I miss football. I miss it a lot. Ever since the novel COVID-19 mutated our regular programming, football tournaments, just like every other sector came to an abrupt halt. Aside from those who kick the ball and excite us with their footballing skills, sports commentators have always been a source of fascination for me. So when Jim Beglin sought out his colleague and fellow commentator, Peter Drury on the request of football fans around the world who had missed the latter’s inimitable commentary style, I was excited to catch a (virtual) glimpse of the man behind the voice.
“I feel claustrophobic in here. My kids are driving me crazy. Omo, no how wey I no go comot this house.” Bode said.
He had scrambled for his phone almost as soon as it rang. It was Felix, his longtime friend and colleague at Lion Consulting.
“Hahaha, guy chill. The thing dey affect everybody, but how we go do na, it will soon be over.”
“I’m trying to oh, but mehn, I don tire. Not even with this woman wey de want attention all the time. Abeg I don tire jare.”
Felix rumbling laughter rang through the speaker.
As he hung up, Bode could hear his three kids screaming at one another again. He needed no one to tell him they were involved in yet another scuffle. If they were not arguing about what cartoon to watch, they were fighting whose turn it was to occupy the rocking sofa.
The world is in a state of flux. The sweeping feeling is that of anxiety and confusion. And this time around, the apprehension is not an exclusive lot of a few or some far-flung corner of the universe. No. COVID-19 has distributed and ensconced itself in a way that has continued to confound even the sceptics. One day we were living our lives, going about our businesses with gusto or indifference or lethargy, oblivious of what was around the corner. The next, a strange disease showed up and chucked all our best-laid plans in the bin.
The entire world is in dire straits right now. The uncertainty is palpable and we are almost at the point of resignation to the possibility of darker days ahead. Like a meteorite, a hitherto unknown virus struck with the vengeance of a serial killer. From one country, the Coronavirus has spread its raging tentacles to more than 150. Asia, Europe, and Africa have felt the wrath of the unwanted guest and its unrelenting in its efforts to bring humanity to its knees.
One time, a fellow conducted a Twitter poll. He asked whom people would go for if they were given the chance to decide the winner between their less-talented friend and a stranger whose competence and expertise isn’t in doubt in a contest.
More than eighty percent of respondents indicated that they would vote for their friend. They would rather see their ally win. It was a matter of loyalty. They know their friend and would love to see them succeed despite their glaring shortcomings and the fact that the other person deserves it more.
A first-class king is dethroned unceremoniously. To make matters worse, he is banished from his homeland; the land of his forefathers and a place where he once reigned supreme as paramount ruler. It was jolting news for the majority. The prospect of seeing a revered figure in the person of the Emir of Kano being subjected to such a treatment was not an event many envisaged, but it is no rumour. It happened.
The silence lingered. The park had a sparse human presence. It was Saturday morning, families and picnickers were yet to arrive.
“Hello ma’am, are you Mrs Johnson?”
“Please take a seat, Beatrice.”
“Have we met before?” She asked.
Banke’s lips curved into a smirk. She had prepared for this.
“I have seen you, I know what you look like. Take a seat.”
Beatrice wrapped her dress across her slim frame and sat on the edge of the park bench. She took in the dark-skinned woman who was now only a few inches away from her. She looked to be in her mid to late thirties. Her face was unfamiliar, this stranger regarding her.
He wasn’t prepared for the reaction he got when he posted the video on Twitter. The young lady in the clip needed to quench her thirst but was at a loss as to how the water dispenser worked. After trying to figure out its operation to no avail, she turned to a staff of the company with a sheepish smile to ask for help. The poster went on to body-shame the lady; alluding to her inability to operate something as uncomplicated as a water dispenser even though she had an ample derriere. But he got more than what he bargained for when commenter after commenter condemned his action.
We have been taught to be in a perpetual state of hunger for attainment. We want to be more, achieve more, get better, be wealthy, attain a higher level of influence. I can aver that this is true in my case. I plan to die empty, therefore, I am always looking to be better than I was yesterday. I also realise that life is short, there are no guarantees, and so everyone is essentially in a race against time to do what they have to do before they check out of this realm. There’s nothing wrong with ambition. To be driven is to be eager to self-actualise and contribute value. It’s not a bad thing.