Episode 11 here
Lagos is not a city meant for me! I have always known this, but, Friday was the day I made up my mind that my Dear Future Husband had better not be a fan of Lagos. I won’t be living in this city any more. I grew up in Lagos and this is the only city I know, but when it comes to moving around in this city, there is no means of transport carved out for me yet. I don’t own a car! I can’t take the ‘Okadas’ as I have been thrown into a ditch once. The BRTs are adorable but they will get you nowhere in time- they are unable to manoeuvre into narrow streets or burst ahead of another car without warning which did save time. Molues are stinky and dirty! Our Governor is still working on the trains, so, I am stuck with the ever reliable regular danfo buses! Yes, the yellow ones!
I walked to the bus stop waiting for a bus that would take me to Ikotun. I held my dirty two hundred Naira note in one hand and my PET coke bottle in the other. I knew I needed only two hundred to get to my bus stop from work, so I took the luxury of buying a coke to quench my thirst from walking from the office under the scorching sun. As soon as the bus came, I jumped in like a real Lagosian shoving away a woman with a small girl in her hand. I smiled ruefully as some of the passengers laughed. “Na mumu no dey enter bus for Lagos” (its only an idiot that can’t board a bus in Lagos) they joked about the woman. I nodded with some pride as I fixed my earphones into my ears, paid the conductor and sipped my coke as I enjoyed the ride.
“Ewo ni gbogbo eleyi…(what sort of nonsense is this)” The driver groaned as he looked ahead to see a stand still. I was nodding my head rhythmically to ‘Gobe’ by Davido when I decided to look up. I agreed that it was really ‘Gobe’. Hawkers were lying down by the roadside, which could only mean one thing-they were tired of the traffic.
We were sweating in the packed bus and I soon started to curse my luck wishing I had let the woman join the bus instead, little did I know the worst was yet to come. The driver looked back and stared at his conductor. “Ogbeni fun mi ni 200naira(mr man give me #200).”
“Na 2hundi remain for here oh…you know say we don give Olosha all the money we dey owe for garage.”
The driver nodded and yanked the money. He bought himself a bottle of coke and two galas with the money and started to eat as we remained in the traffic. I hissed as he belched but the vulgar driver would not care, he smiled as he munched his Gala. We had been in the traffic for 45 minutes already.
“People dey reverse oh…” The conductor alerted as he stuck his head out of out the window. The driver stared through his side mirror and did likewise. In no time, we were driving in between rough streets. We crashed our heads into one another as the rickety bus moved. The bus was no good, but the road wasn’t any better. It was bad enough that we had to deal with the aching noise while he moved, but we also had to suffer the clashing into heads thanks to the hilly roads.
“Driver, my pikin wan shit oh!” A woman echoed from the back.
“Ehn??? We no fit wait oh!” the conductor replied.
The murmurings continued as the driver rode on as though he didn’t hear the woman. The driver spotted a narrow turning and he delved into racing furiously to prevent the other drivers coming in the opposite direction from getting there before him. We screamed for our lives as he sped in the poor condition of his bus.
“Driver! Slow down!” “Emi o fe ku o(I don’t want to die)!” “Slow down oh” People roared in various dialects as we tried to hang on for our lives.
The conductor laughed. “Shebi we will all die together? No be only una go die now.” He laughed. The driver laughed back. Only the driver seemed to buy his sense of humour. I was pissed and the same could be said about the other passengers.
The driver got his prize! We won that tiny spot he had eyed and we drove slowly in the next traffic before approaching Dopemu, it was slow, but it was moving, unlike the stand still we had been in.
“UHMMM!!!” A man screeched with his face squeezed together. We all looked back at the tiny boy who had his head bowed. “Oh sh*t” I muttered. The kid had done his business in his pants. “Ema bi nu oooo…(don’t be annoyed)” his mother apologised on his behalf. Some of the passengers cursed while others tried to understand the situation of the poor lad. I was indifferent. The smell was choking me.
My day was far from over. ‘PAOOOWWWWWW!!!!!!’ A loud sound came. The conductor jumped out. “That thing just burn again oooo” he cried.
“Yeh!” The driver exclaimed.
I looked up as LASTMA officials had arrived and started to direct traffic positively. Our bus had packed up.
“Oga give us money oooo…”We all started to shout as we watched the traffic progress with eagerness to join another vehicle.
The driver yawned. “Money no dey my hand o! We don give your money for garage and the last one, I take am buy Coke and Gala.” He said.
I held my head in fear. Now I was in real trouble, I had spent my last money on Coke, Ikotun was far away. The other passengers grumbled and departed eventually. I was left standing with nowhere to go-of course I could go home, but no money.
Thankfully I had airtime on my phone, I then dialled my father and he sent money into my account through internet banking and I used my ATM card to withdraw.
The writer is @IAm_Tomi on twitter and her blog is tommyslav-island.blogspot.com.