The day we found a spider in the toilet

Home Away from Home with Abi Adeboyejo 

Email: Twitter: @abihafh

HAFH2It was her persistent screaming that alerted the whole street, not just me, that my daughter had just discovered a very large spider in the toilet. Torn between pulling her ears for being so melodramatic and calming her down from the obvious state of hysteria she had worked herself into, I decided to do the right thing. I took several breaths to calm my racing heart and casually crushed the spider under my feet.

I relayed the story to my friends a few days later when we met up at a kid’s party: you know the two hour kiddie parties where all the kids jump about in an enclosed giant play area like zoo monkeys? I love going to the parties and not because I jump in the play area with the kids. My friends and I find such events useful because we can catch up on gossip that you should not repeat on the phone while your husband is nearby.

“Well,” said one of my more outspoken friends, Bimpe. “Thank God it was a spider she found in the toilet and not something or someone else!” She shifted in her seat and patted a spot on the weave on her head rather vigorously to calm an itch, as we all do. I knew she obviously had more to say so I prodded her and was not disappointed. She actually clapped her hands to get our attention as she started the tale (Nigerian videos beginning to affect her!)

You may already be aware of this, but if you aren’t, there is a trend among Africans in the UK, especially Nigerians where unfaithful spouses meet at specific times of the day. I call it ‘school –runs’. This is where the cheating male and female only meet between 9am and 3pm on weekdays because the kids are at school and there is little or no chance of getting caught. Well, according to Bimpe, this man was doing ‘school –runs’ with his wife’s best friend. He visited the lady, who was a nurse and who worked only night shifts (very convenient!), every day between 9am and 3pm. The lady’s husband worked for the London Underground and was out between 7am and 7pm.

The school-runs visits had been going on for such a long time that the lady’s last child bore an uncanny resemblance to her lover’s younger sister in Nigeria. This led the lady to pray fervently that the girl in Nigeria would never be given a visa to visit Britain (according to Bimpe!). On the day in question, the lady’s youngest child suffered a serious fall in the school playground and they tried to call her to come to pick the child as a precaution. Her phone’s ringer was switched off because she was ‘busy’. Her own husband was called at work and he picked the child and brought her home.

The rest, as they say, is history. The spider in their toilet was a naked full grown man who the innocent little girl called ‘uncle! uncle!  as she swung the toilet door open and found him cowering behind the door.  Bimpe concluded by telling us that the lady was unrepentant and told her husband that it was ‘just one of those things’ and he should calm himself and not suffer a heart attack. She taunted him and said he should be thankful that she wasn’t with a woman!

The reality is that the freedom of living without checks and balances is having its toll on families in the UK. Nigerian families are no exception. In fact, it would seem that immigrant families are suffering more because of the absence of close family members who can sometimes help solve budding marital problems.  I want to believe that if the lady’s family had been aware of her infidelity with her friend’s husband, someone would have warned her of the consequences and talked some sense into her head. The same goes for the cheating man. Someone would have told him that you do not defecate where you eat.

Perhaps I am just being naïve about the whole situation, but it just seems that Nigerians abroad are becoming more and more morally corrupt. Things that would have been considered as an ‘abomination’ are done with bold faces in the Nigerian community. As we become more westernised and adopt European attitudes in many aspects of our day to day lives, there are some habits that are best left alone. Lack of shame is one of them.