THINGS WE SEE IN LAGOS (5)
When ToryTeller asked me to send in my experience, I thought which one?
Is it one of the three times I nearly lost my life in the first two months of coming to this city, to the crazy drivers (yup, even the drivers are not normal, not only the public transport drivers) of this city?
Or when I got robbed in broad daylight and still had to show up for work the next day?
Is it the traffic that slowly sucks out my soul, leaving me so tired that I don’t sleep and wake the next day; I actually die and resurrect! Yes, it is that bad.
Anyway, I settled for a story that I was sharing with her. I didn’t finish telling her, so even Tory Teller should grab popcorn and take a seat.
Do you know that for a city that has a lot of hustle vibe, they don’t mind their business? Let me explain.
Imagine you are in transit, on your way somewhere important.
There you are, minding your business and watching something on your phone. A funny scene comes up and you burst out laughing.
You are enjoying a good PRIVATE laugh when suddenly you hear, ‘Oga, adjust your phone, make we see.’ (i.e. Set your phone properly, and let us continue watching) or something equally audacious ‘Abeg press play, make we continue that film’ (i.e. Let’s continue the movie we were watching).
We? Us? How?Sorry, who are you again? And why are we a ‘we’; I don’t even know you and how would you, a stranger from the bus, suddenly decide to tell you what to do with your phone! It is the audacity for me.
Ah! Lagos people! You could be in the bus and a stranger who has irrationally decided to lap six kids suddenly tells you, not asks oo, this human actually TELLS you to ‘Carry one for me na. Can’t you see I am struggling?’
Who? Me? Auntie, I don’t know you… or your kid(s). How can you even trust me? What if I am weird like you? See, it is the way I am constantly reminded of the audacity it takes to live in this city. (whispers in family planning)
The other day, I was in transit, using the infamous yellow coloured buses of L.A, this city called Danfo. The spot I chose was most preferred for a tall person; plenty of legroom.
This spot also gave an angle that allowed for a clear view of everyone in the bus.
Gratefully, we were seated in threes due to the covid protocols. I am sure, that was the first time that the people of this city had ever experienced sitting that comfortably in all their lives in this city.Right in front of me sat a hip and cool young man and he was about to become my source of entertainment. Beside me was the door, or where the door was supposed to be. The door was actually currently being held against the bus’ roof by the conductor, can you imagine?
Other occupants included the typical market women, the hungry passenger that buys everything the street hawkers are selling, an artisan; the one onboard today was a carpenter. There was also the elderly man and some young ladies who were getting chummy with the conductor after a series of insults.
“Baby, baby, let us talk this out. I am-”
“Please, let me just-”
“I am on my way. I am in the bus right now. Please-”
I watched as he sighed and then finally realizing that he was in a public transport, he attempted to lower his voice. “Sharon, please. Don’t be angry. I’ll-”
‘Sharon’ had dropped the call. I could hear the distinctive high pitch tone that came with a call disconnecting. He stared at the phone and I thought to myself, at least you could have put it on speaker so that I can know who to support.
“Ehyah! So she broke up with you?”
It took me a minute to realize that it wasn’t me that was being referred to. I looked up and I realized that the whole bus was looking in the young man’s direction.
“So wetin you go do like this?” The glutton passenger asked.
“Wetin he wan do? You no see say he dey beg? Alaye, we move! On to the next one!” The conductor interjected.
“Eh See men! Is that how you will be doing?” Market woman number one chirps in.
“See, leave them” Market woman number two replies. “That is how these men are. Small break up and like that, they are moving on.”
“Every time men this men that!” The carpenter interjected angrily. “You women have big issues. That is how the other day, my 2nd wife saw me chatting with a friend of mine-”
“Eish! A friend indeed!” Market woman two countered.
“Issokay. Let him finish na.” Her fellow trades woman tried to calm her down. “Let us hear the premium zobo he wants to sell to us.”
The carpenter stared at both women then tapped my shoulder. “You see how stressful women are. See!”
I only smile a polite smile and try to put some distance between us. Even I was skeptical about this ‘friend’ of his that he was referring to.
And besides, a second wife? How? Why? Is it that these people don’t like living within their means? Or do I lack the ‘abundance mentality’?
Only God knows. What I know is that some people need to be introduced to family planning.
“As I was saying. Just like you have jumped to conclusions, so did she and she came yelling, embarrassing me. Why?”
The conductor grinned and tapped his shoulder, “Shey she fine sha?”
The man smiled back, my suspicions being confirmed in the mischievous glint in his eyes as he replied, “Omo, she fine die. And she sweet.”
The whole bus erupted in different opinions at that man’s comment; the origin of the conversation was forgotten.
It wasn’t as I was getting down at my bus stop that I caught a glimpse of the origin of this whole conversation.
LOL, I imagine that I could probably feel his whole thought process as the bus drove off; how did I end up having my relationship and its demise being discussed by strangers?
See eh, in this city that never sleeps, this city filled with the good, the bad, and the criminally insane (let's not forget everything in between), this city called Lagos, the stories will only keep piling up.
My hope is that this city doesn’t end my life before my time.
Written by Adekunle Ijaiya
My people, this one off me! How would you feel if your relationship is analyzed in a bus by passengers? I can't even imagine what the guy in question was going through at that moment. You see this city, Lagosians, we belong to everyone and no one! They will never mind their business, everyone is drinking another person's paracetamol!
If you have had a remarkable Lagos experience, please tell us in the comment section. Also, feel free to send in your stories via email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you.
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As always, you know Tory Teller loves you and is rooting for you.
P.S My birthday is in 8 days' time and I have started receiving gifts!
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© Onyinye Udeh