Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A beautiful mind (two minutes rant)

The curse of the creative mind is in failing to realize, that real life is entirely dissimilar to the talents we flaunt over blank canvases and writing pads.
That the heavens have not given to us the same liberties to recreate realities that we fancy at the ingenious stroke of our impulsive pen.

So we would oft contend with deep disatisfactions, as the world refuses to submit to our own story lines.
Blustering back and forth erratic emotions of the real scripts of life's unapologetic  realities.
And real people that are just people without the expected edges and artistic depths that you would have penned into this tale, this day.

I mean who imagines this setting, and characters that could be so much more classier, and perfect, if she'd given those responses with a certain flair and turned her nose up just a tard inch higher.
That was not the way the story was supposed to end, no it was not.
So you trash yet another script failing to realize that that was another real person and a real situation and real emotions and  real lives beneath penny worth of hapless conversations....

But you didn't write the story, if only you'd written the story. It would have been so much more perfect in my own words.

Two minutes!


Saturday, November 29, 2014

14:14 - Grumpy monday mornings and Tuke's saxy quest

I am not a morning person. I'm a 5pm Friday person :) 

This is me when i wake up on a weekday.
My typical morning routine is to wake at 7.30, snooze till 8, and literally drag my ditzy self to the expresso machine. Then I sit by a high chair looking out the window and slowly induce myself awake with idle daydreams about receiving a random offer to head-up GeeTee Bank in Lagos. All- inclusive with a castle in lekki, a bad a$$ 4x4, and all the perky teller girls lighting up the mornings with sunny-side up smiles. But that is not my reality (at least not just yet), so instead i would dutifully don on five layers of protective clothing, brace myself for the smattering cold and lob along into another day at the office. *Joy*.

All that notwithstanding, this is usually me when I step into the office.

Somewhere in between that two minutes elevator *shoki*, which I totally recommend, a transformation usually occurs wherein I become incredibly awesome. I would step into that office space, own the environment and then it’s all about the Joey Tribbiana “how u doing”, enthusiastic winks and cheerful hi-5’s whilst i grab a fat cup of coffee and settle down for work

You see, it’s been all about that magic two minute attitude transformation in between the elevator and the doorway. But the problem is that these days, I seem to have run out of fairy dust. I would dance myself into a quick frenzy, rocking that elevator shoki, azonto, etighi the whole works, and nothing happens! Instead, I enter the office and find that I’m just another black immigrant, hustling for the dollar. Does anybody else get those days, or is it just me?

So all through the week, i have entertained my office with the un-graceful dramatisation of a disgruntled, discontent Nigerian man. I know and I'm not proud of it, but i just couldn't be asked. All that need to be constantly chirpy and cheerful, is draining, so I simply let the frown linger. The tipping point was when I raised my voice and told this certain self-nominated office class-captain to get the &*# away from the desk, and everyone went quiet. I know. It's been bad. I need to get my act back together. Talk about grumpy old men.

But sticking to the positives and about breathes of fresh air, I recently discovered Tuke’s-Quest’s, which is my quick blog review for this month. Tuke is a saxophonist and a writer, and her blog is ooh yessss very easy to conclude that, if she only posted pictures of zany smiles without any worded expressions, that would be enough to make it an amazing blog page. So I’ll be calling this one, the Happy place. Check out her blog here and thank me later. Tuke’s blog reminds me of Kiah, before she left…and that line from Cab rides and the Morning after, about still beautiful people who are all elsewhere doing impossibly beautiful things. 

And this is what I’ve come to appreciate from doing these new-blog reviews. The fact that blogsville never really did die. Instead, after the sexy ones had become middle aged, in their 12hour life spans*, the magic rightly rolled along into the hands of a fresh generation of amazing people who are telling their own stories in their own way. And it only takes a few seconds to either blink and miss it, or jump right in like...

Intro: The 14-for-14 challange by Janyl. (Click here to familiarize yourelf with the '14 for 14 challenge'). This is my tenth post into that journey.

*Ref: Cab rides and the morning after - Alysia Harris.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

14:14: The #HusbandHustle and the incredible Funmi Reese

Last Friday 7:30am, my dear friend Funmi sauntered into the office, flopped into her desk space, and flashed a gobsmackingly huge shimmering rock in my face, with a toothy grin that declared: ‘Mission accomplished!’ And I concluded with earnest awe, never to doubt a black woman on a mission.

Three months ago, about 9:45pm, just before heading home, and after slaving her twenty-ninth birthday away amidst frustrating spreadsheets and financial reports, Funmi had calmly said to me. ‘T.Notes, I’m ready for an upgrade’. She dragged my chair into her own work area and within ten minutes, drafted out an insane life-planner with the end product of acquiring a boyfriend within one month, getting engaged within three months, and getting married before the end of this year, 2014.Ambitious much?

Now, my friend Funmi is an incredible person. She is super smart; she’s an amazing office-space buddy and she is also super nerdy. That is why we get along. Funmi’s head holds daily updates of interest rates across trading hubs in five major cities - that is how bad Funmi is. But I will be honest, that’s all I saw Funmi as - my super-reliable desk mate with the brains of a financial encyclopaedia. So, as far as I was concerned, unless all of the hosts of heaven had some curious interest in the need for Funmi to get hitched within three months…I only indulged her life-planner that day out of friendly courtesy. So I said a cheerful but very casual amen to her lofty ambitions.

In fact, I remember going home that night with a brief thought of how annoying the odds must be for someone like Funmi. Knowing that she deserved the best, yet would have to do battle against the odds in a world that had become a crazed man-hunt with contenders that were clearly above her league. I have female friends and family who are typically everything a sensible man would want in a woman, but for some reason none was biting. I ruefully thought to myself, ‘Join the boat hun.’ And that’s before even considering the twerkers and the red nose’rs doing critical damage to the righteous expectations of a normal man. I wished Funmi well, with a lot of scepticism.

But I started to doubt my own cynicism when Funmi showed up to work on the Monday morning and Guhua spilled coffee all over his desk. It was like Funmi had crawled away into her financial spreadsheets that last Friday night, and had somehow morphed into this…this…somebody that made our very religious Guhua completely loose his composure that morning. Funmi had ditched the usual flat soles for 6inch high-heeled, patent-black striking boots that demanded attention with every step she took. It appeared that something must have also gone wrong…or very right, with her dry-cleaning, because somehow her regular skirts span had shrunk to such lengths that reminded me of my grandmother’s fervent declarations of Psalms 24 - lift up your heads on ye gates, oh be lifted up ye ancient doors!

Hold on sef! For emphasis, let’s do that properly like how momma used to do it. E gbe ori yin soke, eyin enu-ona. Ki a si gbe yin soke eyin ileku aye-raye. Come on!!! Ok, I did a quick google scroll. But you get the point. And so whilst Guhua had been rendered to fumbling attempts to unglue his eyes from Funmi’s very distracting and revealing thighs, I maintained a more distinguished focus on Funmi’s hair which was now all glossy and bouncy like some Coco-sheen commercial. And her low neckline shoulder-stringed camisole with transparent detail…no one should even be dressed like that in a professional environment. In summary, Funmi was not joking around.

Funmi is a case study, because I entirely agreed that her transformation had caused her intended ripple, or tidal wave to be precise. Her work space suddenly got very busy from that Monday. By midday, her outlook calendar was booked full with raunchy old men suddenly needing to have one-to-one solo meetings with her. It was all very…unbelievable. This was afterall, Funmi, nerdy encyclopaedia Funmi! So l stepped in to do the rightful big-brotherly job of pointing out to her that she was going about things the wrong way! *All wrong, wrong, wrong*! I gathered all my wisdom together and gave her a sharp lecture about how the sorts of men taking this sudden interest in her were clearly only interested in her…external motivations. *All wrong, wrong, wrong, I said to her*! Because there was certainly a whole lot more to Funmi than an easy pair of distracting cleavage. I told her she was selling herself short! She listened to me quietly, then calmly told me to shut up, mind my business and face my Quants.

To sum things up, this is how the things went down. I quickly lost my good ole lunch buddy. *Wrong, wrong, wrong*! I soon stopped asking if Funmi was free for our good lazy lunches at the local jazz hole. On Mondays, Funmi was meeting up with some random James, Kunle or Otis. On Tuesdays, her whatsapp was already buzzing by 11:30; on Wednesdays, she was receiving confirmations for table for two dinner bookings. Random strangers were now chatting her up on the tubes and exchanging digits…and such was the life. And all of this happened within a couple of weeks. The transformation was otherworldly but the #husbandhustle was real, and I almost started to detest this very intentional stranger.

But they say the end justifies the means yeah? And that’s how Funmi has always been. She’s a go-getter, a strategist, an unyielding hothead. Funmi is the kind of analyst who presents a single view recommendation, unlike the rest of us mortals who provide options 1,2,3 and 4 and try to convince the world that either option 1...or...2 may be the best option. But not Funmi. Funmi does her research, aligns her steps towards her intentions and gets the singular result she was after from the very beginning. #NoWastingTime. But that’s always been all good and dandy from the professional stand-point. You shouldn’t approach serious matters such as marriage like any other Funmi-firebrand project, right yeah?! Or, why not?

But last Friday, I watched my hot-head friend settle into her desk, with that massive engagement ring literally blinding me as she calmly refreshed her previous life-planner and started re-working it into a wedding plan. I do not get it. But nonetheless, I take back my previously ignorant words and bite my own tongue here to publicly acknowledge that people like Funmi, are beyond any doubt, simply legends. Yes, there i said it. Satisfied?

All that said, my blog review for this month is the incredible Funmi Reese, whom you should zippy over to check out her page, particularly if you might be interested in the full details of how to snag an engagement ring in three months. Here is my subtle disclaimer. Given that Funmi is quite a popular name, if you happen to know the one I have referred to here, and she stylishly denies your questions, just wink three times and tell her T.Notes sent you.

*P.S: This is a long post, so I have not done my edit due-diligence, so excuse any errors. I am not likely to be correcting them any time soon. Lol!*

Intro: The 14-for-14 challange by Janyl. (Click here to familiarize yourelf with the '14 for 14 challenge'). I recently accepted this challenge to go on a quest searching for brand new blogs...with the bull-headed conviction that all creativty is not lost within the nigeria-blogsphere. And also desperate to prove that, contrary to recently popular opinion, not all of the new blog pages are uninteresting (to put it mildly). This is my ninth post into that journey.

Monday, October 20, 2014


This post is wrong on many levels - I know.

I was having lunch today with two other Nigerian mates,
And conversations briefly veered into @sugarbelly's mildly controversial tweet.
The one about the minimum take-home she would consider from a man living and working in Nig, (in view of the costs of living in Nig).

So we decided a do a simple exercise.
We worked out the minimum monthly pay on that lunch table,
Whipped out a calculator, converted it to Naira and compared the result to the 'controversial' amount being tweeted about.

Somebody on the table coughed.
Another person asked me to pass the ketchup,
Then we moved on to talk about the weather.

Father forgive me.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

In a different life...

He knew that this day would come. They had discussed it countless times, yet it seemed now that none of all that rehearsal prepared him for the pain that was searing through his heart. She had promised to find his eyes amongst the congregation and pitch a smile his way, just to let him know that she remembered his pain, and was feeling the same too. But her eyes were all lit up and focused only on the man who held her into a warm embrace…and kissed her...with such tenderness.

The congregation cheered as the priest announced the newly married couple. But he didn’t clap; instead he stretched out slightly, so she could catch his eyes, and smile at him. She didn’t. She didn't...and the palpitations in his heart seemed to drown out everything else, as the stark reality of the events unfolding finally struck hard. His hand found its way involuntarily to clutch at the dulling ache in his chest. 

“Are you ok dear?” His own wife who stood next to him, enquired with concern.

He stifled the wretched lump in his throat, dropped his hand and lied, “Yes…yes love. I’m fine.”

HD's question: Why is he waiting for a smile?

Image Source: Etsy

Monday, September 29, 2014

14 for 14: Faithless....and Dew.....

Some days, i find it extremely difficult to believe any of it.

When you consider from a rational,
or moderately sensible point of view,
It fails to make much sense.
(But then, what really is the alternative?)

This whole idea of Faith.
Sometimes all it appears to be is a weak crutch,
Cozy tales to make journies easier to bear.
(Like a flickering light to appease the soul through darkness.)

Most days I'd stutter if i tried to explain it.
And the lame'est faithless would crush my feeble apologetic,
to the corner of a tiny defenseless whisper:
(I don't know, I just believe it...somehow)

And whilst some days the best I can do is to keep trudging along,
Muttering my own faithless tired song,
Yet faithfully so, in my seeming faithlessness.
(So Faithless still, there it remains perched, unyielding)

Like an unending glisten of Dew,
Like one certain unyielding nutter of a blogger,
Who talks about apples and crosses,
(One fine crystal droplet at a time, unrelentless, faithful.)

Some days...

Swimming in winter audio: John Piper.

Intro: The 14-for-14 challange by Janyl. (Click here to familiarize yourelf with the '14 for 14 challenge'). I recently accepted this challenge to go on a quest searching for new blogs...with the bull-headed conviction that all creativty is not lost within the nig-blogsphere. And also desperate to prove that, contrary to recently popular opinion, not all of the new blog pages are uninteresting (to put it mildly). This is my ninth post into that journey.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Please leave your accents in the office car parks on fridays.

I went out for a karaoke party with a bunch of unfamiliar friends, and everybody spoke with an accent.
Problem was...everybody in that room was Nigerian,
and the minimum age that any of these people had relocated was at the very least, fifteen.

So i watched, alternating between amusement, to bewilderment, to a tinge of irritation,
wondering why Nigerians were faking foreign accents to Nigerian friends,
As one over-dressed female would speak to her male partner - with a twang,
and the boyfriend/husband would reply her in like manner, also chewing on his tongue,
then her female friend would cackle in a fit of OMG's, before carrying on the banter.

I thought to myself, like seriously?
Even the men have time for this iranu?!
So there i was wondering if this was a very unusual East London Nigerian community thing,
or if i had been completely out of the loop of social etiquettes amongst Nigerians living abroad?

Oh, i love the Nigerian gift of being able to swing accents as required,
and how easily we're able to fake it to blend in.
I think it's a charming skill...and i've had a few indian friends enviously agree.

I think it is of particular benefit in the office environment, or the multinational social settings.
But i'll never for the life of me understand what happened in that Karaoke bar that night.
Who anybody was trying to impress,
If i had missed out on the memo to come and act stupid,
or if i just dreamt up the whole disgrace amongst grown-up folks.

I conluded that there are three types of Nigerians living abroad.
These Karaoke bar bunch, who don't have the common sense to leave the accents behind when meeting up with Nigerian mates,
The late bloomers who think that everywhere is Isale Eko - the types that give everybody a headache when they are taking a phone call on public transport,
And the sensible ones somewhere in between.

I think that...

There is something about a Nigerian girl's unapologetic accent and laughter that is just absolutely fantastic. One of the reasons i listen to Tosin Bucknor's radio show on a random thursday morning.

Photo credit: www.josenavarronyc.com

P.S: I agree, the word verification thing is annoying, so yes, i'll turn it off for a while and see how that works.