Fairytale

Boy meets Girl. Boy likes Girl. Girl likes Boy. Boy asks Girl out on a first date, she accepts. They go to a nice restaurant + have a nice meal. Boy wants to see Girl again, so does she. They do not kiss because they both subscribe to the line of thinking that good girls do not participate in any form of sexual activity before an arbitrarily chosen point in time.

Boy + Girl go out on a second date, this time to miniature golf. Boy chose this venue because he was trying to appear quirky + interesting, Girl is not particularly enthused at the thought of spending two hours hitting a ball into a hole but she accepts nevertheless. This time, she allows him to plant a chaste kiss on her cheek. Both would like to go further, perhaps a long, slow kiss with tongue, but again, they do not feel ready to show their true, carnal natures to each other.

Very horny + slightly desperate, Boy asks Girl out on the hotly anticipated third date. ‘Most people have heard about the third-date rule before, but if you haven’t, it’s the basic principle that you wait until the third date to have sex with someone. Many women swear by it, saying it “keeps him or her interested,” while some say it’s a pointless measure of your connection with someone’ [theeverygirl.com/third-date-rule]. Girl knows about the third-date rule + has discussed the possibility of Actually Having Sex With Him with her friends. Their feedback was approving in nature so it is going to be a green light tonight if Boy plays his cards right.

Girl gets to the cinema first. She waits. She waits some more. She continues waiting. She gives in to temptation after ninety minutes + calls Boy. His phone is off + remains so for the rest of the night. She knows this because she called him, forlornly, at 03:00 a.m. in the morning. Girl cries herself to sleep.

Haiku

The season of dust
Don't bother washing your car
Until at least March

Beach

I am not a fan of the beach in its raw form. There is too much sand + it gets into every crevice, including some rather personal areas. The sea, though beautiful, can decide to carry you off, never to be seen again by mortal man. For these + other reasons, I prefer to experience a sanitised version in the form of beach houses or beaches attached to hotels located on the waterfront. Indoor plumbing is an essential feature of the beach you do not realise you need until you need it, if you know what I mean. Additionally, you are guaranteed good reception on your phone, easy access to safely cooked food + a quick getaway once you have had enough.

Yesterday, my dear cousin + I went to a private beach house in Tarkwa Bay, which is an idyllic, enclosed beach near Lagos Island. It doubles as a commercial establishment where you can relax in an all-white cabana, sip on a cold alcoholic beverage + take a dip in their swimming pool, if you so choose. One thing you quickly get used to in Lagos is the spectacle of a pool party where no-one goes into the pool; expensive hair extensions, jewellery + carefully chosen outfits are generally not compatible with water. Therefore, it was a refreshing change to see people getting wet + using an amenity for its intended purpose.

We took a speedboat from a locally available jetty to the beach house, with the outgoing journey lasting roughly twenty minutes. It is common knowledge that boat rides after nightfall are ill-advised for safety reasons, so the setting of the sun was our cue to start our return journey. Sunset has always felt like a magical time + yesterday’s was particularly beautiful. The soft colours of the sky transformed the landscape + gave it a dreamlike quality that would be almost impossible to reproduce artificially. The twinkling stars in the night sky, untroubled by the harsh glare of the city’s bright lights, were a restorative balm to my work-scarred soul. The temporary indignities + inconveniences were more than worth it. I hope to do it again soon.

Chance

The ‘Chance’ card in Monopoly was always my favourite because of the element of surprise. The instructions could either be extremely positive [advance to Go, collect $200] or extremely negative [you have been elected Chairman of the Board, pay each player $50]. It really was the luck of the draw; in the game as in life. By pure accident of birth, your life could either be one of comfortable luxury or miserable penury, a state of affairs that is simultaneously unfair + non-negotiable. This makes it all the more ridiculous when some people use circumstances they had no control over as a pedestal to look down on the less fortunate. My dear fellow, that could have been you + it still could be, if there happens to be an unexpected downturn in your finances + health.

Walking down the road + not being hit by a car, going swimming in the ocean + not being stung to death by a uniquely poisonous jellyfish, living in California + not having your house burned down by a wildfire – these situations turn on the toss of a celestial coin. If you find it helpful to ascribe your good fortune to your deity of choice, then it is likely your faith will provide deep solace during difficult times. If you do not, there are many alternative ways of dealing with the painful + pleasurable situations life throws at us. Possessing a strong moral core + an unwavering belief in the appropriateness of doing the right thing, whether someone is watching or not, are just two of the worthy substitutes for atheists, agnostics + others of this ilk.

It is impossible to know what the long-term effects will be of a decision made today. At best, we can make predictions based on our observations of what has happened to other people who have made similar choices in the past. Ultimately, the path you choose to follow will be a stab in the dark, a leap of faith, a walk down an unlit path, hoping against hope that it is the right one. Will your marriage last ‘forever’? Should you have quit that well-paid but unsatisfying job? Is your extended family ever going to become less annoying?. Who can say. Please accept my gallic shrug + good wishes for the future in lieu of actual answers.

November

November is one of my favourite months of the year. It is the period just before Christmas + therefore a time of anticipation + preparation for the [hopefully] good times ahead. When I lived in the United Kingdom, it was also a time of waking up to darkness + leaving the office in darkness. Being the last month of autumn, it also brought the beginnings of the deep winter chill. Incidentally, central heating is a gift from the heavens + I do not know how people survived before its invention [hint: they mostly did not].

I am looking forward to seeing the shift in perspective living in Nigeria will bring. For one thing, we are coming out of the rainy season + entering the dry season, which means cool mornings, hot afternoons + cool evenings. Unsurprisingly, Christmas decorations have started to appear in local businesses + Christmas jingles have begun to play on the radio. So far so predictable. From late November, a steady influx of Nigerians will begin returning for the holiday season from all over the world. It is an exciting time to be here, with an astonishing number of events to attend, family reunions to avoid + rivers of champagne to swim in.

In essence, November is the calm before the storm that is December in Lagos, in particular. Some Lagosians choose to leave the country + head to quieter shores, often + inexplicably, to colder climates. I suppose one may crave the extreme freshness of the winter air when one has experienced near-constant sunshine all year, but it certainly does not make sense to me. Personally, I cannot wait to take a two week break from my jobs, kick back, relax + wake up when I feel like it, as opposed to the rude awakening of my work alarm. I imagine you feel similarly, as it has been a long year for all concerned. Hang in there for a little bit longer, the end is in sight.

Reconnect

Some say a true friend remains one, even when factors such as distance, competing obligations + the passage of time come into play. It is certainly a comforting thought – that a person who you have taken the trouble to befriend + include in your life will always hold a a special place in your heart + vice versa, even after circumstances change. However, the reality tends to be quite different. Once you drop out of the orbit of a friend’s life, unless there are strong bonds that function as an invisible support system, it is likely that a mutual slow fading out will follow.

Losing a friend can be almost as difficult as losing a significant other, if not more so. The ability to establish + maintain a new friendship is easier in one’s youth + becomes less straightforward as we get older. For one thing, we become more suspicious of people’s motives because we are not sure if they genuinely like us or need us for a specific reason. For another, the thought of opening up to a new person who may or may not decide to use our confidential information against us in another setting, perhaps with their other friends, is a real fear + a daunting one at that. This may be why some opt to retain a large number of surface friends or acquaintances who will not scratch the surface. These relationships may be unrewarding on a deeper level but at least you can rest assured that the potential for backstabbing is low.

On the rare occasion, it is possible to uncover a jewel of a friendship that is able to survive whatever life throws at it. It could come about through reconnecting with a school friend, a former co-worker or even a past lover – slipping back into a familiar space, similar to a well-loved pair of comfortable shoes – please treasure this if you are fortunate enough to experience it. Life is infinitely more manageable when there are people you can rely on to be gentle with your heart + who can rely on you to do the same with theirs.