LAGOS DIARY #5 (end of season 1)

Everyone who commutes in Lagos can testify to how incredibly tiring it is to see the same yellow, blue and red buses but we don’t have much of a choice as our wallets determine our mode of transport, which is why I was excited to see a different bus at Jibowu last week. It was like a shorter white version of mfm buses (those tall ones that look like American school buses), I wasted no time entering it and I was more pleased to see that the seats were spacious, 3 on the right side ,two on the left and the aisle was vacant. I sat at the very back (as usual) between an old man and two young men that were lapping, I was content thinking that finally after a week of standing sardines and loud drivers, this trip will be peaceful and free. I should have known that nothing is ever as it seems in Lagos, when all the seats were filled I expected the driver to get in and zoom off only for me to hear him continue calling passengers, murmurs began “where you wan put them? You get space for roof?” Like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, the driver brought out one cushioned custom-made stool that fit perfectly in the space between the seats and the aisle, one after the other he brought them out as passengers  continued to enter and soon enough the aisle was occupied. People in the bus teased the driver endlessly but he paid them no mind as he shut the door and started driving. Yet again, I thought this would be where my entry ends but lasgidi must represent. It was time to collect the fare, usually drivers with no conductors ask you to pass the money forward but one of the passengers on the aisle volunteered to collect, jittery and clumsily he started collecting, all the while messing up change and amounts. The laughter came When the substitute conductor asked a woman for her fare which he had collected before and the woman (standard Lagos madam) said “how many times I go give you money? Abi you never put your own money join am?” , the sub answered “I just want to be sure” , the woman asked “how many sure you wan sure?”, someone in the bus answered “two-sure”*.

The driver is Mr. Tunde, the sub is Lekan, the woman is Iya Tolu.    They are your everyday corporate hustlers.                                              They intrigued me.

* two-sure is a term used by  baba-ijebu (lottery) players.

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