So we hit 20,000 page views in March… Is this what making it looks like? I suppose my head would be a lot more swollen if my views weren't coming from spambots and robots and all the other bots that abound on the internet. On a more serious note, I'm profoundly grateful. I know there are things that I haven't delivered yet. The working titles section is looking less like a to do list and more like a list of things I'll never get round to.
Anyway in true The Ramblings of a Madman fashion this blog post isn't about my booming statistics - And they are booming aren't they? They're literally twice what they were in February, and three times what they were a year ago - it's about the effect that living in Nigeria has had on my temper.
I do not know what it is about Nigeria. I really don't. There must be something in the water. During my four years in Manchester I only lost my temper twice and that's pretty good in my opinion. In the short time that I've been back I've gained the ability to go from calm to murderous in no time at all.
A week or so ago, I was stuck in go slow on my way to the Wheatbaker for supper. The traffic moved a little bit, so I inched forward. That's how these things work. The car in front of you creeps as close to the bumper in front of it as possible, and you do the same. I wasn't expecting the car behind me to ram into me. I didn't see it coming. The accident came at the worst time as well, as some benevolent danfo drivers had just sorted out whatever mess it was that had caused the go slow. I got out of my Mitsubushi Outlander to survey the damage. It wasn't too bad. There was a dent in my bumper stained with the white paint job of the offending mustang. As I wondered how I would go about fixing the damage, the female driver sauntered out of her car haughtily with her phone in her hand and her headphones in her ears. I was preparing to be the gracious accepter of a profound apology when she said, "Why did you stop in the middle of the road?"
That was it. My head blew off. I would have slapped her, but my hands were held down by my love for me. I had the upper hand. If I had hit her, I would have lost my advantage. While the combined powers of my selfishness and conscience were enough to stay my hand, they had little or no effect on my mouth. The words flew from me in an explosion of spit that I delighted in. I had succeeded in spitting on her without actually spitting on her and it wasn't just a droplet of spit either. I counted six sizeable drops as they sailed through the air and landed on her face.
"You rear ended me in go slow, and you are asking me why I stopped in the middle of the road? Can you not see the cars in front of me?"
"You spat on me. Why would you spit on me -"
"Shut up! Are you crazy?! How can you accuse me of causing the accident! You are rude! You hit me and you didn't even have the good grace to apologise!"
"All you needed to say was that we were in traffic -"
"Shut up!" I screamed, cutting her off again. "How did you not realise that we were in traffic? You were on your phone, weren't you?!"
She started to deny it, but I had drawn blood and I wasn't letting up.
I marched to her car eager to prove my theory, but what I found there was much worse than the evidence of a quickly terminated phone call. It was a still burning spliff of what smelled like Arizona.
(Arizona's low grade weed. It smells like the devil's shit, and it's smoked by only three sorts of people, the desperate, the broke and the poor)
I had found my scapegoat. She would become the sacrificial lamb that I used to quieten all my aggravations about life in Lagos.
She started to say that it was a cigarette, and I lost it some more.
"Shut up! Do you think I'm stupid? I am a degree holder! You were smoking IGBO! Getting high and driving! And after smoking cheap drugs you came here to blame me for the accident? You are a shameless woman!"
I was frothing at the mouth.
Area boys circled me to soothe the fine anger she had stirred but it was to no avail.
"Just beg him" they said to her.
She started to beg but it was too little too late. I was prepared to push the matter. butI knew that if I made even more of an event of it, I could see her to a police station where she would have been thoroughly embarrassed. The Nigerian Police Force can do that much. I have full confidence in them in that regard. But I let it go because I saw that I had stopped being the person that I was before I got here. I couldn't reconcile my actions to my perception of self. I had entered the fray and gone native. You never go native. You're not supposed to go native. Have I gone native?