I went to the market today to get some perishable foods, and then I decided I’d buy some work shoes, I sat down for a whole hour bargaining with the traders. It was obvious that I would buy as many shoes as I wanted in that place and still have more for a dress or two. But I just didn’t want to get cheated. And even after bargaining I lied to a friend when she asked me how much I bought them (I brought the price down to 2000naira).
We all know the price range our hardworking parents’ give us as allowance but we must act like we don’t have up to that amount so and so in your bank account less you come off as proud or you would attract those trying to take advantage of you. Even if you get three times the amount of money a father of three gets in a month, you must remain “humble”.
While shopping in the market, I observed something sad and yet beautiful. I observed the difference between a trader in the market and someone who works in an office. The office man works and when his contribution to society is measured marginally, it is large compared to the market traders or what I like to call market hustlers.
The office man does work quite alright, but he is mostly seen gisting or gossiping about the internee that got tossed around by most of the married men in the office. He can’t wait for closing on time so he would seize every opportunity to dodge his supervisor and hang out with his friends. But market hustlers are totally different; they go around looking for customers. They stand under the hot sun, profusely bargaining, more than willing to give up their seats for potential consumers. They even go as far as calling you a consumer even though you haven’t agreed to make a transaction.
Closing time becomes as sad and beautiful as a sun set, which happens to occur simultaneously. Market hustlers run, grabbing the tiniest opportunity to sell one more product. There’s no such thing as closing time. Then the guards come and the huge scrabble starts. The atmospheres changes within that hour. Like the sun fighting for one more chance to illuminate its glory. The sun represents the market hustlers, while the moon represents the guards. The law of nature allows the sun to shine for a specific amount of time. But the sun fights this, like its livelihood solely depends on the illumination of its glory. Just like the sun, the market hustlers have to survive, they have to trade, and they have to thrive. Deep down they know they have to leave at a particular time but they livelihood depends on one more sale, one more consumer because there is no such thing as fixed income. I believe that the market hustlers are truly alive because they breathe, they sweat, they hustle.
Working in an office makes me feel inhuman and complacent. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful to have this job. But sometimes I don’t hear myself breathing. I can’t see my mind create anything new. I want to sweat, to breathe, and fight with the darkness. Even though just like the sun, the moon has to illuminate its own glory, it wants to fight, linger just for a moment and consciously create a sunset, the painting in the sky. The most beautiful things in life are created from a struggle, from a clash of opposites.