Day 27: Aderupoko

A Home

“You have 5 minutes more to pray. Prophecy what you want into the year 2020.” At this point, I found myself repeating the words ‘Thank you’.  “Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, zero…Happy New Year”, the priest echoed from the pupilt. The stained glass that stood guard to cover the large widows threw back the sound rather swiftly and my ears reverberated. I Stood in that auditorium with zero expectations for the new year. The gold plated pipe organs at the north end of the auditorium swelled as it let out, with much pomp and fanfare the tune to the famous “We praise Thee O God.” The church echoed the words of ‘Awa Yin O’ – a song that has been used for different occasion but is undoubtedly most important during crossover services. If you hear that song, then you made it into the New Year.

The church was located somewhere on Lagos Island and the sounds of fireworks occupied my ears rent free as soon as the service was concluded. This day was particularly more important to me because for the first time in a long while, I had a place I could call a home.  I had spent the last 7 years of my life in Medical school, in addition to another spent in the Northwestern part of the country as I had to obey General Gowon’s call; with no particular place I could call a home. Now you are wondering why I guess? Well, it was because I had spent the past New Year’s days in school after the watchnight services. I would take a bus immediately after the declarations, countless hugs and happy New Year’s platitudes down to Ojuelegba. That usually afforded me some time to reflect on absolutely nothing. I would be immediately brought back to my senses by the stench of urine flitting across my nostril by the swaying of the wind just under the Ojuelegba Bridge. From there, I’ll get on a bike to the LUTH gate. The hostel guards were almost always at their duty posts, although, it seemed they were protectors of the realm of REM sleep rather than the students. I had to endure another banal exchange of Christmas and New Year greeting. When I got to my room, I get to soak garri, because even the most evil of food vendors would somehow have found his/her way to church to command the coming year. Few hours of sleep and I then go to the family house later in the day. I longed for such close knit relationship with my parents but it wasn’t in existence; as they were gone – dead.

So it was so surreal when I went to church with my uncle that day and we returned home together. The feeling was priceless.

Thankful for a Job

I returned from Gowon’s deployment sometime in November and I started submitting my CV to clinics around. I was able to score a couple of interviews with some of the top clinics in Lagos. I attended those and I’m guessing I did well as I was offered jobs by all three. I eventually settled for a smaller one albeit with great potential. Sometime in March, I took some time off to study for an exam but thence came COVID-19. It was barely a week into this study leave when the restrictions and the lockdown was initiated. It was supposed to be a six—week time off but the pandemic made sure I had more than enough time than I needed. The entire period of the Lockdown seemed like one really long day and I was glad to return to work. A few days later, I got a salary raise of almost 100%. There were numerous layoffs by firms all around the globe but here I was getting a raise. I felt guilty as I was having it better than people who had barely nothing, with no hope whatsoever.

The Lone Wolf

I truly enjoy the silence of my space but at times, even that could be deafening. My time off cum enforced stay at home gave me more than enough time to think and reflect on life as a whole. I am grateful for life ad how far God had brought me. From a hopeless orphan (whose Dad wanted him to be a customs officer for whatever his reasons were) to a doctor – now that’s a miracle.

I lived far away from most of my friends; Island vs mainland, and the lockdown really took its toll on me. Having spent almost a year in the Northern part of the country, I had come to enjoy communal relationships. It was in tandem with the kind of house I had grown up in. After the demise of my dad and my mum in 2002 and 2005 respectively, we had to move to our grandparents’. Ol boy, KPK…OPG; a whole lotta of grandchildren flooded the place. There was always someone in your business and although that wasn’t so much fun back then, I eventually figured that I missed that. That became a problem as I literally had no friend in my community so the lockdown was really tough. It was an estate somewhere in Lekki phase 1. I literally knew no one except my neighbor’s driver – Mr. Ola, with whom I exchanged pleasantries and maybe the security guards at the estate gate. I quickly got tired of watching television, social media and so many other seemingly fun activities. I craved human interaction – oh yes, I was and still am single, in case you were wondering why I wasn’t disturbing anyone’s daughter. I can still remember going out to the security post late in the evening around 11pm and having random discussions with the security guards on duty; it was that bad. I look back at it now and I have a good laugh! I however was able to create deeper connections with friends from my inner circle when they were available as most of them had become booedup. We talked about life, plans for the future, japa – no conversation seems complete without it nowadays, marriage and so many things. I also made really good friends with random people – the store attendants, the food vendors, the NURTW official at the bus stop, etc.

Ma fe jo pa mi

Through the course of this year, I understood how the Observer-judge asymmetry plays a role in our behavioral patterns. There were things I excused when I did, but didn’t make an iota of sense when someone else did. I reflected on how those minute things affected our relationships. Grace (not real name) called me some days back and complained about not having called her in months. I apologized to her and then tried explaining the goings-on in my life. These fell on deaf hears and nothing could placate her. She however forgot that it took two to tango and what that meant invariably was that she hadn’t done a good job of keeping in touch either. It then reminded me of those amazing friends who do not play the psychologically exhausting game of guilt-tripping you for not having being in touch. We acknowledge our weary schedules, banter over whatever issue was bugging us, and then moeeeeuvvvveeeee on from where we left off the last time.

Study patterns

Remember the exam I took some time off work to write, well…I didn’t write that until November. I was scared at several times about how I’d perform at the exam and that caused some sort of analysis-paralysis. I then figured out that I can’t learn anything without a structure. That was a new one. I somehow discovered that I needed to create order to understand everything and I followed a ladder of complexity of learning; from the simplest to the complicated. I resolved to take note of my journey through the exam and help people who found themselves in similar situation. I aced the exams and I was pleasantly surprised.

I’m really tired of writing although there’s more. So, I’m going to just highlight some other events that happened. In addition, I’ll include a list of discoveries.

1. I developed some sort of emotional trauma during the ENDSARS protest. I legit saw a policeman at an ATM point and I developed palpitations. I don’t know if I still feel that way.
2. I put my mental health first and if you’re out to disrupt my balance, I move
3. There is so much suffering in the land – yeah, I see it every day on my way to and back from work.
4. I don’t think I want to keep being a Doctor – it’s too routine and boring but it pays the bills for now.
5. God truly exists and He answers prayers!
6. I asked a girl out earlier in the year and she aired me. Therefore, I’m still a single Pringles.
7. Everyone needs a support system – yes, you do.
8. Everyone’s dream is valid. Do not apologize for wanting to chase your dreams.

These seems like really routine things but I’ve come to understand that these are the atoms that build up our humanity. I apologize for trying to use ‘Ejo to pa e.’

Do have yourself an amazing 2021!

PS: I am open to making new friends, kindly comment below and I’ll be in touch.✌🏽

Ma fe jo pa mi: Don’t bore me with your complaints. 

Season’s Greetings from Perry’s Tots.🎄

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