There are days when your enemies will remember to pour small sand inside your garri. One of such days was when these much awaited visitors finally came to the house for the first time. Before then, getting them to visit hadn’t been easy, due to scheduling issues. I’m talking about those big names who’ve got clout, that parents always speak fondly of, due to their high achievements. And based on the weight of their personality, 48 hours sanitation would be carried out in the house before their coming. Also, a memo would’ve already been passed around the house requiring everyone to be on their best behaviour, to avoid putting the family name to eternal shame.
Rings a bell right? Good!
So the d-day finally came. There were about 5 of them. Dad’s friends. Loud, talkative men they were. Meanwhile, heavy preparations had been made. The lawn within our environment was properly trimmed. The house had a new look. Sheets were changed.
Guest toilet sparkled like china white fabric, the water in the toilet was Crystal clear; you could see the reflection of your face on it’s surface. The entire floors of the house were thoroughly mopped and mum made sure they were scrubbed hard with both a mop & two bare hands.
The presence of these visitors had everybody in the house walking on egg shells, to prevent the wrath of my dad particularly. Good manners and home training were on full display. Of cause we all know how crafty parents could be. Before their guest, they’ll knowingly tell you to get the remote control across the room – and while you’re at it, they seize the opportunity to list out your high points before these highly esteemed guests. Leading to a brief conversation between you and their guests – aimed at displaying how articulate you are & satisfying their ego.
That one wasn’t a big deal, as I’d already rehearsed my lines days before. All was good and fine and everybody stuck to the script we were made to follow to portray this well-groomed, enviable family worthy of emulation. Little did we know that the devil would come from a different angle. It happened when the visitors were having their meals. Whatever triggered the boldness in those tiny impudent rats had to be supernatural. If they had dashed across the living room or skidded under furnitures as they often did, it wouldn’t have been much of a problem. At least no one would’ve noticed. But they came out in their numbers as though it was a planned outing. These rats put on a circus show directly in front of our guests, just where we had our TV and video player. They swung and dangled from one cable to another wire in this wild, carefree manner, just to spite the owners of the house. Hard as it was to pretend that nothing was going on, the wires behind the TV shelf were noticeably shaking. A million vengeful rats were having a field day at the wrong time.
I was livid.
We all witnessed this horrific happening in silence for a while, hoping our guests won’t make a mention of it. Until the big mouthed one out of the bunch who came visiting, broke the long awkward silence, “Hope these rats won’t cut one of those tv wires?” Everybody in the living room erupted in laughter, which succeeded in dousing the tension in the room. The discussion between my folks and our guests stopped being too serious and sophisticated; it became a lighthearted one about Nigerian rats and their havoc. Our big guests weren’t all that ‘mighty’ after all.
Deep down inside of me, I took in a lesson from this unforeseen ‘tragedy’. It is less work to be real with people than seeking to impress.