I am an Ajebutter. Not by birth, or by formings, or by swag – I am simply an unapologetic Ajebutter by default. I didn’t choose to be born one. God, without seeking my opinion (because He’s God, I guess), gave me the genes of an Ajebutter and a funny Bri-Merican accent . By luck or some twisted work of fate, fortune, Karma (I might have killed ten defenseless puppies in my past life) or destiny, I have found myself in Lagos, crazy Lasgidi, and this is my story…
We humans have funny names for the unfortunate things of life. You know those little sad things that befall people in an instant, like a heart attack, a shooting, a fall into a gutter filled with shit and used condoms, or maybe a wallet theft, a lost phone, or a forever misplaced ATM card.
We all call such situations, various descriptive names, such as ‘bad luck’, ‘Karma’, Nemesis, or Force Majure. But in Lagos, good old hectic Lagos, we call it ‘One Chance’. Your girlfriend dumps your ass, and you’re in one chance. Your boss asks you (politely) to kiss his balls, and you don’t, then One Chance it is! Or worse still, your wallet which has your life-savings stuffed in it, finds a way to get into the wrong hands (Like mine did), and darling, One Chance loves you! Amen.
I have been rich, and I have been richer. Never poor. Once in a month, I taste being broke for a day (not poverty), and it never feels good. Being broke, and being poor, are different states of life, entirely, although they have one common trait: lack of money. Being broke is when you soak garri for dinner. Poverty is when you wait for the garri to rise.
One sunny Wednesday, I left home, feeling confident. I had music in my ears, my walking step was charming, and I was spotting this slight smile, which always did bring me the right lady…and unwanted dudes. My confidence was back3d by my fat wallet which held a sizable amount of money. By that I mean enough money to take Tonto Dikeh out on an expensive date.
But I still rode a BRT Bus to work, and that was when one chance called.
I joined a BRT from Surulere, down to Tafawa Balewa Square, and I discovered that my wallet didn’t make the trip with me. How I found a way to lose it, I can’t fathom. The brown leather mini-purse left home happily, but I was unsure if it grew mad at me (from being stationed in my dark backpack, instead of hugging my butt), and took off with a ‘broke’ master. Leaving me, not just broke, but dirt poor.
Swollen Garri would have tasted awesome. When You are in one chance, your only choice is soaked swollen garri.
Somehow, my self-preservation instincts got the better of my pride begged my way to work. It was quite the dehumanizing experience, affecting every fibre of my ‘tush’ life. But I pulled through, and got some big bucks again. Top dollar!
For once, I have had a taste of poverty. It’s not a cool place to be in. The air feels dry and empty, life loses it’s flavor, your thoughts loses its innate creativity, and slowly degenerates to thinking about just a single subject – survival.
Not thriving and living, just the thoughts of finding a way not to die.
One Chance took me there. And I promise never to join that vehicle ever. Ajebutters don’t beg their way to their offices. They get begged.
See you next week. Peace and good hustle.