Living in Lagos would teach and keep reminding you of two long age ethics. First is to never put all your eggs in one basket and the eggs in this particular contest include your job. Thus by default, you don’t have a typical Lagosian who lives solely on one job. The bosses are always running tantrums and it takes as little as ‘my wife made me angry this morning so you are fired!’ to render a guy jobless. I don’t blame them; they also get to face the traffics and frenzies on the street. The only difference being their car air conditioner and good shock absorbers. The second lesson you must remember never to forget is called ‘mind your business.’
If you don’t put all your eggs in one basket and mind your business, you shall, by all means, live longer in this land of many hassles.
Aside being an engineer in practice, I am also a teacher. Yes, you can imagine the likeness. For an engineer that closes work by 4 pm every weekday, I am highly favored to have all evening to myself and side hustles.
Immediately it was 4 pm on Wednesday I zoomed off to my second duty post, partly for the love of the kids I happen to teach, the other parts range from the need to finish earlier and beat traffics to be at home before 9 pm to the love of teaching and finally to the need for the extra bucks. I need the extra cash; Nigeria is very hard, should you consider this a privilege information don’t bother to thank me, you are welcome. It was around 6:30 pm that uncle Me was headed homeward. Heaven only knows why I chose the second bus that pulled ahead of the first. Lest I forget, as much as you can, please never judge a book by its cover. ‘as much as you can’ I said for how best do we explain the head turns and heart attacks men get at the sight of each well rounded and endowed ladies or the rate at which ladies jump into G-wagons at the simplest ‘hellos’ even if its Oga‘s driver? This explains my choice of the bus this particular day; it looked better than the other.
5 minutes into the journey I noticed my eyes were hurting as if covered with smoke, aahh aahn! This fine bus has leaking exhaust and I happen to be in the back seat. I would have opted to go down had the conductor not collected the 100 naira fare the very moment I sat down. Perfect set up, experience must have taught him. I kept my cool while trying to cover my nose with a hanky, besides the bus was full except for one seat space, if these much number of persons are enduring it, why not I? Besides, we are Nigerians we can endure anything the best we can do is complain. Moments later just as the traffic light showed green the two beautiful girls one dark and the other darker sitting in the 3rd row of the bus started humming a song. No! I screamed in my head, not under this heat and teary eyes, the humming turned into voicing, high voicing. Now I was really pissed like many others on the bus I could tell. The darker one seems to be in lead, “I want to part” she said as she raised the next song ‘o ni se iyanu’ she went ahead to instruct her accomplice on what voice note to use and how. At this point I was certain it was not just me, many others on the bus must have gotten to breaking point but who will snap the band? Many thanks to the few picks and drops and the conductor screaming his stops which distracted us in bits before she was finally called shut. She took a call on her phone “yes dear, I am at Sangotedo it’s just the holdup, the traffic is too much” came her response to the much-predicted question, “where are you now?”. At first, I was confused I had to look through the window to be double sure as to where I was, I must not have been alone in this we were still at Lekki phase 1 how on God’s green earth did we arrive sangotedo already?
Yes, the trendiest lies are told on the phone but not from someone that has spent the last 10 minutes disquieting us with worship songs.
She dropped the call followed by a short silence as if she also got herself confused, then she nudged her friend, “Ehen, remind me the worship we were singing” and they continued o ri se iyanu this time around a little bit louder. ‘Hmmm all this lie lie church people are all the same, driver abeg stop me at eleganza’ beckoned the lady sitting right beside them at the extreme left. The initial comment wouldn’t have been a problem as the driver was already finding his way towards the right side of the lane so she can alight but the devil is highly predictable in his ways. She stood to come down as the driver was slowing down towards eleganza bus stop and mistakenly or intentionally (I can’t tell.) matched Miss darker. What followed was a war of slap and pull, Miss darker slapped her on the shoulder and pulled her backward causing her light blouse to tear at the collar, “idiot why did you match me and can’t even say sorry?!” the ‘even say sorry’ was barely out of her mouth when Miss eleganza flung her palm which landed on Miss darkers head and pulled at her attached wig before the man between them held Miss darker from hitting back and the conductor grabbed Miss eleganza. Well, you can’t hold a lady’s tongue.
Witch! Miss darker cursed.
Lie lie! Pretender! Imbecile! She got in return.
See you prostitute wearing short skirt like ashawo! Miss darker fired back.
The war of words continued while I tried to digest Miss darkers second come back and struggles as she was losing the battle of words, it seems the dragged wig pulled a part of her brain because was barely making sense.
Miss Eleganza suddenly realized the driver was way past her bus stop, Driver! Stop me at Ilaje joor no mind this werey!
She jumped down the bus and thundered a goodbye ‘idiot!’ ‘useless girl, na that God wey you dey insult with your songs go punish you!’
As if the mute button was undone, most passengers joined their preferred party offering judgements and bits of advice. Unfortunately, Miss eleganza wasn’t there to hear all the brotherly and sisterly moral instructions that flew around the bus from all angles.
I alighted at Ajah market, as I sat in the ‘keke’ headed to my house, I replayed the whole scenario, it struck me again as a reminder this time that stopping at Ilaje and going home in a torn blouse was never part of Miss eleganza’s plan, if only she had minded her business.
I have long learned to manage the events that come with going back home after work at night as much as I try never to put all my eggs in one basket and simply mind my business.