Lagos spa has no happy ending or something like that
One pre-Buhari day a few years ago, I decided to give myself a good treat after a back breaking session preparing for an art exhibition. What did a village man like me decide to do for relaxation instead of looking for a palm wine and fried pomo joint to relax and call my friends like Toni Kan, Jolly Papa, Ben Figo and Chinedu Bruno, friends who know the value of the aforementioned jollyment? I opted to go to a spa.
Yes, you are free to call me all kinds of names at this point but you have to remember that anything was possible during the lofty golden years of Dr Goodluck Jonathan’s administration when we had gold-plated trash bins in Eagle Square. Oh, how I miss those good old days of excessive tomatoes filled jollof rice. Dry bones shall rise again!
Anyway, so I arrived at this Lagos spa when the mid-afternoon Lagos sun pretty much turns your car AC to space heater. Like a police station or hospital visit, I was asked to fill out some paper works at the clichéd furnished pampering joint by that I mean pictures of bamboo as wallpapers and tawdry waterfall from a pot suspended on two sticks. As a villager, I find these things funny in the city, because I know what a real bamboo bush looks like, it is the least calmly place on earth.
If you ever went to harvest bamboo to mend fences in your village primary school and came out with a bleeding forehead, you would know exactly what I mean. In any case, I did my paperwork and I was marched to a back room by a rotund sure-footed matronly woman who reminded me of a prison warder more than a succor giver. With no smile, she handed me a bathrobe and a locker key where I could shed my clothes.
Thinking I was a regular customer to this kind of uppity Lagosians’ lifestyle, she gave me a hurried orientation – “This is the dry steaming room, you can spend 20 minutes here and move to the wet steam over there…you should be done in like 30 minutes and be ready for your massage”. And fiam, like EFCC whisking a PDP politician away to Kuje Big House, she disappeared. I was left to stare at strange things just the way I did when I first I entered a computer server room as a network administrator intern in America.
Now I had to figure things out on my own, reading a war map was easier, to be honest. I hung my bathrobe and with my very own legs entered the hell called dry steam with a coal fire wasting at a corner. In the village, when you see a coal fire burning, it either had corn, plantain or yam roasting on it. I was totally lost here, to say the least.
I rushed out, went to my locker, removed my cellphone and placed a call to a friend who should know things like this. My friend said “Just sit and get steamed, that is it na”, how helpful! I went back and without thinking about it, sat on the small bench and that was how my black ass remembered how it used to feel when you came back to my headmaster with a small bamboo stick instead of a big one and he had to whip you like a runaway slave. I stood for what could have been a minute to reflect on my life and all my years of Christian faith, fasting, prayer and struggle to live piously to avoid hell fire.
Here I was using my hard earn money (I didn’t partake in the Abuja NSA jamboree, thank you very much) to buy hell fire. What if I got dried up here like bonga fish, who will absolve the witches and wizards of Uwessan village from something they had no hand in? Before finding answers to all these crazy thoughts I bolted out of the Alcatraz and headed to what looked like the wet steam, which I had only seen on TV and usually in mafia movies which was also where some of the Mafioso got garroted.
I entered and sat with a towel tightly wound round my waist, no more buttocks burning. It was hot and steamy quite alright but not like the previous hell. This felt like I had a fever and my mother was giving me the lemon grass and dongoyaro leaves steaming treatment. As I sweated and dripped like a bottle of beer rescued from deep freezer, I realized that the biggest fraud in the world is how city people take village ideas and repackage them and offer them back to villagers like me for loads of money. Which is why many native doctors call themselves prophets in this Lagos! After that thought, I told myself I’ve had enough of the midafternoon craziness.
I shrunk the steam room 30 minutes allotted by Matron to 5 minutes (I can’t come and die). Off I went to get the so called massage which was why I came in the first place, in another section of the spa. After the woman treating my back like I was a sack of garri, I hissed all the way to the car park. The city will never be able to give a villager a happy ending I thought as I drove into a mamaput to eat some Ofada rice.