How did I end up on a bus with twelve other people laughing over a story we had just been told about a family that had goats as pets and named one of them Celestina?
We were talking about food, one of my favourite topics (that has on more than one occasion gotten me into trouble) and somehow the conversation veered to pets. Most of the people on the bus were fine with the idea of dogs as pets. I wasn’t. I do not like dogs. So I said I couldn’t wait to go to Calabar again and finally find the restaurant my friend told me about where they sell dog meat. I am sure there is a plan being hatched by the association of dog lovers to take me out right now.
Also, considering the fact that I may have eaten one of their cousins from the village, cats may not like me much. The feeling is mutual.
Among us on the bus, we had eaten porcupine, monkey, frog, tortoise and a few other animals. There was no vegetarian on the bus.
Around mid-2014 when the pressure of the forthcoming elections began to mount, something happened. It was as if someone had taken a giant hammer to a dam of stupidity and social media became flooded. Having a different opinion suddenly made you a devil. In fact, commenting with ‘Good morning’ on the post of an PDP supporter as a known member of the APC and you head was likely to get blown off with a ‘Get your good off my morning, you idiotic vitriolic GEJite’; and vice versa. A lot of people seemed to have lost the ability to converse reasonably. Friends were lost, relationships were ruined.
Sadly, the trend has continued. Several issues of national interest have come up since the elections and you read comments on Facebook and follow tweets on Twitter (the two main platforms Nigerians use) and develop an instant headache. And just when you think you can’t take it anymore, the insults start. Personally I have a three step process: unfollow, unfriend, block. Having a different opinion is a good thing. Having an argument around this difference of opinion is a great way to learn and exchange ideas. The inability to see the bigger picture beyond your opinion and understand that others are coming from different places than you; the need to put down and dismiss other people’s thoughts with the basest insults does nothing but show the fact that you do not think. That all you can do is suck at the breast of propaganda and spit the milk in people’s faces, mixed with some bile from your liver.
What has all this got to do with Celestina the goat and my bus trip? On that bus, we were mostly meeting each other for the first time. Some of us had connected on Facebook or shared mutual friends. We were essentially strangers in a small space talking about goats; and religion and sex and relationships and family and marriage and botched operations and death and traditions. We were from different tribes and backgrounds, had had different life experiences. We were single and married, parents and non-parents, employees and entrepreneurs, religious and non-religious. But we spent close to four hours together and not once was anyone insulted. We disagreed and had arguments but at the end of the day everyone went away from the experience richer. Maybe that was possible because we were all willing to listen, learn and make allowances.
The two other things.
In my last post I talked about discipline of children. Please read and drop your two kobo offering whether you agree with me or not.
Somebody please explain to me why there are so many memes about Ibadan people. I don’t gerrit. Here’s a few.
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