Thursday, 29 September 2016

Of Small Job and Big Power

I find the complete arrogance and impudence shown by people who have tiny jobs such as security guards, cleaners, secretaries, nurses, bankers and so on mildly disturbing. They seem to love to wield power even though they have little of it. I first wrote about this three years ago in a blog post I titled Misuse of Power, you may check it out here. Perhaps that was not an apt title because these people do not really have any power, they are just angry people who like to give others a hard time.
Sometimes bankers, especially tellers, are the worst. They are like those dementors in Harry Potter, they soak away ones happiness and replace it with moodiness and edginess and an urge to snap their necks. One of the most interesting things about bankers is that none of the monies they bandy about is theirs. Can you imagine being able to see all that money but not being able to touch any of it; it is kind of like being a door. Doors are what I consider to be the saddest, SADDEST things in the history of sad things. They let people into the party but they never attend the party themselves. Lucky they have no feelings. Bankers are like doors the way they are able to see but not touch. It does often seem like such a sad job and this is why sometimes one cannot blame them when they act like utter idiots:
‘I want to deposit some money.’ Person says to a teller whose face looks like a painting palette: There’s more makeup than face.
Teller stretches her hands. Badly bleached. Black knuckles. Black wrists. Fair arm.
Person hands teller some money as well as the deposit slip.
Teller hands it back. ‘You should give me the money first before the slip.’
‘What difference does it make?’ Person says.
‘Are you teaching me my job?’ Teller says.
Person takes a deep breath: Hands teller cash, then shortly after, hands teller deposit slip.
Teller looks through the slip. ‘It is not dated.’
Person collects slip and scribbles the date: Hands back to teller.
‘You did not write the account name properly.’ Teller says.
‘It is my account, I am depositing some money to myself, besides, what do you need the account name for, your business is with the account number.’ Person says.
‘Excuse me;’ Teller shouts. ‘I will not tolerate you teaching me my job.’
Person takes a deep breath, collects slip, looks at the clearly legible account name and draws a line over it then rewrites it above the cancelled one. He hands it back to the teller.
‘I am sorry,’ Teller says. ‘This is too rough. You will have to fill another deposit slip.’
Person asks for Account closure form and closes the account. One customer bank loses one customer.
C’est Fini!
This is such a bad thing, it runs from the security guards who stand huffishly by the gate with their stained white shirts and their dark blue trousers and tell you that you cannot go inside and ask ‘what can you do?’ and ‘Who do you think you are?’ when you attempt to argue with them, to the secretaries who wear Ankara prints from the last Ileya festival to work and tell you in their saucy, impertinent voices: ‘you cannot see Oga right now because Oga is in a meeting, you must go and come back tomorrow or the day after or next year or never ever.’ Or ‘You must be stupid to think that I will let you into my Oga’s office, do you want to fight me? Come and fight me now, useless man. I will call the security to get rid of you. Nonsense!’ Meanwhile Oga is in his office and has absolutely no clue what his dumb secretary has been saying to his visitors. This impudence on the part of tiny, miniscule, insignificant employees trickles all the way up, quite unfortunately, to nurses in hospitals. High-heeled and brainless are many nurses on most working days especially in public hospitals. They spend all day shaving their nails and painting their faces and talking about other people’s businesses and shouting abuses at poor, miserable patients who have no choice but to tolerate the maltreatment. ‘Doctor is busy right now. You are going to have to exercise some patience. You are going to have to tell me what your sickness is. What are your symptoms?’ They say, as if they have anything inside their head, shaking their overly made up faces so vigorously, you fear that the makeup would fall out of the face. It is often irrelevant what the severity of the patient’s plight is. The doctor is always busy. If you can’t tell me what your problem is, then you may die here for all I care. Sometimes, nurses are the worst.
On a final note, I do have some friends who are nurses and it is fair to say some nurses, just as I am sure it is with a few bankers and some secretaries and some security guards, are absolutely delightful and lovable human beings. The problem is that it is easy to generalize when some parts are bad. I mean, what would you do if I gave ten berries and told you three were poisoned?

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Blind Man's Circus

I have been a bit busy. There were things I needed to do. But I’m back now and that’s the most important thing.
How is life?
Interesting question, I think.  When someone asks how life is, I can’t help but wonder what the correct response is.  Is it supposed to be a personal question?  Is one allowed to just set off and REALLY tell the person how life is? Like, life is a blind man’s circus. It is a place, a place we hate but can't leave, even though leaving is not that hard. A place where we all pretend to know what we are doing but secretly we don’t, we are just waiting for someone to hold us by the wrist and lead us. Life is a thing, like a piece of paper, you can make marks on it and stuff, you can draw on it whatever you wish to draw on it, you don’t have to draw anything on it even, you can fold it by the edges and make it into an airplane or a boat or a gun or a flower: a rose and then you can paint it red with watercolour and you can pretend it is a real, sweet scenting rose and not just life folded at its edges. Nobody wants to hear any of these things, I don’t think. So why do they ask how life is? Why do we ask questions if we are unprepared to hear their answers?
I have been thinking about heaven and how relative a term it is and how maybe we have a wrong idea of the place. Yes, place. The first question is this: Is heaven really a place or is it an idea. I think that my imagination of heaven has changed a little in the last few years. Yes, I do think that heaven is a place, but not a place the way that the library is a place or the market is a place or the school is a place. It is a different kind of place, like, it exists on a separate dimension, a dimension different from the dimensions that every other place exists in. However, the composition of the place called heaven is what I think we may have the wrong ideas of. When I was younger, I pictured heaven as this golden republic where all the kinds of food you can ever imagine can be found and all you have to do to eat anything is as simple: think about it and it appears right in front of your mouth. What makes heaven heaven, is it the presence of everything we want or is it the presence of God? If it is the latter then we can as well say we are in heaven already, since, even at this moment, as you read this, God is with you. A lot of us have the idea of heaven as a golden republic, roads paved with gold just the way the bible describes it, but what happens inside? Other than the paved ways and golden streets, what happens inside the hugely ginormous mansions? More gold? Food? Books? God?
I have been thinking about the marketplace. The marketplace is a swirling vortex of entropy. It is chaos, it never stops: everybody is going somewhere; you cannot stand still in the middle of the market because you may be hit by a moving human body. There is something called Brownian motion in physics, it describes a phenomenon where particles suspended in fluid are in a constant state of random motion because they were unfortunate to bump into a fast moving molecule of the fluid. It is like the disorientation that occurs in your head after you accidentally hit it on a hard surface. This is what I am reminded of every time I go to the market. It feels as though everybody in the market is going somewhere even though nobody is actually going anywhere or knows where they are going. Most often, we are all looking for things and so we do not know where we are going because we do not know where we would find the things we are looking for. I think the only people who know what they are doing in a marketplace are the sellers, the ones who beckon on you to come and buy onions and tomatoes and red meat. They are strategic people, and they deserve some respect. They understand life. They understand the way in which the market works. They know that you cannot stand still, yet you cannot be sure where you are headed. They understand how life is a blind man’s circus, how he knows nothing except that there is space and so he just goes: walks and walks, aimlessly and confused, until someone holds him by the wrist and whisper’s in his ear: ‘this way.’ That is how they attract you: by telling you that they have what you are looking for, you can afford to stop moving now and go to them.
You can afford to stop moving now.
Till next time,, Keep dreaming!!