Activation Energy

This holiday break, Odun is reading a book by Ross Gay called The Book of Delights. In it, starting on his birthday, the author writes daily about something that delights him. Some entries are longer with some backstory about his life, while others are short straightforward descriptions of a delight.

I skim through some of the entries in the book and I’m thinking about the structure as I consider how difficult I find starting to post here.
I’ve read as much as I can about procrastination; the 25 minute Pomodoro method, the ‘1-2-3 just do it’ method, making lists, etc.
I try all of them, sometimes multiple methods at the same time. None of them work, but I stick with the search, because that is one thing I don’t procrastinate about: studying how to beat procrastination.

Later, while waiting for the bus to fill up, a man is giving out copies of a book that he wrote. The book is called Reflections on Visions.
At the back of the book is his photo, wearing a suit staring straight into the camera, and a dedication to his parents for his education and then this line:
“And to my wife and uncoming children namely: Immanuel, Salvation, Grace, and Unction.”
He is handing out the book to the occupants of the bus for free. Pay him whatever you want, he says. Most passengers give nothing but some people pass him money hidden in their palms in that covert way you give bribes.

I refuse a copy, shaking my head pretending to be busy with my phone. But when the bus starts to move leaving him behind, I am assailed with questions.
How are the children “uncoming”?
Is his wife currently pregnant? With quadruplets?
Is she not even pregnant at all and he’s receiving all this in faith?

All day, my mind gnaws at it and I add a few more theories to the list.
Maybe they are not actual children at all.
Maybe he has gotten visions of uncoming grace, salvation, and unction for himself and his wife.

At night, after I find my mind returning to it again, I reluctantly admit that he’s stumbled upon the most effective way to market the book.

Tear Nylon

I was walking to the bus stop this morning. It was early and the sky was dark with a hint of the orange of the day creeping in around the edges. The few cars on the road still had their headlights on.
A motorcycle passed me, slowing as it approached the junction.

There was a passenger on the back of the bike. He was a sturdy man, above average height, broad shouldered with large arms. His beard was carefully trimmed in that fashion conscious way, sideburns drawn down his face merging with the beard and a thin line of hair forming a moustache around his mouth.

He had on a muscle t-shirt that would be tiny on anyone. It was tight around the chest, tight around the arms, choking him. A tattoo poked out of the top of the shirt and crept up the left side of his neck.

He got down from the motorcycle. He was wearing unlaced high-top sneakers, there was a patch of hairy leg and above them cargo shorts that hung down to his calves. The shorts had pockets everywhere.

The okada man was waiting.

The husky man searched for money for the ride. He checked the front pockets of his shorts. Then the back pockets. He checked the tiny pocket inside the front pocket. He bent forward to check the cargo pockets down by his knees.

The man did all of this while carrying a newborn. It was tiny, still wrapped in that white fluffy cloth that brand new babies come in. He had tucked the infant under his arm when he was on the bike. Now, at five in the morning, he juggled it from bicep to bicep as he looked for change.

I stood there staring at him, making no attempt to hide it, watching people as they walked past and thinking, “Is anyone going to stop the man with the stolen baby?”

He paid the bike man. He jogged across four lanes of express, dodging cars as they zipped past. He jumped over the middle divider, and trotted across four more lanes of traffic, protecting the baby’s head as he ran.

Welcome to Lagos, little human.

Shark Tank Nigeria

Hello Sharks,

We all know that self-driving cars are set to be a multi trillion naira industry.

Allow me to introduce an indigenous company ready for Series A funding.

Jamiu Jolayemi Automotive Limited modifies self-driving cars for the Lagos road. Here is how we work:

When your self-driving car arrives at the Apapa port, it comes loaded with all of the features and luxuries that you expect. But is that enough, is that vehicle fit for the Nigerian road?

That is where we come in.

Faced with the Lagos traffic, your Elon Musk approved driverless car quickly becomes overwhelmed. It struggles with the manic merge techniques require at bottlenecks and toll plazas in Lagos. It cannot roll down its window to give a deserving driver a waka, and you, the passenger, are left tapping your own index finger to the side of your head to let a pedestrian know he is stupid.
Our first modification is an AI overlay installed on the existing firmware.

The Like A Danfo module replaces the docile self-driving algorithm with aggressive machine learning trained by simulating the best public transportation drivers in the city.

The AI overlay activates a verbose mode that punctuates every action and intention of your self-driving car with a blaring honk. Your car will wait one microsecond after a red light turns green before honking to let the other cars know they are being too slow. At the end of the day, your car will pull up to your house and keep its horn pressed until your security guard runs out to open the gate, his mouth full of apologies. On the express, your car will change lanes constantly to take advantage of every inch of motion, it will lurch from one end to the other into spaces you did not think it could fit into. And when all the lanes are blocked, it will take to the shoulder and drive off-road, jostling you around as pedestrians flee ahead of it.

Second. Picture this scene you face every day.
You pull up to an intersection, a man with only one arm slouches towards you thinking perhaps of snatching your phone with his good hand. Or maybe he has one leg and 70% of his body covered in burns, or maybe it’s a woman carrying two infants, or a flock of children making puppy eyes at you touching their cupped hands to their mouths in hungry sign language.
Of course, you streetwise Lagos residents know what to do, but your new self-driving car does not. We have you covered.

With our modifications, your car will automatically lock itself upon approach of any lowly types, if you could pardon my language. The system will also play the sound of the doors locking through external speakers so all the panhandlers in the area are aware.
Watch their faces fall as they hear the simultaneous click of four doors locking.
The Beggar B’Ware module will also turn on your windshield wipers and squirt the urchins with wiper fluid to let them know you don’t want window cleaning.

And finally, you are familiar with the popular criminal technique where another car will hit yours and when you get down to argue, yes? Several armed men will emerge from the other car to kidnap you.
We have devised a way of preventing this from ever happening to you.
During the day, in the event of a scratch or slight bump in a fender bender, your modified self-driving car will not stop. How can thieves rob you if they cannot get you to stop, right?
And at night, in the event of a full-on devastating collision, your car will limp on for as long as it is able to move. Our Run after Hit module (patent pending) will keep the tyres inflated and the brainbox active as it delivers you to your original destination cocooned inside the car.

Before you ask, there are no other companies in this space. We are offering the first of this type of service and giving you a chance to get in on the ground floor.

So, sharks, which one of you is ready to be driven into the future and who will be left stuck in hold-up.

We are seeking 1 million naira for 5% equity.