I know you all think banks are there for purely financial transactions. But let me quickly disabuse you of that notion; half the time, banks are used for other far more important purposes.
In Nigeria, if you do not have an air-conditioned car – the operative word being ‘air-conditioned’ – you run the great risk of showing up at an appointment looking unserious. The word ‘unserious’ here, for Nigerians, denotes ‘someone who looks rough, sweaty or frazzled; it usually has nothing to do with your level of seriousness.’ In Nigeria, serious people stay cool; they show up at appointments looking like they just stepped out of the shower, fresh and clean. If you get to the appointment sweaty and frazzled, because of either the sun or jumping from Keke to bus to bike, or both, you are likely to be unsettled. This is where banks come in. After all the jumping from bus to bus, as soon as you are close to your destination, walk into the closest bank, go into the convenience and wash your face. Dry with a handkerchief. And then walk into the banking hall and stand very close to the AC unit. Sit for a while. Drink cold water from their dispenser. Relax. Chat up a girl if you are not running late. And when you feel you are cool enough, you can then go on to your destination. Arrive there looking cool and very serious.
Personally, I think banks handle more emergencies than hospitals. The kind of emergencies I am talking about is clear to everyone, right? Those types caused by the ingesting of food with either very low or very high nutritional value. For example, beans, or some types of soup cooked mostly by hungry university students. Either way, when you have this kind of emergency, look for the nearest bank. It is better than going into a fast-food, because the door attendants there always look at you funny if you enter, head straight for their convenience, and then leave without buying anything. But in the bank, the security guy will even say, “Thank you for using First Bank.”
This is a useful tip, especially for blackberry users. Half the time, your phones are dead. Or shall I say, our phones? So when on the road and your battery goes flat, and then you need to make an important call – usually this occurs in the same second. You have been pinging and tweeting all day, the damn battery remains green. The second you remember you have an important call to make, the phone dies. I actually think it is some kind of conspiracy. Anyway, just walk into the closest bank and plug in. If you are a blackberry user, I don’t have to tell you that you should always have your charger with you. Please do not go into a fast-food for this. Half of them have taped up their charging outlets, the other half will keep staring at you till you either buy a bottle of water, or stand up and leave.
I think you can also walk into a bank and borrow money from the staff if you are stranded, but I am yet to try that, so I won’t advise it just yet.
Written by Chika Jones, tweets at @chika_jones