This isn’t news

    Finding and reporting news in Abuja can be a thankless job. So every now and again I take time off foreheading* a brick wall to laugh at the things I cannot change. In my Zen state, I can completely overlook the many obstacles to my existence as a news correspondent.
    I can now find lateness amusing. So what if the host of an event operates on ‘African time’. I also absolutely don’t care if they don’t thank or reference the media in their awful speeches or that they continue to make the president their guest of honor for everything. It is perplexing that the less likely he is to show up, the bigger his picture in their program. I would tell them to get over themselves and invite a reasonable alternative, but that would involve caring on my part. And I’m all out of that.

    Sometimes I wonder why they say that the president is heavily represented by his proxy. For the sake of clarity, what the heck does ‘heavily represented’ even mean? And can someone be lightly represented? In my jaded experience ‘heavily representing’ is code for some dude, who shows up 2 hours late and has no idea what is going on, but gets to sit on the high table .
    In the spirit of not caring, I will also stop mocking all excessively long high tables. It really doesn’t matter to me, if there are more people on the high table than attending guests. I will accept the words of all suck-up-MCs who claim that everybody is equal but give special recognition to rich people in the audience (I happen to be familiar with George Orwell’s “some animals are more equal than others” concept) But hey! If anyone ever walks up to an MC after a conference and says ‘I like the way you called my name, here is a million naira!’ I will give up sarcasm.

      Just once I would like someone to walk up to the mic and say “Screw protocol**” before jumping into a well writing speech. But I know that that would lead to the collapse of this reality and I am not yet brave enough to meet Walternate.

      Now as stated above, I can forgive almost anything, except Personal Assistants. PAs are antiprogress robots. They give me adult night terrors and make me consider the merits plunging 50 feet of the nearest 50 feet building… on a good day.
      In a logical world, a journalist is the best friend of a PA, if only for the purpose of mutual job preservation. My six month old niece can tell you that providing reporters with information is the easiest path to free publicity. But logic, is on permanent vacation and sass and attitude are her substitutes.

      And for your pleasure, here are my greatest hits of PA rejection confusion:

        Me: where is the conference hall?
        PA: There are many conferences going on!
        Me: I’m talking about the one for your organization (she was wearing their logo)
        PA: (suddenly suspicious of my ability to read minds) who are you?
        Me: I’m with the press (holding up my card)
        PA: there are many conferences going on which do you want to attend.
        Me: Can I take a look at the program
        PA: These are only for guests.
        Me: I just want a quick look.
        PA: you can if you register for the conference
        Me: Okay, how do I do that?
        PA: It costs 10,000 naira.
        Me: I ‘m part of the media!
        PA: (After thinking for a few seconds) 8,000 naira.
        Me: Can I look at the program?
        PA: (while clutching a stack) there aren’t anymore.
        She was hoping here stupidity was contagious.
        Me: Can I have one of the free carrier bags.
        PA: No they have finished.
        Five minutes later with me still standing there she gives one to some guy.
        Me: Hey, I thought you said that there were no more
        PA: He said that he is our boss’s friend…
        Me: So that gives him the power to create carrier bags out of thin air?
        PA: (blank look and then disapproving look) he said…
        Me: I heard you, I’m not sure you understand English (is what I should have said but I just walked away… I usually just walk away)
        Till PAs become human, I will continue to report from trenches inhabited by people who think muting their phones is tantamount to suicide. While listening to proxys who ‘heavily represent’ others who were too smart to show up.

        * Foreheading: the act of persistently striking and object with your forehead.
        ** Protocol: is a set of guideline or rules that demand the recognition of all important personnel at an event. This includes interrupting the program to acknowledge latecomers. If a speaker cannot remember all the important people he/she says, “All protocols observed”.
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Cashmere Mafia

If there were a Fashion mafia [mind that I didn’t say fashionable Mafia] I mean Mafia in the sense that they syndicate fashion crimes on a giant scale, their headquarters would be in Lagos Nigeria.

    Now we Nigerians pride ourselves in being the most fashionable Africans [ignore all that South African propaganda]. Everything that’s fashionably African is from us. Unfortunately we pay the price for our great style leaps in a currency of truly heinous fashion blunders.

Even the fashion forward have on occasion been know to defy common sense. Take for example the guy I observed at an ATM cashing out while taking shelter from the rain. He was decked out in a truly awesome winter coat. Where to begin… I love a guy in trench and this was one fine, lean bobo. But what’s the worth of a guy when his IQ is in question?

    I though about taking his picture but as Nigerians and champions of suspicious behavior we are particularly weary about strangers taking our pictures and identity thief in general, even those without anything lose. Therefore I reconsidered; content enough to just gawk at him. Unfortunately, this earned me a smile and a better view of his GQ ensemble. By the time we parted ways he was probably convinced that I was in love with him. I for my part considered the dark forces that conspired to feed my eyes on that rainy day.

Let’s consider the complexities of carrying such a bogus piece of clothing from anywhere were snow is prevalent [this was no ordinary snow flurry protection, but the real honest-to-god middle of a Russian winter type trench]

    Did he bring it all the way or did he buy it in the country, and which one of these options makes him a greater moron. I considered asking him but though better of it when he smiled at me, that last thing I need is some boy to watch over. For anyone in my salary range boy-toys are generally a downward spiral into further debt.

As this is Lagos, generally speaking we don’t see rain until the rainy season and while we are prone to floods when it does rain, that is just down to dodgy city planning. The rain on its own isn’t that bad. So what would possess anyone to put on something so heavy? I mean I did once try to induce a heat stroke to get out of PE, but hello high school! As we cower together under the ATM roof I reconsider the possibility of his wearing it as a raincoat.

    Amazingly the only thing unique about this guy’s outfit was that it was well put together. While I boast about Nigeria being the most fashionable, it also manages to house the most unfashionable insane people on the planet. A nonsensical coat seems small compared to the winter boots and extravagant ball dresses some people wear daily on the streets of Lagos.

Long before bend-down clothes gave lagosians access to these weird extravagance, our ancestors shrouded themselves in heavy native wear made up of layers of hot, itchy, prickly, sparkly, colourful fabric, which are making a comeback in modern styles today. These modern styles like their predecessors continue to be topped with an icing of expensive and heavy bling of the sordid history variety. [Sometimes I drive past clans of supposedly desperately poor beggar women and their kids wearing gold bracelets and nose rings]

    Yes, along with pride and gluttony, excess is one of our sins. Consider for your [and my] amusement, this smug girl on my [NYSC] volleyball team. Our coach adores her and why not— two weeks out of camp and she’s on the team. I’ve been out since December and am still a reserve. I can’t compete with her court aggression or her wicked spike [I can’t really hate her because what she lacks in style she makes up for in a lack of style]. The coach and I disagree with the way she dresses for practice but on the facts we disagree [he thinks she is overly girly and I think she is just wrong]

She’s a fan of the tank over t-shirt layered look. Where to begin—even if we weren’t experiencing global warming, Nigeria is still to hot that this combo is like a car wreck waiting to happen. I keep watching for some heat related damage to befall her. So far I suspect brain damage in the form of her clothing options and her on court aggression.Also, I can’t tell if she is actually ugly because her use of makeup makes any conclusive analysis impossible. All I can tell is that she uses lot of any colour that matches her outfit…Indiscriminately.

    My favorite thing about her is her hair. I had seen girls around in this trend but until I met her I assumed it was accidental. Forget the weave [bulky and occasionally highlighted in blues and purples] she needs an alice-band [a big one at that] a huge clashing scrunch and a giant hair crab [that is out of proportionate to the hair/weave it is holding].

While you may accuse me of volleyball envy, whenever I see her I want to point and giggle and that is what makes my weekly trips to practice hell liveable. To reiterate: Nigerians are stylish and love fashion but life under the sun has lead to the manifestation of midday madness in the form of bad fashion choices on a national scale. The scale of this behavior has forced the fashion police to consider the possibility of this being the work of a highly organized and devious underground group. But hey what do I know.