You Are Single, What Do You Do With Your Money?

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SingleI needed to process a benefit for a colleague, the company in recognizing the difficult economic terrain had amended the rules to indicate that an employee could either get that particular benefit as immediate cash or deferred benefit. I reached out to him to confirm his preference and he gave the response 99% of Nigerians will give in the circumstances (myself included)- he would prefer cash. Because he and I had a friendly relationship, I teased him that why not defer it since it wasn’t a lot of money. He insisted it be paid out immediately, he went on to list a few pressing needs that money could sort and ended with: Shey me I don’t have responsibilities yet, and shey I have a sponsor!

This question/ assumption, alongside the- when are you getting married (or whatever variant of the question the interrogator chooses to use) are one of the most frequently asked questions I currently get. In the workplace, at social events, among friends; it’s like everyone not-single keeps asking this question. The ones not asking are thinking it and will ask it one day.

I find it particularly exhausting. Like everytime it comes up, I’m just tired. The reason for this tiredness is; for everyone who asks this question, I scream a mental not you too! Or another one bites the foolishness dust! And I sigh. Deeply!

I find it particularly sad (and irritating) that someone will believe that any sane person, in this Lagos (regardless of marital status) will choose to put his or herself through the torture of waking up at an ungodly hour everyday- every blessed work day, navigate Lagos traffic, endure shitty less than stellar bosses and work colleagues; because of fulfilment, or to keep busy! Doesn’t make a lick of sense. And calls into question your sense of judgement if you hold that opinion. Maybe if I worked in another city I could better understand the logic behind that question and belief, but because we (my interrogators and I) work in Lagos, I cannot understand it. No matter how much I try.

The logic is, because you are single you don’t have any responsibilities, abi? Single working-class folks are just piling up the money, no responsibilities. Yeah right! It’s even worse when you are female, guys are given a somewhat free pass- because its believed they probably have a girlfriend(s) whom they foot their bills (the belief that men foot their lady’s bill is just bullshit an empty belief. Where are the men who supposedly foot their women’s bills- or even like 50% of the bills (and I’m not referring to transactional relationships)? I haven’t met them and no one around me has! But that’s a rant for another day).

There’s also the ones that will come to borrow money from you and get upset when you decline. That one is just plain old bad behavior.  But then, you’re single; what do you do with your money? Why won’t you have money when I need to borrow it?

Let’s take a step back before I totally go off; while I agree the married person has more responsibilities in that the family is bigger (current nuclear and previous nuclear family), do we stop to think, just for a moment that; perhaps, just maybe the reason the single person is still single is because- current responsibilities will not allow for added responsibilities? Possible? That’s a thought though.

So, you ask the married person for his/her responsibilities- and they always without fail mention their parents and/or siblings in addition to their spouse and children. The question now is- did you just start caring for your parents and siblings when you got married? If no, then perhaps you shouldn’t be asking the single person what he/she does with his/her money. Shouldn’t the answer to that be very easily derived?

A thought does occur to me though, maybe I shouldn’t be looking at this lapse in memory as a single event but should look at it from the perspective that we Nigerians have very short memories and can believe the most outrageous things. All it takes for something to become authentic is for us to hear it being repeated often or repeated by someone we believe knows better (an influencer- off and on-line).   Even when someone is trying to rejig our memory and to remind us of past events that negate our current conclusions, or to logically point out another perspective, we adamantly refuse to reason because it is said or Lagbaja said so. Case in point- pre and during 2015 elections. Its 2018 and some of us have still not regained our reasoning.

Or perhaps I should situate this question (and other such) in terms of the fact that we are naturally nosy people who never mind our business. Maybe if I did, I won’t find it so sad or irritating. With us, if it isn’t this one thing it’s another, we are always all up in other people’s business at the detriment of ours. It’s a proven fact that Nigerians are very good at putting out fires in other people’s fields while our kitchen is on fire. And when someone points out that our kitchen is on fire, we deny with our last breath, even when the smoking kitchen is obvious for all to see; our kitchen isn’t on fire. Case closed. That’s our story. Or do you want to argue with the owner of the house about the state of his/her house?

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To avoid being on the giving or receiving end of offense, we should all learn to mind our business. Might be difficult, particularly for those of us for which it will be like learning new skills in old age, but it must be done. It isn’t my business what I do with my pay- the company which pays me doesn’t ask me what I do with the money they pay me; and that’s because I have worked for the money. Same way you shouldn’t ask me why I am yet to marry or have a child, or get a masters, or go bungee diving, or have a plastic surgery for the heck of it. We should all pay attention to our businesses aka: Mind Your Business! It isn’t that difficult. Abi? How difficult can it be to mind your own business?

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This article was initially published here on BellaNaija.

Photo credit: Dreamstime/BellaNaija

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Happy New Month, Welcome To September

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Hey everyone, how have y’all been? How was August for you, hope it was good?

I wish everyone a fulfilled September, wishes fulfilled and prayers answered. May the lines fall on you in pleasant places. Have a good month, New series begins tomorrow.

Lots of love

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Twists and Turns E11

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Ike was waiting for Ada in the parking lot when she arrived. He immediately alighted on spotting her and walked to her.

That Ike was waiting for her before she arrived confirmed the seriousness of the matter. She stood, waiting for him to join her. The expression on his face was a cross between desperation and determination, and some underlying fear. She wondered what trick Mark recently came up with that had Ike running scared.
Ada steeled herself not to feel any pity towards him, for this might also be part of Mark’s plan; to suck her in so he could get to her through Ike.

“Good morning Ike.” She greeted him cheerfully when he drew close.

“Good morning Ada, how are you?”

She laughed softly, amused at their polite banter. “Better than you, I think. Judging by the look on your face.”

He sighed. “Yea, I’ve been better.”

She gestured for them to go inside.

“After you.” He replied.

She walked into her showroom, greeting and acknowledging greetings from her staff. She led him into her office and offered him a seat.

He watched her close her eyes for a quick prayer, and couldn’t get over how beautiful and serene she was. After all these years; Ada was still one of the most beautiful women he had ever known. Added to that was this peace and serenity about Ada that had always called to him. She always looked like; no matter the problem, it wasn’t ever that bad.

Ada opened her eyes to catch Ike staring at her. She could read that gleam of attraction in his eyes as easy as the words on a billboard.
“You want something to drink; tea, coffee, water, juice?” She offered.

He declined politely.

“I’ll make myself a cup of tea.” She took out a teabag from her drawer, dropping it into the cup on her desk, she got up to fill the cup with hot water from the dispenser outside her office.

When she returned, he was typing on his mobile but set it aside immediately she sat.

“So?” She prompted.

“Mark wants me to take out a bank-loan for his campaign through GO.” He stated straight-up.

She sipped from her cup. Using the moment to gather her thoughts. Not as bad as she expected. She thought to herself, or maybe Mark was gearing up for the bigger demands.
“And you came to me because……?” She asked him emotionlessly, cradling her teacup. Why come to her, that demand could never fly. By simple logic, the kind of money Mark will need for his campaign had to be approved by the board. And he could bank on sister Ada and herself; representing her children, not approving. Mark knew that, so why make that request in the first place?

He should source for his election funds elsewhere, that was what political god-fathers, and interest groups were for. She was certain Mark knew his demands couldn’t be met, which meant this was a smokescreen and there was another plan. She wondered what it was and if Ike was in on it. Or if he was just a pawn in Mark’s plan.

“That’s impossible, and illegal. How does Mark expect me to achieve that?” Ike went on.

Ada almost blurted out a juvenile question for the gods response, but checked herself in time and settled for a ‘dunno‘ shrug.

“I came to you as an insider, family and board member……”

“Not a board member, I represent my children’s interest.” She interrupted him to correct him. “And, Mark hasn’t ever felt familial towards me. So I doubt if I can help you; I’m not an ‘insider’.” She smiled to soften her words.

“What Mark asks is impossible. What reason would I give the banks? This is fraud!”

“Is or would be?” She asked to be certain if this was still a plan in the making or a done deal.

“Would be.”

“I really can’t help you, its up to you.”

“In my shoes, what would you do?” He asked desperately.

She laughed softly. “I am not in your shoes.” She replied gently.
She almost pitied him, but she quickly reminded herself she didn’t know how far into Mark’s plans Ike was, so she wasn’t volunteering any information. But her on the spot assessment was; he either didn’t know he was a pawn to Mark, or, he knew and coming to her with this information was part of the plan to suck her in.

On second thoughts, she rather believed the latter. Mark inherited a huge sum from his father, he received a steady income from GO, in addition to his income as a Senator of the Federal republic. Mark shouldn’t be needing money, not this early in the campaign.

She sighed sadly. It was so disheartening that after all these years Mark still had evil thoughts towards her. For goodness sakes his children were in her house! She had tried all within her powers; she had tried being kind, had tried avoiding him, all to no avail.

Shaking her head in dismay, she looked up to meet his gaze.

“So I thought of another idea, the company can loan Mark the money directly, without going to the bank. That’s if the board members approve.”

Really? She stared at him blankly. She had already said all she could and would on this matter. Ike and Mark should sort themselves out and leave her out of it.
“The only advice I can give you is; do what’s legal.”

Ike left soon after, even more worried than when he arrived.

**********

Ify was having an attack of guilt. She had been restless all morning. Mark had gone for a meeting, but she hadn’t been able to settle. Their plans were falling into place, but the pleasure she had expected to feel wasn’t there. Ada had always been a true friend to her, and more so recently. Left to Ify, she would have left Ada alone in peace, but Mark thought differently.

Really, what did they stand to gain from destroying her? Practically nothing. Their kids were in Ada’s care, and she had accepted them as hers. Why couldn’t Mark just accept Ada. This new bid to bring Ada down was beginning to leave a sour taste in her mouth.

With a heavy heart, she picked her phone from her dresser to place a call to Ada.
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