Sometimes, I think we (living in these times) are the luckiest bunch of people since the history of mankind began. At other times, I am not so sure and long for the simpler times when the internet did not exist. Times when there weren’t so many opinions flying around cyberspace; when things were subtler and saner. It’s a ruckus these days; a big, fat whirlwind featuring compulsive showoffs, faux intellectuals, cantankerous characters, and relentless rabble-rousers jostling for prominence on and offline. And as exciting as it is, it gets overwhelming all too often.
The moans from the room grew louder as Ivan approached the side of the three-bedroom bungalow.
He shook his head as he let himself into the sparsely furnished living room and lowered himself into the sofa.
The sounds were louder now. The girl, whoever she was, had a shrill voice that was difficult to ignore.
He leaned back and shut his eyes. It had been a long day, but also a good one.
He needed to nap, but something told him he’d struggle to achieve that with the gymnastics going on inside.
Many times, the disagreements and fights that find their way to the streets of social media are a result of this clash in values. A party reasons a certain way and tries to foist their conviction on others. There’s never going to peace when this happens.
My individualistic leaning also meant I was hardly swayed by friends. Peer pressure was a myth to me even though I saw others struggle with it, and often, I would joke that if there was anyone who would do the pressuring, it would be me.
The reaction to Tope Alabi’s gaffe confirmed my belief yet again that to presume one has loyal friends in the virtual community is by far one of the most naive notions one can possess. People wear a different cloak where they are not physically present, so the genial Janet you converse with at the social club morphs into a savage ogre once she logs into her Instagram account.
But then again, it has become a pattern for our leaders to not weigh the implications before embarking on a course of action. The flirting with bandits and terrorists; offering them the sort of a care package a top executive would envy. The skewed appointments and nepotism, ditching federal character in the mud and leaving qualified persons from other tribes wondering if they are a part of “One Nigeria.” And the neglect of urgent matters such as insecurity and poor health care to dwell on less important ones such as a deleted tweet.
In a society that is obsessed with celebrities, fandom and sharing information no matter how confidential it is, fame and privacy are parallel lines; they do not meet.
I have since learnt not to expect anything impressive from the current government, and it’s not because I am an incurable pessimist. Save for the initial body language that had many of us fooled, the prognosis has never looked good. One only needs to monitor the trend of events to come to terms with reality, but even I was shocked that the death of the very top dog of the Nigerian army, and in such heart-rending circumstances, wasn’t enough to extract a personal showing from his employer.
There are not many things as scary as being one of the vulnerable groups in this part of the world. And by vulnerable, I refer to categories of humans such as children, women, the poor, the old, the orphaned, and even single folks. As a member of any of these groups, you are reminded that you are only a hair’s breadth away from abuse at any given time. Unfortunately, when we think of violence, we are inclined to narrow it down to a man brutalising a woman, we rarely think of it along the lines of the many other people who are prone to this threat to life.
One of the interesting things in life is how two people can be so close, share interests and have great conversations, yet view issues from divergent prisms. A person’s thought pattern influences their outlook on life. It’s what makes them kowtow to popular opinion or hold a different view from the majority. I find that irrespective of the situation a person finds themselves in, their perception dictates their disposition to it.