“Oshodi-Cele-Mile 2-Oshodi” I was seated right under his coarse voice as he screamed continuously on top of his voice, the veins standing out prominently in his bid to get more passengers. I decided to stare at something more interesting than the conductor’s dirty boxers peeping out of his tattered shorts. I have always wondered if being dirty and unkempt is also a criteria for becoming a bus conductor.
I feed my eyes with just about every and anything I could see from my position. My eyes took in the woman singing “bottle water, pure water, Lahcarsarah, cold mineral here” in a voice that was oddly sonorous to the young boy who looked just about 15 begging passengers to give him money because he has not eaten all day. My eyes moved on to the KAI officials trying to arrest a man who had failed to use the pedestrian bridge before settling on the visually impaired old woman and her son singing praise and worship in the name of alms begging. Chai!!! The hustle is real. It is a really crazy struggle here in Lagos. Despite the craze however, I remain positive in joining the Lagos hustle but before that let me tell you about a day when my best friend – my mum invited me for a night vigil in her church. I don’t seem to know why but as of late my love for Jesus has tripled, maybe it has something to do with the “holy fall.” Anyways, if you missed that gist, you can read that HERE.
My Dad has the habit of leaving for home right after the grace which most times ends by 2:00am in the morning but my mum prefers to wait till the day breaks. Each time they argued about the merits and demerits of their choices, mum argument is that is not safe to be going around at that time of the day or should I say night while dad would argue that he preferred the comfort of his bed to waiting around in church when he has used all his energy to serve the good Lord. My friend, this is one argument that they never both seem to get tired of because it has been going on for as long as I have known them as my parents and they usually brought it home from church. But then dad always won, it’s just seems like mom didn’t want to give in without putting up an argument was what the quarrel was usually about if you can really call it a quarrel.
We were still residing at Magodo-Isheri then and we were coming from Ikeja this particular day that I had accompanied them. If you know Lagos roads well, you would know we have to pass through Berger under-bridge. We got to Berger around 3:45am when I saw this huge crowd and I was super scared thinking that there was a riot or something. I asked my dad what was happening and this is what he had to say. “Son! This is Lagos for you. These people are off to work and they are only waiting for their respective buses be it staff or public.”
Yup! I had the exact same open mouthed expression you have right now. Who does that? Do this people even sleep? How much are they paid for this stress? They get back probably by 10pm at night, sleep for barely 4 hours, and get up to prepare for another work day by 3:00am in the morning. This is total madness!!! This then means they have no time for themselves, no time for their spouses and kids not to talk about their kids.
I remember one story my best friend told me some time back. She told me about a banker couple who had two kids who were aged four and two years respectively. This couple left home at 4:00am and always came back 4:00pm everyday leaving their kids in the hands of the house help. One day, the husband left as usual but returned around 7:00am to pick up a file he left at home. His kids were seated in the parlour waiting for their school bus and when he opens the door as a normal house owner would, he hears his children screaming and shouting “Aunty!!!… Thief!!! Thief!!!” All efforts by him to calm them down that he is their father proved abortive till the house help came to his rescue. Can you blame those kids? Apparently, they have no idea what their father looks like.
To my kids, I want to be able to work, have fun and time for family and myself but then the Lagos hustle makes it all impossible. You are probably thinking, I should probably just settle somewhere else outside Lagos but don’t we all know Lagos is where it all happens especially for people like me in entertainment. I can’t imagine doing all of my radio/tv/mc/acting stuff somewhere like Ondo – LOL! In all, despite how much I wish I could settle outside Lagos, I might just be – sad right? That’s the kind of life have I chosen. Finally the bus is about to move.
Get similar updates on our posts by joining our BBM Channel via C00396EEB, if you are reading from mobile click: http://pin.bbm.com/C00396EEB