Being a good person is hard enough already and it takes quite the good will that is firm as alloy to not succumb, a will so firm and pious that you patiently wait at the red light, tapping the steering wheel rhythmically while watching one or two (or three… oh look, a fourth and fifth) motorists drive ever so casually past your vehicle.
One of those motorists even gave you a “what point are you trying to prove, oversabi!” look as they drove by, while you (in your ‘oversabi’ glory) patiently watched the traffic light timer count down from 90 seconds to zero before doing the right thing; obeying the traffic light.
But all that is just the easy part of being a good person, for it is the moment you obey the green traffic light and make to continue your journey, that one born-of-woman leech gets right under your skin by timing their vehicle’s crash into yours well enough to leave the right brake lights shattered and the surrounding body with a dent so bad… humph!
No amount of melanin toughens you up for this bit of misbehaviour from someone who should know better than to run the lights and into your (treasured) vehicle. Given, there are the rare few who would sigh and shake their head at the accident and simply drive off without argument. These rare species are the kind the human race need to draw blood from and make some sort of stupidity vaccine which would ultimately make ‘common sense’ exactly what it should be; common, and greatly suppress what obtains otherwise.
For the rest of the human race who are not endowed with the DNA of societal piety, there are two things involved. They would either make their best William Somerset impression and try resolving the matter without need for a scuffle, or simply go “f*** this!” and lose their temper in classic David Mills style [re: “Se7en”].
If you stroll down the Somerset path, you will be very alright eventually (however upsetting the erring party makes you). If you tread down the Mills lane though, it is most likely… no, it is inevitable you will end up constituting a nuisance directly in the lives of hundreds and indirectly in the lives of thousands more in an unsavoury ripple effect.
Found myself on the fairer side of one such unsavoury ripple effect one Thursday night along St. Finbarr’s road, no thanks to one of those typically atypical Lagos traffic jams that usually seem would last till the seven-headed monster materialises from the Book of Revelations.
My side of the road (was heading towards University of Lagos) moved slowly and – despite having to cope with subconsciously suicidal Nigerians crossing the road in a manner.. along with stunt riders disguised as commercial motorcyclists whizzing by like only they existed on the roads – surely forward.
After a few minutes of snailing forward, there it was. The cause of Akoka’s entry to the mythical Most Annoying Traffic Jam of the Day contest came in view and it was rather heart wrenching and IQ draining, devoid of sensible reasoning and oozing of repugnance worse than the stench (a compliment to the level of smell) that greets motorists plying the Berger/Ojota area. Yes, the stench from THAT refuse dump where all refuse dumps in Lagos State seem to end up.
A Danfo bus…
… and most times, the above phrase is enough. It is usually a summary of the misery Lagos motorists have lived through before getting home (late), getting to work (late), or arriving at the venue of a meeting or an owambe (late), or just treading the “f*** this!” path and quitting the journey altogether (because, too late or angry or both and some).
Anyway, a Danfo bus and a Toyota Camry were ‘parked’ side-by-side due to one of the vehicles (take a wild guess which) hitting the other. But passing by these vehicles, it was difficult to see any major (or, indeed, minor) damage done as a result of the hit but then again, my vision is not 20/20 and it was past dusk at the time.
But the following were clearer than Chelsea’s signing of Radamel Falcao being unwise. The Danfo and the Camry were static on a narrow two-lane road. The driver/owner of the Camry was stood in front of the Danfo, making angry gestures while making a call. The Danfo driver was seated in the bus, a bemused countenance on him.
Most importantly however, a nightmarish, fuel scarcity-like queue of vehicles had now developed from the St. Finbarr’s School gate, through the Unilag junction, all the way to the Underground Bakery (which is still running, not so fine but we’ll manage) area; and the jam only stopped there because some motorists had ‘lost patience’ and turned to make their way through an alternate route.
As a result of these few motorists turning on such a narrow St. Finbarr’s road; and one could only make such turns at one or two points of the road because of the divider splitting the road, those headed towards Unilag and beyond ‘struggle for road’ with these ‘turners’. There was also one randy Danfo bus heading towards Bariga that had faced oncoming traffic and taken up a lane at the point he stopped to rejoin the proper lane he should have been on.
WHY IN THE REALM OF COMMON SENSE COULD THE TWO NOT MAKE WAY BY PROPERLY PARKING THEIR VEHICLES BY THE ROADSIDE SO OTHER MOTORISTS WITH PLACES TO GO AND PEOPLE TO SEE/MEET COULD GO ON WITH THEIR JOURNEYS UNDISTURBED?!
All that shenanigans, conundrum and ‘disma pisma’ could have been avoided however, if the Camry driver/owner and danfo bus driver/owner were not ‘struggling for road’ initially or, having suffered the consequence thereof, applied basic logic eventually by ‘stepping aside’ and be civil about the incident.
, Akoka yato si Manchester.