One of the many things I enjoy about coming back to Nigeria, is the return to a simpler style of life – and by simpler, I don’t mean easier, I mean rudimentary.
I enjoy watching myself slowly (albeit reluctantly), shed my dependence on the Internet; slowly (albeit reluctantly), gravitate away from my laptop; and quickly (even fondly), begin to engage in conversation, literature, and outings, as practical ways to pass the time.
In a country where little is put at your fingertips, and everything is just a bit harder than it should be, it becomes difficult, nay, damn near impossible, to insulate oneself from the world.
If you do not want to die of boredom, you will talk to people, you will engage in outdoor activities, and you will enjoy them – if only for the fact that they’re saving you from a life of ennui.
For someone like me who all too easily gets caught up in his own head, this is a blessing – and something I genuinely miss when I’m in the states. Because I generally don’t get out unless I’m forced to (by friends or by circumstances). Otherwise, I stay put, and can happily entertain myself for hours, even days.
Yet, it’s that very “happiness” that becomes a problem, often delaying my engagement with the world until such a time as it is absolutely necessary.
Now in Nigeria, that absolute necessity occurs often: when the power goes out, when your credit finishes, when the water stops running… There’s an endless list of situations that force you to get off your ass and perform some of humanity’s rudimentary functions.
But in America, even these perilous situations are often reduced to mere inconveniences, and of the kind that somebody else will fix given a few minutes. No water? Call maintenance. No power? You must have been given notice. And no credit? Credit?? What is credit? Most people are on affordable contract plans. (Ya, ya, Nigeria has contract plans too. But the majority are paying as they go)
Consequently, there’s very little that makes me leave my apartment – and by extension, very little that would make average Americans leave their home towns; An insulation that has cost them an informed world view, leaving the masses largely ignorant about the rest of the world.
So, as I’ve pointed out once before, there are pluses and minuses to our society. We can’t all be America, or all be in America, and more importantly we shouldn’t all want to be either.
Basic human experiences, are important. One should never be so far removed from the world, that they lose touch with humanity.
So while this world of ours, this Nigerian society, is imposing with its challenges, those very challenges force us to regularly engage the real world… and that friends, is a good thing. 😀