Amebo Behaviour and Invincibility
I like to think of myself as a retired amebo. If people ask me what I used to do before I started living for Jesus that I no longer do, I'll point to amebo behaviour. An amebo is a person who displays a cluster of behaviours ranging from gossiping to backbiting to excessive gist-scouting and really just thriving on idle talk. Hopefully you get the drift. I believe that deciding to intentionally live for Christ has caused me to become more aware of ways in which I still display traces of my old self. So maybe there are still traces of this amebo 'skill-set' that make this week's post possible.
From the conversations I've overheard and the things I've seen, people are becoming very health conscious. Before I left Nigeria, the adults in my life used to get upset about 'meatless meals' and portion sizes that didn't correspond with their physical sizes. But now, I'm seing that older educated folks are forgoing dinner, replacing white carbs with whole grains, and even drinking water instead of five-alive juice! What sorcery is this?! They're even being picky about their fruits and vegetables: avoiding sugary fruits and insisting on not over-cooking their vegetables! I'm thinking the #FitFam movement is surely expanding. But maybe it's just that the health reports from the doctors are teaching people the hard health lessons.
There's also the growing natural/healthy hair movement. Until I was ten years old, I had a very full and long afro. Hairdressers were mean to me and would push me aside because my hair was supposedly difficult to make. On the contrary, I have soft hair that feels like cotton wool and is not at all difficult to make. They were just closed-minded to it because it was foreign to them. Like in the western world, relaxers were in and natural hair was 'backward' to most people. But here we are in 2015, and like the rest of the world, we in Nigeria have joined the bandwagon and natural hair is the new cool. The mummies and sisis are rocking dreads; TWAs (teeny weeny Afros aka low cut afros) and even my Ipaja hair stylists know to only relax the new growth. It's an interesting thing to observe!
However, renovation and maintenance are still not 'in'. Personal space and order are also still foreign concepts.
I remember when I landed at the Lagos airport, I was welcomed by the absence of a functioning fan or A.C in 30degrees Celsius weather. To me, it made sense to let people breathe by standing a step or two behind them. But apparently, that's oyinbo behaviour, because people just walked into my front as if I was invincible.
I think I'm still invincible because it happened again today: first at the hospital, then at the supermarket. At the hospital, the child in front of me was coughing and it made sense to let her have her cough bubble to herself, lest I add on to my health issues. But that bubble was enough room for three older women to causally walk in front of me on the queue. Yes, people, I've found my super power: I think I'm invisible.
I was too weak to to put up a fight at the hospital. But about four hours later at the supermarket, while I was in line at the cashier, some lady just dropped her grocery basket in front of me. I decided not to embrace my super power; I refused to be invisible. I looked at the basket and then looked at her, but she said nothing, as though she didn't understand my unspoken question. So I said, "you're after me right"? Then she said "yes, of course".
So maybe they just like to try you in this Lagos. If you confront them, they'll act normal; if you keep quiet, they'll pretend you're invisible. It just means you can't be quiet in this Lagos. I've had days in Canada where I went about my days without speaking to anyone. My mum would call me in the middle of the day and when I said I hadn't spoken on that day, she'd be astonished. Here in Lagos, there are laws and expected behaviours, but we just do our thing and pretend there aren't rules. I think that's why everyone shouts.
I'm feeling sick and homesick this week. I'm convinced it's the generator fumes from my sewing lesson location that has my lungs revolting, but we'll wait till the blood test get back. In true Nigerian fashion, I now have two SIM cards, I almost feel like I have arrived as a true Lagos babe. Lol! Maybe when I have funds on both SIMS I'll attain big girl status. For now, it's whichever network has service in the remote areas I'm visiting that gets my money.
How's life wherever you are this week? Yes that's a real question; let me know in the comments section. Wait, is this considered amebo behaviour too?