I was the queue at the Department store today waiting to pay for my items when this woman a few yards away started shouting to the checkout assistants;
“Hey girl! hey girl!”
The woman in her sixties had a very strong Nigerian accent; she wore ankara with a turtle neck sweater on the inside and a long coat on the outside. Her gele was tied in a way that completely covered her ears.
“Hey you girl, hey you!” She continued very loudly. “Have you got Longjohns?!”
Pardon? The assistant had a can’t-you-see-I’m-serving others-attitude along with a why-don’t you-come-closer-so-you-don’t-have-to-shout? look.
Me? Embarrassed, but only slightly. I wavered between thoughts of directing her to Uni Qlo where thermals are sold, costing me my place in the queue and staying put, hoping she stopped her shouting. I chose the latter. I chose the latter because thanks to Mutallab I have not been in a very patriotic mood. I have not been too keen on aligning myself with fellow Nigerians, even if it was just to offer help. I thought of ways in which I could successfully fly under the radar. From reverting to my maiden name and a first name I’m not fond of, to claiming Ghana as my motherland. At least the Ghanaians are a calmer bunch. They don’t shout, brag or do 419 (not that much anyway). I will be sad to curb my enthusiastic association with Nollywood, Ovation magazine and designer rice and stew, but at least I enjoyed it when it lasted. Since I don’t attend Naija parties, I won’t be missing 40 year old bald men in tight jeans trying desperately to look 23, or the Naija-London babes with weaves down to their bums almost wearing shimmering mini-dresses. I look forward to the mouth-watering culture of Kenkey and shito, I binged on it while I was pregnant with child #4 so I’m well versed. I will also finally learn how to speak Twi, that way Suzy and I can at last gist to the exclusion of all others present.
In the end I chose not to deny my people, instead I will face up to the fact that hailing from a country where one person chose to have illogical idealolgies that resulted in him attempting to blow up NWA flight 243 is not the worst thing in the world. It is just one individual. Nigerians are not only shocked but dismayed and are certainly not in support of that sort of behavior. Come to think of it the population of the country is so high, the odds are there will be at least one nut-case. In fact I think we’ve done quite well 1 terrorist in every 151,319,500 people isn’t that bad, statistically speaking if the only requirement for being a terrorist was to be a Nigerian, and all the world was Nigeria, we would have a grand total of 44 terrorists in the entire world.
After paying for my goods I felt guilty that I didn’t help mama. Thankfully I found her in another part of the store and gave her very clear directions on where to find Longjohns. Not only that but I said goodbye to her with “God bless you ma” and the sweetest smile, you know how we love respect! It felt good.