It’s 5a.m in Ajao estate, Lagos Nigeria. Monday stress knocked you deep into Dreamland as soon as you climbed your bed. Your alarm blaring from the other side of your bed brings you back to real life — your life — and you remember today is Tuesday, you have to be at work early enough to prepare slides for your weekly update meeting.
So you hurriedly jump out of bed, forgetting to pray, straight to the bathroom to freshen up.
You think your life is taking shape, but it’s just triangular — work, road, and home. Sometimes you don’t sleep, but the night sleep decides to visit you, you wake by 4, hit the road by 5:30, and get to work by 7.
You try to read something on the journey but doze off, only to jolt back to reality from the sharp brake the driver applies. Eventually, you get to work brain-dead.
Sitting behind an HP ProBook all day, you develop a backache because the chair at work isn’t cozy. Months ago, you were sure of what you wanted, but this freelance work is fast becoming boring. You want a new challenge. You need to work in a structured environment. You want to meet new people. But the closer you get, the more skeptical you become.
If this was truly what you wanted, why are you on the 3rd mainland bridge by 6:00 p.m on a lucky day? You surmise it is the most exhausting thing you’ve done, having repeated the same schedule for 10 weeks — though it doesn’t feel as long. Life is simultaneously fast and slow. This is how people lose track of their lives. How they die with roaming eyes.
So, you play Jon Bellion’s Hand of God and feel things you do not understand. Sometimes you are reading a newsletter, nodding to something David Adeleke had said. Other times, you’re too numb to do anything. You just sit still and watch poor people threaten each other, your palms clasping the water bottle you filled up from work to help you stay hydrated. “Do you know who I am?” should be the national motto.
Yet, you don’t know what you are these days. A marketing strategist, Business Analyst, or just another hustler? You want to tone it down and specialize so you don’t “confuse” your audience. You want to do more but you also want to catch cruise. You remember when you got the job. You thought it would change your life. Well, it did.
Your friends think you’re killing it. Lagos boy, living alone, working on the Island. But when your phone rings, you want to disappear and stay offline forever, though you long to catch up with friends because they remind you of blissful times. It used to be easy to hangout with them. All it took was a call and location, now it takes ubers, grueling hours, and cash you don’t have. So you resort to vain promises — you’re going to call back, you’re going to meet up — as it breaks your heart to disappoint everyone, turn by turn.
You’re home by 7 to get drowned in your second job. Yes, you have two jobs now. You work on Saturdays and Sundays because you want more money. You’re not even sure why.
By 10:30, you finally pick up your phone to chat and find tons of messages awaiting your response. Because you don’t know where to start, you ignore them and go to your status to write “my kind of me(n)tal no dey rust” and sign off with one Music recommendation for the CL.
You have work to do, a client needs their job the next day. You tell yourself you’ll sleep for just one hour, and wake up to work, only for the day’s stress to knock you deep into Dreamland as soon as you climb your bed.
It’s 5:30a.m, your alarm to the rescue again, but you don’t need it this time. It’s Wednesday and you’re working from home.
But it’s too late, you can’t go back to sleep, so you stay awake thinking of where to buy money to buy fuel.