“Oga ‘My car’ commot there! No try am o.”
I smiled as the bus driver boomed at a man in suit in a neat Corolla beside us, hooting incessantly as though it would clear the road. I knew he had no personal issue with him, it was just a thing they say to private car owners whenever they’re putting their fine vehicles in delicate positions in the traffic.
“Sumall time now I go brush yuar motor for yansh una go start to dey yarn me oyibo. . . no be me o.”
Perhaps from experience, Corolla man listened. He quietly swerved and kept to his slow-moving side, allowing the bus driver squeeze himself into the little spot. He was overtly satisfied at the man’s surprising obedience.
“This one get sense. Some of them go dey struggle with our jagamu for road with dem plastic cars like James Bond until dem hear gbo— ”
His last word coincided with a loud bang that was indeed a “gboosa” at his other side of the lane. He looked at me with a precursor to a smile on his face and motioned me to the exact location of the collision.
“My brother, wetin I tok? Honda don jam aeroplane! Una go hear ogbonge oyibo today.”
A young man stepped out of a sleek Hyundai whose shape truly reminded one of a jet, putting majestic drama to his approach like a Bollywood protagonist maiming the villain in his thought, assessing the condemned bumper of his car with total disregard for the man in Honda who was already apologising.
“I’m really sorry. I’m so sorry. . .”
Sorry unleashed the drama. The previously crawling traffic turned to a standstill with everyone seeing for free in 3D the movie that would’ve cost a ticket—and popcorn, perhaps—at the cinema.
“Are you kidding me? What d’yu mean by sorry? You bashed my car and ruined all this,” he directed him to have a good look of the dangling crushed bumper, “and you’re giving me all that crap?”
Sincere thanks to good diet and exceptionally stretchy ears, I got the audio and delicately followed the video. No static at all.
“You have every right to be annoyed, and that’s why I’m. . . begging. I’m sorry.”
The apologies were meant to soothe him but it was counter-productive; he didn’t want to hear the s-word and Mr Honda wouldn’t run out of its supply. Exasperated, he went on a fast one even my ears couldn’t keep up.
“Mr man I’m sick and tired of this! You’re wasting my time with the sorrys. Tell me, how exactly will “sorry” reconstruct this or solve the mess? Insurance guys just fixed this car so don’t even think in that direction. Capish?”
Mr Honda said more sorrys. Chief Hyundai blew him more words of caution, urging him to stop the apologies and talk in naira. Mr Honda realised that he was losing and had to turn to the popular trick of sharing blames; the no-be-only-me-waka-come approach.
“What exactly do you want from me?! After all, you abruptly applied your brake as well.”
Infuriated by the words, Chief Hyundai dropped all the little semblance of niceties. Being a gentleman in the situation wouldn’t help so he re-strategized. The moment he took off his suit and tie I knew he meant business. The other man got the message loud and clear, but he managed to mask his concern.
“Don’t even try my patience right now!” he inserted some tumbling local dialect and raised his finger, shaking it vigorously as a sign of warning, “keep that to your clueless self and talk to me, like right now!”
The dialectal spices of Chief Hyundai got the bus driver’s attention and he burst into laughter, waking a few passengers from the usual commute-nap.
“Now you’re talking! You think say oyibo fit settle am before? Yarn am correct one from village make he know say you no get time to dey yarn orishirishi english. Even his Honda End-Of-Discussion no go fit end this discussion today. Na only him waka jam for this one.”
The argument escalated just as the hold up began to subside. Mr Driver quipped and ran multiple commentaries as he moved on.
“I pity dem EOD bros people for office today o. Na dem go get the remaining kasala and better oyibo wey e no go tok for here.”
And right there, he struck a chord. He had a very valid point. I easily pictured the duo as section heads or managing executives who would take the frustration to work and blow off undiscerning subordinates at the slightest mistake. Worse still, they could be interviewers or members of a panel to determine the fate of job seekers on that very day.
Unlucky subordinates and job candidates, right? Right.
“Eii! Chisox christ of Tanzania!”
The driver’s exclamation came in the way of my thoughts and welcomed me to another bash involving a tanker and three cars. As the bus sped I could only see different video frames: a tanker driver close to tears, observing the damage he had done to three cars, especially the “Baby boy” car he had hit so hard it linked two more cars; a car owner standing akimbo, watching his car that just got totally crushed and re-christened “Ugly girl”; a work-in-progress infuriated woman dashing past the last silent victim with the tanker driver fully in her sight, with eyes that sparkled in anger.
Only prayers can save a life and make that single event not adversely affect many lives on that day, and I ensured to say one:
Gracious God, spare that tanker driver from the bashed three furies. . . and hint all error-prone subordinates or interviewees to put on their best behaviour today.
I am @jossef69 on twitter.
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