Someone to talk to. A concept that is simple and seemingly common but in reality, hard to find. What we consider conversation most times is idle chit-chat; small talk that holds no weight. But the baring of the soul, no holds barred exchange with another is a rarity. At a time when trusting associates with private information is a precarious venture no thanks to the trend of letting it all out on social media, the circumspect keep their most treasured thoughts tucked in the recesses of their heart. They would rather it killed them than run the risk of spilling to someone who might divulge it to others.
I am in a state of wavering disbelief right now. I am having a hard time believing I have actually blogged for five whole years! Every week, every Wednesday, I have shared my thoughts, feelings and opinion on wide-ranging subjects—when I was excited—and when the last thing I wanted to do was write. I have battled the imposter syndrome; written essays that barely got a hundred views and been misunderstood for my blogging intentions. But I have also enjoyed unbelievable goodwill from strangers: people who overestimated my talent and called me a genius.
Last weekend, he hit the 20-goal mark for a sixth successive Premier League season. His name is Sergio Kun Aguero, and he is the epitome of consistency. Aguero’s lone goal was the difference between league title contenders, Manchester City and hard-to-beat Burnley Football Club. The Argentine is only the second ever player to return 20 goals or more six times in a row in England’s elite football competition. The goal that helped him equal Thierry Henry’s record was not spectacular, but it was effective. One man doing what he knows how to do best. Doing it well. And more importantly, doing it consistently.
I find the bandwagonism that pervades the virtual space annoying. It only takes one influential social media personality to say something and their horde of followers are quick to lap it up. The dearth of independent thinking—the ability to analyse an issue dispassionately—and put forward a personal opinion is a reality of these times. Whether it pertains to more serious issues like police brutality, ethnic or racial profiling, gender discrimination, or matters of less importance such as the debate regarding who’s the greater legend between Michael Jackson and Beyonce, people are often inclined to pitch their tent where the greater population leans. But things have begun to change.
My friend request still lingers on his Facebook profile.
Now I know it’ll never be accepted.
When rumours of his death began to gain traction on social media, I was slightly alarmed but quickly dismissed it as the usual negative excitement that often accompanied bad news in the virtual space. Knowing that people have a penchant for peddling fake news because they cannot be bothered to wait for credible news sources to report events, I muttered a prayer in the hope that it emanated from some mischief-loving individual.
And then it was confirmed.
The gloves are off and the fangs are out. Caution has been flung to the wind and we have arrived at a time when people have no care for the sensitivity of others. You’ll have to be living under an escarpment to miss this trend. As the 2019 elections draw closer, supporters of political parties have grown more desperate to see that their opponents do not gain the upper hand in the jostle for the approval of the electorate. A mash-up of this with the growing discourteous tendencies of young people is snowballing into a society where respect and civility are going extinct.
Last Saturday, a group of young women (and a few men) staged a peaceful protest at Yaba market in Lagos. It was a march premised on a simple admonition: “Do not touch us. Stop harassing women and young ladies who come to the market to shop for clothing items or who are simply walking by. Desist from groping females under the guise of attempting to get them to patronise you.” The women had had enough. The harassment of females at the market was a disturbing trend that had been perpetuated for far too long, and if anything, it’s surprising that no one had thought to do something about it until now.
Once I was chatting with someone who mentioned their aversion for hanging around old people. By old people, he meant those aged 60 and above. “What would we talk about?” He added. This individual just couldn’t fathom being stuck in the same space as a senior citizen for too long. His thinking—they were generations apart—so there’s really no point of intersection in their realities that would make for interesting conversation. I smiled, then reminded him that he would most likely be in the position of the older person one day and wondered how he’d feel if some youngster said the same thing he had just voiced.
Time was when jumping buses was normal. One took bikes, tricycles and weather-beaten yellow buses to every destination. Engaging the services of taxis was a luxury because pockets were shallow, every kobo had to be accounted for. But time…time soon took care of the transition and the Danfo-hopping plebeian could get her own private means of transportation. Nothing fancy, just something decent enough to signify progress and put a permanent end to contending with sweaty bodies and aggressive commuters for limited spaces in public transportation. Now, she could have her privacy; play the kind of music she wanted and not have to endure the cacophony that bus drivers mistook for good music.
It happened on Tuesday morning. Traffic had begun to build up as commuters tried to make their way to work. Traffic had slowed to intermittent stops as it approached the railway intersection. The time was about 6.15 am, there was still plenty of time for the driver to make the office without being adjudged late. As the car inched closer to the tracks, there was some noise…incoherent at first, and then louder, with an accompanying wave of frantic hands as a couple of pedestrians jogged in the direction of the cars who were trying to meander through fellow motorists to get to the other side of the road.