LONDON CHRONICLES (13): WINTER MOODS

Attraction is a difficult concept to grasp. For all its advances, science hasn’t explained why we are attracted to A and not to B. Man’s attractions can’t be explained in anyway. A man can be attracted to all shapes, sizes and shades. Same for women though he couldn’t lay a claim to understanding women. LGBT attraction completely escapes him and his only thought on such is the inhumanity of various countries (including his home country Nigeria) in enacting laws to outlaw such but that’s a subject for another day. Concerning this person he was attracted to, he couldn’t explain it. It took a while for him to even realize he was attracted. He couldn’t dare bring it up to the person because he was attached and fixed to another and he was no fan of infidelities. But he could also sense a whimsy of attraction from the lady. He wasn’t presumptuous to act on it but he suspected she was experiencing the same emotions as he.

For someone from Africa, who had lived his entire life in the tropics, winter was a wonder. The cold was harsh, unrelenting and moody. There was no sun, rarely snowed, but frequently windy and frequent showers. But that’s what the rain was like, just showers. The weather reports occasionally predicted heavy rain and he would chuckle when the “heavy” rainfall happened. This was more like the waves generated by stirring tea bags in hot water using the strings, the faint echo of storms from other lands. But the temperatures plumbed the depths 0°C, rarely above 6°C. He finally understood the concept of layered clothing though his layers were anything but the perfection obtained by some. He was glad his accommodation was near school. A mere fifteen minute walk and he was in school. Not an early bird even in the best days, he doubted his showing up in school if a commute had been required.

The British in their usual inventiveness had found ways to create an engaging atmosphere. There was the ceremony of lighting up Oxford Street. Lighted globes hanging from poles and ceilings, pillars mistletoe lights emerging from base to top, street music and the general hurly burly of shoppers creating a din that provoked excitement. He occasionally experienced de ja vu feelings of Lagos especially. Abuja was always too sterile, a civil service environment which had lost all spontaneity when a previous minister had rightly restored discipline and made the capital city more habitable.

As winter drew near and temperatures continued to drop, he visited one of the high street stores in Oxford to procure winter clothing. Shopping was never his thing. He always made up his mind before entering stores and was usually done within ten minutes. Not for him the mindless wandering that plagued most in stores. He discovered his shopping mind-set was the best in this land. Multiple stores offering multiple varieties of products. Yet how many products can one consume at a time? Perhaps this mind-set developed as an unconscious reaction to the kleptomania of leaders in his country with numerous tales abounding of public office holders/civil servants owning multiple houses, cars and other comforts of modern life. There was a tale of a former governor who owned about a hundred and seventy-two houses in a state yet couldn’t supply potable water to inhabitants of the state capital. But such was the quality of governance back home. He couldn’t imagine local government chairmen using public transport yet even prime ministers have been sighted using public transportation in London.

Winter was when loneliness struck him the most. His brief love flame had been extinguished. He couldn’t give his all to the pursuit and she wanting to avoid awkward moments had discouraged him. He could have sought comfort in other places but he knew it would be a repetition of the false promise of this one. He internalized his feelings and held back from all potential intimacies keeping himself to only platonic relationships and guarding his heart. His main solace however was found in modern technology. He chatted incessantly with folks back home and consumed media via the internet. His main challenge with the UK fastidiously applying Political Correctness to every communication resulting in limitations on jokes and censorship of all forms that it affected the production of comic arts. This fed his fear that even the great literature of the past may lose their vitality if the ascendant liberal movement with its PC theme emerged as the zeitgeist of the coming age.

Eugene Gant

PICTURE CREDIT:
http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo/oxford-street-shops.html
http://www.londontown.com
http://www.dailymail.co.uk

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