Have you noticed how all your bills become due the same week, in the space of 48hours? Like a conspiracy, you feel hounded by sms notifications and reminders. “Dear DSTV/GOTV subscriber, we miss you. Your subscription will expire in two days time”, “Dear subscriber, you BIS subscription is expiring 19th August 2015 at 11.22pm”, “Your data bundle is remaining 264MB. You shall be charged at a bundle rate when your data is exhausted.” Crap! Oh! Let’s not forget PHCN when your prepaid meter starts a new song of ping-ping-ping after blinking red for a few weeks without your attention. Oh sweet lord! As if this were not enough, your cooking gas gets exhausted on a TGIF night and you had just cleaned out your bank account to service your car and change the gear oil! Crap! Crap! And double crap! Welcome to the real world of bills where everything demands immediate fiscal response.

This was my world this past weekend and with a few units left on my prepaid electricity meter, I resorted to wait out the weekend. Funny thing, I had also filled my car tank after servicing it only to get home, strike a match and the burner said “aha! I have been waiting for you.” Summarily, I sat indoors, nursing 118ml of Peptol Bismol (not to get high tho) and trying to figure out what to do for food. Luckily, I had frozen things I had cooked at different intervals and thank God for electricity in these parts of the country. Na microwave go hear am naa.

In short, I discovered that my microwave which I had hitherto been underestimating, could cook, fix and feed me with virtually anything I ask it to fix. Friday night when I came in, I was looking for a quick fix so noodles was on the way before the burner decided to quit on me. No trouble. I thought about it for a while, then got the idea to finish cooking it in the microwave. Na PHCN units go suffer. Voila! My microwave fixed my noodles so well it looked like it had more volume than what comes out of the pot when I go the regular route.

Next day, I had a guest who wouldn’t leave. I thought about it again and made eba. Small stuff. Then came the tough part because I was tired of noodles and didn’t wanna repeat eba (not my style). So, contemplating asking the microwave to fix pancakes or yam, I settled for a middle ground – why not ask it to make poundo yam instead? Ha! You were wondering eh? Yup! It did. My microwave is such a darling, I now have new respect for it. Thank God it is Monday though, the day we make money.


Broke in New York

so i woke up, hungry and broke but didn’t find out till midday when i wen to a store to pick up some groceries. I can assure you that being broke in New York City with a load of bills to pay isn’t my idea of having fun. It wasn’t. I was broke and owed my roommate who had paid for my grocery shopping, $23.54 but to me it was a ton of debt. How was i going to pay her back if i was broke on the 24th of September and i wasn’t expecting a check till the beginning of October? My financial situation was indeed bleak. I had a palsy sum of $10 in my wallet but i wasn’t about to use that even to buy a slice of pizza for fear of being rock-bottom broke.

As a Fulbright scholar, i was being paid a stipend that should tide me over till the next month but my new found demon called ‘card swiping’ just wouldn’t let me be. I kept swiping at stores and restaurants till the ATM was forced to inform me that i could not withdraw as i had ‘insufficient funds’ in my account. I went from being chirpy to developing a full blown migraine and body temperature in a matter of 5minutes. My roommate advised i called the bank which i didn’t. Rather, i took myself to the bank the very next day and it was nicely explained to me that asides a $100 pending transaction, every other penny seem to have been spent by me. All the hopes that had accompanied me into the bank slid through the concrete floor. I was alone with ‘broke’! I headed back to my apartment in midtown Manhattan to bury myself in my books and inside the walls of my room. I hoped it will help……….

My roommate came in and i moaned about my situation so she laughed a bit and suggested a place that may be hiring for peanuts but at the point, i was desperate to do anything if only it would save me from starving. She also nicely refrained from reminding me i owed her money. She even asked if i needed a loan till i got my check but i figured $24 was enough debt already. All my friends i told that i was broke all offered to send me money. Even my friends back in Nigeria. I was deeply touched by their concern.

Luck smiled on me the very next day. My friend called me from Massachusetts and she was almost incoherent with joy on the phone ‘go check your account’ she said repeatedly. ‘go check your account. IIE has paid our stipend today’; to me, this was the best news in 2weeks! I suddenly went from being ‘broke in New York’ to being ‘safe in Manhattan’.