Monday, March 31, 2008

You're Telling Your Secrets to Everybody

Every first-time beholder has asked me if Volta Hall in the University of Ghana was a chapel. Hardly, isn’t it :) When I was a little student in Legon (and more fearless than now), I witnessed the most curious thing at Volta Hall. I would be greatly surprised if it does not remain a daunting feeling that one suffers as they walk up the two flights of stairs to the Porter’s Lodge. That’s when the hottest and hippest young women in Accra come gathering in the coolest clothes in earth. All made-up. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Sweet-smelling. Saccharine-smiling. Daunting, didn’t I say?

K.A.T., my roommate, and I were standing with the girls when a forty-something year-old man (who obviously thought he was a cool-looking dude) with blue shoes, gold pendants and a golf-course girth, made the long walk up the twin stairs. He was speaking loudly on the phone (something about Dollars, if memory serves). The tensest zone takes eight odd steps to cross over. He was halfway through and getting louder on the phone when the very phone began to ring. Now I can swear to you that I have seen nice, clean and dry skin suddenly and violently break into streams of sweat. He took the longest four steps in his life to the sound of a dozen sniggering beauties - and two boys :) We waited there for a very long time, but we did not see him come back.

I read a Newsweek (or Economist) article about two years ago about mobile phone usage in public. In Japan (or South Korea) commuters have silently laid down their own rules. At either rush hour, they do not speak much on the phone – it’s all text messaging. I imagined the author’s description of eyes intently glued to wide screens and frantically-moving fingers, and it looked a disturbing but beautiful scene of orderly robots. The slightest hint of a voice convo brings one hundred evil-eye stares and hostile whispers to hush.

Not in the city of Accra. Public-place phone calls are made on megaphones or worse. I hear everything you’re saying. And I was curious, but frankly unimpressed, to hear that your aunt is sleeping with the boy next door. I was also pained at the announcement of what you want to have for dinner at home tonight. And I am sorry that I laughed, when, looking at you, you! You just had the most-important business meeting ever held in the world. But did you look around you? I was not the only one laughing. We were all compelled to even stare at your shoes; we saw fraying leather when you sent us looking for gold. I have said enough. With almost every Accraian you walk past, you can hear one part of the conversation and deduce the other part. Imagine all the secrets you’re giving away, after working so hard to keep them hidden from ... your wife ... boss ... neighbours ... the press ... God ...everybody.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Vista of the Sunset and Moon-Wax

Perched pretty on the sun-kissed rocks of the Atlantic is a cool getaway den that you could live and work in Accra for many years and not discover. An amazing fact considering that the entertainment scene in the city of Accra is a bit thin, closed and familiar. It’s just great to know that right on the High Street, you can close from stressful work and, after a short walk or drive, have a drink (oh, your order comes eventually) and barbecue on the rocky shoreline.

And once you’re in after paying a fee, I think, (where do you not pay in Accra these days) you can sit near the rocks or on the benches scattered across a wooded sandy promenade. It’s big enough for a walkabout. The setting sun is a huge golden egg yoke; something you could stroke with your fingertips if only you could stretch out your arm a foot higher.

Entering on a full-moon evening is the stuff that dreams are made of. As you descend the steeply-hacked stairs, it feels like you could walk out on the broad, silver esplanade flung across the pitch-black gulf.

It’s just not a place you’d like to stay for too long. But an hour’s visit is heaven. And, yes, I left out the name of this little paradise on purpose. A little adventure for you. No?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Case for an Extra Day in the City of Accra

After a week of wild and licensed devilment, a newly-married husband (H) and wife (W) call timeout, and vow to make love on only r-bearing days: Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The novel arrangement (quite senseless to present raconteur) works well for the weekend. But, by Monday, the hunger lurks in H’s brightening eyes, and W wilts under his soulful stare.

By Tuesday night, H and W have got to accidentally touching each other, with every tiny movement, on their suddenly-shrinking bed, and pretending not to notice. But, on realising that pride and honour would not help revoke the rashly-made vow, H and W tacitly turn to high intrigue.

H: Baby, what day is today?

The thick and terrifying traffic, in the city of Accra, snakes its way through the now-noisy suburban streets to the city centre. The nuclear sun conspires along, assisted by the lately-rising skyline, to asphyxiate a tearful and frustrated city.

With all the hideously-hot hours spent in the stagnant traffic jams, fatigue spreading like an oil slick, and boiling-point weather, I believe the case is made for an extra day of the week :). Even Saturday and Sunday pass too quickly, and Tired Monday is soon upon us.

People may treat the extra day as a working day or no, but the case is strongly made. What I don't know, for certain, is whether this appeal should be made to Parliament or Heaven, but I’m collecting signatures :). When the extra day is granted, I suggest we call it … TRUESDAY! Poor couple.

Friday, March 28, 2008

National Friday Wear

Fridays are finely flavoured with vivid colours: red, yellow, blue, green, lilac, gold, brown. Patent and rich raffia of African fabric wrapped around the soft rounded edges of the capital. It’s called National Friday Wear. Wax prints and batiks, African, Dutch, origin-unknown, that-which-cannot-be-told, very many different types.

The sensual slit and courtly kaba have made a queen’s comeback. Hugging and stretching like musical strings across the Shai-hill bodyscapes of the proud and victorious Accra woman. Long round curves of a freehand artist brought to throbbing life by the street-side beat of a daydreaming drummer.

Shirts! Such shirts of sheer showiness. Patterns, stripes, squares, abstract. Long-sleeved with elegant sweeps of the arm; short-sleeved for the worked-out, sinewy arm, trimmed and toned to impress.

Crazy combinations. Prints, skirts, khakis, jeans, leggings, loose, firm, wind-swept, hugging, sheer, everything. Laid-back loveliness has never looked this good as strewn all over the city. The one day out of seven when everybody, as a rule, has sixty Kodak moments in every hour.

Friday is the fruitiest, sweetest and spiciest day of the week :).

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Semi-Retired Millionaires in the City of Accra

A smooth-talking craftsman piously promised one month ago to forge metal furniture for me in one week. His sample pictures were old, scratchy and fading, but the works of art in them were clear enough to melt the heart of the dimmest philistine. And so was mine. I paid a famine price in golden Ghana Cedis, and, there, the story ends... or, does it?

Adroit artisans and cunning craftsmen pockmark the face of the city of Accra. They like us to prize their importance in our daily lives, for necessity or art. They usually turn out evidence of raw talent, but flawless finishing is still a distant dream in the city of Accra.

These self-employed Accraians choose their working when-and-how. They elect not to work weekends and public holidays. They’d rather take the family out or sit under the alcohol tree with friends, spending the money they have earned, asking clients to come back the next day!

When the dallying Bluecollar shakes off the narco-stupor, and opens his crammed work shed, at eleven a.m. (early by him) he professes shock that some naughty elves have spent a busy night undoing the maestro’s masterpiece(but he only worked in his mind). Because you have a nine-to-five, he tries to renegotiate the price because the work is more complex than his simple mind calculated. Glorified begging from you who plan and budget your pesewas and pins.

Yesterday he darkened my doorstep with his oily self and the metal work; almost as nice as in the faded tableau. But the soft furnishing, that he didn’t bring with him! Between basely blaming another of his ilk in trade and re-haggling compensation we both discovered that the flaming beauties were each one leg short :(

Semi-retired millionaires; working when they like; naming their price; taking many holidays; not caring what other people want.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Liquefaction of Accra

Yesterday, the amazingly azure Atlantic, in the middle of the Accra inferno, looked so strangely out of place. Calm and yet powerful; angry but not about to break the frightened shore. It was oh so postcard perfect, even from a mile away. The horrible heat, grotesque buildings and aspiring-but-ailing air conditioning put my mind on holiday and kept drawing my tired eyes to the far-off, deep-blue beauty.

Something really big is about to melt or vaporise in the repressive heat of the city of Accra. It might be the ocean, or a big hotel, or the Freedom and Justice Monument, or the Korle Lagoon. I have heard a question whispered a million times. Each time, it gets no answer. Can this furnace frizzle the brain? Thinking fearfully about it, I realise I do not really want the answer. But Accra sorely misses the rain.

But many are they who love the torrid air. These Accraians live on dry beds of land which come suddenly to life as ravenous rivers or rapid waterways when the heavens sprinkle three drops of water. My goat-herd guess is that these Accraians number three-to-one more than the rest of the city residents. Since their prayer against the arrival of the rain is far more ardent, far more desperate even, something monumental will liquefy in the city of Accra.

Many anaemic generations of city authorities with their rigorous regulation and perfect planning have done their utmost best to ensure that the rainy seasons come and wash through the Aegean Stables of Accra, together with the filth, houses, and little-valued human lives. Next, they will be asking for national medals.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Beauties on the Stage in the City of Accra

There are only pitiful prizes for divining rightly that I absolutely adore the lovely women of Accra. They have been poised for such prepossession for quite a long time, and, having arrived, have no continental peers :)

But the beauty pageants in Accra – they used to be christened beauty pageants even when not much was comely on two legs in the city of Accra. A casual scan revealed twice as many beauties in the audience as the vain viragos on the stage reciting poetry not their own, or making speeches written in somebody else’s withered words and a pilfered accent. The prettiest was never the winner (fair enough). The most talented never won (and Ghana never won anything). The most intelligent never won. The most beautiful (only out of the lot on the stage :)) was always left in tears, biting, kicking, accusing, scandalising in tantrums, threatening to go to court or the court of public opinion.

And the pageants changed. They picked on fancy names and skirted the word ‘beauty’ like a vile affliction. Yet, all the time, the women grew more beautiful. The present favourite focus appears to be talent: dancing, speeches, poetry recitals and little else :(

‘Face’ replaced ‘Beauty’ or the vague, deceptive ‘Miss’ (for many were not maidens). I wonder if the change in name has anything to do with carbo-abdomen and allied amorphisms :) (See how I like coming back to this). After all, you may hardly be body beautiful and still flaunt a selfishly stunning face :)

Why haven't the drop-dead gorgeous college girls entered these pageants?

Monday, March 24, 2008

The End of Cash in the City of Accra

Sometime ago I saw a freak futuristic flick about a rabid criminal whose evil elasticity stretched beyond psychiatric study. There was an unbreakable security system protecting something I cannot remember. Only one man could go through this system. It took a scan of his eyeball to break the code which, in turn, opened the lock. What did the maniac do? He found this special man, popped out the entry-eyeball with a ball-point pen and gained ingress into the fortress. It was Demolition Man, I think.

I saw a TV commercial over the weekend telling of a coming cashless economy from April. For all payments, the system requires a card, a point-of-sale gizmo and the fingerprint of the card bearer. Demolition Man came to mind, and I was just hoping that Accraians would not start losing their precious thumbs in a new breed of crime. Of course, a sick and weak mind is not enough for a money-making scheme; one would still need to secure an unattended machine at the pay point.

Somebody should spare a thought on coupling the cashless system with a police fingerprint database. You use the system and the police automatically have your fingerprint. Can the end of cash also signal the thinning of crime?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Manslaughter on the Streets of the City of Accra

When I was a little child, you could have thrown the following words at me – murder, manslaughter, homicide and genocide. I would have missed by a generous mile which one of them was the most serious crime. Going by the sound of the words, murder seemed like a game you could play at home. Homicide and genocide sounded non-domestic, and yet they fell so pleasingly on the ears. But manslaughter called up the bloody image of a wretched man wielding a wide-blade battle axe, coldly cutting through thick swaths of human flesh, tossing limbs and heads and gore everywhere – a butcher of men, the cruellest criminal of all.

There is a novel way of driving in the city of Accra. It is not exactly new to the much-maligned commercial driver. It is the private (perhaps educated, or maybe not) and substantial-income-earning Accraian who drives their own car. The peeps we suspect by strange instinct of being more sensible :)

This Accraian drives dangerously close to you, tailgating and boorishly harassing you to speed up, when there is a traffic jam everywhere. A brilliant idea lights up in their coarse minds and they veer off onto the shoulder of the road. Never mind pedestrians or stray dogs or trees or children. There, they compete in crude driving and yet cruder insulting with the famous tro-tro driver. The slightly smarter ones among them swerve onto the dead centre of the road, between the lawful flow of traffic in both directions! These are mostly evil geniuses driving SUVs, and playing dodgem with the bikes, confident that they can bluff or bribe or browbeat their way through breaking the rules or even manslaughter.

On Good Friday, right in front of me, a four-wheel drive cut a runway in between the traffic, spread out its wings, taxied and sped off. But before it could take off (for I could swear that was the only intention) it swept a bike off its wheels and sent the two riders flying north and south. The tattered jeans and broken limbs; flowing blood and sickening screams sent a motherly woman crying. I do not know if the bikers died but the scene was close to my childhood image of manslaughter.

Now driving out is so scary in the city of Accra. Something is thirsty and wants to drink human blood.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Simple Bead Story

Today, at the Accra Mall, I saw a sight I report not because it was that remarkable. After all, I see a lot of that these days in the city of Accra. But it reminded me of a curious history lesson I was given, on a cold and rainy day, many years ago, when I was trapped at a leaky bus stop with a chatty old man.

The sight – a slender girl in a hipster and a top way too short; no feast of colours to excite the active mind later. But in that bare midriff, played a metallic, askew-hanging, curve-caressing, waist-gyrating chain. She was gliding freely in the aisles oblivious to all the bold comments (whispered undertone) :) by the older women, between stolen glances. Had I not heard the comments, I would have sworn I saw raw, enchanted admiration in their eyes. I smiled quietly to myself, my only regret being that I could not emerge in her direct line of vision, to give my silent ovation.

Now, I will tell you a one-minute version of the garrulous old-timer’s tale. It used to be a sin, big sin, merely to touch the waist beads of a woman. Funny, but in those distant days, it was a crime approaching capital if, somehow, the beads got tangled, broke and clattered to the ground. A sexual act or offence was complete, and strong medicine was cruelly handed down. What I do not recollect is if this relic-rule applied to both maidens and matrons.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Beautiful Bodies in Accra

Somewhere between its glorious Greek and illustrious Latin roots, the word gymnasium (a funny-sounding word, I think) has one appealing meaning – to exercise naked. :) Gyms (not to repeat an unappealing word) are sprouting everywhere in the city of Accra. Now, I have never been to one, so I cannot say for certain if it is vaguely true – the honeyed stories about the Personal Trainer and the rich, adventurous or neglected … :) I always found that job title lewdly loaded with measureless meaning – Personal Trainer, huh.

So, the modern Accraian cares about how they look, and if their body can be recognised from the basic human blueprint. Others say they merely want to lose the heavy sack of potatoes that they have quietly hidden inside their bulging bodies for a reckless half-decade. Some are calmly honest, and come slowly to admit that they are looking for friends, or more, in that tiny, sweaty room. Which brings me to the African at Salsa - all the rage (but a topic to be slain at a later date).

For peeps (i.e. people) who have flaunt-worthy flesh, the gym is quite an exhibition, really (admit it, admit it). I might join a gym next week, just to observe the human body in free, unguarded physical exertion. In between looking everywhere, a very stiff neck and a few contact details, I might get to build some bulk on my certainly easily recognisable blueprint.

Now, I, for one, would not mind if they practised the Greek-and-Roman notion, and stripped down to the barest minimum. Appropriately minimal clothes make as much sense as the mediaeval knight who went to the battlefield dressed in a coat of mail. So, Accraians, why not lose the track suits, the raincoats :) and the super-hero capes :), and mimic the Roman example. In no time, the fluid body you painfully conceal should be a physical joy to look at, no?

The gyms will continue to grow until a new thing takes over. That has been the history of Accra. For now, seeing so many healthy, firm and firm bodies on the capital’s humanscape gives me a wisp of hope that the carbo-abdomen (the blighted flab, flesh and gas that some young women disrespectfully show off) and the beer belly (proudly pregnant men) are about to disappear.

Accra does love a beautiful body.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dark, Dark City, What are You Hiding?

I just love this wonderful city; her many friendly residents whose number is ... nobody really knows :) She sees very little violent crime. (She is one of the safest cities in the world, no?) Her busy and not-so-freshly-scented streets make an almighty morning din. But behind it all lies an easygoing, ever-smiling, all-embracing capital. That is the city of Accra in the fiery, fiery day.

As the thermal day puffs along, the young evening pokes her fine-breeze face round the fat and sweltering behind of the sticky afternoon :) Dark clouds steal across the Accraian sky, plunging the corners of her skirt in a thick and plastic darkness.

There are street lights everywhere! They dutifully line the quickly-emptying streets. The street lights are a bit like the pretty Accra girls. You come across one every ten metres. But this is where the rhyme and reason ends.

They should just be called street poles, for they do not give out any light. Even when the lovely Volta has grown big and mature, and is flaunting all her full and swollen parts, the streets and spaces in Accra will not be bold, light up, and come out and play :) Amazing, totally amazing,that creepy, unspeakable things do not come crawling out of the frightening night.

I feel repeatedly raped and helpless when, every month, we are levied on account of the street lights. Why, do they light up every stately room of the magnificent castles we happily build in the thickening air of the city of Accra? :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How Leopards Hunt Deer in the City of Accra

The Leopard, a self-respecting giant cat, faces each treacherous day with a simple prayer. “Dear God, I only ask to see the deer’s face; there’s no need to grab her for me. I will do the rest myself”.

In the crowded streets of the city of Accra, the conceited feline would face certain starvation. It would creep and stalk and chase, but never have a single deer.

The pace of life has rudely moved upstairs in the recent past. Every Accraian (A-KRA-YAN) (thanks, Victoria, for this one) has seen their personal time shrink faster than their naked personals on a chilly morning. The evil formula is simple and easy to memorise:

traffic + work + traffic + sleep = male cattle excrement

Sadly, the end product of the equation is what you get a lot of, these days.

Brisk and bustling Accra is deluged with clashing weddings everyday. It means that people are meeting people. People are liking each other. People are cutting out other people. People are getting hitched. These are busy people. What time do they make, and where do they go, to meet others?

These busy people do not join the daily (or nightly) hunt, I think. And, even today, many females in the city of Accra are not so feisty as to choose to be the leopardess (aaargh, ugly word!) and chase male deer. Some people go out and (believing them) they are having all the fun. Looking hard at them, I fail to see what’s tickling them so hard. So, I conclude that they are putting on a show. An old effective trick in the hunt. :) It makes you want to be with them.

If the beautiful people we painfully encounter at the expensive social events, enact rehearsed charades for us, then, that leaves us with only the workplace and the church, and the hope that stress, in one place, and the fear of God, in the other, would prevent the people there from putting on a road show. :)

So, are people marrying colleagues at work or fellow seekers at church? I cannot answer the question. You should find it somewhere in you. But I know that if the average male leopard in the city of Accra gets round to praying, it would go something like this: Dear God, I want a deer. Grab her, seize her, tie her, snare her, blindfold her, gag her, anything! Just please deliver her, yielding, at my door. :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Manners, VAT and H2O in the City of Accra

At an eatery, yesterday, in the city of Accra, this waiter crept out of his hole to take my simple order.

Waiter: Sir, what do you want?

Me: I would like a sinfully-cold Coca Cola, please.

(Waiter lurches off and returns in ten minutes).

Waiter: Your Coke, Sir.

Me: I'm sure Pepsi is just as nice, but that's not what I asked for.

Waiter: But it's the same thing...

(I felt my chest begin to swell with anger, but a more evilly-satisfying plan came to mind).

Me: In that case, I've changed my mind. May I have some H2O?

Waiter: We have run out of stock, Sir.

(The Sun itself rose in my naughty face!)

Me: Well, then, just bring me some water, please.

Waiter: O.K. Sir, what else do you want?

Ignore his unfinished manners for a while. He brought back the H20, maybe from some underground stock. The frigid frown on his rodent face betrayed his lack of grasp, that the joke as all on him. (As for the Pepsi, it certainly appeared to have enough pecadilloes in the arctic department :) The waiter's spoken English told of some education. So, for not knowing what H20 was, he was the more a fool for all that he did not learn when he had a golden chance.

I spent lunch hour and enough time to fill a pregnancy trimester waiting for the food to come. So, I amused myself with the sights and sounds of glutton Accra. A man with a well-appointed face sat with a woman I got to looking at. It took no time for me to realise that something was awfully wrong with the picture in front of me. Then it hit me in the face. The MAN was at least six months pregnant! Yes, the man. And with such a slender, sexy woman, I failed to find answers why he was eating food enough to feed ten hungry hogs. Thankfully, my own food came to rescue me from this porcine parade, for looking around me, there were enough pregnant young men to populate a little nation, with no help from women. So have our men found the secret to the art (or is it the science) of self-fertilisation? ;)

The waiter crept back down his hole and would not come to present the bill. I announced to the head waiter, that the mole could either chase me to my car, or find me in my office. If he had asked me where my office was, I would have been no more surprised than to hear a George W. Bush lecture on Arabic literature.

He finally caught up with my already cruising car. The chicken ink scratches on the bill told me why it had taken so long. He could not calculate the VAT. Now, whose fault was that? It struck me that patrons did not usually ask for the bill. They just asked how much they owed, and then paid minus the VAT. Just my baseless suspicion, but is somebody listening, in the city of Accra?

I Can!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Where Have All the Miniskirts Gone?

In the legscape of the city of Accra, the miniskirt is fast fading away! Its boring big sister (the skirt) is making less appearances. Its equally ravishing cousin (the minidress) is now oh so shy.

Popularised (some say invented) by Mary Quant, a British designer, in Swinging London in the sixties, this organised strip of fabric is accused of scandal, corruptive influence, car crashes and every bad thing in between.

It is, properly, a delightfully skyward wrap, whose hemline (when conservative) is eight inches above knee level. It is sometimes better measured in mere inches below (sea level?) No, below the crotch fork :)

I have said it all my life, and it will bear repetition. Along with the internet and the mobile phone, the miniskirt was the most intriguing invention of the twentieth century. Three powerful modes of instant communication :). And deep in our hearts, we all know which one has the biggest impact.

A poor young woman was sexually assaulted recently in Johannesburg for daring to wear a miniskirt. Her assailants skirted GOOD SOCIAL RULES about consent. Nwabisa Ncgukana gets a mention in my heroes section this week for going back with others to tell the demented taxi drivers what we all think of them.

The Accra weather is hot. The miniskirt is ideal for the heat. The miniskirt is comfortable to wear in the heat (or have I been lied to?) Ergo, the miniskirt is perfect for Accra! So, where have all the miniskirts gone? Accra is sweltering these days. Everywhere you go, the pair of trousers rules.I guess it is each to their own.

Well, then, my own is to wonder if people have privacy issues. Or are we short of graceful legs? Maybe the staple diet denies the chance to be body beautiful. A tight pair of ... anything, really (but the miniskirt) can round off just about any knobs or flabs or handles :)

Where have all the miniskirts gone? We must stop constructing the city centre pavements in protest. What is the canvas without the paint?

I Can!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Birds Still Sing in the City of Accra

The Axolotl is a very pretty bird! It rules the skies of Accra and the Amazon. The Axolotl has amazing colours to take your breath away (but most Accrans are out of shape, anyway, these days). We will get to that some day soon. By the way, 'Accran' refers to a resident of Accra. You stress the first syllable (because I say so! Got a problem with that?)

False start. A false start is a satisfying prank. If the victim is really fooled, the inward pleasure is complete. I hope I have got you already. :)

The Axolotl will not be found in Accra. And it is not even a birdie! The Axolotl is a Mexican salamander. They eat it raw and cold, early in the morning. Gotcha again, I lied! :)

Everywhere you wake up in the City of Accra, the birds will sing in the morning. Not a boring one-chord song; in their whistled octaves, they explore the full rhythm range of rich African music. They tell us that, here, in the City of Accra, we have not done the worst to our environment.

But do you even hear them? Or are you too busy keeping up with the pace of life? Life has work, late nights out, television and the internet. But life also has you, the birds and the Axolotl. :)

Nothing makes you feel more alive at the thin-and-light end of the day than the song of the Accran sparrow. A delightful ditty, really, beating to an unseen clock, reminding all that life can still be beautiful.

Of course many an Accran may not see beauty in a venture that does not promise a deluge of GHCs at the end.

Humans live full and exciting lives; salamanders just eat flies!

I Can!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Why the Free Night-time Calls will not be Extended

An old connection re-engaged with me at 4 a.m. because the link was free. Let us call her Bad News.

It was totally impolite of Bad News to call at Spirit Hour, right? I might have got hitched. I might have just gone to (my hard) bed (or is it gone to bed, hard?). I might have been with present connection (let us call her Sweet Entry). Had I been sleeping since midnight, it would still have been rude to call me, then, in residential Accra, where we sleep quite early.

Even my sweet Sweet Entry makes her many pleasant ingresses, in person or on the phone, between first light and the witching hour. So, we can all agree that I must have been right in jilting Bad News three girlfriends ago, no matter how I did it.

It is just plain wrong to read your manners wrongly, and call people up in the small hours of the morning, right?


Let us think a about it a little. We work in the day and sleep (two-legged, four-legged or multi-legged) at night. Hee hee. But we all came to meet this rule. A rule set, perhaps, by the first humans to begin to reckon time.

I choose to defy this rule of society for two simple reasons. First, I do not wish to comply with it. Secondly, this remote ancestor could not have known, better than me, what is good for me today.

So, I will not be calling you at Spirit Hour, no! But you are welcome (in fact, I encourage you) to keep my phone busy at that time. I will have no complaints, and I will pick up every call.

If you have missed the obvious question, then I will ask it for you: if I am not bothered about the late phone calls, then what am I griping about? Answer: I would rather not be called, at any time at all, by Bad News.

And I know why other companies do not follow the telephone-company example, and give away free goods and services at Spirit Hour.

You know I would be proved right about silly societal rules. People would not sleep at night. They would be queuing up at 3 a.m. for free chicken at Papaye and free microwave ovens at Game.

I Can!!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Building Back to the Past

I have to wake up at 4.30 am everyday. At that time, I would have slept for only three and a half hours. I wake up that early because my bed is too hard. With all the time before first light, I do not even have ten minutes to wash my car, Maxine. At that early hour, I want to be "alone" in the world, to own it, to love it, to think about life.

I am all alone, except for the long line of neighbours I can see up and down the street. I have not asked them, but I bet their beds are hard too. Even the little ones are zombieing into the cars, and I know why!

At 5.30, we are already queuing up on the Spintex Road. There must be a spectacle at the end of it. Some breathtaking beauty which will be gone before sane men wake up. Six streets or so terminate in a little roundabout we have named for a cocoa smuggler who is a national hero. A huge, windowless mall slows down the traffic some more so that we can all savour the nostalgia of the linear beauty and cool breeze of the trees that used to line up the street some twenty years ago. But I admit I like that mall once I am inside it. There, we do not only pick up essential commodities.

In that small roundabout and the mall, somebody was playing a game (excuse the pun) with our intelligence, health and productivity. Just for the pleasure of seeing the benighted roundabout and the floodlit car park of the mall, I stay late at work. I get home late, savour my private time, sleep late. And as I sleep, I cannot wait for the next morning's breathtaking sights on Accra's most scenic route.

We spent a lot of money building to the past. Why did we not build a Mayan or Egyptian pyramid?

I Can!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Hypocrisy of Age

A parent wants to be friends with their children when they grow up. That same parent turns their face at a relationship between their child and a person ten years older. You are twenty-something years older than the daughter you want to be friends with; why cannot she go with a guy ten years older? I get it: because you say so.

I Can!!!

Free Minds

If the mind is a terrible thing to waste, what do you think you are doing following the charted course of other minds, norms, social rules, advice, routine, habit? Free your mind.