I just can’t imagine how anyone in their right senses can suggest silly things, lace such suggestions with insults and deliver them so boldly. The blame for the insult I received is on me though, because if I had respected myself by staying in my house instead of visiting Tayo, I would not have received any insult from her mother. Tayo’s mum has absolutely no idea what I need, what I deserve and what I’m going through. Her unsolicited advice and insult today was completely unwarranted.
If anyone told me that after university, I would not get a job immediately, I would have called that person an enemy of progress, also known as an E.P. With a strong 2:1 and a prize upon graduation from a leading university in Nigeria, a sense of humour that would put Trevor Noah to shame, work ethics that can make ants feel inadequate, all within a very attractive and highly fashionable (yes, I dare to say so) package; the plan in my head was that I would have at least three job offers upon graduation, from oil companies and investment banks and I would simply choose the highest bidder.
My plan has become a fantasy. I’m here now, six months after graduation, filling one online job application after the other and almost running crazy. All those so-called uncles and aunties who congratulated me upon graduation and asked me to send my CV to them have started replying my unanswered calls with text messages along the line of “Grace, I’m in a meeting, I will call you back.” They never call back. I’m beginning to suspect that they attended my graduation party only for the jollof rice, but then, we all know jollof rice makes people do strange things.
I was so overwhelmed with my woes today that I needed a break, so I decided to pay a visit to my neighbour Tayo, who has been on holiday from uni for about a month. Tayo’s family moved in about two months ago and Tayo is very good company when this job hunt gets too much for me to handle. Tayo is studying veterinary medicine and still has a few more years in uni before joining this unentertaining and rowdy labour market. I knew I would have to leave Tayo’s house before her mum returned from work, because I sense that the woman only tolerates my visits, but again, maybe that thought is a product of my over active imagination and sense of false importance . As usual, Tayo and I watched a rerun episode of Fashion Police on E! and I thought about how the show would not remain the same, now that Joan Rivers is dead. Fashion Police is my favourite show on TV, not only because I have an eye for fashion, but also because Joan Rivers was my girl, (rather my grandmother) her jokes were too hilarious.
I heard the gate open, but that can’t possibly be right. I know Tayo’s mum usually returns from work around 7 PM and it was just 5 PM. Unfortunately, my suspicions were right and Tayo’s mum walks into the sitting room. She is back early today and upon seeing my face, she suddenly looks cranky. “Grace, how are you?” she says with forced calmness, “I’m fine thank you ma” is my solemn reply. She turns to Tayo and asks if Tayo has started cooking dinner. Tayo said no, and I knew there was going to be trouble. Like a person who got stung by a bee, she began to scream, “Tayo, don’t tell me you have sat here all day with Grace watching this silly TV show that adds no value to your life, none at all! Grace, is this what you should be doing? Are you not searching for a job? Is it this fashion program that will give you a job? If it’s only fashion you want to know, why don’t you go and become a tailor and not distract my daughter from her legitimate business? For almost one month, I’ve kept quiet but today is the day I will talk. If your parents are watching you waste away and can’t tell you to do something with yourself, I’m not afraid to tell you. Tayo will you go to the kitchen and start preparing dinner.”
After such an outburst, I left the half-finished episode of fashion police and went home with the little dignity I had left. Today confirmed that I was not wrong after all. The woman actually doesn’t like me, but I wonder if that is because I don’t have a job or because I always watch fashion police at her house? Anyway, that’s how I chopped insult today because I don’t have a job and I went to visit a friend.
I like fashion and all but Tayo’s mum was just wrong for calling me out like that, as if I’m not trying my best to get a job, and to make matters worse, she dares to suggest that I should become a tailor. The cranky old lady doesn’t know who I am. Some things are just beneath me. I am an award-winning graduate of economics that oil companies will soon be competing for, and when that happens, I will laugh in her face! When I get my job, buy a new car, and start spending millions, she will eat her words, I promise.
One year later, Grace is still unemployed.