Thursday, June 13, 2013

Money, Money, Moneeey!

Seems I still can't shake my age-long bad habit of posting once a month...

I'm staying at my aunt's place this week because its a lot closer to work than from my house and I am LAZY. Chatting with my 5 year old niece yesterday after work about her day at school, and she tells me she aced her mid-term tests. Feeling magnanimous, I tell her "Wow! I'm so proud of you! I will give you BIG money, how much do you want?" She uhms and ehms for a few seconds then with eyes-wide open she proceeds to shock me with her interpretation of BIG money..."I want...N200!!!" Wait, what? I told her I would give her BIG money and she wants just N200?! NO ONE could ask me that same question when I was younger, they would most certainly be robbed! I mean, I remember when I was younger and we used to accost our visitors and escort them to the gate so they'll shake body. Now I say escort, but we all know now that I was straight up harassing these poor people!

I had a band of merry robbers; myself, my younger sister and 3 of my cousins. Our living room furniture was arranged in a U-formation, so when our guests got comfortable and started talking to our folks, we would close the "U" and then announce that we wanted to sing. Our song list was very varied; nursery rhymes to Yoruba movie soundtracks to the theme tune of Neighbours. Now if our guests were smart, they allowed us sing only ONE song before clapping and opening their wallets to give us N20 - N50 (BIG money back in Lagos, 1996) but the stubborn ones? Ooh child, the stubborn ones learnt! We had about 4 or 5 songs, so if after the first one, body has not been "shaken" for us, and they dashed us claps like it was something (Hiss! You know those stingy ass visitors, their own currency was claps) we continued singing.

So we would go on singing till the last song, and then take a bow; enough hint to open wallet and give us money, so we could go and practice for better visitors. Mba! These ones will claaaaap, and tell our folks, "Ahn ahn, your children are talented!" Lies! We would start singing the last song again, this time so slowly, throw in some harmonies sef, at that point the visitors usually just threw in the towel and gave us their lunch money. Our folks were so ashamed of us, chei! But yay, more money for Blackcurrant lollies and "baba dudu" sweets!

Someone came to visit us once and dropped about N1000 when they were leaving, "take these lovely kids to Mr Biggs" omo see jubilation! My aunt said no wahala now, that we would go later that evening. We had lunch, eba and vegetable soup I think, then my younger sister boldly went to meet my aunt, "when are we going to Mr Biggs?" My aunt screams "Mr Biggs ko! All the food you people have been eating, even the vegetable soup you had for lunch, has cost me one million naira so far! Infact you people owe me!" Chineke, N1m?! How we go pay that one now?! We sharply forgoooooot Mr Biggs.

My dad had this friend who was a "braggado", he knew and was related to EVERYONE; awon "the Governor was my seatmate in the University" peoples. Chairman! Tuale! Anyhoozay, one day he called our land-line and said he was bringing something to the house, see excitement now! Popsie was not around, just us and some older relatives, see us planning how we were going to share the money this BIG man was going to give us! He arrives, we boldly go and serve him "minerals" and some Danish Cookies we had. He gets up and says he is leaving, he will just drop the 'something" we got up with him and walked outside the gate where packed; about 7 of us o! We get to the gate. This man goes to his trunk. He pops his trunk open. And  drags out a goat. A freaking goat! We gave this man mineral and biscuit oh! I'm sure the crestfallen expression on our faces was what made him hand over the goat's leash to my uncle and jump into his car. I can't remember if he ever came to visit us again...

"Aunty YG, Aunty YG, I said okay forget N200, give me N100!" My niece is shaking my shoulders, I stop reminiscing, almost tear up, pull her in for a hug and tell her to bring my wallet.