Monday, April 28, 2014

Domestic Monitoring Spirits by BabaWilly

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What is monitoring? Safe guarding the common and valuable asset. A suspicious inclination that when fully formed never leaves you. You might call it being street wise, due diligence, or not being naïve but it is plain old paranoia. Your fellow man might stab you in the back so we monitor our brethren. We cannot be ‘dull’ we tell ourselves. Suspicion is expedient. We call it a healthy vigilance.

Just as a pregnancy is scanned regularly, so do close friends ultrasound each other’s every move as in this life, you cannot be too sure. This leads us to how we cope with uncertainty. Some sit and ponder if the shore line will hold or if a Tsunami with greet them the next morning. Others chop up as life is too short. There is a choice but people behave like there is no choice.

If you come from a house full of the frightened camouflaging as responsible and cautious people, you grow into one frightened adult. If on the other hand you come from a house where everyone knows they will die one day and intentionally ignore or omit to peep through the curtains hourly to see if the grim reaper’s car is parked in the street, you become optimistic and less suspicious. The grim reaper has a list every day. Why sit and sweat that your name is one that list. Why try to monitor the nearness of death? Why stress?? Well, the answer is that you stress because your parents stress.

The stress and fear which blows in the air conditioned air currents of the home you grew up in follow you everywhere I am afraid. (Excuse the pun). Now the family that prays together and then eats together will have noticed that some members of the household have fingers with in- built cooling mechanisms. These are the ones who grab steaming eba and dip it into boiling soup without flinching. Such creatures are also blessed with mouths containing cooling fans. At such meals, there is no restriction on how many times you swallow before the eba finishes, so those who cannot take the heat tend to have flat bellies at the end of the meal.

The Geneva convention however states that the meat and fish is only shared after the eba has finished. However unscrupulous brethren have been known to apply their well moulded eba on a piece of floating fish while dipping their hand in the soup bowl. This is why brethren need to shine eye and look closely. Every family member reserves the right to shout, ‘stop’ and point at any suspect. The family then study the rounded eba to see if bits of fish have been smuggled into it’s under belly.

After the meal, the family clean up, say the night prayers and lock all windows and doors with a thousand iron bars and padlocks to protect their property during the night. They suspect their fellow men might come to reap where they have not sown.  And here in lies the children’s problem. They cannot trust their brethren even though they bear the same name, and they surely cannot trust the strangers.

I once was told that if you disbelieved everything you were told, you would be right eighty per cent of the time. A crazy application of the Pareto principle.  A few ladies who were present at the party and had eavesdropped our conversation  told me they disagree totally with using Pareto in such a generalised way because if it is a man talking after 9pm 100% of what they say is a lie. Everybody laughed including John Abubakar whose real name was James Imoh but he was forced to answer to the name given him when he purchased his passport. (No bi Europe we dey?)

Personally, I believe many things are lies namely  all unsolicited e-mails, all TV and radio adverts,  get rich quick offers and Facebook love application letters. I once had a guy e-mail me for some money to help him register in Unilag. He was from a poor family but had the brains of a middle class kid and the ambitions of an upper class kid. He had passed his entrance exams with colours that fly. We exchanged e-mails for a while and I was preparing to send him some money. I then told him to give me the bank details and telephone number of his department in Unilag so I could ring them and pay directly into their account. This was when things changed. He e-mailed  to say, ‘Big bros, I actually want to go to Canada, Unilag being a second choice’. At this stage I withdrew my interest.

Now I have a healthy cynicism (I kid myself). The problem with expecting the worse from your fellow men is sometimes you just don’t know where to draw the line. A guy who was not particularly studious failed a simple test three consecutive times and was told when he consulted a Babalawo that  ‘ yua mama don tie your brain for the other side’. He believed. Superstition makes the already paranoid person much worse. They see conspiracy everywhere. The cat that walked past is a person not a cat, the wind is unnatural, the dream has deep meaning (you watched Dracula movie and dreamt of Dracula, ehen?) and failure is caused by someone.

If Edison was Nigerian and had to do his light bulb experiments so many times, his native Doctor would have had over 900 chickens sacrificed for each failure. Shebi the native doctor  would have invented  KFC or Nandos sef.  Suspicion is really like gossiping. If you visit someone and for the next 2 hours they tell you the ‘latest’ on everybody, guess what will happen when you leave? They will endeavour to make MTN richer by telling the world all you told them.

The fearful also are the same. You meet them, love them and commit to them and soon they tell you all they fear. They start with spiders, then cats then dark rooms. One by one they tell you every detail then flatter you that you make them feel safe. Each day the list grows.

Soon they move to what they might be afraid of but are not quite afraid of yet, such as you cheating on them. You assure then and laugh it off, but once a suspicious person, always a suspicious person. They now fear you will cheat. You might be good but there are wicked people out there waiting to make you fall. Since they never trusted their flesh and blood on the dinner mat, you will now inherit that mistrust. Nothing personal but when you are shackled to a paranoid fellow and realise it; that is when your irritation starts to grow.

Moving to long term relationships, spouses can sometime become secret agents in their bid to discover if their greatest fear has crept upon them. And that is the fear of being stabbed in the marital back. The phone, that dreaded creation, is usually the first place to spy upon. Just like the blood test is to the physician, snooping on ones spouse’s phone is the acid test for the diagnosis away- matchitis in for every modern player and non-player communicates with his phone.

A recent survey found about forty five per cent of spouses had snooped on their partner’s phone in the last twelve months. (45% only! I hear some veterans scream, well maybe 80% of people lie in surveys).  One of the said ways to recognise the partner with something to hide is that they never leave their phone lying around.

There was a guy who had diarrhoea and was banging on the loo door to get one of the kids to vacant the only toilet in the family flat. As soon as the door opened he rushed in almost knocking his kid over and slammed the door shut. The family were soon amazed to find him rushing out to the bedroom to grab his phone while he held his bum with his other hand. ‘He has something to hide’ thought his partner.

Guys who leave their phones lying around are also not free from suspicious. It means they delete all texts immediately or perhaps own a secret phone for back door deals.

Hard core partners will always give a welcome hug at the door sniffing for strange perfumes or looking for strands of hair with a DNA foreign to the family. This are the CSI Family home agents. They learn volumes from just one strand. Traces of lipstick are sought on the shirts and are colour matched with their own lipstick to make sure it was not from an outsider.

During the hug, the abdomen can be felt to see if other meals have been eaten, and if food is not finished on the dining table, that spells trouble. ‘Did you eat outside?’ is that dreaded question. Having a headache or being tired in the bedroom means something is fishy. The really tough CSI spouses will monitor e-mails, bank statements, check pockets and wallets for strange receipts and befriend their spouse on Facebook with fake names and attractive profile pictures they found on Google images. These are the people ‘caught in a trap’ sung about in Suspicious Minds by Elvis. Monitoring continues into the night for spouses who talk in their sleep. Woe betides you if you mention any other name while dreaming.

Technology leads a helping hand by way of Apps which can help down load texts off other phones and for those too who cannot be bothered with that, just hire a secret detective. They usually can provide you with hard core evidence.

And now for some stories.

I was treating a patient and noticed his phone had pictures of a shop. He told me he had cameras on the cash till at all his seven shops and watches his staff from anywhere in the world. When he saw how amazed I looked (I am a good actor) he went on further to impress. ‘I have a camera on my front door and in my bedroom. I know when my wife gets up’. I had to apply self control if not I for say,’make we kuku see the wife sef weda she fine’.

Then there was the guy in Lagos who secretly put a tracker on his wife’s car and regularly did the usual, ‘I just called to say I love you ‘waste of credit phone calls that always ended with ‘darling, where are you?’ One day her mum arrived in town and she sent a driver from work with her car to go and pick her. Her hubby- the spy who loved/ suspected her rang to love on her. When she said she was in the office, he flew into a rage and asked if she thought he was a fool. ‘Since when did the airport become your office?’ he asked. She replied with a question; Nigerian style. ‘Who told you my car was at the airport?’ The resultant quarrel lasted for two months. During the final peace talks the Oga at the top found out that he too had been under surveillance for three years and madam knew about his ‘moves’ in Suru-Lere.

And finally a story that proves there is no suya smell without fire. Mandy, a suspicious wife, noticed that her partner had increased his overtime without a corresponding rise in income. She spied his phone and found a number. Crafty lady that she was she got a new SIM card and texted the number.

Darling it is me James
Yes sweetie pie. What number is this?  came the reply and the red mist descended.
That woman is spying on my phone so I got this new one. Strictly for us
How deviously romantic. Lol
I need to see you soon
Were you not here till the early hours you insatiable animal? Mandy felt like buying a gun at this stage
I am Oliver Twist she texted back after regaining her thoughts.
Lol. Anyway, working from home all day
I need to send you something special. Send your address and post code
But I sent it when we flew to Paris last weekend. Mandy was going crazy. Last weekend James was supposed to be on a top management residential course. Once she got the address sent she decided to pay the husband snatcher a visit and beat her up Warri style.
Darling do not ring or text my phone. Madam might be suspicious, Mandy texted
Your long necked ostrich. Has she laid any eggs lately? Lol. Hot tears sprang out of Mandy’s eyes.
I will be there by 4pm honey. Leave the front door open and be naked in bed
I will have a hat on. Lol

Mandy told James he wanted to use his car that day and armed with 4 leather belts drove off to the address.
She texted to say she had arrived and she saw the curtains move upstairs.  The reply made her fume.

Hot and spicy in bed just like you like it. Door is open.

She marched in and walked up ready to murder. At the bedroom door she heard a voice say ‘hello’ from the bedroom.
Just as she pushed the door open she saw something move behind her. Next minute she was on the floor screaming with her ankle in the mouth of an Alsatian.
The bedroom door flung open and a voluptuous lady dressed in a red hat screamed, ‘who are you? James sit!’

Mandy was confused. ‘See babe wey James dey enjoy. She even name the dog after the father of my children’ she thought as she looked down at her bleeding ankle.  The naked beauty seemed to recognise her and asked her to leave. Mandy hurried up to her feet leaving her belts behind and the dog pounced again but she escaped flying down the stairs. She fell and twisted her ankle at the bottom but kept running after shutting the door behind her. She went straight to hospital and on arriving home found James watching TV. He acted surprised to see her bandaged up and on crutches.

‘What happened darling?’ asked James with an air of concern betraying no signs of having been tipped off by his babe.

‘I slipped and fell at work’ said Mandy too embarrassed to accuse James for she knew he would kuku deny everything. Shebi his favourite song is by Shaggy.

Cuni man die, cuni man bury am.


Dr Wilson Orhiunu


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