Hustle Living

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Gingerly, he approached the figure, wrapping his hand around the neckline to loosen the little knot that held the mini-gown in place. I had no idea what a gown like that is called, but I was certain it should be something not so expensive though seemingly fancy, judging from the way it fitted around the firm curves on the feminine shape. Even as it dropped through the slightly protruding waist down to the feet that put an end to the fair long legs, revealing the pesky pair of mounds on the trimmed porcelain skin, he never seemed to be distracted for a second.

I sat, squeezed to the window side of a creaking 18-seater bus finding its way in the traffic congestion, watching the stranger undress the mannequin. It was about 30 minutes to the 20th hour; the end of the day’s work for some and the beginning for others. I belonged to the former category, the road-side cloth merchant and his mannequins gallantly occupied the latter.

The bus dragged briefly towards the 11.82km bridge. I knew it was the beginning of another 2hours–characterized by rough à la distress driving, cusses and attendant spits, honks and bashes–even before the bus came to a halt, the persistent gridlock remaining the factor.

A bucket of many bottled drinks sped by, and I looked out the window to confirm or discard the sorcery I just saw. For a person of really brief height, I didn’t expect the hawker to be so nimble-toed even with the conglomeration of drinks he balanced on his head. Others of his ilk had gala, plantain chips of countless brands, cashew nuts and several other consumables clutched to their sides; all meandering through the congestion trying to sell their wares. I shook my head in pity as I watched one of the hawkers almost get squeezed between two buses while he rushed to get payment for what he just sold a passenger.

“There is a Junior and/or a wife at home, a sister or brother in school, or a mama in the village depending on them… and so they hustle with their every fiber.” An elderly who seemed to have been watching me all the while said. I knew she wasn’t any off from the truth.

A couple of hours, countless hisses and serious body aches later, the third gear of the bus finally became useful. Perhaps from the reprieve brought about by the draught into the moving bus, the occupants of the seat behind me began to discuss what awaited them at their destination, the crux of the discuss being their grievances with the wage they get at work, and how the foreign owners of the factory they work in maltreat them like a flock of quarantined pigs.

I got home a few minutes to 11pm with a smile on my face; PHCN decided to put a little something in our bulbs. I settled in quickly and refreshed to get some sleep, for the alarm would do its job by 4:20AM the following day irrespective of how I feel. I remembered a joke a colleague made about the episode introductions of a movie I was seeing (he thought it would be cool to have the prologue in pidgin) and I decided to indulge myself briefly.

The player came to live as my then recumbent self began the pidgin prologue:

“My name na Oliver Queen

After five years for ogbonge hell

Na so I waka con’ home with only one goal…”

PHCN didn’t allow me save my city. They took the light.

Ironically, I wasn’t pained. They take power more than they give it and we all know. It’s bad, but I’m somehow used to it already. As I rolled over to sleep I flashed to a headline I saw on CNN a few days earlier:

D.C hit by power outage.

I would guess many Americans were in panic throughout the blackout. In some climes, blackout mostly precedes bad things, say terrorism, a headless horseman with a big axe roaming the streets, or simply the beginning of the apocalypse.

The same blackout an average warm-tempered Yoruba/Ibo/Hausa man (trust me, you don’t want to read the hot-tempered man’s version; I don’t want to write it too) would roll his eyes over and say “awon dìndìnrìn”/”mcheew, iti boribo!”/”kai! Shege!” became breaking news in some other place.

And then I did a conscious recap of my day.

Ours is a country of stoic and hard working people; we strive and hurdle regardless of the barriers and hardship, ironically with a smile bearing countenance. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want things to be better.

Maybe I wouldn’t have spent so much time in traffic if there were functioning alternative means of transport or route. Maybe there won’t be a horde of hawkers on the road at the risk of being crushed if power is regular to the point of making some other business ventures profitable. Maybe the factory workers would have ceased being garri-and-groundnut-driven robots in the sight of their bosses–slave masters–if there were other opportunities for them. Lots and tons of several other maybes!

Maybe I wouldn’t have had reasons to write this.

I am @jossef69 on twitter

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14 thoughts on “Hustle Living

    Heedriz Depearl said:
    April 19, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Indeed the hustle is live and burning. From the street hawkers, to the factory workers and straight to the men getting home by 11pm everyday exhausted and strained from their “white collar” jobs. It doesn’t stop, it never stops. Believe me, irrespective of the quality and standard of living, the hustle continues.

    Ok. I’m done being serious! *straight-face*

    Headless horse man, I’ve seen that movie, and I think it is boring! Yes, sleepy hallow it is. Btw, who dedicates a whole first paragraph to the description of a “mannequin”? That’s so weird man! For a second I was expecting a cute sylph to emerge at the end of it.

    Lastly, “maybe” you should get some sleep in transit, I mean 4hours to sleep everyday, give or take? That’s mean. Except we are scared of you missing your bus-stop again however.

    I get carried away by the beauty of your writing that I don’t often accord it the required exultation. You rock man!

    Liked by 1 person

    Adewoyin Joseph responded:
    April 20, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Thou shalt not be always serious, I’m glad you know that. 🙂 The long paragraph about the mannequin was just an “attempted attempt” to send off the track briefly, and I’m guessing it did just that. How beautiful was the sylph your imagination conjured?

    Sleeping in transit most times becomes inevitable (even with the missing-my-bus-stop experience still fresh in memory), but it’s hardly comfortable; sometimes one sits on one and a half heinie all the way to the destination, sweating as though recently baptised.

    This exultation is already too much for me, especially coming from a writer like you. Thanks a lot chief!

    PS: I almost skipped this, I really like Sleepy Hollow. Maybe ‘cuz I crushed, nay… I’m crushing on Nicole Beharie (Ssssh! Don’t tell nobody; else you’re gonna answer all follow-up comments/questions from other readers on it).

    Liked by 1 person

      Heedriz Depearl said:
      April 21, 2015 at 6:51 am

      Well, I think I can now see why sleeping in transit could be uncomfortable. Especially when you’re sandwiched between two old, fat women. Well, the world is a cruel place…

      Yes, I really don’t understand how y’all have crushes on these characters and celebrities. Nicole is one thick, cute gurl btw. I mean, don’t you just love her eyes? Plus I have a thing for short gurls. Ok! I’m not crushing. I can’t! She’s good enough to be anyone’s crush tho, but I love crushes I can physically lay my hands on… #OkBye

      I’m not even gonna say anything bout the “mannequin” again. However, I have a weird way of carving out beautiful, imaginary images of, well…


        Adewoyin Joseph responded:
        April 21, 2015 at 7:34 am

        Why do I get the feeling you would have loved the sandwitch if the “ingredients” had not been old and fat? *winks*

        I won’t talk about Nicole here. Erm, okay, let me write just one line. She’s cute and not skinny (I’m guessing she eats akpu… in little quantity and with cutlery). Let’s just say my kinda crushing does not require me being a pastor that “physically lays hands on….”, just a pretty intense likeness.

        I don’t think it’s weird, our imagination is ours and it’s a good thing to use it and carve out beautiful, imaginary images of, well… anything. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    Yemie said:
    April 20, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Jojo’s day out abi? Cause that’s all I see! 😞
    Plus, what’s the deal with the curvaceous mannequin Sweets?! Is this the part where I start worrying then, cause am REALLY beginning to freak out! 😛 Urgent and am talking quick intervention anyone?! Its a call for help, Jojo needs looking after like right this minute?! 😂😂😂

    That was a classic Joe, you got me with that mannequin bit….hilarious! 😉

    The hustle’s real bro and sometimes, I wonder where Nigerians get the strength to surmount all the adversities we’re daily subjected to…..from horrific leadership, to bad living conditions and standards, and amidst all of these; we were rated the happiest people in the world; a coupla years back! Ironic init?! 😮

    The average Nigerian is resilient, the Naija spirit’s no fluke and yeah; but for all of these ‘eye-sores’, you may not have had nada to ramble ’bout……the horror! 😨🙊

    Thanks for the laughs and lessons Senor; carry on writing and soaring! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      Adewoyin Joseph responded:
      April 20, 2015 at 9:57 pm

      Chai! The mannequin stunt has backfired o! Now my god-tibi-tibi thinks I’m into anything curvaceous, even if it’s plastic! 🙂

      Thanks for always reading and dropping the bomb. You rock!

      Liked by 1 person

    topazo said:
    April 20, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    Seems someone is so bored that they would get a high from personalization of a mannequin. The great length you went to in describing the plastic “sylph” is disturbing …makes me wonder if you really have a chance in your busy schedule to meet human females….Lol
    Well, the era of hustling and smiling is fast fading. People are beginning to demand better…change is in the air

    Liked by 2 people

    Adewoyin Joseph responded:
    April 20, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    LOL. You have no idea of the number of times I’ve gone to read the mannequin paragraph again, thanks to you. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so descriptive, right? 🙂

    Too busy to actually meet human females? Mba, godt forbidt! That will never happen! I will never enter that level of busy-ness. Don’t worry about me, i’m not a mannequin-loving anomaly.

    Thanks a bunch, chief.

    Liked by 1 person

    HARD VOICES said:
    April 21, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Remember that quote about crazy post to be conquered by crazier comment, by Ziglar I think, 1996. So I read this on Sunday and told my secretary to draft out a crazy comment befitting this post, but as always the case, the lipstick, chewing gum girl cannot spell, sigh. So I have to do this myself.

    I believe Joe that you are always hammering on the craziness of Lagos just to discourage someone from migrating there and enjoying the milk and chocolate that fall like Thai fish in Lagos. You have failed, Lagos, sweet Lagos, fire of my loins and love of my life, not even a novel by Joe shall stop us from making home in your sexy arms, not the threat of lagoon, nothing!

    As for nepa, we get gen, and change is here already, we will soon run 50 thousand super megabytes of power, for free, no bills, ah ha. Can’t wait. Joe, don’t wait.

    Thanks for this funny, funny piece. Have picked out the things I wanna steal. When I finally publish and you cry thief I shall deny you with all my life. Thanks but not big thanks until you begin to write frequentler, say thrice a week, you pregnant blogger!

    Liked by 2 people

      Adewoyin Joseph responded:
      April 21, 2015 at 7:09 am

      Ahahahahahah. I’m really rolling on the floor right now, laughing hard with my pregnancy.

      “…Lagos, sweet Lagos, fire of my loins and love of my life, not even a novel by Joe shall stop us from making home in your sexy arms, not the threat of lagoon, nothing!”

      Dang! What were you thinking? Now is the time for previous commenters to see someone personifying and romanticizing Lagos like she’s his Nkem. I dare not come between you and Lagos, for in her bosom you shall blossom like the orchard by the river side… after having your fair share of the gridlock and hustle of course. 🙂

      When you finally publish, thinking you’ve stolen from me in cups, my reluctance to call you thief will make you realise I’ve actually stolen from you in “congos”. See, business is still good for me! I hope I’ll be able to accomplish the feat and join the league of very funny super bloggers like you.

      Liked by 1 person

    Walt Shakes said:
    April 22, 2015 at 7:16 am

    This is the definition of the lives of many Lagosians. The drudgery. The grind. Day after day.


      Adewoyin Joseph responded:
      April 22, 2015 at 7:36 am

      …yet she remains one of the most sought-after babe… nay, I mean green(er) pasture.

      Many thanks, Sir Walter.


    Tolulope John said:
    April 25, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Nice writeup as always!!!

    Life itself is hustle jare…From chuks crossing over to Spain via Sahara desert to the homelessly freezing Tunde in Australia, Ahmed nko?,the engineer who became a dish washer at burger king….All had one thing in common- to make ends meet.Even Anini would have told you that.Everyone is an hustler ,me think…Just in varying sizes and proportions. Shout out to all legit hustlers….May God bless our hustles.
    Thumbs up sir.


    Adewoyin Joseph responded:
    April 27, 2015 at 4:54 am

    Nice analogy, as always!

    Some hustles are in the proportion of a mustard seed, while some could be as huge as the halloween pumpkin; the Lowest Common Factor is that we’re all hustlers (approximately).

    Legit hustlers hollering back at ya. 🙂

    Thanks sir.


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