Thursday, December 03, 2009
The Girl Whisperer
by the Sunday Guardian
The Best Things
The best things in life are free. They have always been. The best things may be found in the ability never to lose your childhood; to find pleasure, contentment and peace as you hear the first rains hit your car roof in the heaviest traffic. It is in the ability to sit on a chair placed on the balcony as the rains come down and the dust goes up, and watch with delight these scenes of people hurrying homewards that once adorned the pages of the schoolbooks read in your early years.
The best things in life will always be free. It is in the unspeakable beauty in a girl-child’s smile, in a boy’s attempt to learn to walk. It is in the things that hold you close to a person you have not seen in more than a decade but whom you know will always remain a true friend.
For the Whisperer, it is in the simple pleasures of reading a comic, of coming across these treasures in another man’s possessions. The way I came across comics in the hands of Kunle Adeyoola also known as Soul Snatcha, one-half of the singing group, The Roof Top MCs as we rehearsed for the stage performance, “The Tarzan Monologues”. If comics are not your thing, there is no shame in it. However, if you are a true comic buff, you will read them up until the day you leave the earth. It cannot be helped. If you have ever seen the movies – Superman, Batman, Iron Man, The Fantastic Four, The Silver Surfer, The X-Men, Constantine, Judge Dredd, Conan The Barbarian and a thousand others, you have read a comic as all these movies had their origins in them.
The best things in life are free. An old school mate saw me carrying a backpack on one shoulder, as I like to do, hurrying down a flight of steps and said, “You still carry packs like these? They are meant for children.” I stopped to look at him even though I was in a hurry and asked, “What kind of bags do adults carry?” and he replied, “Briefcases”. We all have to be careful, because a man dies on top first.
I go through life finding pleasure in many things, in meaningful conversations, in a person’s ability to laugh at himself or herself and when done without cruelty, even at others.
An indicator of the kind of partner you have may be one who does not appreciate the fact that many of life’s pleasures are simple. Sometimes, pleasure is in watching the waves break on a quiet seashore, it is in spending time in conversation with your brother or sister or cousin, and never losing the ability to tease each other.
I watched a friend walk across a street one day and called out to him, “Jammin’ Jay”. He turned at the name and waved, a delighted grin on his face. At this time, the man known as Jammin’ Jay, his nickname in university, was in “power mode”, a dark-coloured suit that was an indicator of the banking profession he was so successful in. However, there was another fellow by my side as I called out, who had been in university with us. We had not been “good friends” but knew each other enough to stop and say hello each time we met. This fellow asked me, “You still call each other nicknames? I thought all that should have been left behind in university.” I looked at him for a few brief seconds but decided he was beyond help. I also thought sadly of the children he would have and the draconian rules he would impose. C’est la vie. We called our father “Supremo” like his friends did, not always to his face but he knew we called him that. My mother up until today is called “On-board” by her schoolmates because of a hair-cut she used to have. It was unnerving the day I stumbled across a meeting of some old students of her school, Holy Child College, and was addressed as “On-board’s son”.
The best things in life will always remain free and if you have a partner who does not get this, there might be issues that you need to resolve. I am not encouraging you to start a close friendship with a fellow who considers buying food sold by roadside hawkers for you daily as doing “the best things”. If you feel like buying akara from time to time by a busy roadside because you have a craving for it, that’s fine. It should not be turned into your staple diet, however. A man should treat a woman like a lady, even if he understands the simple pleasures.
I have a Marilyn Monroe CD in which she sings, “the best things in life may be free, but diamonds are a girl’s best friend”. According to her, when he returns to his wife, the diamonds will still keep you company. I can understand the logic behind her reasoning, but the Whisperer speaks today of those who will not let you laugh and not let you be who you really are. Sometimes you should take the time out to be goofy, to be yourself. The people we remember with the most fondness and with quiet smiles when their thoughts cross our minds are those who used to make us laugh. “What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?”
It does not matter if your partner has serious intentions of becoming the Arch Bishop of Canterbury. He must know how to laugh. If he cannot, no matter how hard he tries, and you are cut from the same cloth, why, eternal happiness is yours.
If you are one, however, whose heart sings, then you must be careful in weighing if you can spend the rest of your life with Sad Sam. The Whisperer has always laughed long and hard, has a sense of the ridiculous, plays video games (that’s right, play station 3) and has no apologies for these.
In a world that often tries to tell us otherwise, let me laugh without shame. It’s my life.