I am hardly the type of person to keep to a routine, preferring instead to do things by concentrating intensely over a short period of time. But recently I began to explore alternate forms of living. So, from the past one month I've followed a routine: every 6am, I would get up from whatever I was doing to take a walk—usually down Ogunlana Drive—to think, try to clear my head or sometimes, to pray. Days after I began this exercise, I started to get used to the cold mornings, stray cats around trashcans, what times the security guards at the offices on the road woke up from their illegal sleep. I could even predict when the street lights would go off. Every day one particular week, a woman on my street was always about driving out of her house to work at the exact instant I was always getting back in. Her house help was always standing at the same position just outside the gate with her head bowed and her arms behind her back. She would watch the woman wind up her glasses and then she would wave twice—never more than twice—before going back in.
Berger wrote that “What we see habitually confirms us.”
Of course there were occasional irregularities, like a woman suddenly peeking out of a building, waving a large incredibly clean Nigerian flag at me; or a shirtless DJ right there in the middle of the road playing Kiss Daniel’s Good Time. I was more interested in the consistent things. For example, there were always people exercising on the road—runners, joggers and walkers. I began to include studying them in my routine till I actually began to know when one should jog past me. I also began to note that some didn’t come every day. There was a particularly rather overweight woman—a walker—whose consistence amused me. On mornings when I felt too tired or lazy to go walking, I would remember her and I’d strut out into the streets. There was another man too, who was always present every day. He was as tall as me, and also as slim. I had always wondered why he would come jogging daily. He didn’t appear like he needed it. So today, when he jogged past me, I jogged after him. He sensed my presence and turned, still jogging on the spot. He wiped the sweat from his face and removed his earplugs. Then he said, “Do you want something?”
“Yes,” I said, trying to catch my breath. “I want to ask you why you keep doing this. You already are fit. Why do you do this every day?”
He frowned and said, “Consistency is how a muscle keeps in shape.” And then he continued jogging.
I wasn’t very athletic growing up. The most I exerted myself at was table tennis, and I didn’t even excel at it. But now, writing is my only muscle—I am always writing to keep in shape.