I am running late to work today, for some reason, my alarm didn’t notify me. As I stand at the bus stop, I contemplate between taking a motorcycle to work or braving the traffic. I chose the latter, as I see a bus conductor shouting the fare at a cheaper rate. Like the proper Lagos girl I am, I clutch my bag properly and fight my way onto the bus.
Luckily, I secured a seat close to the window. I won’t have to be squashed between people this morning. I bring out my phone so I can message work I will be coming late. I think of an excuse. Should I say I had a minor accident or I’m sick. I couldn’t decide.
As I think of what to write, the conductor started shouting; “Your money o! Give me change, I no wan hear story for the gods. We neva waka far, you fit come down”.
A passenger replied to him: “Conductor, but you didn’t ask anyone to carry change before we boarded your bus.”
“Ha! First of all, abeg I take God beg you. I no be conductor, I be Mr Voyager.”
The whole bus was thrown into laughter with some passengers finding the Mr Voyager moniker ridiculous. The conductor, not wanting to be ignored, gave hilarious tales of why conductor was not adequate enough to capture his experience with roads.
Did we know, he has done it since he was a boy and have trained two boys to the university with it? He can walk around most cities in Nigeria with his eyes closed. Ministers and governors have been his passengers in the past.
He claimed a certain governor knew he would become one, after mediating between two passengers in his bus, therefore, discovering his talent for leadership.
As he was still collecting the fare, a passenger asked him to make it free for her, and he replied: “No o! This is not a government bus, no subsidy for anybody”.
When another passenger asked for her balance, he cautioned her to be patient and gave her a comical quiz to answer before giving her. However, no one on the bus knows how many spoonfuls of water are in a bowl of pap. We tried and came up with different answers, while Mr voyager suggested we phone a friend or use different lifelines. The traffic outside of the bus is a different world to us now. We have important questions to answer. Does he mean the entire liquid or the water separate from the pap?
As I alight from the bus, I’m smiling. I had good laughs. I never expected to enjoy time with strangers squashed in a bus. We may never see each other again, we may have to cry before the day ends but Mr Voyager gave us many reasons to laugh and enjoy the moments. As I run to my workplace, I realise I haven’t sent the message explaining my tardiness. I burst out laughing as I imagine what Mr Voyager would say.
*While this is a comical fictional story, the accident picture is in honour of the people who lost their lives in the tanker explosion that occurred in Lagos last week Wednesday (30/1/2019). May their souls rest in peace. If you are Nigerian reading this, please vote for people who can provide decent roads at the very least.