Saturday, April 7, 2012

Got till it's gone

Got till it's gone 

As promised, I'm here delivering my weekly dose of wisdom and reflection to you all. Unfortunately, today's post will be tinged with a shot of sadness and grief. They say you never miss a good thing till it's gone. A lot of the time we take a lot of good things for granted- we don't realise that there could ever be a time when that thing will not be right where we left it. We procrastinate about other things forgetting that time waits for no man and it only takes a second for someone to close their eyes and be taken away from us and from this world.

Last week it was Fabrice Muamba who I had never heard of until I noticed several updates on my Blackberry with various incarnations of 'pray for Muamba'. I couldn't stand being the odd one out anymore and a quick survey on Google and my trusty Wiki revealed to me that this young man(only 23)collapsed on the pitch during a game of football supposedly from a heart attack. The sub plot was that he had a 1 year old son and a fiancee whom he had betrothed just on Valentine's day. My heart skipped a beat. Not because I particularly care whether any footballer departs from this earth any more than I care whether a footballer is born, but because on sober reflection, I realised that it was possible that Muamba's fiancee had a fight with him that morning.She might even have uttered the two deadly words: 'drop dead!' in a fit of vexed passion, not meaning a word of it but as is usually the case when one is filled with blind fury saying the first hurtful thing that comes to mind. The alternative scenario is that there wasn't any fight.Maybe she embraced him as he departed for London from Paris, uttering one or two words of encouragement about his upcoming game against Tottenham Hotspur assuming that he would return, of course, after the game back to her and their son Joshua.He's in critical condition, they say, but he's not gone.

I also remember many years ago when I lost one of my best friends, it was and still is the most sobering experience that I've had in my 20 something years on earth, to date. I could not reconcile the news that she had died in a car accident with the fresh memories of parties we escaped to in secondary school right after classes and right after we sloped home claiming to be at after school lessons. Memories of our many conversations of which guy was hot and which wasn't from the measly selection we had at school those days. Memories of our joint attempt to master the lyrics to 'Candy Rain' and 'The boy is mine' in thirty minutes flat. A friend who I'd known from the first day of the first year in secondary school, I simply could not process the news. But I just saw her a couple of months ago, I thought.It was a few months after I'd relocated to London from Nigeria and we kept making plans to meet up and postponing them, assuming of course that there would always be tomorrow. Well, tomorrow never came and when I thought about the silly arguments we'd had in the past over complete and utter inconsequentials, it made my heart break. I would give up every one of those fights just to bring her back to this earth. All the times I wished she'd disappear from the face of the earth- well, she did, and I couldn't wish her back.

The phrase taken for granted literally means to assume that a thing will always be there just like the air that we breathe.We only have to be alive and the air fills our lungs automatically- granted.Some people take their jobs for granted- phoning up sick in order to go and watch the tennis at Wimbledon,cursing the day they took the job because the workload is too heavy and they've missed their lunchbreak, again. And then the recession happened and they were out of jobs. Who gets to watch Wimbledon all day now? And whose bank balance is in double barrel zeros? That's right.

For others, it's their cars. I remember during a particularly barren period of fuel scarcity in Abuja once when I could not buy fuel to drive my car-queuing up to buy petrol was literally a contact sport- and I'd literally glare at the redundant,bright blue thing parked in front of the house that couldn't do a thing for me because it was juice-less. This was a car that I'd just hop in and out of previously expecting that when the little wand dipped below a quarter tank I'd just pop down to my local AP petrol station, pop the lever and have them refill the juice. I took that automobile for granted. It was only when the fuel scarcity began,persisted and lasted that I realised that car was indeed a luxury. After being alternately beaten by the sun and pelted by the rain in the name of waiting for taxis; having had to endure the indignity of pleading for rides from semi-strangers and then watching the nairas deflate in my wallet all in the name of transport in Abuja, I began to appreciate the convenience and comfort that bright blue thing afforded which I never thought about because it was just there whenever I wanted it-granted.

To take something for granted or much more someone, is to assume that they will always be there,like the birds in the sky or like a new morning when we wake up. It is to assume that the person owes you their time and resources. It is to assume that nobody else has any use for that thing but you. It is to presume that the thing only has one home. The only constant thing is change and even birds migrate when they find more comfortable trees to build their nests.

This post is dedicated to my dear uncle who passed away this morning.May his soul rest in peace.

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