Oshodi, going bus! Oshodi, going bus! The bus conductor called out with enthusiasm. Sure of what I wanted yet for the marketing that appealed to my senses, I ditched my dream and boarded the white-ish bus. I was thinking, you shouldn’t be doing this, but the marketing had hit the spot: “going” meant quick, speedy and less likelihood of the usual frequent bus stops. Besides, what did a fancy dream matter when reality had a different testimony?
Yes, this faithful evening –about 6 hours ago, I was heading to my home on the mainland from Lekki. Haven known the pain of 5:00pm island-mainland traffic, I had immersed my imagination in the dream of going home in a comfortable, or at least, conducive vehicle that would serve me the delight of breezing through the roads haven left Lekki in ample time to be ahead of traffic. I hurried my activities and was at the bus-stop just in time to board a vehicle that’ll have the barest chance to make my dream come true. Knowing time was close to 5:00 pm, I said a prayer and hoped for that heart-lifting vehicle.
Not long, a rusted metal box with rectangular openings for windows rode by on its four wheels and I heard the conductor call out my destination. One look at it and I went, NAH! I wasn’t going to go through the terror of journeying in this, not today, not again: if possible.
I took a second look at the metal box and thought, hmm…well, what if? Just then the conductor announced, “going bus! Oshodi, going bus!”, my ear tingled at the resonance of this line with my desire to be home before the moon owns the sky. I was reminded, “this is not what you prayed for”, then the thought, “with a little wait what you dreamed and prayed for will be before you”.
Errr… true, maybe.
I thought: Yeah, I wanted and still want that, but this is a going bus, it’s not my dream but it’s got some specifications. I’m not sure of what’s to come but this I can see before me.
The demon you know is better than the angel you don’t know. Right?
And half cup is better than none. Uhn?
Get your full cup, even if it’s a smaller sized one, it’s a waste of chance to settle for halves.
So, I dashed my dream for the rusted metal box and found a preferred sit in the so-called bus. Few minutes into the journey, the heat under my feet propels them about the space, searching for a somewhat cool spot before settling for the warmth the bus floor generously provided. The driver seemed to move the vehicle with more caution than usual, I began to get concerned. I was able to wave it off and be positive about the ride.
That was till the bus-box got parked at a bus stop and the engine coughed with each ignition, refusing to kick. I beheld smoke from the wheel area and vapour from beneath the front seat which was raised. Ah!!! I imagined fire and mentally planned my escape in case of any contingency. Surprisingly calm, yet with irritation, the driver ordered the conductor to get water. These guys took twenty minutes to fill their water tank. The vehicles behind us drove pass, calling out our destination to potential passengers. I imagined that with a little wait, like those vehicles, I would have been ahead of “going bus”, breezing through in the sort of vehicle I hoped for. “Sharp-sharp” without wisdom was just senseless.
After filling the tank, the engine kicks into motion and we’re on the road… yaaayyyy!!!
The ride is a bit fun, “going bus” driver proves himself by taking routes that cut traffic. He managed to get the bus on a one-way lane, maneuvering his way while his bus was a stone’s throw from the police crew. Joker! They stopped him and I knew we were doomed, why didn’t we all take the cue to alight the bus when the water tank drama happened? As I watched, I saw the bus driver turn dumb, he was suddenly orally impaired and could only utter one-syllable words like “hi, ha, tyre”. He was afflicted with a tied-tongue so much that he had to gesticulate to express himself. The policemen gave attention, piteously examining evidence of his explanation, I struggled hard to hold my laughter, “going bus” driver was an excellent actor, I was amazed. Apparently, playing mute is an escape ticket from road authorities.
He was pardoned and continued his drive, laughing and joking just as he got ahead of the policemen. The bus resumed the excited chattering and laughter of tired, yet momentarily carefree Nigerians. My hope rose with each road progress we made. Then the bus came to halt —on third mainland bridge!
My first time of being stranded on the bridge. The experience wasn’t funny. Again, “going bus” needed some more water and the reserved one didn’t do. There was no water source nearby, no one was willing to jump down to get us some water from the generous ocean, we were officially STRANDED.
The epiphany was still being processed by my mental faculty when smart, sharp-sharp, actor bus driver instructed the conductor to beg for water from passing cars, so he did. We got water and had a peaceful journey onward but I couldn’t help but think, all these could have been avoided.
“Going bus” cut corners and proved smart but steady vehicle must have gotten to my destination ahead of us: in pleasant condition.
Next time I’d give wisdom better audience. I hope.