The Travails of a Lagos Commuter

I hate it when it rains in the morning, even more I hate it when it rains in Lagos. I probably would feel different if I had my own car but presently I’m restricted to the nimbleness of my feet and public transportation. This morning is no different and I climb into the bus grateful to be out of the drizzle. I always prefer the window seat, it is my only recourse against smelly passengers. I check my wallet for change, these bus conductors get aggressive when a passenger has only big denominations. Passengers fill the bus gradually as the rain slowly stops and the bus is surrounded by hawkers of cold drinks, recharge cards, snacks, books, beggars and ‘bus station evangelists’. I check my watch, it’s a quarter past seven and I can already see that there’s a traffic jam ahead. I’m going to be late and there’s nothing I can do about it.

A group of women who had boarded the bus suddenly get off, one of them has forgotten something. I hiss in frustration wishing the circumstances were different when I hear a loud voice beside me.
“In the morning, early in the morning, in the morning, I will rise and praise the Lord!”
One of the disadvantages of the window seat is that hawkers and bus station evangelists virtually shout into your ears totally unconcerned by your reproving looks. The ‘evangelists’ are even more annoying because they can stay at your side for as long as it takes for the bus to fill up. As always I sigh and try to ignore the man but it’s especially difficult this morning when I’m anxious about being late.
“Recharge card! Recharge card!”
“God will take away every shame from your life if only you can trust him!”
My phone beeps. It’s Ekene my colleague at work.
Dude where are you? Unit meeting’s today!
I groan inwardly, I have totally forgotten about the meeting. When will this bus move?
Praise the Lord, oh sing oh sing oh…”
I can’t take it anymore, I slam the window shut. I need some peace and quiet now. I can feel the man’s eyes on me, he’s probably cursing me straight to hell but I could care less. I reply Ekene:
I’m still far off. Bus ain’t yet full. Traffic ahead.
Finally, the bus gets full and I can hardly contain my impatience when the woman next to me says:
“Uncle please shift”
I look at my arm on the window frame and then back at her. “There’s no space” I tell her simply.
“This place is tight, consider other people!” she says coldly then hisses.
I look at her and decide to be silent, she’s a plump woman and my response would shatter her self-esteem. The ‘evangelist’ is standing at the window in front of me now.
“You will go to the bottomless pit in the lake of fire if you don’t repent!” he says agitatedly.
Finally the driver cranks up the engine and we set off. I sigh again slightly relieved, when I hear another voice behind me.
“Let every living soul shout hallelujah! Let us pray…”
We’ve just joined the queue of the traffic jam, its going to be a long sermon. I rub my temples in frustration then plug in my earpiece. What a morning!

5 Replies to “The Travails of a Lagos Commuter”

  1. Those bus evangelists are just a pain especially in the early hours of the morning&they just don’t know when to stop. *crying*. I love the way you put everyday occurrences into writing.

    View Comment

Please Leave A Comment, Let Me Know What You Think About This!