Sometime in 1994, we lived in Abuja and I was a pupil at All Saints Nursery and Primary School. Just so you know I attended at least five pre-secondary schools but that’s a story for another day!

Anyway, at this school I had a friend called Aniekan Bassey. She had hair like she was mixed race (I have bad hair- I know), and we were very good friends. Really good friends.

My mom had explicitly stated that I was never to leave the school (I think I remember her saying something like “nothing should ever take you near the gate”) without adult permission, supervision, and accompaniment. And all my time in that school leading up to the incident that inspired this blogpost, I’d done well with that.

Till one day, Aniekan came to me during break period and said we should go greet her mom in her office, which was a government establishment in a very tall building (now that I think of it, I was under 10 so anything would have been ‘tall’). Anyway so I said no, and she asked if I’d been in that building before, and something about getting in their elevator. And I’m sure I’d been in an elevator before (you don’t crave what you don’t know) but I guess like Adam, “the woman deceived me”. Lol.

I don’t remember how we passed the school gate (this is an official indictment on the security guards we slipped past), and after crossing a road or two, we were at her mom’s office! Yippie!

Now, because I’m not a foolish person, I knew I was disobeying my mom. But, elevator! Lunch with her mom! So, I decided I wouldn’t let anyone see me. Right? Now if that had worked you wouldn’t be reading this.

Not only did it not work, it must have been my day cos I ruined my plan all by myself! How? I saw a friend of my mom’s who I found out later didn’t even work in that building but had come for some business. Before I knew it, I’d shouted “hello aunty” and run towards her. Sigh. I only remembered my ‘don’t get seen plan’ after hugging her. If she was surprised to see me, she didn’t really show it so I figured I was fine. We saw Aniekan’s mom, had a bite to eat, went up and down the elevator a couple times, and ran back to school.

The end.

You wish! Of course mom’s friend mentioned it casually to her that she saw me at so and so office with my friend, mom asked me and because I believed my mother had magical powers (tell me you didn’t believe yours had too) there was no point lying. I’ll save you the chastisement bit; you get the idea if you’re Nigerian. If you’re not, ask one!

I don’t know if Aniekan (with the lovely hair) and I were still close friends after that…

Where am I going with this? When I was younger, most of the times I got into trouble were because I was hanging out with people I wasn’t supposed to hang with. Was that the story for you too? Is that still the story?

I was in church last week (I’ve fallen in love with HolyHill Church – you should come) and the pastor talked about a number of things, slipping in ‘vicarious liability’, and it really struck me. What does it mean? Wikipedia says “a situation where someone is held responsible for the actions or omissions of another person. In a workplace context, an employer can be liable for the acts or omissions of its employees, provided it can be shown that they took place in the course of their employment.” So technically, your company becomes a weakness, your undoing. He talked about us spending our time ‘keeping up with the Kardashian’s’ yet not spending anytime with God and wondering how we expect any intimacy with Him, how we expected to renew our minds, live out our purpose here on earth, and even away from that, how we expect to use our time profitably.

Really made me think, even though I’m not a fan of that show or family anymore. Haven’t been in a while actually, it’s like the real life version of the Adam’s family!

Away from church sef, drug users, criminals, etc. If only they said no to ‘chilling’, to ‘hanging out’. If only that person on death row in an Asian country said nah, I won’t carry this substance. If only the politician said no to the meeting with buddies where they’d plunder collective resources. If only.

I’m still figuring stuff out everyday, but I just wanted to share this with you. Sometimes a little ‘no’ today is the difference between a super tomorrow and one filled with sorrow and gnashing of teeth (a tad dramatic but you get the idea).

Any tales (past or present) along these lines you’d like to share?

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