In ANYTHING on October 26, 2010 at 11:01 am

Bayo Akinloye

First-week…, “It’s 5 o’clock,dear!” My mom announced. She switched on the light in my room and left. “Oh,no!” I muttered, rolling off the bed. “omo wase, omo rise!” Ayo, my younger sister sang from her room opposite mine. “Wait till I get my first salary…” I replied. In no time, I was in the bathroom. From the bathroom to the gents. Back in my room. What do I wear? Black suit, white shirt- I learnt is formal. It took me ages to get dressed. “Let’s say a prayer before you go”, dad said. Everyone was excited: Junior is starting is first job….As I stepped out, all the confidence in the universe deserted me. Anxiety suddenly became my companion.

Soon I was lost in the throng of some faceless majority- hustling and bustling. And I hated Lagos again for the  uncountableth(sic) time. “Mr. Ben Tiwa,jnr?” Yes, no other birds are the hawk- I nodded in the affirmative.”Please, come with me”, the well-structured feminine figure said. Without querying her, I followed like a lamb being led to the slaughter. Who wouldn’t? “Welcome to First Foundation…”, a sonorous voice announced after taking me on a guided tour of the organization’s facility. “Thank you. It’s a pretty place,” I said. “The faces I saw are lovely too!” “Come see your office…” the voice requested. Really, am getting used to the voice like a kindred spirit. From the 5th floor, we soon arrived on the 1st floor- my domain. “So have a nice day ahead!” she said and shut the door.

I was now alone- with question and exclamation marks hanging over my head-in my first office ever…Suddenly, I began sweating profusely in the air-conditioned office- instead of shivering. Has work already started? This is just the firs day-can’t they see? I pondered sheepishly. Soon I was placed on attachment to get acquainted with the organization’s six companies. It was an inspiring exploration…First-Week faded out.

SECOND-WEEK…Sunday. My folks were calling me on the phone from everywhere:”Junior, congrats. You have done it again!” “Ah Jay-I thank God for you o!” “ol’ boy, you are always the man- just believe…gbabe!” The calls came in different shapes; from the sublime to the ridiculous. “Don’t you think our friendship shoild blossom this season”, Aisha suggested. “My man,better get down with one slim-shady or is it slim-lady!”Said Titi. “Ah Jay, this is the time to enjoy what you sorely missed on campus and in camp. Am sure you’ve got pretty birds in there-your office men!” Jide advised.

Oops! Where did these crazy folks drop from? I was still wondering when another voice popped up from phone: “Congrats! Big boy. Jay, don’t forget to send me MTN #3000 recharge card. And here’s my bank account …sweet day!” What on earth is happening? Monday. I got to office with more confidence than anxiety. Last week during my attachment I learnt about some high-sounding words like: fluoroscopy, angiography, accuson sequoia, sonoline g-20 and the list  was endless.

It was a moment of learning new things. Tuesday- Saturday. I was still learning the nitty-gritty of my employer’s awesome organization. All the employees are understanding,friendly,patient and hardworking. The smiles on their faces reassured me that: I can…Now I felt a gusto of ease surrounding me. When Duke, my good pal visited my workplace- First Foundation Place-, he was overwhelmed by what he saw. Wow!(apologies to Ngozi), it is a delightful aesthetics’ masterpiece.

“Junior, I love this place!” Duke said.” You are pretty fortunate. First job- First Foundation!” He paused for what seemed like eternity and asked:”Can I stay here forever!?” I looked at him in surprise; he sure knew he could not. How I wish he could! I thanked him for coming. Or what can I do without you well-wishers out there- praying, fasting and fantasizing on my behalf? “But,” he said as he was leaving, “don’t forget your guys o!” What a Parthian shot….

THIRD-WEEK…Home-front has begun to fade out. More time now spent in the office. I was privileged to be drafted into the organization’s editorial board. There were articles to write and submit. I tried hard- very very hard to put pen to paper. Nothing surfaced. I scratched my big contorted fragile head the very way a fowl would scratch a clean concrete floor for bits to peck- how futile! O is this my first fumble for First Foundation? I hope sey I no go lose my job for this.

I began to say a silent prayer: Holy Father, begotten Son, take this cup from me- I no fit drink wetin dey inside!” “ Wetin dey inside-olodo”, a voice boomed. “ No be mass comm you read?drink am- and be ready for more.” I began to whine: unholy Satan, why hath thou cometh here to look for me- dem send you? Get thee behind me, now now. It was a tough moment. My entire internal system was in a feverish disarray. I had to go unwind in the gents. How I wish Ab was around. Oh why! Why has everyone forsaken me? Thursday-Saturday. I began facing reality- the present reality-more than ever before. I was getting involved fully…how inspiring to work with loving hardworking employees. Yahoo!… “Hello?” I picked up my phone saying. “Bawo wo ni dear? Asked the voice at the other end.”Who’s speaking please?” “Phoebe lo nsoro…” “Phoebe?” “Why are you sounding like Thomas,” she retorted. “ I just want to tell you…it has happened o!” “What?” “Ti e serious fun one minute jo…am pregnant for you!” she gleefully announced. “Wrong number!” I ended the call. Imagine, how could I impregnate someone I have never met before- my brother, tell me.

FOURTH-WEEK… Oh la la…Pay-day approaches! The first day dragged on like one over-bloated dragon breathing smoke instead of fire. Yet, it sure dragged over-am became yesterday. Day-two was tough and tempting…Third-day was ok. Pay-day appeared very much on the horizon. I was in total ecstasy, body and soul. Then my cell phone rang… “Y’hellooo!” I responded. “Hey, smart guy…”, the voice began. “Who you?” I asked. “It’s Phoebe. Am coming down to your office tomorrow!” First, I was enraged. Then confused…what adjectives could I use? My vocab failed me. I had flung my cell phone-o mercy! It landed safely in a bin. “It wasn’t me. It wasn’t me. Phoebe-it wasn’t me!” I said sobbing. And tomorrow arrived…. Phoebe would soon arrive. I was stone confused. But, who is this pest pestering my life? God knew I did not know… 6p.m., ready to go home. Phoebe never showed up. Indeed, she called the wrong number.

Back home. “ Hey, kaabo-bawo ni office?” “Where’s the bullion van that brought you home?” “Is it Ghana-must-go-bag that you used?” “Pleasssse, can everyone just relax-what’s happening?” “Wey ya salary?” my little nephew finally asked. Salary? Could you believe-I forgot to collect my first salary ever in life! A month has just ended…but, the future lies ahead….


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