Sunday, February 26, 2017

Loving life in the Friend (Twilight) Zone

Hola peeps.

Two blogs in the space of two days? Haven’t done this in yonks. Yup, feeling fresh as just returned from kickboxing where coach gave me a new nickname: Full Contact. Yah man, Full Contact is in the hizouuuuu. Had planned to activate new phone but it’s so complicated I fear messing around with it without first reading the manual properly may bring down a NASA satellite, so I am gonna take time and get it right. A massage woulda been tight after conditioning training today, but after yesterday’s experience I think I’m gonna wait for fancy phone to help locate a non-pervy massage spa.

You know how ALL Nigerian artisans, from electricians to car mechanics to carpenters, all start out by condemning their predecessor’s work before they start to fleece you and demonstrate they are just as incompetent? How they all blurt out the same line, Who be the guy wey do this work? Oga, the guy no sabi work at all!, as if it’s part of their union oath? Well, from my experience over the past 3 months, dodgy masseuses have a similar mantra. Whenever she compliments you on your body and asks if you work out, just know that presages some untoward contact. Please get off the massage table pronto and head for the hills, or stay, if you are that way inclined.

After his call on Valentine’s Day I won’t be surprised if Chief sent out a secret memo to massage spas to be on the lookout for me and do their utmost to help me r-e-l-a-x. Started out in November when I bumped into an Ethiopian acquaintance that once slapped me when she was drunk – story for another day – and she told me of a new spa she just opened. Decided to pay a visit and had the best massage I had had in Juba……until near the end when masseuse did a, ahem, let’s just say she did her best to get me aroused.
Over the Christmas holidays some dude that used to cut my hair saw me and requested I come try out his new spot. I did. Had a haircut and stayed for a mani+pedi. When beautician told me as it was the last Friday of the month they offer deals on mani+pedi+massage combos, I jumped at the chance. Again, it was the best deep tissue massage I had had in yonks….until near the end when she started negotiating the size of the tip I should offer her and blatantly offered to gimme a “happy ending”. Politely declined, gave her a 50% tip and quickly donned on clothes. Maybe it’s just me but felt the receptionists gave me a knowing wink as I darted for the door. Almost as if saying to themselves, “I bet he had a great time in there”. Oh man, felt so ashamed – though I did nothing wrong I must stress….again – when I stopped by an eatery afterwards I voluntarily paid for a total stranger’s – she was married, had to make sure she was married so she wouldn’t get the wrong idea - meal just to wash the stench(?) of guilt off myself.

Fast forward to yesterday when I decided to try out a spa close to my crib. The spa shut down after July skirmishes and just reopened so I thought I would give my neighbourhood spa some business. Shoulda known there was something dodgy when masseuse was eating on the massage table, and couldn’t quite explain to me the advantages of a hot stone massage over a deep tissue one. To avoid getting scalded I settled for a deep tissue massage, but it was the worst massage ever. Once I turned over to lie on back and she started with the whole nice-body-I-am-sure-you-work-out line I shoulda known what to expect. My mani+pedi place in Juba is sorted, but the search for a non-pervy massage place continues.

On to more wholesome stuff, I FaceTimed my daughter today and saw she had lost her first tooth. Aww man, being absent for such occasions really tears at me. Unlike previous times, we really talked for a bit today and she showed me the note and the “gold coin” (£2 coin but didn’t wanna ruin it for her) the tooth fairy left under her pillow last night. Man, the innocence of kids, eh? Cannot remember tooth fairy leaving me diddly after I lost tooth. Think mom made me akara with pap the morning after and that was it. I am definitely gonna make it a point to stress these non-pampering moments by parents in my autobiography.

Seeing my daughter in the UK was highlight of my trip. Was a bit antsy before trip due to inability to hold her attention during FaceTime conversations. Was she gonna tire of me after just 30 minutes? Boy, was I wrong. You should see how wide my grin is anytime she calls me “daddy” in her inimitable Queen of England voice. Woah, just woah. Cannot thank God enough for her. Took her and Nike’s 7 year old son to an indoor jungle gym and still amazed at how satisfied kids are with just running through obstacles and throwing plastic balls in the air. I really shouldn’t, but I am already fretting on how our relationship would evolve as she grows older. Would she understand how/why work took me to another country during the early years of her life? She’s a kid now so rough-housing with her and buying presents is fine, how do her maintain the bond as she grows older?

Trying to figure this out as well with teenage kids of siblings; Zane is a perfect example. Used to kid around with him a lot when he was younger, but now he is 13 going on 14 I know practicing my kickboxing moves on him like I do with his younger brother ain’t gonna fly. He is a good kid, a real good kid, and I actually had tears in my eyes when Nike requested Chief pray for him last September before he ventured off to boarding school. Of course, being MACHO I didn’t let anyone see my tears and as there was no one chopping onions within the vicinity I quickly made up an excuse to use the bathroom when I felt I couldn’t hold it in any longer. On another tip, you know they really shouldn’t refer to it as “boarding school” as Zane gets mobile phone privileges, returns home every weekend, gets his laundry done, etc. In other news, the ghost of Tunde from FGC Warri can be observed shaking his head in disgust and vowing to expand that chapter in his autobiography about his parents not truly loving him.

Zane is on What’s App messenger so send him messages time to time to check up on how he’s doing. Apart from that I really am not sure how to bond with him. Took him and his brother to see The Lego Batman Movie earlier this month and with the exception of a few “enjoying the movie?.....okay with the popcorn?” chitchat that was it. Took him to the Notting Hill carnival last year and he appreciated it. When I dropped him off at home afterwards he offered to walk me to the nearest tube station, but told him it was cool. Maybe he was trying to reach out then, you know to discuss stuff, girls maybe (?), he wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to his folks about. Perhaps all I need to do is be more observant and let him know I am available if he needs to talk. Man, when did I become such a wuss? On to more macho stuff…

So Full Contact is definitely, definitely gonna fight in April. Coach has agreed to bring on a regular fighter to spar with me from next week in preparing for the fight. Even though my offer to fight a lady kickboxer was rejected – hey, I am secure enough in my masculinity to fight a woman – Coach agreed that as it’s my first fight I am only going to go one 3-minute round with another expat. Dude’s called Sam and is Russian. I know him a bit as he’s been to a few parties at my apartment complex. Sam used to train with Coach, but hasn’t in a long while as he told Coach he is now “more into music than fighting”. Those words were…wait for itwait….wait….drum roll please…sweet music to my ears. Hmmm, wonder what sorta entrance music I should request for as I strut into the ring. Meanwhile, somewhere in London Full Contact’s dentist (aka the reverse tooth fairy) is making a down payment on a Ferrari at the thought of replacing several teeth should Sam kick Full Contact’s arse.  

In order to properly prep for fight I have decided to improve eating habit as I have developed dimples on cheeks from shedding so much skin. It’s one of the reasons why I elected to grow a beard as got tired of folk in Nigeria and the UK and Kampala and Nairobi commenting on how gaunt I now look. Hired a cook and recently discovered a source for plantain from Uganda. As soon as Full Contact gets recipes sent over from Nigeria, Full Contact is gonna bulk up on beans and plantain. Oh yeah, Full Contact sure does love referring to himself in the third person. He is…wait for it…ill-eism like that. Oh man, this dude should have his own TV show!

While scanning TV channels today I saw a behind-the-scenes feature on John Wick 2. In it they talked about all the martial arts Keanu had to quickly master and I recall he did the same with The Matrix movies. How come actors get trained in various types of martial arts and become au fait with them in such a short space of time? Is it ‘cos they get the best trainers and totally dedicate themselves to the craft since they don’t have a day job? Or does the process of learning dialogue somehow expand their brain’s power to quickly absolve multiple tasks? Maybe I should take acting classes in bid to help with kickboxing. I occasionally go watch salsa dancers in Juba – to be honest, I really go to laugh at the novices when I wanna take out frustration after another Arsenal collapse – and was gonna try (uttered sotto voce) salsa to aid hip movement in kickboxing, so acting classes shouldn’t be much of a stretch. Trouble is I have no spare time, plus, after experience in West African dance class I would rather get beat by a lady kickboxer, and even proudly wear a tee embossed with the words I GOT BEAT UP BY A GIRL…AND I LIKED IT, than “perform” in front of a bunch of strangers. Full Contact out.

Tot ziens and God bless.


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