Bus Tale

Knocked Out

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I could open this post by giving a trite but dramatic “happy new year” followed by many good wishes, but seeing as that would be tantamount to saying opening prayer when it’s already time for benediction, I’ll save myself the disgrace and wish y’all greatness within myself. May we never run out of fishes to fry nor lose our certificate(s) to the utmost mockery of our enemies.

Of course, I’m murmuring the above within myself.

Many thanks to everyone who took time to go through my scribbles in times past despite my shortcomings and inconsistencies; it’s a great honour to have you. To ghost readers who stroll in for a peep like the biblical thief in the night (most thieves get caught eventually you know?), God is watching you. And Amadiora too. Thank you…but you must repent. 🙂

Hearty “shout salute” to avid commenters; the core to my reactor and source of immense encouragement. Leonardo Da Vinci must have really understood the importance of feedback before he wrote this: You have not farted if nobody grumbled nor contorted their face upon your gaseous release. Totally, I concur! I appreciate y’all. I hope it turns out to be a year of great and concentrated releases from SJB.

Here’s a little something I wrote late last year, featured on Elsieisy’s blog. Grab a bottle of coke or sorrel and enjoy.

*•*•*

A soft voice reached me from a distance, though not strong enough to bother me. I was in a state that felt great, but I couldn’t describe it. The voice got louder and harsher as a masculine voice chipped in an inglorious roughness, dragging me from my unknown state to what I later realised was consciousness.

“Damn! I did it again.”

Two days earlier I had slept off in a car en route to work. The driver I told my destination upon getting on-board had taken me several bus stops away from my stop, making excuses that he asked me but I didn’t answer. I believe people reason and talk in their sleep in his village.

I sat up as my tired eyes fixated on the source of my disturbance-cum-saving grace. The last time I checked, I was in a bus with five passengers. I must have dozed for so long, for the bus had filled up and almost at my destination.

“Madam, take it easy.”

A man likely in his forties said calmly in an apparent attempt to settle the ongoing vituperative exchange between a woman and another man; a well suit-ed man for that matter.

I wasn’t interested. I’d experienced a lot to last a lifetime in bus rides—from terror-voiced singing passenger to four full hours of chronic beansy farts endurance from an obvious source, to a preaching driver who paused intermittently to call for passengers, etc. Experience has taught me that such dramas are often not worth the effort of thinking them through. They are best enjoyed than understood.

I turned from them, but the Judas Iscariot ears I posses wouldn’t turn with me.

“Stupid woman! You have no respect. I wonder what you do to your husband at home…” He vented.

“I wonder what unfortunate woman married an insane man like you. Tragedy!” She parried.

I didn’t look back but I knew her counter crawled up his spine and sank into his brain. A rough scuffle ensued, but a familiar calm voice came in again.

“You two should stop this. You’re grown-ups. Woman…” he called with a bit of an elevated pitch, like he had some control over her, “…it’s time you kept quiet for good. I mean it.”

It worked like magic; I almost requested for a bit of the juju. She muted, but her fellow-in-dispute took it as the beginning of his victory. I had a feeling doom lurked in the boot for him, but he spilled more invectives like it was expedient for a promotion at work. He raved and dropped the thick one that broke the proverbial camel’s back—or nose.

“Woman, I’m not so worried about your insanity. From all you’ve been saying I’m sure you married someone like you; someone equally supercilious and condescending.” He paused, probably in admiration of his vocabulary. I wondered what the matter had to do with the husband. “Get home soon, woman, and let your irresponsible numbskull of a husband know how sick you are.”

She broke her silence and replied curtly, in an unbelievable low voice, “You can tell him yourself.”

Action flew first class.

Something cracked. It was more of a snap. It seemed as though the human nose is plastic like people say after all. Much as I tried to think otherwise, I knew it wasn’t just a crack of the calm mediator’s phalanges upon his fisty impact on someone else’s face—the face of a familiar man in suit. Something else definitely got broken.

I missed the action, but not everything it left in its wake.

Blood trickled down the nose of a corporately dressed owner even as he attempted to help his distressed organ with his hands, letting out grunts in pain. His vituperation-laden mouth contorted with confusion. I pondered as the dots connected before me.

Mediator was madam’s numbskull.

I am @jossef69 on twitter.

http://www.facebook.com/senorjoesblog

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Dear Diary: Sour-prano Untamed

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Dear Diary,

Something happened to me recently. Something that involved my subjection to a loud discomfort in an enclosed space, with my freedom and power to object strangled by a general mindset; a religious mainstream.

As a violation of my fundamental right to peace of mind, it would’ve taken a much different turn if it had happened in a developed country. I’m of the certitude that the source of my unrest would’ve been made to stop, sanctioned, sentenced, or a combination of the three. In utmost sincerity, I prefer the mix.

As if waking up thirty (30) minutes to 5am—in a bid to leave home on the hour, beat traffic and get to the island as quickly as possible—was not enough, every variable I must have contact merged in a conspiracy. Excruciating hooked pain as I sat beside an annoyingly annoying passenger. You’ll understand me soon enough.

This passenger—a woman quadragenarian I’d like to name Mrs Brutus Melody—was a typical pain source (in the rump, neck, and other strategically important body parts) that starts little, gathers momentum inch after inch, arrives at a crescendo and finally, explodes. All in a drab unmelodious tone. I had once imagined Mr Ibu singing Kumbaya; trust me, I prefer the imagination to that reality.

First, her lips began to move like a squirrel munching kernel after a week of fasting and no prayers. I cast her one of those quick glances that carry a c’mon-stop-this-your-nonsense-before-thunder-strikes-you message, but she didn’t move a muscle. Not even a fibre. Continue she did.

As a general rule I follow, I never expend a molecule of glucose let alone a negligible amount of energy on matters that neither affect me/people nor pose a threat to national security, so I relaxed and occupied my space while she continued munching. I went over my laid plans for the day.

But then munching became humming. Hums that can irk the deaf, not at all like that of the sweet humming bird.

Livid as I was, I didn’t bother to turn to her since I already could imagine the woody mien she would have installed on her face; the face that got my vote of immense hate—or hatred, whichever is more caustic—within just a few minutes. I tried to suppress my anger but I noticed my face was also contorted in a way Mr Bean would envy.

The noise from the bus slightly muffled her voice and I was relieved. None of the noises was desirable but somehow I—and other passengers I can assure you—preferred the former to the latter. The relief was however short-lived. The engine revs eased upon gliding into traffic and Mrs Melody took that as a cue to go up at least two notches, shifting into gear her musical explosion.

And she blew our minds to pieces. Nay, scratch that, she blew us to smithereens.

Prior to the moment I had no idea what she was up to but it started making sense to me seconds after the burst. Mrs B. Melody had hitherto prayed (the munching), worshipped (the humming) and then on the main songs of praise (the outburst). All faces turned to her with several frowns and contortions communicating disapproval, but the gestures proved futile as she was deep gone in the spirit.

What can the faces of the disturbed do to a disturbance whose eyes were firmly shut? We didn’t even seem to amount to a mountain before the wicked Zerubbabel in skirt. She delved deeper into the songs which were grossly loud and incoherent, and then spoilt her face like she was trying so hard to weep or stifle an emotional breakdown. It is better depicted by the countenance of one who crunched alum or rushed near-ripe agbalumo (Chrysophyllum albidum).

She shifted through various kind of gospel musics—rock, reggae, high life. . . even pentecostal hymns and many others yet to be discovered let alone documented—in terrible treble and catastrophic tenor that was pure tremor-inducing terror. Yes, frogs croak and it’s annoying, but even the slimy croakers are often rhythmic in their business.

As you would expect, I dubbed her the owner of the most horrible voice mankind has ever heard, and imagined. Whoever beats the record should be shot. Close range. In the head.

The traffic lasted for over an hour and Mrs Melody didn’t pause for once; she had the strength of at least two horses and one black cow. In between I had developed migrane, murmured, hissed severally like others, and a pregnant lady by her other side had changed seat. My anger stemmed from the fact that nobody complained; not even a word to the effect. We all sat and listened compulsorily while the lone mass choir did her morning devotion, more like a mini church service aided by a made-in-Obudu public address system that has seen better days.

Diary, do you know why no one stopped her even though we all would unanimously agree to toss her out into the lagoon if presented the priceless opportunity?

Fear. Fear of stopping someone praising God!

It is ridiculous! You may not understand that. I doubt if you really understand religion, especially in the way we handle it in this clime. I doubt if you know a thing about Sunday school either. The thing here is this: nobody wants to be dealt with like a certain woman was, for mocking a king praising God in his own way, in his own palace. I refer to the King David versus Michal case contained in the holy book here (around 992 BC).

Notice the bold words above? She got served because she mocked him, not complain of disturbance; and he praised in his palace, his royal space, not in some fancy chariot with others or a full fourteen (14) passenger bus.

It was a violation and she was wrong (my opinion). No one should disturb the peace of others all in the process of praising God. What if I was meditating and communicating with my God as well at the moment? What if I was churning in my head ideas on how to cure ebola without a salty input, or better ways to relate with Bola?

With these valid points of mine I have convinced and not confuse myself on the subject matter, right? I’m justified and should be bold to caution her, yes?

Wash! Iró nlá!! Terrible lie!!!

I didn’t. I couldn’t. It was a risk I wouldn’t take at that moment. The believe had eaten deep into me and obviously my other comrades-in-discontent.

So we suffered. In silence. Enduring our collective malady; none willing to risk the possible consequence of stopping the ma and her brutal melody.

I am @jossef69 on twitter.

Life Drama

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Foreword: This piece is a recount of an unadulterated real life event. Picture a young graduate striving to be employed amidst the gross unemployment quagmire and its attendant stress. He was very broke at that moment too. I’ll tell his story.

————

My phone gave a familiar ring that cut through the silence and broke the chain of my present activity as I let go of the bolus of eba I’ve learnt to roll very perfectly through years of relishing relationship. (You see, I have a particularly narrow throat that requires that I adjust the mass to standard size, to avoid choking).

Subconsciously, I was determined to cuss the network provider if the message turned out to be one of their many adverts, send MUMU to 5054 for more inspirational texts, and others of the ilk.

I pressed, scrolled and read.

“You are invited for an aptitude test at JohnDoe* grammar school, xxxxxx, Ikeja Lagos on Sat. 21/06/2014 by 9:00am. Enquiry: 0125xxxxx.”

A momentary smile coursed my face but a rather curt fact came bullying it almost immediately. It wasn’t a bad news. In fact, it was a typical confirmation that as far as the suspected tussle between village people and I was concerned, I was winning.

But the truth remained: I was broke. No-rumpled-naira-to-my-name kind of broke.

My cogitation on the matter at hand persisted for several minutes that seemed longer than actual. If push came to shove I have an Uncle I could always approach, but after several asking I’d started feeling like I demand too much. I suddenly noticed my oily fingers had been folded and suspended all the while. Another sight of the matter on the table settled it, my appetite was ever present to comfort me. I rolled, dribbled in soup, and swallowed away.

The day came quickly. I was not entirely motivated to go for the test considering a number of things, but I changed my mind some few minutes to dawn on that day. I donned the usual: a simple shirt well tucked in a black trouser and a seriously polished—but of course, punished—pair of black shoes; all old allies of mine. Judging by the effect of iron on the cotton and that of the black polish cum brush on the leather, you’ll never know how ancient they were. I set out few minutes after 7am.

With common sense, meticulous management (a BSc in Economics will be an additional advantage) and saintly patience at bus stops, five hundred naira was just enough to convey me to the test venue and back. So I thought. One hour two hundred and fifty naira later, I was already in Ikeja.

Career coaches would advise one to do a reconnaissance of the venue prior to the test date (to know the place well, especially if one is not familiar with the address) and arrive the venue at least an hour before the set time on the actual day, but they always somehow forget candidates with limited resources. Broke candidates I mean.

My initial disinterest (hence, my failure to probe), the shallow nature of the address in the invite, my assumption that the venue would be close to the bus stop and accessible, plus the fact that I was new in Lagos all worked like gears in a mesh to drive me into a lurking morass.

The first person I asked had a trace amount of dumbness; he just told me to move to the bus stop and ask, acting all mechanical. The next told me I’ll take a bus going to Maryland and alight on the way. The bright morning suddenly lost it’s lustre, giving way to unpleasant feelings of multiple shades. With the money on me, going anywhere not in the direction of where I was coming from means I’ll be stranded. That is always not good.

I asked the bus driver screaming for passengers like his life depended on it—actually I think it did—for the fare to my destination and he paused, stared at me like he had just been possessed by an unclean albeit quiet spirit, and coarsely let out the cold words, “Hundred naira”.

Urine tugged at my bladder.

“E wole te ba n lo – (come in if you’re going), no time”, he added.

I quickly did the maths and the figure after the equal-to sign was an emaciated one. Stepping in means I’ll be left with a hundred and fifty naira, and three hundred and fifty naira away from home.

The driver watched me in my vacillation and said some not so nice words as I moved past him. Even if he had cursed I wouldn’t have been bothered. I stopped not long after and got lost in thoughts, the kind wherein one weighs the options and then wish for a miracle. I felt someone bump into me and that jerked me back to the typical boisterous Ikeja.

She was a beautiful woman most likely in her very early thirties resting her hand on a small boy with whom she shared a striking resemblance, and an empty bowl clutched in her other hand. Her eyes were shut and they both appeared tired. They stopped not so far away from me to sit beside one of the columns holding the bridge.

Over the years I’ve seen several blind people asking for alms. I’ve even caught one or two faking it; one mistakenly opened one of his previously shut eyes with a speed akin to a strabismus to confirm the denomination I dropped, I met the other placing his rather meat dominated order at a night food joint far away from my apartment back in the university. But she seemed different. Perhaps I was drawn in by her beauty, the blithering innocence on the face of the young boy, the duo’s plain exhaustion, or something that transcends any reason I could probably think of.

Helping them came naturally to me, but at that moment I needed help too, only that I couldn’t get a bowl for myself. I turned around and moved on, but a voice in my head won’t just shut up. Whether it was compassion, empathy, or the good spirit I’m not sure, but the soft voice urged me to drop her money. Common sense kept reiterating the gist that I’ll be left with less, and that I would understand the book of Exodus better if I pursue the path of benevolence.

Soft voice won.

Truth be told, I’ve never been that bold—or stupid—my entire life. I ditched sanity and embraced charity. With another fifty naira note out of the equation, walking was the only way forward. I put on my treking shoes and the long march began. The great plan was to walk to a place where I’ll get the bus for fifty naira and at the junction where Maryland splits from Anthony, I got one.

My mental calculator was on by default to measure the distance from the place by the speeding bus to my stop and then estimate the time it would take to cover the same distance on a pair of black soles. The result was the beginning of wisdom, the genesis of worry.

Mood matters a lot. On a good day I’d listen to the man in suit screening candidates in, but on this day I didn’t. I couldn’t. I just shoved out my invitation, looked straight into his eyes like I was a mother confessor bent on making his life miserable, and then got myself a seat.

After almost two hours of formalities, many accents, and BSc/HND discrimination, the test commenced. It wasn’t a big deal. I made sure I gave my concentration by blocking out the thoughts of the imminent inevitable walk. Without a calculator, lack of focus can make forty-one plus nine equal to four-one-nine.

An hour later, a shrill American accent likely acquired via a month stay in Ghana ended the session.

With a school mate I met there, we walked to the junction and had several talks in between. At the bus stop I told him I would be walking, but surprisingly, he told me it’s okay. My unsolicited announcement was meant to make him ask why I would rather walk, and maybe be of help. Perhaps he was not buoyant as well. I took no offence. Who would have cared if I had packed all the offences in Lagos anyway? He took my messenger pin, shook my hand and waited for a bus.

And the son of man walked away under the sweltering sun. Alone.

In moderate steady strides, I moved on. I definitely won’t turn to a pillar of salt if I did, but I ensured I didn’t look back. Shame is better described as that moment when a familiar pair of eyes in a car, those of the lady you’ve been “toasting” for example, see you walking with laboured alacrity. The said alacrity and improvised distraction got me to Ikeja, and then to Allen junction. My beloved faithful shoes suffered. Legs ached as though they had been roasted over burning coals like corn. Sweat beads trickled down my face as my head boiled from the inside.

But a hundred and fifty naira still adorned my pocket.

With that amount I’ll get to Ojodu Berger and then link my last bus from there. Heavens answered my prayers as a bus pulled over and the conductor yelled “Berger!” at a bold decibel. The rest I didn’t need. That one simple word of two syllables was all I needed in the world at that moment; not food, not Dorobucci, definitely not world cup. I quickly hopped in and we moved.

We passed Secretariat and I was distracted for like two minutes while I skimmed through a devotional guide a lady shared in the bus. The next thing I heard was “Toll gate wa o”. Some passengers would alight at the bus stop “Toll gate”. How?

Conductor was already calling “Obalende CMS!”. Stupid boy, “no time” was probably his motto.

Bloodt of Godt!!!

The very large opening of a mouth and contorted brows in bewilderment would understate my shock. I was entirely on the exact opposite route. Without warning, I screamed out my confusion and other passengers came to my rescue. They confirmed the mix-up and explained that there are two Bergers, but my ears stopped proper functioning not long after that. Conductor had already collected his fare and their pities and talks didn’t make the remaining fifty naira change it’s size or colour into a better note.

Staring at the blank reality; two distant locations connected by a long expressway only a hundred and fifty naira can make short, I wanted to cry but I couldn’t. It won’t even help. I humoured myself and sang in a little worried voice.

“Big Boys Don’t Cry”

But the boy was weeping inside.

And the soft voice interrupted again: all these happened for a reason. I lost my temper and felt like harming something, a soft voice specifically if I could, but as I took the fly-over I found my temper again. I consoled myself and focused on getting home, there’s no point raging over something you can’t punch—or bite.

The faces at the bus stop were very stiff like they were starched, and unfriendly. Many people need to find joy in Lagos for everyone to live in peace and then collectively chant “Eko o ni b’aje”. I waited for almost fifteen minutes but no smiling face came. Eventually I went straight for a driver and started speaking—more like sparking—in fast English.

“I’m going to. . . and right here I’ve got only fifty naira on me. . .”

The idea behind the move was to try intimidating him a bit since he looked like someone’s who’s at least slightly educated. It was just a trial, I had planned to try the opposite—speak correct from the source yoruba to him that is, if he thinks the grammar speaking man called alakowe is another sick-in-the-brain gentleman roaming Lagos highways.

He looked at me, did a brief assessment, and then asked of my destination. I replied him at the speed of an hasty rapper, without the cool phonetic this time. He told me to get in and I didn’t wait for a repeat, before he changes his mind and tells me how tortoise broke its shell on the 3rd Mainland bridge.

I paid the conductor the fifty naira, but he thought I paid for Berger. Obviously the driver forgot to brief him. We got to Berger and I didn’t get down; I curled at a corner like I needed the loo so bad. We moved on and when he started collecting money again, he asked me. I was mute.

I tried to tell him to ask his driver that we’ve settled, but this slim guy I’d like to call atòólé (someone who urinates on bed while sleeping) started ranting. He dealt with me from the depth of his loquacious experience, I had no money to gag the bleating goat. I should have known with the deep tribal marks on his face, would’ve betted with my roomy pocket that whoever wrote them was most likely a serial killer with a bad handwriting. What better foreboding did I need?

Life at times is just a big pot of ill prepared watery beans; a mess through and through. Why should all mishaps in Lagos befall one person in just a day?

First, he thought I was an officer; a person working in a force of some sort, and he so well expressed his hatred for my supposed kind, albeit too loudly. I was so embarrassed. I would have given anything to vanish into thin air but I remained a solid organism as he abused me further. The driver came to my rescue eventually, but the assault I’ve been subjected to was worse than battery.

Worse than battery, charger and charge combined.

Perhaps the little voice was right. Meeting the blind woman probably was not just coincidence. Maybe I had to walk and get exhausted so I can take the wrong bus and miss a worse bus. Maybe the mix-up was just for me to get that important little book from the lady. Maybe. . . .

It could be for any reason at all, and I may never know with certainty, but it was one hell of a day.

I am @jossef69 on twitter.

Adewoyin Joseph A.

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Bus Tale: Straight Ride To Berger

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“Ojodu Berger! Ojodu Berger. . . Berger straight!!! No change o, #500 #1000 change no dey ooo. Enter with your #150 change. . . “

The conductor boomed at the top of his voice, displaying a heavy throat and other jugular muscles best left for anatomy class. I entered the bus gently like a sincere brother of God even though I boiled within for the unnecessary #50 increase in the fare. I was consoled by the thought of cold water and other things awaiting me at home to step down; things that could be (note it, “could be”) quality sugar-not-needed kind of garri and golden brown groundnuts. Bottled groundnuts.

I digress.

I sat quietly praying the bus gets full quickly before I toast to crisp from the heat, but my prayer wasn’t answered until 30minutes later. I kept my eyes on the prize still. Despite the conductor’s no-change warning, more than five persons each paid #500; an act that should irk him and make him want to explode. In contrast to expectation, he kept his cool and sort it out eventually. He seemed like an educated peaceful person. The journey began like it should until events began to take other dimensions.

I’d barely enjoyed the breeze influx for two minutes before the driver made a sudden stop, disrupting the flow and jerking us all forward beyond the limit we could tolerate. The conductor immediately apologised appropriately in good diction that mesmerised us all—the educated ones at least. We joined a slow moving traffic and the driver quickly took a detour, navigating through buildings and narrow streets only to join a worse situation at the front.

Just when we were getting relieved, a young woman began talks about the heavy jams typical of first Friday of every month and how a programme at the camp ground that same day wouldn’t help matters. Two other men counter-commented and before we knew it a debate began. The ruckus was so loud one would think there was a trophy for the best noise-maker. One of the men however took it so personally, giving us announcements not paid for: how Lagos is a city of traffic jams (as if we’re all dumb aliens), how he has been plying the routes for years (how that was our concern I know not), how those just leaving their workplace will suffer (obviously kwa!), bla bla and bla.

We all got tired of the rants but we kept quiet and left the dial untouched, even radios run out of charge over time. The woman beside him (let’s call her Mrs Koikoi) was however not as stoic as the rest of us; she simply told him a very brief—but deadly—”It’s okay” and the man kept quiet immediately.

Not for long. The panther returns.

“You’re very rude! Very very rude!!” He turned to Mrs Koikoi like a provoked mother hen, the “rude” well stressed and sounding like “ruuwdu”.
“How dare you insult me and talk to me like that?! How dare you?! Useless woman. . . you’re so rude—ruuwdu!”

Some minuscule but palpable spits came along with the “dare” and the direct recipient quickly but quietly wiped her face, complaining could make him turn fully to her and have her well sprinkled with saliva. Mrs Koikoi was still, more like allowing him expend his energy and make a fool of himself. He wasn’t finding it funny at all. “I’m a preacher of the gospel with a wife and five kids. . . ” he vented on. I couldn’t help it, I joined the whole bus in a fit of laughter that followed. Seriously, what is the relationship between his calling, marital status, “productivity” and whatever else he was thinking, with the matter on ground? How fufu take concern Beyoncé abeg?

Mrs Koikoi’s responses and gesticulations were well spelt, caustic, demoralizing and utterly dramatic; it was obvious she has experience at her advantage and she pretty well finished the father of five. With a preacher-ly elan, he delved into another language and the woman adroitly followed suit.

“So you’re an Igbo woman and you’re talking to me like that? *inserts thick Igbo words*. . . How dare you?! *more spits*”

She responded by launching into more of Igbo vocabularies at a rather great speed. I sat at my corner looking facially expressionless (thou shall not make fun of “elders”, remember?) but relishing every bit of the diatribe, even though I didn’t understand a word. I believed she wasn’t cursing us all, and that’s the most important at the moment.

The traffic eased up a bit. Preacherman alighted and went his way as the door was dragged open and some new passengers rushed in. Somehow within the rush, a hard blow landed fully (from the loud sound upon impact I could tell) on someone’s face and a thud, like someone fell into the gutter, followed. The conductor dealt the blow, the same conductor I thought was a gentle vegan. I guess that comes with the on-the-job experiences.

“Wèrè Olè! Oò smart tó o. . .”
“Mad thief! You’re not smart enough. . .”, the conductor shouted as the driver sped to cover up before another vehicle takes his space.

“Olè burúkú ni bòbó yen shá, ó fé yo owó mó woman yen lára ni o. . .”
“That guy is a notorious thief o, he tried picking that woman’s purse. . .”

Not long we were held-up again. The conductor drove the bus whenever the driver chooses to get down and rub his paunch, widdle, abuse erring drivers, or stroll. I jokingly called him “Screwdriver” to distinguish him from the driver, but the sobriquet stuck quickly as others started calling him Screwdriver. That was a mistake on my part, for the alias somehow implied that all the passengers—including me, unfortunately—are screws. Damn! Scr*w us!!

The driver decided to be a good citizen and the Mandela of our time by keeping to the “right lane”—forgetting that a right lane in such situation is the widely chosen lane—while other vehicles squeezed along beside us, wasting extra one hour of our time with his decision.

While in the standstill, Screwdriver displayed himself as a multi-talented blend of many professions: a barrister or so when he refused a passenger that wanted to drop, a #50 refund because “the contract between them hasn’t ended. . . and a breech isn’t allowed”; a Monk when he chose to “meditate” and keep quiet, disregarding refund requests; a pastor when he began to quote scriptures on how the meek and gentle are blessed; a grammarian/linguist when he spoke Pidgin, English, Yoruba, Igbo and then managed to reply a lady “sparking” in I-haff-tould-yau-awreday type of accent—inside yellow Danfo bus o—with a forced Queens English. He was a comedian in all the roles.

I could sense the pretty fair lady behind me was suddenly and mysteriously very quiet and I had no idea why. She has a very “distinct” Hannah Montana kind of laughter so I noticed when she stopped contributing to the comedy on wheels. Just when she was beginning to feel glaringly uncomfortable which coincided with the moment I turned to her, she blurted out that she needed to pee. My question was answered. Waiting for her was never a problem since the bus wasn’t moving anyway, the problem was that she wore a trouser and the area wasn’t secluded. She got down and moved to a corner—a corner very visible to all—where she squatted and did her business, with confidence, much to the surprise of onlookers. Only God knows what they saw because I think I looked away, firmly holding on to the lesson though: when you’re out of options, say pressed, endeavour to locate chutzpah.

Screwdriver made the bus so alive throughout. I was marvelled by the way he spoke and his sound reasoning. I later found out he resulted to “conducting” and other menial jobs when he couldn’t get a job after he graduated; a revelation that underscores the national unemployment problems and made me quiver within for everyone in his shoes. My own dey my body.

Some hold-ups are just so frustrating; you’ll lose your temper and then look for it again yourself, else you’ll start behaving like a demented rhesus monkey. A journey of forty-five minutes or less took five hours plus; enough time to travel from Lagos to Kwara by bus and still prepare beans take an hour nap upon arrival. It was however interesting, insightful, and revealing.

If I may add, I’ll suggest a talent hunt in buses. 🙂 *just saying. . . just saying*

Adewoyin Joseph || @Jossef69
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