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”
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.
“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”