Archive for August, 2008

ATM People

An ATM run is a ritual everyone of us does at least once a week.

Everyone has their favorite time to visit the ATM. Personally, I prefer going just before midnight to withdraw the cash I’ll use the next day. This is because at that time, my chances of finding other people there are extremely low. I can make my withdrawal in peace, and I especially love the walk back home with the cool night breeze in my face and the beautiful night sky to admire.

But of course in life, we can’t always have things go our way. Maybe you forgot to make the run at your favorite time, or something really important came up and the cash on you just wasn’t enough. There’s always that one day that you’ll get stuck in a long frustrating queue that seems to take forever to move.

I’ve had those days one too many, and I’ve come to study the different kind of people you meet at the ATM.

The first that comes to mind is The Whistler. This is the guy standing right behind you and for whatever reason, he’s having such a good time. No problemo. But then he starts whistling in your ears. You feel like a caveman is engraving the picture of the elephant he just caught right into your skull.

You’re thinking, What the hell is this guy’s problem?!

The Whistler’s retarded adopted-cousin is even more annoying. He is The Rapper. This guy can be standing anywhere on the line and he’d still be annoying. He is the guy with the iPod listening to a rap song and every now and then shouting a word or or two from the song very loudly. Every time he says something, you turn to look, and then you feel like a dumb ass for turning.

You’re thinking, Dude, please save that awful voice for karaoke night!

Then there are The Gossip Girls. These girls are right in front of you. One is telling the other what ugly dress so-and-so wore, at the same time the other is telling her who hooked up with who. You just stand there admiring how these girls can share so much information at such supersonic speed. But at the same time, you have that sudden urge to gag them. And…

You’re just thinking, SHUT THE FUCK UP!

And then there’s The Wiseguy. This guy thinks he’s so smooth. He approaches the queue like he’s just a passerby, and the next thing you know, he’s in front of the line trying to withdraw from the machine. You just stay there with your mouth open and wonder why no one said anything. Maybe he was there all along, you tell yourself.

But deep down, you know he’s just a lucky son of a bitch!

It’s not until you approach the front of the line that you meet The Wiseguy’s long distance half-sister, The C-Pusher, who is similar him. But unlike him, she approaches you with big sad pretty eyes like Puss in Boots. She shows a little cleavage and pushes her chest forward, regardless of what’s there, and tells you some bullshit story about why she’s in a hurry. You know she’s lying, and she knows that you know. But you don’t want to appear like an unsympathetic asshole, so you give her a pass.

You’re just thinking… Bitches Be Crazy!

And just when you though it’s all over, you meet The Accountant. The Accountant is the guy that uses the ATM right before you. This guy takes forever to withdraw money. He checks his account balance, tallies it to his expenses and then balances everything to see his returns.

You’re standing there ten minutes waiting, and you’re thinking, Somebody needs to get this guy a fuckin’ job!

After everything is said and done, you walk in confidently to the machine and insert your card into the ATM. But you see a message that says the ATM is out of small notes and can only dispense 50s and 100s. Your account balance is just short of 50.

You just stand there not knowing what the hell you’re going to do. The guy behind you thinks you’re The Accountant type and curses you several times under his breath. It’s at that moment that you start thinking maybe it’s karma from all the bad things you said about those people.

But then you don’t believe in Karma, so you say, Fuck the ATM people, and you blame them for taking all the small notes.

EC – Uncerainties III

This is the third part of my Uncertainties series, if you haven’t read the first part, it’s here, and the second part here.

**********

Ahmed sat by the fireplace covered in the fuzzy warm blanket Mariam gave him. He was having mixed feelings about seeing Mariam.

Ahmed had been was hoping to find Mariam ill or something, so he could find an excuse for her not returning his calls. On one hand, he was glad that she’s good and fine, and on the other –

“So… Ahmed, to what do I owe this late-night-rainy-out-of-the-blue visit ?”, Mariam said, interrupting his thoughts.

Ahmed was part confused, part surprised. He could not believe what he had just heard. So he asked,

“Excuse me?”

“I said, what brought you to my place in the rain at this time of the night”, she was trying not to sound rude.

His surprise slowly turned into anger. He couldn’t believe that his girlfriend, was trying to throw him out. She didn’t answer his calls, didn’t call him back, and now this? Maybe she was really cheating. The feeling of anger and betrayal was in his eyes,

“I called you several time, and when you didn’t call as you promised… I was just worried!”, it was hard trying to sound cool in a situation like that.

“What call?”, Mariam had no idea what Ahmed was talking about.

“You said you’ll call me, remember? And I called you three times after that, all went straight to voice mail”

“Really? I didn’t even know that you have my number”, she said.

Ahmed could not conceal his anger anymore. If Mariam was playing a game, he didn’t like it anymore.

“Of course I have your number. I’m your boyfriend, duh!”, he was angry. He knew it, and she knew it.

Mariam was confused more than ever. Thoughts started running through her mind. She started thinking of Aliyu, and all the problems she had with him, and her father. Oh, her father that she hasn’t spoken to in 3 months while living in the same house…

Maybe it was the anti-depressants recommended by her psychiatrist, or the occasional weed she puffs to keep with her very dysfunctional family. Yes, everyone in her family was either stupid, greedy, paranoid, crazy or a combination of any or all of those.

To find out what’s happening, she needed to know, and to know, she needed to ask. So she asked,

“You dumped me 3 years ago on my birthday Ahmed and never called me since, so what the hell are you talking about?”

EC – Uncertainties II

This is the second part of my Uncertainties series, if you haven’t read the first part, it’s here.

**********

A petite figure of a lady in her early twenties was crying in a dark room somewhere in Abuja. The electricity was not out; Mariam just preferred the dark, it gives her the false feeling of security.

The window adjacent to her was slightly open, letting in a tiny stray ray of moonlight into the room. The light hit her face revealing tears still flowing down her cheeks.

Most people cry when they loose control or give up on something. To Mariam, crying was a way of justifying her actions. A way to tell herself that what she did was the right thing even when it isn’t; Especially when it isn’t!

**********

Several miles away in a rainy part of the city, Ahmed, Mariam’s boyfriend, was in his own bedroom. Unlike his girlfriend’s, his room was well lit, and he was admiring his muscular body in front of the mirror. He works out three times a week at a local gym a couple of blocks away from his apartment.

Tonight, his mind was on Mariam and why she didn’t call him as promised. He was beginning to think what his friends said about her cheating on him was true. He tried as much as possible not to listen to gossip, but that’s hard, especially when it’s about someone you are in a relationship with.

Ahmed flipped open his black Motorola V3x. The wallpaper was a pretty picture of Mariam smiling on their last trip to the beach. Her number was number 3 on his speed dial, he called…

“Hello you have reached -“

It was her voice mail again. This was the third time he was getting it. He hung up without leaving a message and threw the phone on the bed. He found a white T-shirt in his closet and slipped into it and without looking for an umbrella, he walked out of the apartment into the cold rainy night…

**********

Aliyu opened his eyes not knowing where he was. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness he began to make out sketchy shapes in the darkness. A little while after, he realized he was in a room; well not a room really, more like a warehouse. It looked like he was
alone, but he couldn’t be sure because his eyes could only see so far.

The last thing he remembered was finding a parking space right in front of Grand Square. After that, things started getting blurry, and then they went totally blank.

He reached for his Cell phone, and found it was still there. Mariam was number 1 on his speed dial, he called her –

RING!

RING!!

RING!!!

“Hello, Mariam?” said Aliyu, trying to conceal his fear and anxiety on the line.

“Oh, Aliyu! Thank God!” said a concerned female voice on the other end. “Where are you?”

“You’re not Mariam… Who is this?”, Aliyu knew his sister’s voice, and this wasn’t it, but it was quite close.

“Aliyu, calm down… it’s your mother. Where are you? I’m coming to get you”, said the mother.

“What?” shouted Aliyu. “Who are you? I have no time for pranks. I know my mom died years ago, so cut the bullshit and give me Mariam. I really need to speak to her NOW”.

Aliyu was loosing the little cool he had.

“It was Mariam that died years ago Aliyu. Did you take your meds today?, asked the concerned mother.

There was a long silence. What the hell is happening?

**********

BEEP!

BEEEP!!

BEEEEEP!!!

The Door opened. Water was dripping from Ahmed’s body and he was shaking with
cold. He looked up, and with a smile on his face, he said –

“Hi Mariam.”

Continue with EC – Uncertainties III, here.

EC – Uncertainties I

“Where the hell do you think you’re going?! I’m not finished yet!”, yelled Mariam, a very beautiful young woman in her mid twenties. She had a petite figure which made her look a lot younger than she really was. She was in a heated argument with her younger brother, Aliyu.

Aliyu was already at the door. He stopped for a second and turned to look at her; anger in his eyes.

He didn’t say a word. He just took the car keys that were lying on the stool beside the door and walked out.

Just before he slamed the door behind him, Mariam yelled something at him again, but he couldn’t hear, and didn’t care.

Aliyu wasn’t a respectful brother, or the most humble person, and he even wasn’t trying.

Some twenty minutes later, a BMW 1 series belonging to Mariam was held up in traffic. It was around 6pm, the rush hour in Abuja. Aliyu didn’t care, because he didn’t really have any intentions of going anywhere in particular.

He was so deep in his thoughts that he didn’t remember his dad was coming back from Capetown later that evening, or the fact that Mariam needed the car for an outing, and the Calculus assignment he left undone on his study table was due the next day.

He was tired and furious, and wanted to go somewhere to cool off; nothing else mattered.

BEEP!

BEEEEEEEEP!!

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!

The honk of an impatient driver awoke Aliyu from his deep thoughts, and he realized the traffic lights were already green.

To an onlooker, Aliyu had it all: Girls, looks, popularity and filthy rich parents.

But what most don’t know was that he was troubled. Very troubled.

At some point in his life, Aliyu had all the 3-Letter-Disorders you could possibly think of: OCD, ADD, TBD, OCC… If it was a disorder, he’s got it! He had been to psychologist all over the word, and took all sorts of meds, injections and the occasional hard drugs common with disturbed teens.

It was the combination of all these things that made Aliyu a teenager like no other!

He parked outside Grand Square, the biggest shopping mall in Keffi, a satellite city of Abuja. He had driven 112 miles to another city just to avoid meeting anyone he might know. He needed that “alone time” to cool off.

What he didn’t know was that stepping into that mall, that day, at that time, was going to change his life forever…

Continue with EC – Uncertainties II, here.

Blast from the past…

So last night, out of the blue, Gentilezza asked me about the fate of “Uncertainties”, but of course I was confused, because I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about.

After a few minutes of trying to help me remember something I supposedly wrote, it all came back to me…

The Uncertainties Series are short stories interwoven about the unexplainable strange events happening to a group of young adults that are related. I wrote them back in late-2006/early-2007.

I wrote part 1, part 2 and part 3 back then, and the story was still incomplete, so Gentilezza wanted to know if I had a chance to finish it, or have plans to do so.

After giving it a little though, I said what the heck, I’ll do it!

So while waiting for “Uncertainties: Tying the loose ends”, I’ll post the Editor’s Cut of Uncertainties Part1, 2 and 3 up here.

Hope you’ll like it…

Edit: Here’s Part1, EC- Uncertainties I

Hard-to-Explain Situation

Have you ever found yourself in a hard-to-explain situation?

What is that?

Lucky for you, this isn’t one of such situations, so let me explain:

It was a long frustrating day; especially frustrating because I had the flu. I retired back home early, took a hot relaxing shower, put on my boxer shorts and got into bed.

I didn’t sleep immediately; partly because every few minutes I had to stretch to the other side of my queen sized bed to get tissue paper from the other bedside cabinet (to clear my ever flowing nasal cavity) and then got out of bed to dispose the used tissue in the bathroom waste bin. But mainly, I couldn’t sleep immediately because there just wasn’t any sleep in me!

So after a few of my toilet-waste-bin “errands”, I moved the waste bin (which was already half full with tissue) to my bedside and the tissue box to the cabinet beside me for easier access.

Since I wasn’t sleeping, I put on my favorite indie feel-good movie (The Boys and Girls guide to getting down) to pass time. I don’t know why, but I fuckin’ love that movie!

Halfway through the movie, I got a call from my classmate who wanted help with a paper; I told her to come over, and not wanting to get interrupted, I unlocked the front door to the apartment before going back to watching my movie.

Few minutes later, I heard someone twist the knob on my bedroom door. Startled, because I didn’t hear anyone come into the apartment, I quickly hit the space-bar on my wireless keyboard (which I brought into bed with me as a remote control) and turned to see who was at the door. Three girls were standing there staring at me, and then the one who called earlier said,

“Is this a wrong time? We can come back later if you want”

At first I didn’t understand what she meant by that, but then fate had me take a look at my huge dressing mirror which was at an angle adjacent to the bed, and what I saw:

A guy in his underwear with a box of tissue and a waste bin half filled with white, watching an extreme close-up of a guy and a girl frozen in a deep passionate kiss on the screen…

Ah… I see… Hmmm… What should I say?”, I thought. What could I possibly say???

So… Let me ask you again…

Have you ever found yourself in a hard-to-explain situation?

Internet Anonymous

As you may have guessed from the not so subtle title of this post, I’m an internet addict!

You know how they say ignorance is bliss? Well whoever came up with that line was a fuckin’ genius!

All this time, I had no idea how addicted I was, then all of a sudden – BOOM! I came to the frightening realization that I’m actually a crackhead. Of course by “crackhead”, I mean a metaphorical crackhead; My crack being the internet.

So how did I come to this sad and scary realization?

Good question, but unfortunately I don’t have a good interesting answer to complement it. So here goes –

Some few weeks ago, I came across this website called Rescue Time. It installs a bot (or something) on your system that calculates the amount of time you spend on your computer, then sends you weekly updates of your Computer-habits. What’s awesome about this thing is that it not only tells you how much time you spend on the computer, but what you spend that time on.

It was all good and fun – until I received this email…

IN THE LAST 7 DAYS:

I’ve been on my computer –

8 Hrs 48 Mins on Sunday.

10 Hrs 11 Mins on Monday.

7 Hrs 16 Mins on Tuesday.

11 Hrs 38 Mins on Wednesday.

8 Hrs 25 Mins on Thursday.

8 Hrs 45 Mins on Friday.

Today is Saturday, and so far I’ve had 4 Hrs 56 Mins (And the day only started 6 hours ago).

That’s roughly 60 Hours of me being on my computer in the 168 Hours in a week. After a rough mathematical calculation, It came to my attention that: I only have about 110 Hours to myself. Take the 8 – 10 Hours I have for sleep everyday out of the equation, and I’m left with roughly 50 hours. Take those 50 hours and divide them by 7; And I’m left with a shocking 7 hours in a day.

What’s even more scary is not the time I spend on the computer, but what I spend it on:

Top 3 categories: Fun, Arts and IM.

In Fun you’ll see VLC, Media Player Classic & iTunes, which I use to watch Movies, TV Series and listen to music respectively.

In Arts, you’ll find Celtx and GIMP (About the only two semi-productive things I do). Celtx is this really awesome script-writing software, and GIMP is the best adobe photoshop substitute out there.

I’m a whore for IM. I have Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, MSN, AIM, and I even use Spaz to update my Twitter.

In between the top 3 and the bottom, you’ll find e-mail, facebook, twitter, Spill, IMDB, wikipedia, several blogs and a lot of other things, but down there…

Bottom 3: News, Search and Personal Productivity.

I don’t really listen or read news, maybe I’ll tell you why some other day.

I google everything. In fact I google so much that if I want to go out, I google which of my three colognes goes best with the look I’m going for. OK, that’s a lie, but I GOOGLE A LOT! Search is down there because it only takes a few seconds. 

I don’t even know what personal productivity means, but when I checked, it’s all this Calender, Planner and Schedule Manager. Who even makes use these things?

So…

Even though this past week was my one week mid-semester break, I still think what I have is pretty much addiction. Now that that’s out there, I want to start my 12-step Process, and what’s even cool is that number one is already out of the way… so who can help me?

Please… I don’t want to end up with a bluetooth and wireless antennas sticking out of my hair…