I have persisted in sticking to my early morning routine of walking/jogging around my neighbourhood in the wee hours of the morning. OK, it’s no biggie, just around 30mins of brisk walking. Having stuck to this exercise regime for a while, I started acquiring “new friends” . They have made the walking exercises enjoyable for me to such an extent that I don’t even bother using music to encourage myself anymore.
We are polite to each other as we meet. The style is to clap your hands about two or three times without stopping your jogging as soon as you meet a fellow “out of shape” or “I want to get into shape colleague”. Don’t mind me o, some are very fit, they make me jealous. I mean flat tummy, lean and clean body, not the first-trimester stuff some of us have bouncing in front of us as we huff and puff along the road hoping the excess garri we have accumulated over the years will just fall off and leave us alone.
I remember one morning, I thought I was doing great but noticed there was a girl in front of me taking ladylike strides and for all my busting my lungs to overtake her, I just couldn’t. It was so embarrassing it hurt my overblown ego. From that day, I have learnt to avoid any young lady jogging or walking in front of me. I cannot come and kill myself jare. The girl no get respect sef. The worst part of it was that she didn’t even know I was competing with her.
Anyway, over time, I developed private names for my “friends”. Caution-This names were not given for malicious reasons. Who knows if they don’t have a name for me too. “Mr slow and old”, “old boy”, “Baba no go gree”, Baba go slow etc.
Meet my Friends
Mr Pim pim pim
My best friend, out of all of the early joggers. He jogs with rapid short and fast steps. Always running on his toes. He challenges me every day I meet him. Tried his style one day and my calf ached all day. So I went back to my “anyhow I must finish this race style”.
Mr end of the road
I don’t know why he jogs. I keep thinking he would faint or topple over. I am one of the slowest around as most people of my age are not out on roadwork at this time but I am super-fast compared to this over six feet guy. At least, he is doing something about his health. I suspect he is a banker. Well, what do I know?
Morning Cry people
These are the itinerant Preachers who rise early to warn all of us to give our lives to Christ. I have nothing against them but I wish they would at least stop trying to give me tracts when I am running or jogging. Can’t they see that I am out of breath and can’t carry any extra load even if its a piece of paper ………….
Fear fear people
Very easy to know. They normally walk in the middle of the road singing choruses very loudly. They immediately cross to the other side of the road once they see anyone coming in their direction. I doubt if they know that the singing so loudly draws attention to them in the dark.
Post the bill people
These are the ones who litter your walls with “………… secretary needed by a truck pusher, N100,00000 salary, call 0803——-“. They litter the walls with “land for-sale, call this number”. “Accommodation is available, dial this number”. So if you have been wondering whether they can’t read the “post no bill” sign on your wall. This is the answer. They can’t read it. Its early morning and dark so don’t blame them for all the chalk calligraphy and posters on your wall.
Emergency health freaks
These don’t last long. They are hot on the trail for about two weeks or a month then, they stop showing up when the honeymoon of their experience is over. I recognise them easily because their gear is always all new and everything is to match. I am used to not seeing them ever again after a short while.
These have special eyes. They see in the dark. No matter how dark or foggy the morning is, “Pastor good morning”, they would greet me. I answer but I wonder how they recognize me. Well since its dark, I know its not because of my balding hairline (Chuckle).
On a mission people
They are in a hurry. I am sure it’s not to go and ease themselves. These don’t want to be late for work or appointments. They walk very fast. At times, they jog too.
The other variant of this on a mission people is the youths. They may be between the age of 16- 25 years. All slim and fit, they make me jealous and wish I was younger. They are always in batches of about 10 to 15 people. They giggle, talk, play loud music as they go. Then the group disappears after a short while till another group shows up. I suspect the boys are doing it to impress the girls or vice-versa. Well, wetin concern me.
As you get close to Rumuokoro prepare your ears for the assault by the “agbero’s”. Aba, aba, aba, One lucky passenger. Owerri, Owerri, small moto, Onitsha, one chance, Eliozu, Eliozu, along, hold ya change o . I no wan para with anybody dis early momo.
Standing close to them is the paraga people. The smells here are mixed. Illicit gin, cigarette, goof, Alomo, monkey tail, opa ẹyin, body odor etc. Then there is spaghetti and indomie/boiled egg etc being sold also in the dark. No one complains.
There is a splash of beauty in the morning. A good number of the keke bus people and the taxis have added very colourful lights to their vehicles so it helps waka waka people like me to at least have something to feed our eyes on.
There is also a lot of “Bye-bye” , “see you later”, “hugs and kisses” events of the morning. These are mostly couples who spent the night together or people coming out of some of the Red zone-hotels. I suspect they get a little bashing from the itinerant preachers or the coming from night vigil people whenever their parts cross. Kilo omode mo. (What do I know)
Okay, this is getting too long.
Do you know any early morning people in your area? Do you have names for them? ( Please I don’t mean maliciously. It’s just to describe my encounters. I hope you understand. Let’s talk in the comments section.
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If you intend to take up early morning walks or running, please be prepared for the harassment of the Air force Sniper mosquitoes. I called them snipers because, no matter the thick layer of your clothing, there is always a way they patiently penetrate and at least suck a litre from your body. What if I am jogging? That is not a discouragement to them. These have been to the Olympics before, so “while you run without stopping, they have learnt to suck while flying” .
UNA DO O