Until you hear my story

I live the life of a classic Lagos hustler; up at 4 a.m., out of the house an hour later to beat traffic, get to work by 6:45 and the day goes on till 5:45 when I’m on the move again to get home by 10 p.m.  A good part of the day is spent communicating with strangers and inhaling exhaust fumes with trepidation. It’s the hustling creed. This isn’t my flow.

In all the hustle, for the life of me, I still haven’t gotten a grasp of why people in Lagos are so disgruntled. I just don’t get it! I mean, we’re in this together (even if it’s at different scales, hustling is hustling) and I – for one – don’t go about biting everybody on the road. Psssst!

Yesterday, I was trekking a little distance between the bus I got off  and where I’d get the next. It was crazily rowdy; the kind of rowdy where there is only a little space for the next foot to fill. I was walking carefully seen that there were tons of disgruntled humans around me and snap! I stepped on this man! I hadn’t taken the next breath when he started in the typical Lagos disgruntled pedestrian way:

“You no dey see? ehn? your eye dey pain you? Naso all of you go dey form stupid sisi, you no go dey look where you dey go. Abeg comot for here!”

And with that, he stormed off.

Please note that I didn’t step on him like I was trying to put out a fire on his foot or kill a monstrously huge bug, it was a little tap. Why the violence?

I just trudged away. I didn’t need that kind of stress.

I got to the next bus, the conductor is chanting;

“If you no get change no enter o! I dey talk am now o”

The disgruntled lot filed in.

While the conductor was collecting all the money, he was adding interjections after every person’s payment. They ranged from “I go marry una today, you no gimme change, I marry you with anoda pesin” to “una never know the kain conductor wey I be, shebi you no hear say make you bring change”.

Not one person said a word. Till he got to her.

She gave him 200 naira for a 100 naira fare. He said “Na you I go marry first” and at that instant, the volcano erupted!

“You are mad! Very mad! Better give me my change now if you don’t want to see trouble! Nonsense! Nah you go marry pesin wey no get work. Na you go marry stupid pesin. Idiot! Foolish man……yan yan yan yan yan yan yan”

SIGH!

We all gaped at her. Even in our respective disgruntlement, this was a first.

She went on and on till an elderly man in the bus could take it no more.

He ventured:

“Aunty,  it’s okay! He did not say he would marry you, he meant he would pair you up with someone else who is collecting change so you can find where to split the money yourself”

To which she replied:

“Daddy please, please leave me. That’s how they say it and mean something else. Why didn’t he say that in english ehn?! I’ve been quarter to getting married three times, one stupid joke like this will happen and the marriage will be off and you say it’s ok? It’s not o! It’s not! Just leave me let me react, because you won’t understand, you can never ever understand, until you hear my story”

But why? :(

To Breathe or Not to?

At the beginning of the year – two months after I got my first job after University – I said to myself; “Konko, you don’t have a life anymore! You really need to get your act together and do things that make you happy”

Some one month after that thought popped in my mind, I wrote down a list of all the things I was interest in. Things that seemingly brought light to my eyes. Then I set out to draw a plan to do them.

One month and two weeks later, I migrated from my old WordPress blog and bought my domain name. I wanted to start again, learn to breathe between all the hustle and bustle of being an adult, and be able to keep track of it. To have the opportunity to look back at when I started this site and read all the many posts that’ll make up the journey. The journey towards being able to juggle my life between my job and the different elements that make me me and having a fun life.

It is about seven months after that first thought. I’m still here, doing a poor job at juggling anything and seemingly getting comfortable with it.

Shall I really breathe?

My not-so-typical morning

There are a few things I cannot stand; a poorly done TV ad, badly voiced radio jingles, clammy sweaty bodies rubbing against me… Sheesh! They are many! But dirty hands touching me; that stands apart! Nothing irks me as much as that. I randomly catch myself chanting “Oh please don’t touch me, don’t reach to shake my hand…” in my mind. No, I’m not a snob. I just much-too-often pop my body parts (fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders… I’m flexible, yes?) in my mouth to while away time and my body already generates enough germs, I definitely don’t want yours! That’s my excuse.

On my way to work every morning, I walk down this path; there’s always an average of ten men scattered around with little distances between them. I used to think they were the bus conductors but apparently not so. They’re spectators. They stand there with pipes  in their mouths (You do know I mean cheap cigarettes there), puffing out smoke and giving satisfactory nods to species of the feminine gender well rounded in the appropriate places as they pass by.

Life happened, and slowly there was a paradigm shift from spectators to commentators/gropers. And so every morning, as I walk by, I’m bombarded with chants of “Hey segzy, I laik de way you wok…” or “Fine gehl, gimme your number na” whilst dodging from the littlest bit of contact between the scummy hands and my body. (Remember my excuse, I’m not a snob 😐 )

I had a rough morning today, and even before I got to the dreaded path, I knew I was in no mood for it.  I decided to plug my ears in advance. As I walked along, I heard nothing, saw nothing and felt nothing. It was working after all. And then suddenly, this guy just walks up to me and yanks my ear phones out and says “Ahn ahn, sister, we dey talk to you now, why you no wan answer”. I’m chanting inwardly “Breathe in, breathe out, don’t lose it” and the final straw! HE GRABS MY HAND!!!

NO! NO! NO! There was no way I would let that pass! I grabbed shirt and started yelling things I don’t remember now. All the rest of the spectators-turned-commenting-gropers came around and appeased me saying “We know this aunty, she no get wahala, sister no vex” I calm down and continue on my journey.

I had passed a message (even if it was just in my mind) because truth is after he grabbed me, I yelped a weak “Limme!” and hurriedly scurried away whilst they laughed behind :(

Now I’m in my seat, seething and picturing all the things I could have said and done to guarantee my safety, walking down that path. I’m really seething. :(

There is someone I used to know;

She had even the most trivial of things planned out.

 

Things change.

Life happens.

 

These days, she lives in the moment.

Where uncertainty ridicules her every move.

 

I miss the old me.