Back in Lagos. Sigh.

I'm sorry. I am truly sorry. You must forgive me. Those two sentences are for the friends that I didn't tell I was leaving Manchester on the 15th of June. I would have if I could have, believe me! You see, I the traveler didn't know I was travelling until the 14th. If you must be angry at anyone then be angry at Papa Afam for it was he who summoned me. The Summoning went a little like this:

Enter Papa Afam and Yours Truly

Papa Afam: So when are you coming home?

Afam: I'm not. I'm staying in England until August at the very latest.

Papa Afam: But what will you be doing there?

Afam: Seeing friends, going on adventures, blogging... you know? 

Papa Afam: So you mean I'm supposed to allow you to frolic and gambol like an unhinged layabout?

Afam: Yes, I also expect you to fund my adventures.

Papa Afam: Is that right? Well, I've booked you a seat on the British airways flight to Lagos tomorrow. 

Afam: I suppose I'll see you tomorrow then.

You're probably wondering why I didn't tell him that he couldn't force me to board the flight. And he couldn't force me to board the flight. I was in Manchester and he was in Sokoto, a state in Northwest Nigeria and anyone who knows even the slightest thing about geography can tell you that there's far too great a distance between those two places for a human man to physically force another human man to do anything. But the power of money defies all the limitations imposed on us by our humanity. It wasn't for my love of Papa Afam that I didn't stand my ground and bargain, it was for my love of self. Experience has taught me that it is wise to keep the principal payer of bills and primary funder of fleeting dalliances as happy as humanly possible lest he come to the conclusion that you are an ungrateful turd, unworthy of even the slightest measure of generousity. And so it was that on the 15th of June, I found myself at Heathrow Terminal 5 performing my preflight ritual.

The flight back was uneventful, but there was a hiccup of sorts. I had left my wallet with my Residence Permit in it on a counter somewhere in Heathrow Terminal 5. I discovered this before we left London, but I Afam, being infinitely kind, considerate and foolish allowed the flight to take off before my wallet could be retrieved. The British Airways staff were all exceedingly unhelpful, apart from one star. I wish I could remember her name. She was quite literally the reincarnation of Mother Theresa. If not for her I might have slit my wrists from depression and self loathing. The rest of them handled me like I was a goat. But all of that is in the past and I Afam, am a man of the future, so British Airways when I fly with you again, treat me kindly. 

Our landing was one of the shakiest I'd ever had, but the people around me still thought it worthy of applause. I don't mind some applause if the pilot is deserving of it. Praising a pilot for an incredibly shaky landing is like making an ex-convict a governor. But they can't be blamed because they are Nigerian and if they've done the latter then why not the former? 

Now, at the Murutala Mohammed airport, before one goes into customs, one must descend a flight of stairs. There are two flights of stairs. One of them is an escalator that never works, so it is essentially a staircase and the other is a more traditional staircase with a machine for the safe and secure transportation of the handicapable. At the bottom of that staircase is a ramp, that the handicapable might wheel themselves away from the staircase safely. And even if fully capable individuals should walk down the stairs and not the escalator obviously intended for them, they shouldn't be so insensitive as to complain about the ramp that is so beneficial to those of us that are restricted to wheel chairs, but this isn't the case in Lagos. Sigh.

Happy Days,

1 comment:

Oore Ladipo said...

The hand-clapping at the end of every Nigerian flight is a thank you signal to the pilot and flight crew for the survival of the passengers. In some ways it is a feat that most planes land in Nigeria; given the frequency of power outages, potholes and other plagues of the aviation sector. I too have noticed and asked about the clapping and i think this is the general consensus among Nigerians who expect to die on almost every flight.

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