While waiting for the estate shuttle to arrive, I overheard the following conversation between two other ladies also in queue with me. What really caught my ears was when the older one said that she couldn’t understand the youth and their I-just-must-have-my-way attitude. She wished they would realise that life wasn’t all about them and would just toe the line like others before them.
– Don’t understand what you’re saying.
– Egbon, my senior that you are, do know what I’m rambling about.
– How could you say that?
– Egbon, isn’t it you right here before me?
– Of course, it’s I.
– We, younger ones, know that you can spot a fool from a mile off.
– Flattery won’t get you anywhere.
– You’re much more exposed than most of us.
– That means…
– You did understand where I was heading.
– Am I now a mind reader?
– I didn’t say that. But you know your kids have been sent back home.
– That’s true. The university’s been shut.
– Yes. For more than a week, Unilag has been closed.
– The authorities was wise to have taken that decision.
– The situation was really getting out of hand.
– But the students seemed to have legitimate reasons for demanding improvement to the living conditions on the campus.
– But those conditions are similar to that in which they now live at home.
– The only difference is that they’re in their natural habitat.
– You’re damned right.
– I still wished that they had thought the matter out properly before demonstrating.
– Think back to when you were at their age, did you think properly before acting?
– With my hand on my heart, I can say that I too suffered from youthful exuberance.
– So why are you now dissing the youth?
– I only wish that they would remember that life wasn’t all about them.
– They should know that the situation in their campus isn’t peculiar to that environment.
– It’s true. Nothing works in the country nowadays.
– No fuel, no light, no water … In fact, no nothing.
– Don’t sound so hopeless.
– The situation is becoming hopeless because I don’t know how to cope.
– You mean now that they’re back at home?
– You get it. Now they’re at home, my problems are compounded.
– Oh dear!
– Their father and I were coping with the no fuel, no light, no water situation before their arrival.
– What a pity!
– Their father leaves home early when they are still in bed. He returns late and there they are sprawled on the couch and on the floor listening to loud music.
– Can’t they listening to the music in their room?
– The sitting-room is the only place blessed with good ventilation in the house.
– I can’t even suggest that an air-conditioner is installed in their room.
– Let’s not go there for there’s no power.
– Even if there was, the voltage might be low.
– I wish these children didn’t come home now.
– My business is slow. We’re depending solely on my husband’s pay.
– That’s tough.
– Very tough indeed. I depend on him for my least need. Can you believe how much he gave me for my hair-do?
– Tell me.
– Five hundred naira.
– That can’t take you anywhere.
– When I complained he said that was how much he paid for a hair-cut.
– Papa God!
– So he couldn’t understand how a woman’s hairdo could cost more than that.
– I bet you couldn’t even add money for pedicure.
– Pedi-wetin? I do my own pedicure o. Very soon I’ll be perfect at mani-pedi.
– Necessity is the mother of invention.
– Jokes apart, I wish these children didn’t come home now.
– You’re not sounding like a doting mother.
– I can’t be a doting mother when their being at home is infuriating their father.
– Additional mouths to feed at this time.
– Poor man!
– Poor man indeed! He’s even cold towards me now.
– Aren’t you being over dramatic?
– Not at all.
– So how has he changed?
– He’s behaving as if I conspired with the university authorities to close the institution.
– O ga a o!
– The children are too engrossed in themselves to even notice the change in him.
– What are they busy doing?
– Their friends come over during the day and at night they listen to music and or watch the telly.
– Don’t they go through their books?
– When I tell them that they say they’ll do it later.
– And when’s later?
– I don’t know. There’s something else.
– Which is?
– They have such a large appetite. The food at home is finishing fast.
– Well, you’ll need to replenish.
– I did my bulk shopping just before the kids returned.
– Santa Maria!
– Also I’ll have to ask their father to double the ‘chop’ money.
– I don’t envy you o.
– And when I get to the market, it’ll be another story.
– The prices of everything is gone up. When you ask why, the market women say, ‘Dollar don rise’.
– What has the dollar got to do with it?
– The okro seller will tell you ‘Dollar don rise’, same song at the yam seller’s stall.
– How does the high rate of the dollar affect the price of okro, yam, egusi?
– I don’t know the economics of it all but Egbon, ‘Dollar don rise o!’.