Saturday, July 28, 2012
Death has to be Easy 'Cause Life is Hard
I noticed early in life all fingers were not equal, that there were those who couldn't afford my leftover and those I couldn't afford theirs. I learnt of the inequality called life, and death might be the only experience we humans shared in common. I noticed individuals that lived in terrible conditions that made me ask myself "is this necessary for our society to function effectively?" Sure I knew the answer but reluctant to admit it. These individuals were those I regard as living in about-to-die conditions. Those living on the edge I believe would be better off dead. Those that make me say death has to be easy because life is hard.
As a kid I look at those people and walk away with little or no guilt. In my twenties now, things have changed. I could decide to assist someone less privilege. Even with the choice and capability I've acquired, I realised I walk away most of the time. I ask myself "how many can I help?" and walk away. I had to rationalise to clear my conscience.
There was this old woman I saw early in the morning on my way to the university years ago. If I was to guess her age it would be within the range of 70 to 80 years old. I left for school early, before 7 o'clock, and this woman was out by then. She sat by the road side at a busstop close to First Bank, Bariga branch, selling razor blade. She would have between 7 to 10 packs and scream "blade ni o" to attract potential customers. I say with confidence there were days her wares couldn't fetch more than ₦100, yet she was up before sunrise to sell goods which revenue couldn't cover my bus fare for the day. What good would that money do to her? She was aged and probably had kids and grand kids, I wonder what their take was on her trying to make a living in an age where she was suppose to be profiting from the fruits of their labour. I could give this woman ₦5,000 but I won't. I would rather spend it on cinema tickets. I walk away and tell myself I would help people like her when I'm a millionaire. With loads of cash I would be very charitable but who am I deceiving, claiming to be benevolent after assisting someone when the real cost was totally insignificant.
My friend Uncle Oshio had a sensitive side to such situations. There was an old man, probably approaching his 90s that sold Q-tips by the road side. This man was also in an about-to-die condition but still needed that ₦ to survive. Uncle Oshio bought all he had to sell one day and it cost about ₦70 (I can't remember the exact amount) but it was change. I'm not interested in the monetary value but the act. It reminded me of the old woman, even if I didn't have ₦5,000 to give the least I could was to buy. We can't be that sensitive always. Most times it was easier to walk away because of the burden we carried and it wasn't wise to put another's man own on our shoulders. At such situations we might be regarded as heartless by others due to their ignorance of our personal plight.
An old man I had no idea how we was able to get on his feet did menial jobs. The reason I believe people gave him tasks to do was to find an excuse to give him money and still feel they weren't being...cheated? There was an occurence where a man hired him to cut the shrubs and weed in front of his house. He paid him and left for work. He returned to find they were still there untouched while those around the house next his were cut nicely. The man got vexed and sought the old man for an explanation. The old man claimed he did the work. Apparently the old man did cut the shrubs and weed but not the one he was paid to do. His sense of reasoning was already failing. The man suggested the old man repay him or cut those in front of his house. People felt pity for the old man but no one could voluteer to assist. Someone made a statement about the man being insensitive to the old man's condition. But like I said, no one was willing to bring out a cutlass to assist. All they could give was sympathy because it was cheap.
There's a maid in my area. The house help was less than 10 years old, serious child labour. At an early age her family pushed her into such to raise extra income. Her future had been greatly affected because I saw this girl writing one day. Her handwriting was like calligraphy, beautiful. She wrote about her family and primary school she attended before she became a full-time house help. She had been deprived of functioning at her full potential and in years time, she might become that woman who sat by the road side in Bariga, screaming "blade ni o".