I thought it was just another day of commuting between two towns which were in two different states but I was wrong. It turned out to be a really thought provoking day for me which I soon discovered as the events of that day unfolded.
I hit the bus stop as soon as I was ready and met a throng of bus-thirsty passengers waiting. A bus arrived almost immediately howbeit a rickety one. I still managed to secure a seat but not after fending off other desperate passengers. This I considered a miracle as I would have simply given up on a normal day. That day was definitely not a normal day. The journey started but not after haggling over price with the driver claiming that the fare was higher because of the hike in fuel prices. Yet, (smirk/”yinmu“) he was cajoled into collecting the usual fare.
Not too long into the journey, I began to hear someone’s voice indistinctly but it was loud enough to beat the loud cranking of the bus’ engine. At first, I thought it was one of those petty traders who always sold items in buses but as the bus slowed down to drop a passenger, I could finally make out what the person was saying. It was no petty trader, it was a man who had a headset on, singing aloud, Pray for Me by Dare. To be honest, his voice was just as rickety as the sound of the bus’ engine and he frequently changed his pitch like the path of dragonfly in flight. I began to wonder what could be on his mind. Was he mentally ill? Was he running away from home? He seemed so emotionally attached to the song. I also thought of what could be on the mind of other passengers too. “Elon Musk should sharpally launch neural link so I could hack it to read the minds of others”, I mused mischievously. I also remembered those days as a young chap when I would plan my own fantasy home escape any time my mom spanked me. Las las all na scam! “But”, I thought, “for someone here, that might just be the case”. What was fending for one’s self like? My train of thoughts was then interrupted as the bus suddenly jerked to a stop. We were at a police check point.
After collecting the usual “dues” from our driver, the officer decided to scan through our bus. And boom! Our eyes met but I looked away almost instantaneously. “You! Come down!”, he bellowed. My heart beat increased spontaneously as I remembered the case of young guys that had been killed indiscriminately by police. The evil soundtrack in Yoruba movies and that of those four coffin bearers and dancers started playing in my mind. “Where you dey go and wetin dey your bag?”, he asked with one authority I could not figure out. “I am going to Iwo and it’s just my laptop and clothes”, I replied trying to mask my fear. “ How many phones dey your hand?”, he asked in quick succession. “ Just one sir”, I replied. “Oya open your bag!”, he ordered. After ransacking the bag, he asked again “Wetin you dey use the laptop to do?”. I replied “Graphics Design, sir”, although I almost spurted out “Graph Book” out of fear. He finally let me go and I jumped into the bus as fast I could, grateful that I had not been implicated.
Truth be told, the number of Yahoo boys these days has increased exponentially and almost every street has a Yahoo hub and this has provided desperate police men another means of income by collecting huge sums from suspects without fair investigation.
The rest of the journey was uneventful. The bus arrived at the bus stop and I alighted to the reception of rowdy bike men all with the hope I wanted to take a bike. I began to trek down as the office, where I interned as a graphics designer, was just a few blocks away.
I however noticed something was off today, the bike men at the “okada” stand just before my office was less busy. I overheard that one of the riders had been run over by drunk driver the day before. My heart ripped apart considering the risks these guys face in order to make ends meet and sometimes these ends seem to be parallel – they never meet. The funny thing is that every stylish or successful youth faces risks on the road everyday because of unruly policemen and their “gangs”. I was just lucky to not have fallen into the hands of the deadly guys today. On a normal day, these motorcycle riders would beckon on me every single time I pass if I wanted a ride which I usually ignored or declined. They never relented even though my outward expression showed that they troubled me. Yet, secretly, I loved the attention. Who doesn’t love attention? Every body does.
I arrived at the office, work started as usual. I am grateful for the opportunities I have. I also learnt that despite everyone having the same 24 hours, it means different things for different people. I thought the adventure ended there but it was just about to start; but that is a different story entirely.
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