A Series Of Highly Undeserved Expectations
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I had just arrived at the University Of Houston campus … fresh from Nigeria. I probably still smelled of the stock fish that my Mum made me smuggle bring into the country. Anyway that has nothing to do with this story…
I needed to buy text books for my freshman classes but when I received the cost of the text books I thought it was my school fees! The books were expensive. The one that stunned me the most was the $150.00 price tag for a Math’s text book. Unless the text book came with a calculator, GPS navigation system and ability to solve equations on its own … I was not buying.
I was probably going to have to steal a textbook to pass!
I was swimming in text-book-expense disarray when my room-mate asked me what was wrong….whoops sorry for not introducing my room-mate. Anyway I told him about my situation and how the text book costs were all extremely high, especially Mathematics. I was mid-way through my rant session when he interrupted and informed me that he actually did have that exact Mathematics textbook available.
I was ecstatic, what are chances that the most expensive textbook on my list was something that my roommate had available for free. $150 saved just like. He even brought out the book to show me, I don’t remember the title but I remember the color, blue … deep blue and as big as a bible. I was about to reach out for the textbook when words from my roommate hit me…
“I can sell it to you at a good price.”
In my head, I was like “good price? But you are not even using it anymore, that’s just pure wickedness!”
…but it was not wickedness, it was capitalism. The same capitalism that makes the American Economy boom was the same capitalism that some years ago felt like wickedness.
I never did buy the textbook from my room-mate, I don’t even remember negotiating or where I got a text-book from that semester. But I do remember how I felt… and how I felt was angry. I had an expectation that as a room-mate (who I barely knew), he should have given the book to me for free…because he was not using it. You could say I had a highly undeserved expectation.
I don’t know where I got that from…Okay okay I lie …
I suspect I got it from Nigeria because on several occasions, people…friends, family members and just people in general will ask me for money. And the way the money is asked for, is with an air of expectation. You are my friend so therefore wire me money.
Back then I would help people out, but then soon it became a bit too much and I just had to stop. Not that I don’t help people out again, but I don’t just give money out without an exchange of service (where applicable). Let me explain…
If someone that sells flowers for a living asks me for xyz amount of money, rather than sending the money to them just like that. I would instead buy flowers from their company. If they don’t have a flower company, I would ask them to do something for me in exchange for the money. It does not matter how small.
By doing this overtime, what happens is that I am able to reinforce the lessons of capitalism albeit on a small scale. Lessins that say you you need to work to get money, that things are not given to you for free, that even though your ancestors lived on a piece of land (I am talking to you Omo Nile and MEND) you should not expect to be paid for that,
But I think this disease has bitten deep into the core of our society. So what ends up happening is that people like me with the Mathematics textbook have a series of highly undeserved expectations. The security guard hailing you expects to be paid by you, the Police Officer greeting you is expecting something, the family member that hears about your success wants a cut, the cycle just goes on and on. But the person who can break the cycle is that one that gives out the money … by requiring work in exchange for money just maybe we could reset the cycle of expectation to a cycle of capitalism.
PS: What are some of the highly undeserved expecatations have requested from you?
Written By Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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