and was chilling. He employed the help of his friend to play the role of his personal assistant. DIL arrived and was speaking to the ‘businessman’ when the ‘PA’ interrupted the meeting and signaled the ‘businessman’ to leave. The PA later told his friend that the lady was actually a good woman and shouldn’t be set up in that manner. That’s how she was saved from disgrace and interestingly, she might have thought she just lost a good business deal.

But that’s the point, resting in the love of God reassures you that no matter what happens, you win! Even if we don’t see it or understand it, we always win through God.

She won that day without even raising a sling.

Rest in the Lord always. He is good!

AFOMA.

MATTERS ARISING: EPISODE 7!!

The Art of Comedy Josh Talker

Many people ask me questions about Nigerian comedy, is it possible to learn it, how is the joke process like, why do they have “sensitive” materials and tell other comedians jokes. In the episode I try to answer some of those questions. Enjoy
  1. The Art of Comedy
  2. Matters Arising : A “WOKE” Generation
  3. Matters Arising : Mental Awareness ( Depression, Anxiety, PTSD etc )
  4. Let’s Talk Relationships ( The Conclusion, Part 2 )
  5. Let’s Talk Relationships ( The Beginning, part 1 )

On today’s episode, the Art of Comedy is addressed. JoshTalker is into comedy and has been asked a few interesting questions every now and again. In this podcast, he addresses some of those questions. We hope you enjoy the conversation.

28!!

audio version

My phone beeped as it notified me of a text from an unsaved number. I was hesitant to open the text as my stomach reminded me that there were more important things to be worried about. In less than five seconds, I reached for my phone and opened the text. Despite my ravenous state, a smile forced its way to my lips. Like a dam that had been opened, my head was flooded with memories.

It was the second term of my second year in Senior Secondary School. Usually around this time of the term, elections were conducted for various prefect posts. The third year students who occupied the posts were busy with preparations for terminal exams so they had little or no time to dispense their respective duties.

One by one, a number of my friends and colleagues picked up forms to indicate their interests in running for different posts. A few posts had just one candidate in the running, some had two and others three. Judging by popularity, it was easy to tell the students who were going to win by a landslide from those who were going to have it tough. Subtle and loud campaign strategies were made here and there. My friends who were normally hostile to the junior students suddenly became friends with them.

In all of these, I put up an apathetic mien. However, deep down, I was toying with the idea of running for a post. What’s more? It was not just any post; it was that of the position of the Head boy. One person had filled his form and had started campaigning. Although it was unspoken, a number of boys were expected to run. I strongly doubted I was in that list not because I was not fit to run but because I lacked the social traction for it. I was not as popular as those boys were as I kept to myself most of the time. Then again, I was a proven leader. I met all of the particularly high requirements for the position. In fact, I had been the class captain for over a year and if I say so myself, I was doing a decent job at it, so why not? I discussed with a few of my friends who encouraged me to go for it. They decided that with the right campaign strategies, I could whip up the needed support needed to win. My parents were not left out in all of these. My dad particularly gave me moral support and told me I was going to make a fine Head boy.

And so, on the day of deadline for submission of forms, I hurried to the staffroom to obtain mine, ran back to my class, hastily filled the form and went back to submit. On getting to the staff room, I met one of the very popular boys who was expected to run for the post I was running for. He too had come to submit. I managed to steal a quick glimpse at his form and what I saw only confirmed my suspicion. He wanted to be the Head boy. In that moment, I wanted to do a 360 degree turn, head back to my class and rip my form to shreds but somehow, my feet denied my wish. Instead, I proceeded to hand it over.

I knew what I was up against. With my relatively low social presence among students, I knew that if I was to stand any chance against either of my opponents, I had more work cut out for myself. We were all required to pass a screening test which we did. From then, my campaign swung into full gear. With the help of my friends, I went from class to class during the lunch break period to campaign. I felt welcomed in some classes as they paid rapt attention to me. I was met with hostility in most. It did not help matters that most of the junior students did not know the first thing about me. One even swore he had never seen me. While speaking in a class one day, I was interrupted by cheers from the other class. Upon investigation, it was my opponent that caused the hullabaloo. I had never been given such reception. The most I got was a round of applause after my speech. At the cafeteria, the thought of mounting a table and making a dramatic speech on why I should be elected the head boy crossed my mind so many times. It remained a thought that never became reality.

I prepared a well thought out speech for the day we were required to present our manifestoes. I rehearsed my speech severally in front of my mirror, friends and parents. Places I needed adjustments were pointed out to me and I did well to make those adjustments. On the manifesto day, I was called upon first. I shivered as a cold chill ran down my spine. As I took those steps to mount the stage, my feet felt wobbly. I started to feel dizzy. My hands were shaky and dripping with sweat. I paused, took a deep breath. No, that never worked for me. I was still nervous. It did not help matters that there was a pin drop silence all over. I took hold of the microphone and started my speech in spite of my state. Somehow, in the middle of it, my confidence was restored. My hands were not shaky anymore and my voice carried a little bit of authority as I wanted it to. I rounded off my speech to the applause of everyone. I even got more reception than I thought I would. Things may not turn out so bad after all.

Again, my hopes were dashed when the third contestant was called upon. His name had barely left the moderator’s lips when a loud ovation followed. It was five times what I got. He had the backing of everyone. His speech was adorned by cheers from every side of the large hall. I thought the roof was going to come off. It was difficult to restore decorum when he was done. I was trying so hard to stay positive. I slouched in my seat once the reality hit me: there was no stopping him. I was certain he was going to win. All I could do was hope that he would not win by a large margin.

The day of election came. I think I was just emotionless that morning. I had accepted my fate already. Academic activities were suspended at noon to allow students cast their votes. Once I was handed the sheet on which I was to tick the names of my preferred candidates, I heaved a heavy sigh. It was so heavy that a number of my colleagues turned to look at me. Embarrassed, I proceeded to tick the names of the students I wanted in the various prefect posts, mine inclusive.

The result of the election was not one I looked forward to. Nonetheless, the days flew by very quickly and the day for the announcement of the results came. It was to be announced during assembly. On that day, I wished desperately for a downpour so that there would not be an assembly to announce the result. Well, you know the saying about beggars and horses. So, no, there was no downpour.

After the prayers were said and the national and school anthems were sung, the principal mounted the podium and began to speak. I think I turned deaf because I could not make out most of what she was saying. I just stood there nervously biting my nails.

I only began to hear her when she slowly started to reveal the results of the election. The post that was contested for, the names of students who ran and the number of votes each had. In that order, on and on she went until she got to the post of the head boy. By then, my palms were dripping with sweat. She called our names. Next it was the number of votes each of us had. I thought I saw a small smile creep up her face. Of course, the boy with the loudest applause on manifesto day had 198 votes. The third person running had 98 votes. I swallowed hard knowing that the number of my votes would be called next.

28

A hush swept over the hall. The rains had denied me one request. I was hoping the floor would not disappoint because more than anything, I wanted it to open up and swallow me whole.

I felt a soft tap on my shoulder. My friend had returned with the food I asked him to buy. Relieved that I was going to put an end to my stomach’s growling, I grabbed a spoon and dove into the food. After downing half the content of the plate, I picked up my phone and stared at the text that had made me smile earlier. It read;

“Long time 28. How you dey?”

TOMI