These mad streets

by Kay Omar

I don’t know why but I often feel like I’m the only one with a Blackberry on every public bus I get on.

Of course that’s not true. Sometimes, I get to see a fellow BB addict, but for the most part I find that I am the only one “using” a BB in a danfo.

What are you doing with BB on a danfo? If you use a Smartphone you should have your own car – note to self!

I have often thought about getting a car but – and it is a good but – at least in my mind.

First of all, I can afford a bb and monthly subscription, but not a car. With my income I can afford a “tuke-tuke” aka jalopy aka the kind of car that will get you flagged down not just by potential passengers who would mistake you for a “kabu-kabu” but also by a hungry policeman or VIO official  looking to make some dough from your obvious road-unworthiness.

Another reason why I am not in a hurry to buy a car – and this is the major reason – is Lagos traffic.

On my work/home route it is murder, or like they say “e dey tie wrapper”. Like 12 yards of wrapper too!

In a public bus, if worse comes to worst, you could easily get down and take a bike or “leg” it. Of course legging it could be dangerous, especially at night, but after sometime you develop primal instincts that tell you to flee at the approach of questionable shadows.

Be that as it may, by legging it (ok, walking the rest of the way home) you actually stand a chance of getting home before nightfall or midnight.

But if you had your own car or were in a private car as a passenger, you would have no choice but to sit out the traffic. This sometimes may mean spending the entire night on the road. Just imagine that it is a weekday and you had to go to work the next day. This would mean getting home around 4am and having time only for a shower and change before you head back to work through the equally grueling morning traffic.

If you take the option of leaving your car behind to leg or bike it… well, that should not be an option unless you stole the car.

I really would love to buy my own car. Being a passenger in traffic can be exhausting – having to sit down for a long time in a stuffy bus with the noise of beeping car horns, enduring the numbness in my buttocks and then, the spontaneous quarrels that arise from such frustrating circumstances. Still, being a driver is far more trying experience.

Having to press on one foot pedal after another in such quick succession that you face a risk of muscle cramps in your legs not to talk of blisters on your foot and then, you are always on the alert waiting to effect a hard twist on the steering wheel that would help maneuver your car into a space so tight that even the slimmest pedestrian would only manage to squeeze past, and doing this in the most daredevil way unique only to Lagos drivers.

Also, there is the constant altercation and “flying” insults when someone almost brushes your car which is surpassed only by the actual drama that occurs if the person succeeds.  All this wahala is backed by a symphony of tooting horns of course!

The madness that is Lagos traffic!

Therefore, forced to face it, I choose to do so as a supporting actor (passenger) or even a bit player, than as one of the leads in this Mad Opera.

Till some sanity is breathed onto Lagos roads – and yes, I don’t know how long this would take, and it may not be in my youth – I would prefer to continue enduring the imagined looks I get for being the only one using a bb in a danfo.

Comments (3)

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  2. Just so you know Karl I feel the exact same way.. You just articulated my thoughts.. I couldn't stop nodding to every sentence read. Do you have more articles or a blog? Please send me the link if you do. Very Nice

  3. Hehehe…so funny..buh true!!dou u exaguratd a bit in a bid to drive om d messg!
    Rily cool dou..I sumtyms feel dat way too..when am twittn or pingin from a bus!
    Nyc sha!

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