by Emmanuel Osanedum
1. The way the woman at O’jez open-air ‘restaurant’ calls me “My darling” when she’s taking my order of nkwobi.
2. The drive on the 3rd mainland Bridge on Sunday mornings, when there’s no traffic and you’re also not afraid there’ll be any traffic.
3. Sitting down in front of my ‘verandah’ on my busy street, watching little the bustle of life in its most basic, perhaps most pure.
4. The small tingle of triumph I feel when a heated argument with police or ‘LASTMA’ gives way to a warm conversation.
5. The long walk of many of us who can’t find parking space in the premises of Eko Hotel just so we can pay N10000 to listen to Basketmouth crack jokes.
6. When you turn the handle of the water closer and voila! Water’s actually running through and you don’t have to use a bucket to flush.
7. Seeing 4-6 men standing at a vendor stand arguing just like you have read in newspapers and books – and you wonder where they are coming from, and where – if anywhere – they are going to.
8. The sudden appearance of rain after many long hours – days – of scorching sunlight.
9. Finding a friend you haven’t seen for, what 17 years, randomly on the streets and finding out, yeah, he just lives two streets away.
10. Memories of the quintessential Reinhard Bonnke crusade in Ijesha.
11. Standing at the Oshodi bridge (yes, I actually did that) and looking down on the delightful dysfunction of urban planning – I mean, who plans a city like such a drunkard?
12. That taxi driver, or bricklayer or electrician who doesn’t know when to stop talking but who you secretly like to listen to ’cause he weaves a good yarn about the weirdest things.
13. Have you ever taken a bus from Ojodu-Berger bus stop? Some people are travelling out of Lagos, some to Victoria Island. It’s just haywire.
14. Watching the red carpet madness at a film premiere in the Palms while you walk across to see a quiet movie in a different cinema hall.
15. The inevitable crowd of people outside at any concert – energised by the insane hope that somehow, anyhow, they will get an IV or ticket to enter, even though they are penniless.
16. The hustle at the embassy – where, no matter how ‘big a man’ you are, once it’s time to push – you push!
17. Sitting in the drivers seat as you see people sweating at 12 noon crossing the overhead bridge and smiling ’cause you know things can change for them just as they did for you.
Lagos is what you make of it. It can be beautiful. And I doubt I’ll ever leave.