Tonight, only myself and Eddie are cheery. Mr. Cele’s sullenness isn’t much of a surprise, but Tokunbo is uncharacteristically grumpy too. When I asked her, she said she was alright, but the more time I’ve spent here tonight, the more I realize how far from the truth she is.
Eddie whispers to me, loud enough for her to hear, that maybe she’s having menstrual related mood swings. She shoots him arrows with her eyes.
Meanwhile, Eddie has spent most of the night trying to fix his gaze on the lady at the far end of the lounge. The light over there is a bit low, but he’s trying to make out her shape from her the frame of her silhouette. He tells me that he’s a fisherman tonight, and he has caught his fish. I warn him that where I come from, it is a taboo to fish without good lights, for one could catch a monster fish. He reminds me that he had started fishing for women since before I was born, and that I am too young to speak to him in proverbs. I apologize.
While Eddie busies himself with fishing, Mr. Cele laments about how hard he’s finding it to get quality rechargeable lamps. I ask him what he needs rechargeable lamps for in 2020. Tokunbo jokes that the last time she used a rechargeable lamp, Awolowo was probably still alive.
Mr. Cele says it’s for his home. That in the evening his household typically needs additional light. I ask if the light situation in his side of town is terrible. He says no, but sometimes his wife needs more light in the kitchen because the lightbulb there doesn’t reflect into the pot well enough. So she typically needs extra light when she’s cooking dinner.
Mr. Cele says that he has gotten tired of this situation, especially when last night the low lights caused his wife to put more salt than necessary in the food. Eddie asks if he tasted Lot’s wife in the soup. We all burst out laughing.
Tokunbo says that she can relate to lighting problems. She complains very bitterly about how she spent the last weekend in her girlfriend’s house taking tons of indoor selfies and no one came out right because of how terrible the lightning of the house was. She explained about how one needed to go to the door before one could get a decent light exposure for a selfie.
Mr. Cele has a blank expression on his face, as if wondering about how something as trivial as selfies could be anyone’s problem in this life. He has never been able to come to terms with the vanity of the internet generation. I also quickly recognize the reason for Tokunbo’s sullen mood.
Eddie informs Tokunbo that if her friend is single, they can move to his home to use his great bedroom lights for their selfies.
Tokunbo hisses, and informs Eddie that her friend is not available. That as a matter of fact, she’s engaged. Eddie asks if he can buy her out of engagement. They start bickering back and forth.
Mallam Hassan walks into the lounge, wearing a seamlessly sewn jalabiya, dragging with him a whiff of the sensational Oud Wood perfume.
We exchange assalamualaikum with him as he takes a seat at his preferred position at the north of our table. We order our drinks and Mallam Hassan orders desert. Eddie orders for two cocktails. I ask him what he’s doing with two cocktails. He says I should mind my business. He takes both cocktails and excuses himself from our table, making his way to the lady at the other part of the lounge. His “fish”.
Mr. Cele recounts his lighting issues with Mallam Hassan, who we have started to call the wise counselor because of his intellectual dexterity in dealing with all housing subjects. Mallam Hassan tells Mr. Cele that he doesn’t need a rechargeable lamp. That he needs better lightning for his home.
Mallam Hassan goes on to explain to us the importance of good lighting in the interiors of a home. He stresses that when people are building a home, people are often concerned about furniture, carpentry, plumbing and other parts, but never lighting. He says that aside from the aesthetics it brings, a good lighting can also serve well with its functionality, a good example of which is the kitchen lighting especially in the context of what’s currently happening to Mr. Cele.
Mr. Cele is considering re-ordering the lighting in his kitchen.
Eddie is coming back to our table, looking as sullen as ever. He’s still holding both cocktails. I ask him what’s up. He flops on his seat and next thing he says is, “God punish poor lights o.”
I ask him what he means. He says the fish he thought he saw from our seat is different from the fish he met there. That while the figure was promising under the shelter of the dim blue light of the lounge, that what he met sitting down there was definitely a monster fish. So he greeted her and turned back around with his drinks.
At this point, Tokunbo has fallen over herself, laughing.