When I’m not thoroughly consumed by thoughts of what to eat and how soon I can eat it, I like to let my mind ruminate on things I’ve decided to call Pointless Questions. Now, let us not be constrained by the name. They’re not all necessarily pointless, or questions, for that matter. It just seems too much to call them Pointless Questions And/Or Questions That Have A Point Plus Casual Observations. Like I’m begging for it to get beaten up in the playground.
But I digress.
So, these things. They keep me occupied between meals, and now they can help you pass the time too. I’ve put down just twelve because I’m too lazy to write any more. It’s the most mixed of mixed bags, so if you can’t keep up, I understand. (No, I don’t. I think you’re incredibly slow and I judge you.)
1. What if time is actually linear instead of chronological? What if right now, you’re here, reading this, and you’re also in the past, wetting your nappy, and you’re also in the future, gnashing your three teeth and hobbling with your gnarled cane? I’m ashamed to admit that I think of this more often than is necessary (it’s absolutely unnecessary).
2. Have you noticed that contemporary African authors always seem to have nothing else to write about than their racial struggle? Does this mean that we are now solely represented in literature as a racially oppressed continent? What wouldn’t I give for a fresh new novel that’s just a nice story and not a collection of rhetoric questions lamented on the road to finding racial identity.
3. While we’re on the subject of identities, let’s come home for a bit. I’ve often thought (and screamed out loud) that ethnicity is the biggest Nigerian problem. It is the godfather of that insidious scourge, Federal Character. The chips have fallen such that instead of hiring the best man for a government job, we have to put one who’s from the ethnic group whose turn it is. And we wonder why we have more not-so-clever people in government than any nation deserves. The sooner we do away with ethnic sentiments, the sooner we may have a chance at success.
4. Still on the national matter. Based on the current status quo (is this tautology?), do you honestly think that Nigeria should be a country? Do you think we all belong together or is this a typical “let’s stay together for the
oil kids” situation? We just may be better off if people who don’t get along went their own way.
(Disclaimer: I’m not a secessionist. I’m only a rotund woman killing time till my next meal.)
5. Why does today’s Nigerian ‘music’ suck so much? Please don’t pelt me with rotten oranges. (Pelt me with sponge cake instead.)
Seriously, though. Same product from everyone. Every song is a Wizkid song to me. You folks who can tell who sang what should be decoding spy letters for the CIA, really. Barring the few artistes (here’s looking at you, Asa) who understand the difference between harmony and cacophony, Nigerian ‘jollof’ music is just noise. Repetitive noise. It’s like a Buddhist asylum. Senseless mantra chanting. I will never understand it. Thank God.
6. What is going on with women and hair? I met a young girl of about eighteen the other day. A university student. She had these luscious weave on her head, cascading down her back like a lush waterfall. I almost expected to see a Brazilian woman tucked into the girl’s scalp. “How much did you buy this?” I asked. This girl fearlessly looked me in the eye and said, “80k.”
Eighty thousand naira. Her school fees is not eighty thousand naira. For hair. Hair that we can all see did not grow out of your head. Hair that, quite frankly, makes you look like a well-groomed pony at best.
Reader, I felt all my joints weakening at once.
Now. I’m not anti-weave. I like hair framing my angular face. But this extravagance is beyond ridiculous. And before you chant, “Is it your money?”, let me assure you that I know that it is not. Doesn’t change the bafflement I feel when people with these 100k weaves are flinging themselves into danfos and jostling others at Mama Shukurat for twenty naira beans.
7. This is one I’ve often wondered out loud. What do you suppose the evolution of African culture would have been like without any Western influence? Would the Law of Inertia apply? Would things have stayed the exact same, more or less? Would we still be running about in animal skins, boobies flapping? Or would we have evolved from skins to, I don’t know, barks? Feathers? Butterfly wings? Would we still be drawing
ghastly interesting permanent tribal marks on the faces of newborns? How far would our civilization have gone by now? So many possibilities.
8. Love. I wonder a lot about it. Not agape or filial love (I’m a bit of an expert in those, I think), but romantic love. I wonder all the usual clichéd Qs (you know, the “how do you know“‘s and the “Why doesn’t he love me back”s). I also wonder about other less frequently asked Qs, like, must we all fall in love and live unhappily ever after? Must we pair up? Would it be so horrible if some of us ended up alone? It will happen anyway, so best be ready. Maybe it’s just sour grapes (haha, no maybe about it), but the grass may not be greener on the other side.
9. What is this inspiration thing people speak of? I don’t think I’ve ever truly been inspired before. Or perhaps I have and I can’t identify it. But it should be like love, shouldn’t it? One should know these things. People talk about books or photos or music inspiring them and I just nod like a marionette. I. Don’t. Know. I read a lot. I listen to music a lot. I like art. I love these things on an even spiritual level, but that’s about it. Every creation of mine, I have to struggle to do sans inspiration. Is there more? Is this one of the many life codes I will never ever privy to?
10. How cool is this six degrees of separation business? I’m a big fan of the Let’s See How Many Mutual Friends We Have game. I always want to know how not random strangers are. You find out that your ex-toaster is dating the girl who’s best friends with your sister’s old roommate, who, in turn, is the only daughter of your friend’s father’s paramour. Is there a word to accurately describe the feeling of “Are you kidding?!” when I find these things out? I think not. Because I would know if there is. Because words are my stock-in-trade. They’re all I know. Seriously. ALL.
11. Speaking of words, it is unbelievably fascinating to me how much nuance there is in the English language. Different words with the same meaning each have a special, specific impact in different contexts. Before I geek out and put those who are still awake to sleep (really, congrats on sticking with this meandering ramble, you really are dogged) let me just say, I love words (eek. Does it get any more trite than that??). I really do love how tricky they are, the way they sound, the way so many things can mean one thing and one thing can mean so many things. Fascinating.
And finally this one. Yes, I know I said eleven, but this is the all-important one, up there with “Why is the sky?” and “Why is green?” (and quite frankly, twelve doesn’t sound nearly as musical as eleven).
So. Is it lunchtime yet???