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Correct 'Aje'.





It's been nearly two weeks and those two words still haunt me. Two Sundays ago I came down to Lagos from Port Harcourt by road, in my friend's car. It must have been eons since I travelled long distance by road in a private car, so there was no way I was going to let those things I see people do pass me by. Before we got to Ugheli I informed my friend that I wanted to buy things, what I wanted to buy, I didn't know. I just knew I wanted to buy things and more importantly, it would cost much less than it does in Lagos. He told me Ore would be the place, he however stopped around Okada in Edo state and as I looked at the roadside lined with bags of garri, buckets of onions, large bunches of plantain, bags with snails, kegs of palm oil and what not, my heart began to thump. I wasn't quite sure we needed any of these at home or at my parents' but I was determined to be one of those who journeyed and returned bearing organic foods in large quantities (nothing in Lagos seems organic when it comes to food). 

I came down from the car and tried to withstand the mob of women who 'rushed' me, promising me the best prices and freshest products. I ignored them and walked from one end to the other, squinting, pausing, thinking and touching  this and that, as if I knew what I was doing. I'd ask the person the price and when she'd call it, I would squeeze my face and go to another seller to price the same thing, and on to the next one, and then another, like I used to see "adults" do. I eventually bought bags of garri, plantains, onions, snails, corn etc and in bulk too. It cost a pretty sum but I found comfort knowing that I'd haggled and made a very good bargain and besides, I spent less than half of what I would in Lagos. Or so I thought.  

All the women I bought items from were very pleasant, strangely so, and they offered to carry the goods to the trunk of the car. After the woman who sold me bunches of plantain dropped them, she began to chat with the one who sold me bags of garri, and the others. They all had this amused look on their faces. 

And then I heard her say "Ha, dis one na correct aje o!"

"I swear!!!" the others responded and they all burst out laughing as they walked away. 

Jesus! 

There I was, feeling on top the world, feeling like the number 1 haggler in Nigeria, feeling like I'd just made my mama proud. Then these women just burst my balloon and brought me crashing down. 

In case you don't know what they meant by Aje, it's aje butter, aka butty, aka (in this circumstance) not street smart, aka olodo. 

Azzinnnn, the way they laughed it was obvious that not only did I not get a good bargain, I didn't get a bargain at all! I probably even dashed them money on top!!!!!

I got into the car feeling hurt, disillusioned and vulnerable, and I was quiet for the first few minutes until I  eventually confided in my friend what had just happened. 

"Oh, is that why you've been quiet? Nahhh, I'm sure they meant aje as in aje butter, like you're posh and all", he said. 

"Tah! You and I both know that's not what they meant."  


LOL. I guess we've all got something we're just horrible at. Mine is haggling, or pricing as well call it in Nigeria. I'm crap at pricing taxis, food items at the markets, clothes a colleague is selling and just about anything else. I find it exhausting and sometimes painful. Please I can't be the only one who's crappy at something others are great at. Now tell me yours. 

Comments

  1. I suck at directions. And when I say it, it's easy for you to shrug it off and say everyone struggles with directions once in a while but trust me you won't understand untill you let me drive you to a place I've been visiting daily for the past 1 year. In Lagos its a daily struggle and I thank God for Google maps and the convenient excuse of telling people I'm new in Lagos (even though I've been here 18mnths)

    I noticed it when I was younger. Started from little things; on days when we would walk home from school or church i didn't know my way back and I was amazed at how my brothers did it. Couldn't effectively play video games that didn't have radars or map aids....


    I can drive but I don't anymore and I won't till I buy mine and install a navigation system in it.

    I googled it and its called Developmental Topographical Disorientation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow. This is serious. I'm wondering how you could've enjoyed games like GTA strictly relying on maps.

      Delete
    2. Loools, I didn't mean to laugh but I found this funny Pun.

      I can't play video games to save my life. My brothers have tried and tried to teach me Call of Duty,FIFA,Arkahm Night etc even on beginners level but still...

      Delete
    3. pun.. I can totally relate... I used to joke that if u blindfolded me and took me behind the house,I wouldn't be able to find my way to the front door.. I'm that terrible with directions and bearings

      Delete
    4. But I can haggle for Africa ooo.. sometimes I need to ask myself "so what are u going to do with that 5 naira u r pricing off that pure water now"??

      Delete
    5. Chai so am not the only one that doesn't remember directions. A few years ago when I was staying at my sisters place eh, it got so bad that I had to call okada while I was in a 'drop' to show me the way back to my sister a place

      Delete
    6. Pun...... I'm ao glad that i'm not alone in this Struggle with direction. Its so bad that i went to my village alone some years back and i couldn't locate my father's house. I was able to remember my cousin's house because it was close to the Bus-stop.i had to stay at my cousin's for a little over 4 hours(forming catching up). At some point, she had to ask me if i wasnt going home. I told her that i was about to leave sef. That was how i went outside and stood there, i looked north, south, east and west,shook my head and went back inside. She asked what had happened and i told her, "nne, lemme be honest with you ehn, i no sabi the road to my papa house again o!". She laughed and explained how to get there to me. I set out, and in less than 2minutes, i was infront of our house. I almost cried cos i was 2 minutes away from my house while i was busy killing myself and gisting unnessary gift even on the verge of repeating the the same gist just to kill time. Boo always gets upset whenever i have directional difficulties, he thinks it's immature and That i need to grow up. Oh well, it Feels good to know im not so weird afterall........

      Delete
  2. Im crap at having small talk. All I do is nod, smile and agree (In my mind Im abusing you for having a daft opinion o talking shit) Because I just cant meeehn...

    Peace

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hate small talk too.. very annoying awkward something... don't see the need

      Delete
  3. Haha! Pele, don't feel too bad. I'm also quite clueless at haggling, and I'm not even remotely an 'aje'. I usually do a survey of what prices of goods are before heading to the market 'cos e dey pain to realise that you've been had. Don't mind the foolish women,just look at it like 'charity'. Sbhm...

    ReplyDelete
  4. LOL... I also suck at pricing goods. I always get home and when someone asks me how much I bought the items, I tell them and they start laughing at me and be like "chai, they have cheated you well well". And I start to feel bad...

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm really bad at folding clothes. When I'm going on a long vacation I'm always disgusted while packing. Most times I don't even bother ironing my clothes before packing; what's the use? Iron when you get there (if NEPA is kind enough).

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm bad at reading (except novels of course). I can't read and understand my books until it's few hours to exams, I can't even do TDB, I'll keep sleeping and waking up. But reading few hours to exams haven't failed me so I'm sticking to it for now.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm bad at enjoying parties, I just don't. After 30 mins I begin to check my time except i'm probably involved in the party. I'm just a bad hanging out partner.

    ReplyDelete
  8. @Thelma trust me 200 naira profit means a lot to those women. They might have called u Aje because of so many reasons: your dressing, spoken english or maybe you paid with mint..lol

    ReplyDelete
  9. No dear, they meant u were posh. I can imagine ur gait,walking from one woman to the other and probably ur diction. They were not calling u an olodo. Trust me.😊

    ReplyDelete

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