I am an ideal shopping companion for many of the females in my family, and it’s not without good reason. My not being fussy about being seen carrying foodstuff or carrying heavy bags, my skill at haggling and bargaining with market women
(an exaggerated sense of drama is an invaluable asset in this particular area), and the fact that I’m always reminding them of something they should have or ought to have in their kitchen, be it foodstuff or kitchen appliances. So it is not really uncommon to hear stuff like “since you’re around, let’s go to market and buy stuff for the house.”
I’m better than an average cook. I like to experiment with food, and I take pride in the fact that I enjoy food related stuff, from procurement to preparation, and of course, the consumption. (fitfam be damned, as I skinny reach?)
One other reason has to do with the fact that I am a creature of experiences, and I like to see and observe people in their element, and a market is one prime location to observe the seething throng of humanity.
Another reason is that my characters in the stories I write are random guys, amalgams of the people I encounter and interact with on a daily basis. There could be traits of that quarrelsome market woman in the hero of a fantasy story, or a sprinkling of the behavior of the squeamish little girl in the girlfriend of the hero in a mystery or a techno thriller. You might even find the rage and battle-readiness of that agbero in the vampire who wants to chew holes in everybody, because he is jealous of people who can walk about in the sun.
So it was that upon one good day, I found myself in the market, alongside the Big Sis, doing some household shopping (stocking up is more like it, shopping conjures up images of trolleys and shopping carts, and Mile 12 market has no such facilities; instead, think wheelbarrow, think onye bulu). The market is the original crude zone; people get to one of the many gates that lead into the place and get rainboots, wellingtons to save their feet from the mud and decaying vegetable matter that is the undergrowth of one of lagos’ largest markets. So there we were, stocking up on garri and sweet potatoes, when I saw someone I recognized from way back. At least it looked like her, so I thought, nothing ventured, nothing gained, if it turned out not to be her, I would simply apologize and move on. I raised my hand and called her attention.
“Madam, good afternoon. Please you look familiar, have I met you before?”
“hey, are you not random guy, citizen X’s brother? ” *real names omitted*
“yes, you looked familiar, I thought so. Human being, abi?”
“you got it. I looked at you, and thought you looked familiar. How is everything now? Ah, long time,
All this while, we were Smiling genially at each other, and feeling like acquaintances catching up. That was when she decided to cease being a person I knew before, and inveigle herself into my life.
“you’re through with school now,”
“Done your service”
A third nod.
I blinked, how did we get here this quick?
“Go and find a wife o, hurry up.”
I stared at her. What was this about?
You are a guy now, you need to get married.
Thinking she had said her bit, I opened my mouth, but she cut me off.
You just need an understanding wife, so that you people can start a family, and attract more blessings. The big job must not be there before you settle down and get married.
I gently introduced her to the Big Sis, and she marched on in her analysis of why I should get married pronto.
Once you settle down and marry, you will get a better job.
Then she told my Big Sis, “I know him very well o back then in benin, not because of all the hair and beard”
I refuse to understand.
It is one thing to spout your opinion, and bla bla de bla, but to start telling the Big Sis that you know me very well, biko, are you implying that me and Big Sis are strangers?
Nigerians, true to God, you people play too much. I just had the ghost of a smile on my face, and I allowed them discuss prices of commodities for a while, before I hefted the bag we had loaded so far with vegetables and salad stuff, and heading off, leaving the Big Sis to follow after saying her bye-byes and see you laters.
Nigeriand have a way of colonizing other people’s business.
What do you think?
Drop a line, biko. Thank you.