Hailey could see that her friend, Owi was upset. He fancied himself as a young Nigerian chap who could speak the Queen’s English to the King’s taste. People told him he had a great diction but of what use had it been to him? A graduate of English and Literary Studies from a renown Nigerian university, he was sentenced to the classroom, teaching young teenagers who couldn’t be bothered about the intricacies of the English language. All these he told Hailey as they walked down the road on a sunny July afternoon.
“Man, if I don’t get a breakthrough, I am going to commit a serious crime!” Owi raged.
“All for what? Have you seen the condition of Nigerian prisons? Do you really want to be labeled an ex-convict in a bid to hammer this year?” she returned pleasantly.
“Well, something’s got to give. I’m tired of being a teacher. How many girls want to date or even marry a teacher? I’m 30, old enough to have a tiny tot running through my apartment.” He retorted.
“Of course, something’s got to give but how? You spend so much time on your mystic pastimes. I still remember the last time you told me of levitation and some New Age crap you read from Lobsang Rampa and Osho’s writings online.”
“Yeah, but..” Owi was at a loss for words. He looked at Hailey, who returned his gaze unflinchingly. Embarassed, he turned away to look at two young children fighting over a bottle of Viju milk drink their mother gave them.
“What I’m trying to say is you spend so much time on unproductive activities. You seem to forget that these mystics lived a life of asceticism, in which they renounced earthly pleasures. This made them focus on all manner of woo-woo stuff as they weren’t grounded in reality.”
“So how does reading Osho’s writings harm me? I feel very confident whenever I read his books. And Lobsang Rampa’s, for that matter.” Hailey burst into peals of laughter. Laughter shook her imposing frame, making her look like a big puppet on stage. Owi stared at her blankly.
“Pardon my bad manners. I shouldn’t have laughed the way I did. Or even at all.” She composed herself and continued, “I laughed because you have told me several times of the interviews you attended, where you were told you don’t appear like the type of person that can approach a high-profile client.” A car whizzed past and blew dust into her face, which she wiped with her hands. “This tells me your mystic exercises are useless! If they were as useful as you believe, they would help you land such jobs confidence is a requirement. The fact they haven’t shows you’re wasting your time.”
“Wait, what are you trying to say?” Her friend asked angrily. “The way you sound, one would think all your time was spent on work and you have no pastimes. Even if they aren’t helping me with my finances as you say, I find them enjoyable. I won’t give them up, so deal with that!”
“Fine, don’t give them up if you enjoy them so much.” Hailey responded soothingly, much like you would tell a small child deprived of his toy. “It’s true that I have pastimes, but I indulge in pastimes only when the pleasure I derive from them makes me more productive in my work and other goals.”
“Now, you’ll have to explain that sentence. I don’t get you.”
“What I mean is I have goals. I strive to bridge the gap between my goals and my achievements. In so doing, I indulge in things only when they will yield a measurable benefit to me.” She paused meaningfully and looked at Owi.
“What’s measurable benefits?”
“I knew you’d ask. A measurable benefit is one that can be seen by other people, not just apparent to only you.
Remember I once told you of Lola? What she did with her life was an example of a measurable benefit.”
“Yeah, I remember. Could you please continue? I’m dying to hear the rest of your narrative.” He nodded as he spoke.
“Where was I? Yeah, so if you want to be more productive, you might want to engage in activities that yield a measurable benefit, or the pleasure derived from them enables you to be more productive with other aspects of your life. If you don’t do this, you’re just functional, not productive!”
Owi lapsed into silence for a moment. Then he looked up at Hailey gratefully. “Thank you, Dear friend. Even though you friendzoned me, you will always have a special place in my heart!”
“Now, I’m amused. Since when did the human heart have compartments?”
“Must you always take everything so literally?” Owi nudged her playfully.
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