The sound of a siren rings in my head. My sweat-dripping body turns, adjusting my eyes to the usual darkness of my room. I reach for my watch and torchlight under my pillow, my eyes bulging out of my eye socket… 6am ke?! I overslept. Stretching and rushing my prayers (sha chanted something), run to the bathroom, dress, do a little house work and ‘yippee’ am out by 7am. And here goes my Lagos day (saying it in a Jenifa’s voice)…
The bus conductors use the gong and crying method to ‘advertise’ their different bus stop names “Isaga, ogba, agege’. Driver’s hands are glued to their horns. There is always something to horn or scream at with your head hanging outside the driver’s seat window “get out of the way”. Everyone is going somewhere in their cars, tricycles, bicycle, motorcycle, wheelbarrow or legedes benz. The bus line (that is if there is a line sef) is long and depressing. When a bus stops to pick passengers, I notice that the door has almost fallen off #smh! Well, it’s still transportation, so rush, squeeze, shake, adjust and sit tight for the slow bumpy ride.
When I finally arrive at the office, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I have ‘overcome’ plays in my head for two minutes. I am stressed even before I begin work! The worst part is that I am a field staff, therefore, my sanity barely lasts an hour before I am back on the Lagos road resenting hawkers, pedestrians (whom are always in a hurry) and motorcycles (necessary evils) fighting for the walkway.
A month back, I re-swore to never ride on one of these two-wheeled devils especially with the influx of the Northern Okada drivers in Lagos. My decision was based on an accident I saw on a Monday morning in front of my house. A truck carrying soft drinks hit an Okada driver; his cold dead body lay on the floor with blood splattered on the road. A week after my oath, I was rushing to the airport and wanted to beat the traffic, so you know…
After a day of pushing people out of my way, fighting for my right to the road and hating all the companies who have their generators making noise and polluting the environment, I am ready for home. I am buckled up and ready for two hours in traffic, trying not to curse and insult ‘funny or slightly insane’ Lagos drivers. It’s just the way it is.
I usually wonder how much money, talent and ideas are wasted in traffic, anger, and stress. There has to be a certain calm, order and freedom to fuel the desire to do great things and make impact. Most Nigerians are focused on surviving daily because ‘man must chop’ before he can think to fulfill any other needs.
Despite the hassle, I love Lagos especially during weekends. I love the beauty of the lights shining at night as you move along the Island. No party like a Lagos party organized with class, colors, beauty, music and extravaganza. I went to a strictly by invitation 60th birthday party at Eko Expo Hall, hmmm! The invitation alone ti ele yi ko (meaning ‘not made in Naija’). Buffet, dessert, sugar band, chocolate and an ATM card look alike was the ticket used to collect gifts. Some malls, cinemas, restaurants (especially some in GRA, VI) are world class. No lies, Lagos has a lovely, annoying, great and original style.