We’ve all been thoroughly heartbroken by the presence of an ice cream container in the freezer that is filled with anything but ice cream. It is simply a major part of the Nigerian experience.
Today, I spoke to the container about how it feels to be the face of generational disappointment. You’ll either leave this interview pitying the ice cream container or wanting to fight it.
Ice Cream Container: You sound too excited.
I am excited to have you here. Aren’t you excited to be here?
I’m not, please. At this point, I am not excited to be anything.
Well, that took a dark turn…
At my age and status, I have witnessed enough darkness. I just want to be allowed to rest in peace.
So what is stopping you?
Nigerians. They have refused to let me die.
Each time I think I am done with my job, and I’m ready to go to the big dustbin in the sky, they snatch me from eternal rest and put me back to work. Imagine how sad that must be.
After Nigerians finish all the ice cream inside me, they refuse to let me go. It’s almost as if they paid separate money for the ice cream and me. Can I just rest in peace foggosake?
But you are being recycled. Shouldn’t you be excited?
Now I can see why you are Nigerian. You people cannot tell the difference between enjoyment and suffering. If I was being recycled in some other country, believe me, I would be the happiest container on earth. But being recycled in Nigeria? Haq. That’s like going through 50 shades of suffering without being allowed to catch a break.
Nigeria as a whole feels like a recycled country. You people recycle leaders, you recycle corruption, in fact, you even recycle relationships. Now, imagine the citizens of a recycled country trying to recycle an ice cream container. Believe me, I don’t have the bandwidth for that kind of sufferhead existence.
But wait sef. You have been shouting suffering since. Just what have you suffered?
You really want to know?
Yes. I really want to know.
Okay, imagine you’re a piece of chewing gum.
And then someone picks you up and chews you until the juice and colour has gone out of you. What should be the next thing to do?
Throw me away, I guess.
Good. Now imagine that the person removes you and uses you to block a hole in their leaking pot of soup.
Or they remove you from their mouth and climb the roof of their house so they can use you to block a hole in the roofing sheet. How would-
Okay, stop. You are an ice cream container, not a piece of gum. This analogy does not work at all.
What is the difference? Go into a Nigerian home today and check their refrigerators. If you find an ice cream container there, I can assure you that when you open it, you will jam egusi soup sitting pretty.
And believe me, that is where the trust issues of most Nigerians started.
When something as basic as an ice cream container cannot do its job, they learn to expect very little from other people too.
So why is it now paining you?
I have been made the face of disappointment, and you think it will not pain me?
I can try to understand the novelty. Nigerians like fine things. So when they see a branded container like me, they use it as a sign to show people that they are enjoying good life.
It is why they will wash me so their children can use me to carry food to school the next day. That way, the child can brag: “We ate ice cream in our house yesterday.” Honestly, I’m not angry, but please ehn, let there be limits to this thing. Some Nigerians will wash and carry me into their bathroom to be bathing. Where is the respect?
Now you are asking for respect. Did you not just say that they should let you rest in peace?
And when they did not let me rest in peace, nko? At least use me with dignity. Let me suffer my suffering with dignity. It’s not the one that I will hold ice cream today and tomorrow, I am the one that you are using to pour water on your body.
There are other containers you can use for that. After all, I am not the only container you have prevented from dying. Those takeaway packs are there. The Blue Band container is there. The Ragolis plastic, too, is there. Nigerians have a stash of plastic containers they have refused to let go of. If you listen attentively at night, you will hear all of them begging for death.
Me, I have not heard anything oh.
Generator noise has blocked your ears.
Wait sef. So, you want them to use other containers, but you don’t want them to use you?
No, I am advocating for equal distribution of suffering. Don’t say because I am the fancy ice cream container, I am the one you will use like there is no tomorrow. Use the other containers too.
You know what?
When you came in here looking dejected, I felt sorry for you. But now that I have seen your heart, I take back my pity.
Pity? You are a Nigerian and you think you want to pity me? [bitter laugh]. My dear, you better pity yourself. Especially with the kind of life you people are living in this country.
My own is just, let me die when there is no more ice cream inside me. Don’t make me the face of disappointment by storing egusi or moimoi or whatever inside me. Just free me and let me go.
And if you refuse to let me go, at least use me small-small.
Check back every Friday by 9am for new stories in the Interview With… series. Read older interviews here.
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