Fiction: 2021 (Pt.1)

I woke up tired. Thought about turning on the TV. But I quickly changed my mind; rather have a strong dose of caffeine than another dose of Covid news. Had a shower and threw some clothes on. Kissed my wife and daughter then grabbed my car keys and face mask. Whispered a prayer and ventured into the unknown. Just a typical start to the new normal.

Hit the highway and got lost in the soundtrack of my life. As I drove through lanes of masked motorists I recalled the last social gathering I attended – a wedding reception. There I was greeted with security detail brandishing digital thermometers. My wife and I had to produce our invitations to gain entry. Once in, it was a stark contrast to my pre-covid wedding reception of close to 1,000 guests. Due to the government restrictions around congregation numbers, there were no more than 50 scantily seated family members, relatives and close friends in attendance. It was still a fun party.

Red light ahead snapped me back into consciousness. The government had taken over many billboards as creating more hygiene awareness superseded the private sector’s objective of driving consumer purchases. Local celebrities were the new face of hygiene and social distancing compliance. Street hawkers became a thing of the past. The cheapest public transportation was by bus as most motorcycles were banned. The combination of these elements made for a reduced journey time of 20 minutes – usually 45 minutes.

Arriving at my office building, I go through the usual protocol with security personnel getting my temperature scanned and hands sanitized – a ritual that somehow was reminiscent of the order enforced in the Equilibrium movie. At the lobby my finger was going nowhere near the elevator button. Instead I used the corner tip of my ID card. 50 per cent capacity was observed once inside. Familiar faces were greeted with gentle nods. Hands tucked away in pockets or arms firmly folded. Soon after silence was golden except for the female elevator voice announcing arrival at my floor. I step out and head to my second home.

Photo credit: Dreamstime

The Soundtrack of Our Lives

MJ Earth Song - Pinterest

I decided to compile a list of songs that I believe tell a story of the mood in Nigeria in the early days of the pandemic to date. The soundtrack goes like this:

Earth song by Michael Jackson – This was the turning point when we realized there was a global problem that was spiraling out of control.

New born by Muse – We were seeing other continents waking up to a new world; a new reality which would soon become our own.

Drugs don’t work by Verve – There were rumours fast spreading in Nigeria about Chloroquine and other Malaria drugs being able to cure the corona virus COVID-19. But this led to more (and avoidable) deaths. I need a doctor by Dr. Dre ft Eminem, Skylar – Right now I’m trying to avoid going to hospital unless it is absolutely necessary. There are stories online about people with COVID-19 symptoms visiting regular hospitals instead of calling the NCDC helpline.

Gone too soon by Michael Jackson – The number of reported COVID-19 cases and deaths globally are alarming. My heart goes out to all those who have been hospitalized, the departed and those who have to cope with the loss. Land of Confusion by Genesis – Social media advises one thing and the news stations advise another. Can the Covid-19 virus survive on surfaces for up to 48hrs? Which masks are effective? Can sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol kill the virus? Is drinking alcohol more effective? It was becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish myth from fact.

Locked up by Akon – Lagos state announced a 14-day lock-down on March 29th  which later got extended by another 14 days. I’m currently at home with my family doing my part for society and getting to grips with working from home.

Lazy song by Bruno Mars – It was hard at first but I gradually got into a routine and created a work space with zero interruptions. I can only imagine how many people have bothered to shave, take a shower or change clothes in the last couple of days (don’t ask me).

Something new by Wiz Khalifa ft TY Dollar $ign – During this lock-down I noticed that people online have had more time to perfect their dance moves and partaking in the #somethingnewchallenge (Elbow left, elbow right, shake like a jellyfish then clap, I think). I’ve done mine at home but it will not be aired online.

Don’t rush by Young T and Bugsey ft Headie One – This was yet another song that birthed more creativity among the courageous before-and-after makeover pros across many social media platforms. #dontrushchallenge videos are quite addictive to watch.

Bored in the house by Curtis Roach – With the exception of those breaking the law, everybody who is meant to be observing the lock-down in specific states in Nigeria and states around the world can relate to this song.

They don’t care about us by Michael Jackson – There were reported cases in Lagos where residents complained that the palliative measures were not getting to their households. But the situation seems to have improved as the government is visibly going round to provide essential supplies on a door-to-door basis. Reaching out to over 20 million will be no small feat so a lot of patience from citizens is expected.

In the End by Linkin Park – Some of us are putting our trust in the government and scientists. And some of us are putting our trust in God. In the end we want to come out of this alive – that’s what matters. Staying Alive by BeeGees – With people losing jobs or having their customer base significantly impacted by the lock down order, it’s a struggle to make ends meet. Money makes the world go round. And a hungry man is an angry man. Another Day in Paradise by Phil Collins – This has been a time when I have been moved by regular citizens coming out to donate food and drink supplies to communities without requesting government support. Everyone needs to demonstrate love to his or her neighbours and give to those who lack.

Heal the world by Michael Jackson – Spread the love; that’s my appeal to everyone while scientists around the world work towards developing the vaccine to tackle this pandemic. Save me by Remy Zero – We need a saviour now more than ever. Times like this I wish Superman was not a fictional hero. The recent cases reported in Kano state are alarming.

A new dawn by Michael Buble – Hoping for a new dawn very soon for everyone. Do share your thoughts on the soundtrack; what would you change? what would your soundtrack for this crisis period feature? I would love to know 🙂

Image credit: s629photobucket.com

Top 3 text messages EVERYBODY likes to receive

If you are reading this post it’s probably safe to assume that you are doing so via your mobile phone which is the first likely item you wouldn’t leave home without. Aside making and receiving calls we often send and receive SMS or text messages on our mobile phones. I personally don’t send that many text messages, thanks to WhatsApp. But when it comes to receiving text messages, the following are the top 3 (and I stand to be corrected):

  • Successful recharge: Who doesn’t like receiving airtime for making calls or buying internet data? Getting happy birthday messages are ok but put for God’s sake put some airtime on it. Especially when these messages clog up your inbox.
  • Credit alert: Who doesn’t like getting notifications about money coming into their bank accounts? Even if it’s N300 or less than $1 it’s still an inflow.
  • Send me your account number: Now this one is quite an exciting message if it’s from that debtor who’s been owing you money for the last 2 years, or if it’s from a donor whose sending a birthday/wedding/new born gift. But surprisingly the last time I sent this text to somebody it wasn’t for any of the mentioned reasons. Let’s just say that the next time somebody is ignoring your calls try sending this message from another phone number – I’m 100% sure he will call back immediately. Worked for me when one artisan was trying to dodge me 😀