BY WANA UDOBANG
With superb eagerness Novuyo asked Chimamanda “what sorts of things do you like, and like doing?” She replied “hmm… online shopping, push up bras…and more online shopping”.
It’s quite interesting how remarkable and exciting your life is expected to be just because a few more people know your name. I find myself in a narcissistic daze whenever I get to social gatherings.
It is because my job has come to define me in their eyes and they find nothing they want to talk about besides my callers, finishing up on the conversation they heard me having on Wednesday morning or what the song I played at 8.15 today was titled.
The omniscient question of how many famous friends I have or how many I have interviewed does always make its persistent invasion. The downer seems to be that I am not well acquainted with D’banj . So at that point, my coolness quotient depreciates atrociously. Sadly, I do indulge them.
When im not in the mood I pronounce my name with its Ibibio intonation when asked, and I tell them I work in the production department of a radio station. Now that’s always a conversation muter and trust me with that you get no complementary cards or phone number swaps. Essentially, your capabilities become completely futile.
At other times though, they still ask me about me, not knowing it is me.(hope you get my drift) Then they comfortably start to air their sentiments both good and bad about me to me.( hope I haven’t lost you at this point)
It is still a bit incomprehensible why anyone would think that a conscious awareness of the sum of people that love and loath you, makes you more fascinating, or being paranoid because you aren’t quite sure if the people you meet really like you or are just looking for free endorsement. (it doesn’t really help when you are naturally pre-disposed to receiving people and the things around you)
In my case when there is music involved, the excessive “checking up on you” phone calls and text messages can seem a tad bit sketchy.
I will never come to terms with how an association with Dbanj of all people increases my coolness quota. Don’t get me wrong I do gyrate to his “Koko Rhythms”, but seriously?
To be honest, quite a lot of famous people are actually boring. Well not all but quite a lot. Principally, because they get asked the same questions over and over, so they always anticipate your question or potential topic of conversation, but just in a slightly remodelled variant. At times they even start to make up answers and they don’t even know it. Because really people are always expecting something and they have to deliver. So the job doesn’t necessarily stop at the working premises. There are times when the lines of fact and fiction become a bit blurred because they have used the same anecdotes so many times; even they have to alter a few truths to make the stories more engaging.
Not that I deem myself anything close to popular, but like me, all I do in my spare time is lock myself in my bedroom, burn candles, incense, lavender and listen to Portishead. Most times it’s Rokia Traore, Incubus, Simphiwe Dana and recently I have taken to Ellie Goulding’s “Starry Eyed” on repeat. I’ve had the same best friends since I was nine years old which my family finds equally diabolical as it is annoying. Well at least they feel compensated that an obsessive friendship beats taking drugs. I also spend a large chunk of my life in my head, day dreaming and running through mental slide shows of familiar images. When im thoroughly bored and need to snap out of my palatial depression, I watch a foreign movie with subtitles or write conceited blog posts forcing myself to believe that this is a style of participatory journalism injected with some cynicism, sarcasm and sprinkles of my divinely bestowed acerbic wit.
Thanks to CNN, one of my famous friend’s can barely get out of the house without being propositioned by her pedestrian and motorist appreciation society. A previous bacterial infection which led to minor skin surgeries coupled with her crippling shyness means that she has to keep the handshakes and hugs to a minimum. (Believe me she lives with a jerry can of sanitizer)
This has of course led to a general consensus of her person as arrogant, pompous and overall unpleasant. The weird thing is that we never talk about work. We mostly discuss our paranormal experiences, spirituality, organic living, family, men, memories, insecurities, music and books. Pretty much what everyday people talk about. When we walk on the street and they hurl her name out, we pretend she is not the one they are calling or sometimes we pretend we can’t speak English. Believe me it has become quite amusing especially when we recall the days when our birth name were simply what they were and not conversation starters.
The most interesting part of this fame malarkey is that everyone thinks you’re minted and rolling in it.
I recall a lady who worked in an oil company and pondered quitting her job to audition as a presenter. I smiled at her an wished her good luck but what I really thought was that “I hope you have a human ATM because this kind of work is built for a special breed of hustlers with an incredible kind of perseverance” some of us acquainted ourselves with gypsy living a very long time ago so we are very comfortable with a subsistence lifestyle.
Don’t get me wrong. Popularity can be a lot of fun, especially when it gets you to meet certain kinds of people who you wouldn’t have met on a random day or perhaps who wouldn’t have listened to the things you wanted to say prior to your fame. It’s something you have to get used to, the parasitic world we live in. Look at it as more symbiotic, that way you become less bitter.The best part though is when you get offered gigs that cause an upward shift in the content of your bank account.
Still wanna be famous that freaking bad? As the sign post says, “PARKED AT OWNERS RISK”.
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