Not Houston technically but well, you get the drift. We have a problem!
Before that, welcome back everyone! Been a long blog break. Between completing my first short novel and regular round the clock journalism work, it’s been one hell of a year already! More so, in Lagos. I have a lot of close family members around this Easter and it’s even more fulfilling to be around them and reconnect and rejuvenate. Much needed if you ask me.
Check out the ‘Book Store‘ menu option at the header of the home page to order for my short story if you haven’t already done that. And be kind to leave a rating or comment on the Okadabook store if you have; will help drive sales!
So I have been in Lagos for roughly two years and 6 months and it has been a lot of emotions from depressing to mind-blowing and back to depressing then exciting, fun and back to depressing (LOL). First experiences of coming to and living in Lagos, I wrote about here and a second one here. And a lot has happened in between then and now.
Lagos is an incredible place. You literally do not know what magnitude of surprise, disgust or anger you will face as soon as you step out of your door. Daily. As a bus hopper (Lord, I need a car!), the disgust and anger is worse. From weed-smoking, 6 am-high-on-cheap-alcohol bus conductors to ill-mannered drivers and creepy bus passengers, it is just a constant cycle of high-level-adrenaline-pumped up people always rushing off to wherever it is Lagosians are always in a hurry to get to.
I love the energy of this city; it keeps me on my feet frankly . The hustle and bustle of the day that goes far into the night in most parts of this town is on another scale. I love how you can pass a street or bus stop and not recognize same on a holiday or weekend when it is stripped of the myriads of people and activities it houses daily. I love the little kind gestures from strangers (try getting your car stuck in a gully on any of our terrible roads); and the parallel practical jokes they could also play especially when you have lost your way. It’s interesting how they offer to ‘help’ but demand tips once their job is done and sometimes dictate what it is you tip them with. I love the boisterousness of the people; I mean cloth stores are open at 11 pm at night like they are waiting on last-minute clothe shoppers at such ungodly hours. I love how there are no ungodly hours in this city; just make certain you never get caught up in the whirlwind of jobless youngsters who have happened on amateur weaponry and weed-induced boldness.
But with the excitement and bubble comes a lot of sacrifices. I was speaking with a friend a while ago asking why he wasn’t dating anyone yet. He usually would chip in his desire to settle down and I believed that signaled he was ready to seriously be in a relationship with someone. He did. But he wanted to date a girl in the same location as he was.
A long-distance relationship was too much to handle apparently. Or better still, the thought of being in a different location from a partner was a daunting thought. It’s one thing to be in Lagos and have your partner in Bayelsa or Rivers or all the way across the Nile to the East. That’s understandable. But dating in Lagos is much like this; being on two divides of town makes it even worse. Not being mobile, or constrained by work and living schedules complicates issues for you too.
And as I listen in to the radio at the end of a long day, it amazes me how much match making programmes that come up late at night at various times during the week. I listen in and people; men and women, call in telling thousands of listeners who they are, what their favourite colours are, what kinds of music they are, if they are pretty and fun or not and stuff like that just to get people to call or send them emails at the end of the show.
Houston! We do have a problem!
Why are long distance relationships met with such antagonism? Because the truth is, no matter how tech-savvy you both are, there are moments and conversations and events that technology will never be able to bridge. But then, why is it so much of a headache? I strongly believe that distance is just one of the hurdles that every serious relationship needs to deal with at some point or the other. You will never always be in the same space or location as your wife, husband, fiance, girlfriend etc. It is an honest struggle, for some of us.
So whether you are in one already or at the verge of committing to one, here are a few things to think through:
Are you both really ready to put in the effort it take to bridge the communication gap? Technology has made things easier with Skype and video calls on Whatsapp but a smiley 🙂 may not truly depict a smiling individual just as body language and non-verbal facial expressions won’t come through your chats, text messages and calls. How do you bridge this gap?
When you do communicate and I recommend, gut-wrenching, intense, conversations that bare your soul, how do you replace the time you both spend with a lot of other people and make it memorable? In other words, how do you create memories that anchor the relationship and its meaning to both partners in spite of the distance?
Do you have trust issues? You probably don’t want to go this lane. It will take a whole deal of trust to brave a relationship with someone on another side of town/country.
Lastly, do you have a game plan? Two things here; how do you occasionally bridge the physical gap and where is the proposed destination of the arrangement? It may seem like trivialities but little loop holes like this can undo a relationship faster than you imagine.
What do we need after all in our desire for relationships and marriage? Love, commitment, companionship ain’t it so? If you find a way to sustain these things and communicate them effectively across miles then I think you’ll be just fine.
Funny thing is, if you live in Lagos, these same rules apply. Between working Mondays to Fridays and sleeping in traffic half the time, what energy is left to work at a relationship?
Well, we’ll explore that next time! Have a great week ahead!
The Quiet One.