Saturday, 1 September 2007

Of itchy feet, bacteria, and hair



Went to get my hair done today and i was just thinking, on the list of my worst things in the world to do EVER, getting my hair done ranks very high. Unfortunately, it's one of those things that have to be done because (1) bad hair days suck like a vacuum, and (2) i have to keep perpetuating the myth amongst my non-black work colleagues, that i do indeed have naturally long and luscious locks growing out of my head....the suckers!!!

So, i take myself off to the salon because i failed to make an appointment with my favourite home-based underground economy-enjoying, hairdresser. As i step in , i'm greeted by a cacophony of chatter in an African language which i can't quite place. However, within seconds, they have me pegged as a Nigerian. They even manage to pinpoint my tribe (or ethnic group, if one is to be PC) as i pick out the word 'Yoruba' from one woman's otherwise unintelligible sentence after she looks me up and down. This prompts more up and down looks from the others as they check me out as if to confirm or refute their colleague's claim. Me, i'm like, yeah whatever, just come and plait my hair so i can get out of here and do some more exciting things with the rest of my Saturday.

Out of curiosity, I ask one of the ladies what language they're speaking. 'Igala', she says, 'from Congo'. Not very much else happens really. The 10 minute wait i was promised stretches out into half an hour, so i pull out my copy of Atonement by Ian McEwan and get stuck in. I must finish it before the film adaptation of the book opens in cinemas across the nation, come next weekend.

They eventually begin my hair, and i subsequently lose track of the number of people who actually take part in the process. It's all good, sha. The sooner i can get out of there the better. Maybe not so good actually, as one of them has a cold and keeps sneezing. To her credit she turns away when she does it. However, i'm a bit obsessive compulsive about things like that (i.e. what i choose to call human emissions). I have therefore developed strategies e.g when a person sneezes/coughs near you without covering their mouths, do not under any circumstances hold your breath immediately. It takes a few seconds, you see, for the bacteria laden mist to travel to you, and as such, you are not in any immediate danger of inhaling. Instead of holding your breath, take a deep breath of the air while it is still clean, and then by the time the horrible snotty mist hits your air space seconds later, you can effectively hold your breath until it passes. Try it. It works.

But still on the issue of turning away versus covering the mouth with a hand, at least since she turned away, the worst case scenario is that my clothes, the fine hairs on the back of my neck and on my arms get coated in a fine mist of snot. The alternative would be that she sneezes into her hand (as good manners dictate), and then continues to plait my hair, thus leaving a permanent deposit on my person. I think i got the lesser of the two evils, don't you?

Anyway, that was that, sha. Hair finished, paid up the salon inflated price with great resentment. Note to self, next time you will contribute to the underground economy and you will like it too!

I'm already picturing the scene at work on Monday morning.

Colleagues - Aah UndaCova, you've changed your hairstyle again

UndaCova (with narrowed eyes and through gritted teeth) - It's called getting your hair done, not changing your hairstyle (in my mind, 'how many times to i have to repeat that'!!!!)

I don't know, but to me the whole concept of 'changing your hairstyle' on a frequent basis speaks of some airheaded Bimbo who's is unable to make up their mind about how to wear their hair. Totally different kettle of fish. We (most black women) have no choice!

Also, speaking of bacteria, my feet are getting severely itchy (in the metaphorical sense, mind you! Besides, a foot infection would be fungal, wouldn't it? Oh, never mind...). I'm starting to feel that it's time for me to move on after 12 years of living in the city of London. I'm beginning to crave a new challenge. You know, the initial buzz you get when you visit a new place, perhaps on holiday. Except i wouldn't return from this particular holiday. I think London is a lovely city, especially by night. However, i think i've exhausted its unlimited resources. Theatreland, museums and art galleries, concerts and festivals, Oxford Street, the Royal Parks, my local parks, restaurants, cafes, walks along the river. I've even done a few london walks mixing in with the tourists. Great fun and you discover aspects of the city you had no clue existed even though you pass right by them everyday. On the downside, you must wear comfortable shoes. Fashion faux pas extraordinaire!!

My feet are itchy. I need a new challenge, although it might just be that i haven't had a proper holiday in two years. Which is why i promptly cancelled my scheduled trip to Naija next month (cos that would just not be a break in the true sense of the word, you get me?) and booked myself a break to Marrakech, Morocco. My first ever solo holiday, because, did i mention, i love a good old challenge. I'm looking forward to it loads and what i do next depends on how i feel when i get back.

It's a great feeling to know that i have options! That i can just up and go, and build a life in a new city (New York is looking very good at the moment). I have an 'impressive' (don't mean to sound cocky) CV and work history that means that i can work almost anywhere in the world. And to think that at the time i was racking up that history and going through hell and highwater, being underpaid and over worked and countless times in my mind jacking it all in, i thought i was suffering. But now, several years later, here i stand with doors of opportunity open to me! All i can say to that is that persistence pays off in the end.

Well, that was my Saturday for you. I'm also quite annoyed with myself because i failed to save the second draft of another post i've been working on and now have to start all over. Anyhoo, watch this space.

Over and out.

25 comments:

30+ said...

Will try that escape strategy next time someone emits snots, if I can remember which comes first exhaling or inhaling (lol).

Itchy feet, used to think I will love working in NY myself but went there for first time this year and I must say was not all that impressed. For start the London transportation is way better than New York and I can't get over that stupid tax thing which you only see on your payment (why can't they just display the actual price incl tax)

Ugo Daniels said...

If somebody sneezes or coughs around me without doing da proper thing, i'll shut him/her up. After all, everybody won't die at same time. Wetin!!!

Atutupoyoyo said...

Interesting. I didn't know people in Congo spoke Igala. It is a language spoken in some parts of Benue state. The current indigenes probably emigrated to Nigeria many years ago.

LOL @ the bacteria heads-up. Gotta remember that one.

I am feeling this your new holiday destination I have to say. It made my holiday shortlist this year but I plumped for Dubai in the end.
I echo your sentiments about looking for a fresh start. There is something nomadic in the soul of the average Nigerian which doesn't allow us to sit still for too long. I'm 13 years deep in England now and the time is surely ripe for a move. How about you name the place and we just pack our bags and go?

Carlang said...

Lol.
sounds like you had a lovely weekend.
Now all we need to do is toss in three dragons , brad pitt and a burning plane and we have ourselves a movie.

lovely post by the way..

NikkiSab said...

I had no idea dat holding my breath immediately was an error- thanks for d info. Morroco!!!! that sounds funtastic!!!! Pls blooggggg as soon as u can on ur trip.

UndaCovaSista said...

@30+ - Yep, both cities have their pros and cons, definitely...shay you no go update ni? ;0)

@Ugo - Enh? Do you mean physically shut them up? (Lol)

@ Atutupoyoyo - Lol (or rather *giggle, giggle*).You old smoothie, you!! Be careful what you wish for tho', i just might turn up on your door step with my backpack, ready to go...
And yeah, i vaguely remember learning in social studies about the Igala people of benue state.

@carlang - Lol. Give me some time and i will definitely come up with a movie plot featuring all those elements...

@Nikkisab - Will definitely blog about the trip, and take lots of snaps too...

Emz said...

About the hairdressers being a nightmare trip, I went to mine on Friday, only to be burnt on the back of the neck with a smouldering curling iron. As you can tell, I'm not too pleased about the ugly blotchy scab...
Have fun in Marrakech. I'm told it's amazing!

UndaCovaSista said...

@Emz - Ouch! Babes, that HAD to hurt. Pele o! Hope it gets better before the book launch (lol)....

bighead said...

Does the Morrocco thing have anything to do with a guy called Jason Bourne???

No plans in the works for moving to Naija?

Nyemoni said...

LOL..the sneezing theory sounds good...I shall adopt it, tks..
meanwhile so your colleagues believe that your hair is naturally long and luscious? lol..You got them fooled for sure!

Isi said...

sometime i wish my head was sculptered in a way that would make me look cute in low cut. cos the whole perming today, braids tommorrow is just time consuming! but i always love a new look; guess something has to give

A Kel called Wonder ...... said...

I wish i ould up and go to some kind of destination.

On my list
Dubai
Eygpt
Zimbabwe
Kenya
South Africa
Hawaii
Spain
My list is endless

Ejura said...

@ atutu-igala is spoken in Kogi state. We used to be part of Benue until we entered our promised land-kogi.

So there's a congolese version of igala. I would love to hear what that sounds like.

Enjoy your vacation oh!

Atutupoyoyo said...

@ ejura: Yes I forgot that Kogi de-listed itself from Benue. You guys may be Congolese immigrants then.

Undacova baby where u dey? Missing you

Ejura said...

@ atutu-i no blame you! Congolese ke?

UndaCovaSista said...

Sorry peeps. Didn't mean to appear rude. I've been away in Birmingham since wednesday.

@ bighead - Lol. No, the idea has actually been in its embryonic stage for a while now.
Re: Naija, no matter where my travels take me, i know i'll eventually end up back home...

@nyemoni - Lol. these oyinbo peoples do not even have a clue! I had no idea myself that they thought that way, until i turned up with braids once and one of them referred to the weave i'd had before as my 'real hair'...

@ Isi - i feel you completely. I think most of us have hang ups about the shapes of our heads. A friend of mine recently went natural and it looked fantastic and really suited her, but she actually covered it up with a wig for the first couple of weeks cos she wasnt convinced....

@ a kel called wonder - Keep the faith girl. All things are possible...

@ejura - i wish i could describe it. It didnt actually sound like any nigerian language ive heard. And thanks, i'll do my best to have loads of fun. i've still got a couple of weeks to go tho'..

@atutupoyoyo - Hey dude. What's up?

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. So this Igala people were talking about you eh? Don't mind them...lol!

Patrice said...

Perhaps she said they were speaking Lingala? It is one of the main languages of the Congo region.

I think the cold virus can also enter through the eyes. Maybe close your eyes and hold your breath?

UndaCovaSista said...

@solomonsydelle - They were o! i didnt take it personally tho' cos i've done the same :0)

@Patrice - you know what? You just might be right about it being Lingala, not Igala. that would make perfect sense. Cheers..

femme said...

im pretty sure i left a comment here a while ago...
i seem to be the only one who lacks the itch to travel.i'd rather sit at home. sounds boring, but it isnt.
patrice's comment while practical sounds funny.

Fatoumatta said...

lol...so am no the only one with salon dramas???funny world isnt it??lol...i get irritated with ppl of no manners nd stuff like that gross me out,if it was me,i wld have asked her to stop doing my hair or move away...like ugo says "wetin!!!"

onydchic said...

As i chanted all through doing my hair, 'The road to beauy is long and painful'. What annoys Me, is when someone's washing your hair, and somehow their (smelly) armpit is angled over ur FACE. THE HORRROR...

UndaCovaSista said...

@ Femme - lol. Me, i've never heard of virus entering thru eyes o!

@Fatoumatta - I think there will always be drama anywhere we women are gathered together. If there wasnt, i'd be disappointed. Check out onydchic latest post (too funnny!!). And aaaw, you tagged me....;o)

@onydchic - I feel you o! The road to beauty is indeed long and painful. BTW, i still laugh everytime i remember your post ;.)

Bitchy said...

You sound so like me re: hair-changing and breath-holding. It's hilarious. I think you left a comment on my blog aaages ago. And I think I've been here before too. Forgive me, I am terrible at keeping up with blogs.

I am so impressed that at 30 you can still keep up with the deception of oyinbo-folk hair-wise. How do you do it on those days when you're going from tiny braids to a weave, and need hair-breather time, a perm and weave-insertion time? Juggling that kind of schedule as a mere (and very jobless) student did my head in. I can't imagine how you do it!! Please share.

Oh and Re: Itchy Feet, if you really can take off, you definitely should. You never know when you'll ever be this free again!

And isn't Igala a Nigerian language?

UndaCovaSista said...

@ bitchy - hi and thanks for stopping by again. Yes, you have been here before

I suppose it's easy(ish) for me cos i dont do the perming thing any more. Its either braids or weaves, and i also dont go crazy with styles e.g blonde today , colour 1b the next, or short today, long tomorrow (lol).

I don't think age has anything to do with it tho'. Just find a system that works for you and stick to it.

The lady must have said Lingala not Igala

Phew, i'm out of breath now! and finally, on itchy feet, those were my thoughts exactly. i dont want to look back on my life with regrets...