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Friday, April 11, 2014

TAXI DIALOGUES: The One Where Uche Wears a Disguise

Image from here

We’re driving home in silence one afternoon when Oga M turns to look at me; and I get the impression that whatever he’s going to say has been on his mind for a long time.

‘Uche, why you like to dey wear disguise?’

I frown at him. ‘Disguise ke?’

He nods and gestures at my head. It takes me a moment, but I finally get it.

‘You mean my wig?’ I say.

‘Ehn,’ he says. ‘And then you go now tie this thing on top’ – I soon realize he’s referring to a strip of black fabric that I tie into a bow on my head – ‘and you go come resemble Indian woman.’

I considered the word ‘disguise’. Did Oga M have this image of me in his head as an ordinary girl by day and a sari-wearing, crime fighting dynamo by night? Did he think me such a badass? Probably not.

‘Disguise’ was such an odd word choice, though. But then, maybe it wasn’t. Maybe Oga M was doing something with that word, trying to spur me into an existential debate with myself about self-worth and straight versus kinky hair and African pride. Maybe his ‘disguise’ meant I was hiding my ‘true self’ under that short mop of straight black hair that made me look like a French pageboy.

It might have given me many sleepless nights, trying to discern the different shades and ramifications of this word ‘disguise’. But I prefer to lose sleep over more serious matters than my choice of hair accessory.

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