What have I gotten myself into this time…
My thoughts trailed off as the motorcycle I was riding on missed a car by sheer luck; not,more than two inches. It was like that heart stopping moment when you pull off the ‘near miss’ stunt in Need For Speed, only that this wasn’t exhilarating. I was freaking scared, and angry and every other thing in-between. I was indeed having the worst Friday ever, and the realization that my bones weren’t broken yet or I wasn’t sprawled on the floor, surrounded by wailing women and arguing men eluded me. I had simply done what I routinely do; choosing a bike ride home instead of getting stuck in that darn traffic.
A few hours earlier, I had gone to make a transaction at the Skye Bank branch in Ogba. Thanks to the new traffic law in Lagos and the ban on commercial motorcycles. Getting a tricycle ride from where I was to Omole Phase 1 shouldn’t be a big deal. Unfortunately, I wanted to get some groceries at Oasis bakery on WEMPCO road and a bike was the perfect means of transport. My route was covered by the ban and there began the bad news.
I sure as hell wasn’t going to walk there in the sweltering heat and I wasn’t gonna pass up the stuff I wanted to get at Oasis so I took a gamble and hailed a tricycle (imagine how corny that sounds). In the end we settled on N350 because I had to pay for the remaining seats and we were going off the normal route. This was way more than I would have paid for a bike. What the hell were they thinking? In my mind, I could picture government officials saying, “Shut up, we are in a better position to know what’s good for you and do it. Didn’t you all vote for us to think for you? Right there and then, I ‘sheped‘ for the government for having the temerity to inflict this stress on the masses.
Gone were the days when you could sleep a few more minutes (precious minutes) because you knew a bike would get you past the rush hour traffic in the morning. Gone were the days when you didn’t have to leave two hours earlier to keep an appointment because a bike would get you there in 30 minutes. I thought Lagos was a crazy city with all the bikes speeding around and hustling both motorists and pedestrians off the road. Now it seemed its an even crazier place without them on most of the routes in the city. I was even beginning to miss those ‘aboki’ motorcyclists.
As a result of the stress I had already gone through that Friday, I decided to avoid traffic on my way home. I hate being stuck in traffic on a hill. Worse still, the hawkers don’t sell anything edible – except if you consider rat poison to be palatable. So I hopped on a bike – fortunately, they were not banned on my route home because I live in the Lagos-Ogun axis.
Turns out that was my biggest mistake of the day.
Before we miraculously escaped being hit by that car – which was a fault of the stupid rider, I was almost thrown off when he sped over a speed bump like he was executing a stunt with a mountain bike. “Oga easy now,” I said and he apologised. And with that apology came the strong smell of alcohol, made possible by the wind.
I almost freaked out, drunk driving had taken it’s toll on some people I know and I wasn’t about to join them because of one drunk cyclist. Heck no. But I calmed down and hoped that I would make it home in one piece. “Oga, when I said you should take me home, I meant the earthly one. You’re riding like you intend to drop me at the gates of heaven o.” I gently reprimanded him, “Bros, home na home o,” he joked.
Not too long after, he recklessly rounded a bend and we almost had another accident. Now it’s like I’m paying this dude to get me killed. Enough of this nonsense; I was so annoyed that I landed the rider a knock that would have made my headmaster proud.
Hell was let loose; we screamed, we argued, we traded insults and the bike became a drama series on wheels. People stopped to look at two men, rider and ‘ridee’ shouting at the top of their voices. I threatened not to pay, he threatened to beat me up and I threatened to strangle him from behind. He stopped and we argued some more, people came to watch and settle the issue after we screamed ourselves hoarse.Thankfully, I got home safely. I couldn’t believe I went through all that madness within 15 minutes. When they asked how my day was, I simply said, “Buy me a car first and I’ll tell you how it went”