Tuesday, 28 October 2014

He Writes... About Peeing, Opportunities, and other Opportunists (he'd rather risk being!)

TYPING: Has… everyone… got… a little… opportunist in them?

I recline on my chair, screwing my eyes in thought at the screen as I lift up the demure china coffee cup with matching saucer to sip my iced-tea. Mind you, I am just improvising because my kettle got broken all praise to Raymond who won’t quit having a hot bath, a hot tea, a hot beverage, a hot this, a hot that.––

“You are kinda forgetting something.” A hand taps my shoulder as I sip in thought.

“What is it, Raymond?” I glare over my shoulder.

“A hot fuck.”

“Oh, go scar someone else for life!”––

I crack my knuckles and begin hitting away on the keyboard.

TYPING: We are all taught opportunists are cheap, pathetic, people mostly of some lower class, or struggling so much to get noticed they want to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way in order to achieve something. If so, who would want to be an opportunist? Not me. But I want to take advantage of every opportunity, I want to do anything in order to succeed, I want to try my best till I have got no options––and even so press on to have more options. Don’t we all want that? So aren’t we all opportunists?

I pause for a while and think back to why I am so bothered about this topic.

It all began four days ago when I put on my best Armani white long-sleeved shirt with blue-polka-dots to attend another of Isel Media’s premieres of the semester, A Letter From Adam, starring Lydia Forson. The celeb, it was rumoured, had arrived earlier in the day with her other co-stars and Funny Face.

Oh, this was going to be a thrill!

I called up Sandra, who included her roommate, Thelma and we all set off to an event everyone was attending because all the Whos in KNUST would be present pouring over the celebs on the red carpet.

Imagine us having that swagger moment where all camera action is slowed as we take step after step laughing our heads off as though we were just having a blast even walking to the place (––we were actually). Cue in some mind-blowing music that would suit this scene, Castro’s Seihor, and you would have pretty much nailed envisaging this scene.

Ticket stand. Complimentary tickets given out. Popcorn and ‘Sobolo’ purchased. Filled a row behind. Watching movie. Couldn’t hear a thing. Raced forward to the front-row seats. Wondering why no one took the front-row seats. Wondering who organized the seating chat with everyone starting from the middle row backwards. Got the hairs on our heads erected from the loud-sound of the speakers. Jumped from our seats anytime an actor whistled on screen. Laughed our heads off for being so silly to take the front row and not toeing the line. Wondered how we could sneak back to our back-row seats without looking embarrassed. Lights-out. Hallelujah ECG! Where was the ECG boss when you wanted to thank him? Took this opportunity to crawl back to our back-row seats. Generator was powered. Movie resumed. Lydia Forson was hilarious. Lydia Forson was struggling to be serious. Lydia Forson just couldn’t play a sad girlfriend who had lost her older man-boyfriend. Complimented Lydia Forson’s costume and make-up. Movie was over.

We shuffled our feet out of the cinema along with everyone to meet the red-carpet scene pouring with the finest celebs and friends of celebs posing for pictures with their ultra-white red-carpet smiles. The scene was so surreal it felt like a celestial environment photoshopped into our KNUST. Lydia looked fabulous on the red carpet along with her other co-stars.

As the hustle was on over who to take pictures with the celebs, I stood on the sidelines, watching. I felt a tap on my shoulder. Didn’t bother to look. When I spun around, Sandra and Thelma were no more.

What the…

I ignored the pain of being abandoned. Could you blame me? A better scene was shaping before my eyes. I must admit, I wanted to take a picture with Lydia, but it all got so crowded I became forlorn, gave up, and turned to leave.
Bang. That was when I bumped into someone.

“Here, let me take a picture of you.” It was Funny Face, snatching my pink(!), low(!) megapixel camera, Tecno(!) phone to take a picture of me.

Did he somehow notice my disappointment and decided to cheer me up? No, I put up a good front. It’s hard to read my thoughts if you weren’t resided in my brain, I lied to myself. But what if I did really show my disappointment? What if everyone saw me look disappointed?–––

TYPING: I call it ‘the phobia to be tagged as an opportunist’. We all get on with our life, taking opportunities, risking to achieve things. All through it, terrified we would be branded that ill label as ‘The Opportunist’ we dread.

–––Oh, sod it! I’m taking my thoughts and putting a sock in it. Funny Face was before me, about to take a picture of me, and I was going to stop him!

“Oh, no, Lol.” I said laughing abashedly as I prevented him. “It’s actually a low megapixel camera.”

He raised a brow at me. Obviously thinking, who would miss an opportunity to have Funny Face take a picture of them (when such picture would bear nothing showing the celeb took it)? That’s me, the un-opportunist.

Well, have your camera and eat it, he was probably thinking as he handed my TECNO P3 back, about to advance away. (Later, writing this post do I take notice this significance: Funny! Face! Held! My! Phone!)

Oh, crap. I had Funny Face’s attention and I was letting it slip away. Would I ever get this opportunity again? Ghana’s biggest comedian, slipping away from my fingers.––

TYPING: Was that typical opportunist speak? Grabbing an opportunity by the horns and riding it before it threw you off its back?

No, I wasn’t letting Funny Face go. I was hopping on his back and riding him.
Now imagine how it would look if I had done that right in front of everyone, hopping on his back and riding him screaming “Yee-ha”s and swinging about my imaginary lasso. In my course mate and friend, Andy’s words, tragic. That would have been tragic. So I simply tapped his shoulder.

“Oh, hi.” I spoke through smiles. “I am actually the media representative of Cypress, you know him, the Ghanaian blogger?”

Funny Face’s face was well, um, funny. “I know him! He’s my colleague at the office.” (I’d later learn this office he was speaking of was STAR FM)

Opportunity points! Ding! Ding!!

“Oh, I am here writing a review of this movie.”

“What’s your name?” He asked, grasping my hand for a rewarding shake.

I was strutting on air. Funny Face was shaking me, and in a few seconds, he would know my name. “Kobby,” I said with a lilt to it, “I am Kobby.”

And he was gone.

I had told Funny Face my name! Wasn’t that super, I thought as I twirled my plastic cup of ‘Sobolo’ in my hand, eyeing Lydia Forson who had stepped away from the crowd and was speaking with her people.

Braving myself after downing all my ‘Sobolo’ and dumping it into a nearby trashcan, I approached.

Imagine that time you’d wanted to speak to one particular person. And that person happened to be occupied with people she’d rather want to have a conversation with, you think. And there’s measly, little you, waiting behind, waiting for her to finish speaking to whoever she was to speaking to.

I skipped that moment, extended my hand above the member of her crew’s arm and, “Hi, Lydia Forson, I am Kobby.” I spoke. Judge me, but I wanted to pee. If you knew what excess consumption of ‘Sobolo’ did to your bladder you would understand me.

“Kobby?” She asked questioningly. Told her my role as being a critic for Cypress, polished my title a bit, made it fancier than it was when I spoke to 
Funny Face.

“Oh, did you watch the movie?” She asked blank-faced.

“I did.”

“Did you enjoy the movie?”

“I loved the humour.” Did it sound like I was kissing up?––

“Or you were just being honest?” Thelma said to me as we were walking back to our hostels.

I had finally found them out of the cinema. They had texted me they were outside waiting, but my phone had been on silent. Now after I was regaling my encounter to the two, it struck me that I had been shallow. Very media-like. Or perhaps I just wasn’t? This was boggling my mind. Had I pulled that low opportunist card just to speak with the celebs putting out my name, some fancy title and telling them to watch out for my review after which they smiled and everything was over?

Am I an opportunist?

“Does everyone have a little opportunist in them?” I posed the question to the two.

“I don’t think so at all.” Sandra, my ever-staunch supporter, replied.

“Perhaps, everyone has an opportunist in them.” Thelma countered. “Perhaps just a little. You know, it all balls down to that too much of everything and the like. There’s a little opportunist in everyone,” she continued objectively, “but being over-opportunistic, stepping on other people’s backs to get where you want, and just ignoring dire consequences with your eyes set on that one-goal, is the enemy.”

“But I went out there, jutted out my hand to Lydia and put some title out there.”

“You are a reviewer, aren’t you?” Sandra asked rhetorically. “You are a critic. And you are, for crying out loud, good at what you do than most people out there. So you could sugar-coat your title just any way you want it.”

I looked to Thelma for confirmation.

She nodded assent to Sandra. “You are not an opportunist. You were just marketing yourself––“ See, I love those word, just marketing myself. “––You were just handing your cards out and saying, give me a call if you need my services. There was no century, networking was qualified as being opportunistic.”

“Unless you want to grab Funny Face by the horns and ride him!” Sandra and 
Thelma guffawed at the former’s jest.

How bad I wanted to laugh with them too as we walked into the night. But if I did that I might have lost hold of my bladder and peed my pants. At times like this, I’d rather not want to recall my abilities of being a compulsive multi-tasker.

TYPING: So perhaps we aren’t all opportunists. We are just finding a way to put our names out there. And till we do, keeping ourselves from stepping on other people’s toes, we should never stop. Unless you want to pee, then there’s too much justification for stepping on someone’s feet in order to get somewhere (to pee!).

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