I hung out with a dear friend recently, she’s here in England to study ‘modelling and management of risk’ and walai, it has tripled the respect I have for her. In academics, there are two classes of people I respect; people who love maths, and people who love maths so much that they study it! I remember the tremor in my heart in Secondary School every time I knew we’d have math for first period, how I got a ‘C’ in my A Levels is beyond me! We had some maths gurus then, but when one of them said she was going to study further mathematics at Uni I must confess I kinda stopped liking her very much! What! I can’t understand things ‘as basic as quadratic equations‘ (rolling my eyes at my math teacher for saying it was basic), and you want to study further maths at Uni? Kai!
Anyway, I think I’m a bigger person now, because the friend I hung out with today studied…….(wait for it)….MATH for her first degree, and I still like her a lot. *hugs*
Ok, so after we prowled Oxford Street (the definition of girls ‘hanging out’), we started gisting on the train home, and somehow it moved to flights. That’s funny enough. Then it moved to ’embarrassing moments on flights with Nigerians‘. Before I go on, what’s your story? Local or international, what has irked/amused or just totally cracked you up?
We started from the ‘rousing ovation syndrome’, and Fe told about (as I have heard severally before) about our people giving the pilot an ovation when he lands and is taxiing the plane to where they get off. Most culpable route? The Dubai–Lagos flight, on any airline. I won’t even start World War Three by mentioning (or even hinting at) the most culpable Nigerian geopolitical zone! I learnt that if the flight was without incident, then the pilot gets a regular applause, nothing special. But if there was turbulence anytime during the flight, ahh! Not only does he get a rousing ovation, some take the liberty to stand (never mind the ‘keep your seat belts fastened’ rule) and pour blessings on the pilot, which is a bad idea in itself because he CANNOT hear!
Another one comes to mind; I was flying from Lagos to Abuja, one of those days when I knew that thanks to the airline, I was going to be late for work. And it was a Monday morning, the worst day in the world to be late, or appear ruffled due to the mental/emotional exhaustion of driving the taxi with the cabbie!
I wasn’t in the mood to chat, was saving my energy for explanations back at the office. Till I noticed the guy in the seat next to mine didn’t hurt my sight; matter of fact, he looked really nice. I ran through a little list in my head, shoes and belt matched, crisp shirt, light whiff of his cologne…… ‘Not bad’ I thought. Just as I looked away, he said ‘hey’, and I smiled (more inwardly than outwardly of course). He said he’d seen me look at my watch a few times in the last minute so he was sure I was running late as well. ‘Doesn’t sound half bad too’, sucker for accents that I am. After a few minutes of chatting I turned away, and was counting down to exchanging numbers at the end of the flight. *wink*
Man proposes, God disposes. Abi? 25 minutes into the flight, what started out as a beautiful sunny morning suddenly turned dark and cloudy. With the clouds came turbulence in epic proportions. God of my fathers! I was AFRAID, there’s no other way to say it. I prayed, asking God to remember my service in His kingdom and have mercy, and if mine wasn’t enough, to consider my parents. Anything, I just knew I didn’t want to perish!
The hitherto suave young man beside was obviously more terrified than I was. Before I closed my eyes to pray, he had maintained a calm mien, like he didn’t notice the chaos. Just as I opened my eyes, and wanted to hold his arm (for support, lol!) the plane dipped. Immediately I heard, ‘chim o! Obara Jesus! Onye nwanyi gbaghara!’ What!! In spite of myself and the situation at hand, I started laughing. I laughed even harder when I realized the chants were coming from the guy! Ah! Where did the accent go? I could have sworn he wasn’t Nigerian before!
God being merciful (as always), we left the troubled spot, and 40 minutes later were taxiing to a stop at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. ‘Can I get your number’, baby boy said, assuming his cool demeanor again. ‘Nope’, I replied, without missing a beat. After that episode? No way! I smiled at him, got off the plane, and laughed all the way to my office. Na wa!
- To Do? Done!! (fairygodsister.wordpress.com)
- Of Flights, Pilots, And Turbulence (fairygodsister.wordpress.com)