Hello peeps!!!! It’s been a long time I know, and it saddens my heart. I would like to take all the blame but it totally isn’t my fault that I have the LAHS. I know you are probably wondering what sort of syndrome that is; well LAHS is an acronym for the Lazy At Home Syndrome… lol. It is a rare syndrome that affects very few people- like me. You see, the thing is, when I’m in school and active, I’m more productive. When I’m at home and relaxed, I’m just plain lazy. I’m even lazy to do the things I love doing. So to justify my idleness at home, I blame it on the LAHS I’ve got. Don’t even think about googling the syndrome up, it’s not there!!! It’s more personal than public. *grins. No now that I am justified of my actions, let me go into the main topic of this post- SEMI COLOUR BLINDNESS IN THE AVERAGE NIGERIAN. Now, talking about colour blindness, I’m not using it in the context of race. No, we Nigerians recognize colour, we recognize black and white and brown and everything in-between; we would be blind if we didn’t. I’m talking about colour in it’s actual context. I used the word ‘semi’ cos we’re not totally blind to colours, we know the basic blue, red, green, orange and maybe the regular likes of peach and mint green but when you start mentioning colours like cyan, mauve or coquelicot; well you should just stick with blue, purple and red or orange or reddish orange. Leave the big words alone. Not because we don’t recognize them by sight, we aren’t just interested in the ‘big grammars’ period. We have a lot of economic issues to think about and no time to spare wondering if the colour is too dark to be thistle or too light to be mauve, purple is purple!!
So what inspired this post? I had an experience a few months ago that made my week. I smiled all through that week each time I remembered it and of late, it’s been coming to my mind so I decided to share it.
It was a warm evening that particular day and though I was tired from a busy day, I had to make it to the bank before four as that was the usual closing time for banks. I got to the bank three-thirty and smiled as I walked into the bank letting myself enjoy the cool of the air conditioner on my skin. I needed to create an account with them because it was closer to my school and I heard their services are one of the best in the country. I looked around the bank and I noticed that the bank was crowded, every section of the bank had a long queue of people waiting to be attended to in front of it. I looked through the signs hung on each section till my eyes rested on the ‘customer service’ sign and I walked towards the section. I got there and did a head count of the people on the line before me. Thirteen of them. A few minutes later another man came and stood at my back, waiting to meet the customer service provider. Knowing it was going to be a long wait of at least thirty minutes, I reached into my bag and brought out my earphones and soon I was lost in the serenity the classical piece I chose to listen to offered, oblivious to most of the things happening around me. Turn by turn people were attended to and finally there were just three people in front of me and I could see the banker attending to people from where I stood. I removed my earphones, turned off the music and put both my phone and earphones back in my bag noticing that more people had queued behind me. I looked at the line of people behind me and saw a woman who looked to be in her late forties-early fifties wearing a brown floral spaghetti strapped dress that fell just below her knees, holding a small sized Chinese style wooden hand fan, fanning herself slowly. It seemed weird to me at first cos though it was a very warm state, the air conditioner in the bank was working fine and I didn’t see any reason to use a fan but since it wasn’t my business, I turned back to face the person standing in front of me. There were now just two people in front of me and I saw that there were two chairs in front of the attendant which were presently occupied by two customers. A few minutes later, the two men seated stood up from the chair and walked out of the bank.
“Next two!!!” the attendant behind the desk at customer service section called out and the two next people replaced the seat that was left empty and now just one person was in front of me. I looked back again and let my gaze rest for a bit on the woman I saw earlier. She was standing behind the man at my back and on closer observation, I saw she was chewing gum. She had this air around her, like she expected more and was almost uncomfortable being in the bank. The way she had her bag slouched over her arm, the way she held the fan and blew herself, the way she chew her gum decently, the way she carried herself in general, gave an aura of foreignness. She was what we would call an ‘obodoyibo’ person, meaning someone who lives or has lived abroad.
“Next two!!!” the man shouted again, and I turned to see that I was the next person to sit down. I was about to sit down when I thought about the woman again. Where I come from, you don’t sit down while an older person stands so I turned to the elderly woman with a smile
“You can sit down ma” a few minutes of more of waiting wouldn’t kill
“Oh!” she gasped, looking surprised “thank you dear.” I was right. She was an obodoyibo woman. Her British accent gave her away. She sat down, still using her wooden fan. It all made sense now, the spaghetti strapped dress and the fan. It must still be a bit warm for her I thought.
“Hello” she greeted the man and he gave a surprised look, realizing she was foreign.
“Good evening ma, how can we help you?”
“I’m here to submit a form I was given to fill a few days ago when I came here” Thanks to lots of British and American movies, I heard and understood clearly what she said but I didn’t think the same was for the banker because he furrowed his brows and squeezed his face in confusion. She handed the form over to him and his face loosened in relief as he collected the form and started going through the pages. He paused and looked up at her
“What’s your profession ma?” he asked, a bit too sweetly which sounded stiff as though he would rather not ask her anything. She sensed his discomfort and smiled
“I’m a nurse” it sounded like she said “I’m a nose” like there was a ‘r’ between the ‘o’ and‘s’. The banker nodded his head in understanding, scribbling something down. He continued to flip through the pages then he paused again and looked up at her again
“What is your house like? Bungalow? Duplex?”
“It’s a flat. I live in a four flat apartment. A storey building”
“uhn” he grunted as he scribbled something else down.
“What’s the colour of your gate?”
“Ehn?” he looked at her like she just spoke gibberish
“The colour of my gate is maroon”
“What’s that?” he asked as though she was toying with his intelligence. Few people close to us I didn’t know were listening turned around and watched with keen interest. I smiled a bit
“A colour, you know, a deeper shade of red” she looked at him incredulously as though he was supposed to know it.
“Okay” he shook his head in irritation and scribbled something down. I stretched my neck to be able to see what he wrote. He filled in ‘red’. I stifled a giggle
“What’s the colour of your house?” he looked at her as though expecting something basic
“Burgundy” she replied with a taunting smile and I had a feeling she was doing it on purpose. His eyes grew wide and his face was twisted in irritation, frustration and suppressed anger. I let out a small giggle and the woman looked at me with a knowing smile
“Is that supposed to be a colour too?” he was already sweating and he tugged at his tie as though it was choking him. I felt bad for the man. The people around us looked at the woman with a mixture of anger and envy. The woman could have just said reddish brown.
“Yes it is. You’ve not heard of it before?” now I was sure she was taunting him on purpose.
“What does it look like?” he sensed she was teasing him and he almost lost his cool
“It’s a shade of reddish brown. A bit darker” she said with feigned indifference. He glared at her, shooting imaginary laser beams then looked down on the form, paused for a bit and scribbled on the page. I stretched my neck again to see what he wrote. He filled in ‘brown’. This time I could not help the laughter that came out so I quickly excused myself to the bathroom and laughed as much as I wanted to. When I came back, she was standing up, about to leave and she smiled at me. I smiled back at her
“You’re beautiful and you have a nice smile” she said smiling
“Thanks ma” I was grinning
“I think cotton candy would look great on you”
“Uhn?” I was confused
“Have a lovely day dear” she gave a witty smile and walked away. I’m sure she must have seen the confused look on my face. Did she mean cotton candy as a sweet or a colour? Was there even a colour called ‘cotton candy?’ I furrowed my brows, wondering as I sat down on one of the chairs
“Good evening. How may I help you?” the banker asked with forced politeness”