I love to learn. At least that’s what I tell myself. Whenever I go for interviews I say with utmost confidence, ‘I am highly receptive to change and I accommodate corrections and instructions freely.’
But two days ago, I met a young man named Ibidapo. Ibidapo is a 16 year old smart-ass who knows that he is smart. I met him at a party where I was the photographer and I was particularly interested in him because he seemed too young to be part of the booze-drinking, cannabis-smoking young people.
I took a picture of him and overplayed my facial expression when I reviewed it. I said, ‘Wow! You’re really photogenic’ and walked over to show him. He looked impressed and said, ‘You know sometimes, I get scared that the state of my brain will reflect in my pictures. You know, overly worked; constantly working’
I nodded and asked him about himself. He told me. Ibidapo; 16 years old; 2nd year in the University; studying Electrical Electronics Engineering; dating his classmate for the sake of ion sharpening ion. ‘Every pun intended’ he said.
I decided to impress this fine talking young man and to show him that older people are usually the smarter ones. I lurched into this conversation on the little I knew on Elect-Elect. I also spoke a little about photography and about music. He seemed impressed. He nodded gently and smiled as he sipped the black drink in his cup.
When I was burned out, he told me he was impressed that I had amassed so much knowledge about life. He said he loved to have conversations about intelligent things as such. Then with faint excitement in his voice, he began asking me about Art; about classical music; about history; about modern science; about technology; about the Nigerian politics; about facts on other countries of the world; about diseases and medicine; about emotional intelligence and about amazing books.
I just stood there nodding and making awkward noises with the back of my throat in an attempt to affirm every answer that he gave to his own questions. At that point, if he had given the wrong answer, I still would not have known; I would have soaked it up and believed every word he said, because he spoke with the air of someone who knew what he was saying.
I am taller than him. But there and then, I stood before Ibidapo, intimidated and slightly envious. And as I nodded outwardly, in my heart I thought; Wow! Little do I know that little do I know.