I once had an appointment with a client at her office. I got there a few minutes to 12 noon, as we had agreed to meet at 12, told the receptionist my mission and was asked to take a seat after informing her boss of my presence. To cut the long story short, I ended up waiting for close to 2 hours to see her, and the worst part of it all was that she didn’t think it was necessary to apologize or give me any explanation at all as to why I was delayed for so long, even after I subtly reminded her that I had been around for a while ( it was apparent to me that she wasn’t doing anything of utmost importance). She probably felt since she was way older or of a higher social standing, it would have been ridiculous for her to apologize to me. This was a woman who couldn’t have been less than 60 years old and whom I was meeting for the first time. So much for first impressions!
Before, you criticize this woman, I make bold to say that many of us are like that. Maybe in our own case we would have mumbled a halfhearted apology about being so busy with some documents, or being held up in a meeting that took longer than usual, especially when we feel superior to the person waiting. Bottom line is, we love to carry a false air of importance. It is a Nigerian thing.
I have observed this trend from way back in school, where the really rich kids were quite humble and almost unaware of their parent’s wealth while the ones who were from the other side of the divide would pretend that they were from affluent homes. A girl would have told fibs about living in a mansion in Ikoyi only for a colleague at school to bump into her crawling out from what could pass for a cesspit in Ijora Badia! Now, who’s fooling who? Why do we like to put ourselves under unnecessary pressure? There is nothing wrong in aspiring to wealth as long as we are willing to work towards it, but there’s also a place of being in touch with our present reality.
We live in a country of deluded people. This is particularly true for the nouveau riche. Someone suddenly comes into a bit money and immediately starts walking with a swagger. He believes that he can no longer relate with his old friends as they are not on the same level anymore. For the women, it may be the case of marrying into a wealthy family, it doesn’t matter that she has nothing going on for herself as an individual. She is now better than many of her mates because of her new status. She develops an American, British or Beninese (as long as it is not a Nigerian) accent out of nowhere to compliment the whole package. Yet for others, their delusion of grandeur may result from being in an environment where they are the local champion. As the adage goes “In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is King”, which explains why when surrounded by mediocrity, the most intelligent or influential person in the group assume ( in their myopic mind) that they are the next best thing after electricity. Until they are able to extract themselves from their deceptive cocoon and look beyond their “Ivory tower” to know that many people are far more intelligent and successful, the delusion continues.
The old saying “Empty barrels make the loudest noise” has never been more true…old money doesn’t make noise, the wealth is evident for everyone to see. The likes of Dangote, Adenuga and Bill Gates never talk about their wealth but we all know without an iota of doubt that it is there. Same goes for people who are widely acclaimed for their intellect or talent. if you are truly talented or wealthy you won’t need to herald it, a gold fish has no hiding place.