Thursday 15 April 2021

The malign state of cultural programming

The random in Uber rides

I was not going to walk back home with my shopping after visiting the hospital yesterday, so, I called Uber cab to take me home. The name of the driver appeared to be a Christian forename and a Muslim surname; it would have been an interesting conversation point.

When he arrived, the phonetical sounds I heard as he was conversing with someone on his mobile phone was unmistakably Yoruba, so, I engaged him with greetings and a sense of familiarity almost to my regret. The first I have had of a Yoruba person, probably the last I would want if this situation is repeated.

Patriarchy is the default

We seem to have this cultural programming to be first intrusive and probably judgemental. His first inquiry was whether my wife was too busy to do the shopping. There is no accounting for how long our people have lived in the west, some patriarchal views die hard. Even if I were married, nothing regardless of my status stops me from shopping.

So, I answered, I was just returning from the hospital nearby and that presented an opportunity to do some shopping. However, he would not let go, he wanted to know about my wife and my kids. An apparently essential demonstration of my whatever it might be. Wisely, this was not the time to introduce a radically implausible issue as sexuality, but some matters needed addressing all the same.

Moving on to other things

No, I do not have my own children, I cannot have children by reason of many issues including the consequences of chemotherapy. Then indeed I do have children in my nieces and nephews. Knowing I cannot have children I am pragmatic enough not to involve a woman in my complicated situation leaving her attached and yet bereft of issue.

Then, the matter of issue is one of contentment in terms of whether you do require them or not and whether you have made peace with your circumstances. Whether with issue or not, someone would take up that responsibility for interment when you are gone, the more important thing is to have impacted lives enough to be relevant in life and the hereafter.

That being said, we got to the matter of how frequently I visit home. Home to him is different from home to me, but I humoured him, I have not been to Nigeria in over 30 years. There began another inquisition. I volunteered I am English, though it did not tweak that my grasp of the Yoruba language and completed sentences without interspersing with English was probably commendable. I had committed infractions I should be answerable for.

Coming up for air

Obviously, whereupon that kind of situation within the Yoruba construct might well be considered unfortunate, on wife, on children, and on visits, the fact is to be consumed by circumstances over which you have little control or are not persuaded of will distract you from fulfilling other aspects of life and purpose. I reckon my message was clear from our interaction, I neither castigated nor excoriated him, I just provided another perspective to things.

That he was taking me into the centre of town elicited another comment about me being quite wealthy, to which I responded in Yoruba, the blessing is there to be shared to all. Yet, that cultural programming impervious to review does grate. I bet he has never done any domestic shopping before, but that is none of my business, I just want to get home.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are accepted if in context are polite and hopefully without expletives and should show a name, anonymous, would not do. Thanks.