“…That was when I lost my wallet. Luckily for me, I had some money on me, so I was able to return to Abuja,” I finished.

My mom looked like she was beginning to believe me. It’s at those times that I have to be extra wary.

“Azuka,” she said finally, after a brief moment of silence during which I held her gaze and put on my most innocent face. “This wasn’t the story you told me at first. I want the truth.”

After telling and retelling a few times, she had wormed out of me the fact that I’d spent the money in the “lost wallet” on suya and some other “goodies” and that the wallet had contained only 20 naira when it got missing. It was unfair, because a couple times, she let me go, only to resume asking me days later.

My dad sometimes refers to my mom as the “questioner” or “interrogator” because she spent so much time asking and re-asking, until you eventually just gave up because the webs in your lies got entangled, or as I learned much later in life, kept things simple so you didn’t trip yourself up.

So, lying, or lies, damn lies and statistics. You inevitably find yourself telling one: the white lie to avoid inconveniences, or to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, pranks, the malicious ones, false memories, or sometimes just one that slips out and you can’t take back.

How did you get caught recently?

I like you

I chuckled to myself as I said, “I like you.” Perhaps a little too loudly as it turned out.

The girl walking in front of me took one quick glance back, wrinkled her nose and sped up. I wonder why.

I’ve said and done many embarrassing things all my life.

Sometimes it’s something from my teens, like grabbing a guy’s collar while making eye contact with a crush. I wanted her to know I was tough, and it made sense back then. Now, not so much.

Sometimes it’s saying something very incredibly stupid in the heat of the moment. A few months go by, I find myself reminiscing and face-palm. What the hell was I thinking when I said that, or did that?

Sometimes it’s a social faux pas. I’ll spare you the details.

If you ever hear me say, “I like you” seemingly out of nowhere and I’m not making eye contact with you, I probably found myself yet another funny or not-so-funny embarrassing episode from my past. It’s one of the few phrases I use when talking to myself out loud.

It’s short for, “I like you, Azuka, despite how silly you often are.”


Another kind of idiot

I’ve never had dry eye before, so when I started having a stinging sensation under my eyelid, I turned to Google. Apparently, wearing contacts can dry out your eyes. WebMD recommended eyedrops for short-term relief so off I went to the little grocery store near my office.

I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who spent a while browsing before heading to the pay. I did pull out my phone to compare Clear Drops with Visine. Clear Drops won.

At the counter, after serving the person in front of me, the attendant asked, “Did you put anything in your pocket?”

“Excuse me?” I asked.

“I was busy serving someone so I couldn’t tell if you did.”

I silently pulled out my phone, car keys and wallet from my pockets.

He looked down and nodded. He must have seen something in my eyes when his met mine because he took a step back.

“I’m sorry, it’s just…”

“Here,” I handed him the eyedrops and my credit card. I was pretty sure any excuses he had would only make me angrier.

The eyedrops worked, thankfully, but I doubt I’ll be going in there in the future.

Rant of today: writing

I can forgive its/it’s.

You’re/your,  their/there/they’re are barely tolerable.

If I was/if I were or there’s/there’re could be considered nitpicking.


“She’s a beautiful women.”
“I’m a strong well adjusted women.”

Am I missing something? Is it now one women, two womens,  three womenz?

It’s your language for Pete’s sake! Amazingly, some of you have the gall to self-righteously tell others,  “You’re in America. Speak English!”

At the Bus Stop

I got out of my AI class tonight at 9pm then headed to Ralph’s to pick up some deodorant and mangoes.

Getting to the bus stop, I nodded to the guy waiting there then took my phone out to check the scheduled time for the next Metro bus. Slow app loading. I need to replace this phone, but only after I get a car, then replace my laptop.


I looked up to find him standing in front of me. At first glance, I took in the white hoodie, braided hair and sunken eyes, then I noticed he was swaying on his feet.

Great, a drunk. Just my luck.

He started saying something, but I had a hard time understanding what he said. It came out “blegh, blegh blegh, nigga, blegh.” Well, back to my phone. I don’t like the word, never use it myself, and if you’re panhandling, don’t call me “nigga” even if you happen to be black.

“Blegh, blegh, put the phone away.”

He seemed to be doing most of the talking with his tongue, and he had invaded my personal space. I could smell a mix of alcoholic fumes as well as a rancid odor that could only come from having an entirely white tongue.

“You know what I want.”

Ok, what’s this? A stickup? Would he be happy with just my phone? There’s nothing in my wallet, but it has all my cards and my driver’s license which took three months to get here. What does he have — a gun or a knife?

I could feel goosebumps rise on my neck as my fight or flight instincts kicked in while he kept rambling, then I heard the words “Crips” and “put away that damn phone.” I complied.

“I don’t have anything on me. I’m just a student,” I said as calmly as I could.

I got more babble. Luckily he wasn’t one of those vehement speakers who spit when they talk.

“I’m sorry I don’t understand what you want. I’m not from around here,” I tried to explain.

Now he got angry.

“I know where you from but you don’t know where I’m from. Imma fuck you up. You got pretty eyes and shit. I seen you when you crossed the road.”

Ok, what’s going on here?

I kept looking behind me to see if any cops were around or the bus was coming.

“You want something? I’ll give you anything you want but you gotta give me what I want,” he continued.

I had absolutely no idea what he wanted. Was he a psycho? Was he someone like Vincent Weiguang Li?

“I wanna fuck yo ass.”


Surprisingly, the first emotion I felt was relief. I wasn’t in any danger.

He reached behind me but I stepped sideways to avoid him. I’ve been pinched by girls, even recently (and yes, I reciprocated). I’ve also been hit on by guys and I politely turned them down, but this was just too bizarre.

“Don’t fuck with me man. I know you want it,” he staggered after me. I seriously contemplated hitting him. 50-something and wasted drunk, a good uppercut would knock him out, but then I could kill him, especially if I used a shoryuken.

Luckily, I heard the hiss of the bus arriving. He boarded with me, and I quickly headed for the rear of the bus.

I’d never been so glad to see my housemate K–.

When we got off and I recounted my encounter, she said, “There’s always some crazy-ass people on the bus.”

Now I know why a lot of my friends are afraid to take the bus.


Before I turned 20, all the heroes in my stories were between the ages 20 and 24. I don’t know about others, but when I hear an age, I get these bars in my head that looked like this when I was 17:

0 mths – 2 yrs | 3 yrs – 7 yrs | 8 – 13 | 14 – 19 | 20 – 27 | 28 – 35 | etc…

I loved the 20-27 group which to me was the prime time of life. Everyone else was either too young or too old. Sure, everyone too old was wiser, but definitely lacking in vitality. 40 was middle-age and that never had a positive connotation for me. Mid life crisis anyone?

Silly, I now think, although what I find silly isn’t the grouping idea.

I think my perceptions were based on the ages of the people I interacted with. At 23, in some ways I still saw myself as a kid, so I was understandably surprised when someone asked for ‘Azuka’ and a 10-year-old kid pointed at me. “It’s that man.”

At some point I had crossed over from boyhood to manhood, and along the line, the “old” guys don’t look so old right now. I have quite a few friends in their forties, and nothing hit home like having a table tennis training partner exclaim, “You’re 23? Why, my youngest one is three years older than you are!”

Ouch. I thought he was in his early thirties.

I don’t have a problem with older people. They’ve mostly figured out a lot of stuff, and can watch in amusement while you do something that reminds them of their own antics. One cliche I’ve never encountered is the offended prudish old lady. They’re fun to flirt with and if you do the math, there is probably very little you can genuinely shock them with because they’ve seen and heard it all.

I have to struggle not to talk down to people younger as well as the loss of interest when I find a girl is 20. Er, you’re my little brother’s age. No, no, no.

In many ways I have discovered age is just a number. 60 year olds acting like kids and throwing tantrums? Check. Ten year olds making acute observations and dispensing advice? Check.

So how do I end this? Remember I promised not to worry about getting it perfect before posting?