You know how you think you can’t do without something until you have had too much of it? By then, you get disgusted just by the thought of it. When I was younger, I used to get very impressed by children my age who hawked along the streets. I wondered how they managed to balance that tray of sweets or biscuits on their head. Throughout the day, they plodded to and fro, selling their wares. If I were in their shoes, I thought, I will have to be punished with increasing severity daily. I felt I would become the one customer and eat up my goods daily without pay.
Until I went home one holiday with a big bag of ‘Hausa groundnuts’ as we called it… I had helped a classmate to buy it. Unable to deliver it for some reason that I can’t remember now, I took it home. Our fridge was bad. It had a short shelf life. It was attractive. It was delicious. As a human being, I liked good things. Plus, I had an older sister and four younger siblings. I had ‘no choice’.
We began to eat it. A little at a time. It had this sour-sweet taste that I like. The kind that you get with yoghurt. Then the daily ration increased. More, more, more. By the eleventh day, we were fed up…It was ten days to go to the end of the holidays.
I have always liked figures. I still do, to an extent. I calculate the metres as I walk. I calculate the age of anyone I meet. How many hours you have been on this job, how long she has had that wig on… Figures intrigue me. As an electrical engineer, I work with them; calculating this or that and translating it to reality. My latest task is to do an inventory of the equipments and assets of a large school complex. It entails counting and counting, calculating and compiling. You guessed right. I have had it up to…. here!
But it doesn’t end there. Just as eating those ground nuts did not stop on the eleventh day. We endured the now disgusting taste until the bag became empty. And when school resumed, I bought another bag, from the contributions of all, for my classmate.
Now I will count on till the end, the end of the task. When all is done and submitted to the boss, I will have become a better person.