Walking into the phone store in the bowels of the big sprawling mall that sits right next to the hell-hole I currently work at, my eyes are drawn to one of the lads at the till. My first impression is that he is Nigerian – what with his thick lips and his quick and easy smile. I am in-store to activate the 6 month’s free internet that should have come with the phone I bought. After much haranguing from my cousin about my being notoriously difficult to catch, I agreed to buy a blackberry – even though I am well aware of the madness being pinged at odd hours can cause.
It is just after 12 noon, and the store is almost empty – besides me there are only two other people, a clearly bored mom and her excited son merrily zooming and pinching away on one of the tablets on display. The lad at the till reads my hesitation, and in a few quick steps he is next to me. ‘Any thing I can do for you sir?’ he asks.
His voice is soft, almost girl-like in its quality. I note a slight inflection, that uniquely Nigerian blend of British, American and goodness-knows-what-else accents, picked up [I dare say] from watching too many late night sitcoms. Up close, I notice the barely discernible facial marks, he sports. His name tag bears the particularly bland moniker ‘Chris’, hardly helpful in my attempt to place him. I explain my dilemma, he listens and then heads back to his console motioning for me to follow him.
He types furiously for at least a minute, then asks for my original receipt, and types some more; verifying my purchase is what he says he is trying to do. Eventually, he raises his head and confirms that I am indeed eligible for the freebie, providing I register the device. That seems a small price to pay for a device I really do not need anyway. I hand him my bank card which has my name. Nigerian or not, my surname – all ten letters, a jumbled mess of vowels and consonants – is difficult to pronounce, and my default solution is to hand out a business card or my bank card.
That’s you sorted then, he says after a while, When your current upgrade expires, the six month freebie will kick in. I nod, and thank him. As I turn to head off, I notice some hesitation on his part, as though he is weighing the pros and cons of saying something more. I pause, and then he blurts out.
Your surname looks familiar, he says. I used to know a Bee with the same name. That is when it all falls in place, almost in slow motion. He once lived next door to my sister and cousin. I must have met him on one of the days I popped in to see them. We chit-chat a little, he’s wrapping up his dissertation, and working part time to make a quick buck. I give him my card, with a promise to set up a meeting with him in the near future.
So much for me running from the past………
10 thoughts on “Six degrees”
…of separation. It's indeed a small world.
Yes.. especially when oil calls… Nigerians answer in their droves.. 🙂
You gotta love life and in my opinion the uniqueness of being Nigerian.
Definitely…. Nothing *usually* trumps that…..
There is something effeminate about your description of this guy, lol. I don't think he will thank you for it.
But your last line begs the question, 'What are you running from?'
smiles. you dont have to answer of course.
LOL.. It didn't help that he had one of them skinny bug hugging tees on either too…..
And no, I'm not hiding from anything specific.. Just needed to re-invent myself after it seemed like I'd gone stale.. Packed my bags and went somewhere just because I could (at least that's my official story`).. 🙂
the wicked runneth when no man pursueth…hehehe…
someone asked me recently if i was Jamaican after hearing me speak…WTH???Omo Yoruba ni mi oh…
lol.. u sef dey speak *ashwenswe* be that ni… Jamo… kinda rhymes with kaya though..
i second ginger's comment… what are you running from?
i often wonder why nigerians think there is something unique about the uniqueness of being nigerian as opposed to something else… surely everyone is unique… #thingsipontificateabout
Sigh.. Someday… I just might unpack that…… #KeepPontificating.. 🙂