man-pass-man street-diary

Man Pass Man

This kind of gist, dem no dey write am o but I will still try. It was real mehn!!!

Hmm, it all started on the 6th of October, 2015, when I entered a bus at Allen, Ikeja by 7:39pm after buying small chops to console my stomach for the long hunger it had endured. I sat on the first row behind the driver and searched my purse for the fifty naira note to complete my transport fare. I had recently learned to carry my exact transport fare after I saw one conductor almost beat up a woman last week. It was like there was this intense allergy to 500 and 1000 naira notes in the air for bus drivers and conductors.

Back to the gist.
The conductor and driver were very aggressive and they had sharp mouth. The conductor vexed for one woman sitting behind me, that her 50 naira was over-washed. My dear, the warri woman just gave it to the guy hot and suddenly the 50 naira seemed to look better in his eyes. One guy wanted to enter the bus and made move to sit beside me. The conductor just blocked him “Na my seat be that”. The guy just humbly went forward (In my mind, I was like, “them dey keep seat for bus again?”). I just kept quiet and kept pressing my phone.

When we got to Mobolaji Bank Anthony Road, there was slight traffic on the road. Cars just jejely formed 3 lanes in impatience. I was even surprised that it was only 3 lanes today. I was still pressing my phone when the guy beside me shouted, and tapped the conductor
“Shift before you break person mirror.”
Apparently while I was pressing my phone, conductor gave up his seat for a passenger and was now hanging at the edge where the door used to be. If you are a Lagosian, you’d understand it better. The bus door was rolled to the side.His finger gripped the edge of the roof of the bus and his leg balanced on the floor of the bus. The bus was in close proximity to a jeep in the second lane and our conductor’s waist nearly hit the jeep’s left mirror. Our conductor had to do a Jackie Chan move to escape the mirror. The owner of the car shouted

“If you touch this car, I would teach you a lesson! You go know say God dey.”

That’s when our bus now hit the man’s mirror o. Ghen Ghen *inserts Nollywood theme music* The man just did Fast and Furious and blocked us. Before anybody could say Jack Robbinson, we heard “kpaaaaaaaaaaa”. Mad slap like this. I saw stars on the driver’s behalf. Silence fell upon everyone, somehow the noise of Lagos seemed far from us. We were shocked. Our noisy driver was suddenly calm and humble. His body went limp. The built, buff, big, (biko help me find synonyms so I can perfectly describe this man for emphasis.) man gave him another slap. Even the conductor was afraid to near the place. Everyone in the bus started begging the big guy o.
“Oga forgive him, please, you know how this guys can be…ejo…please…etc.”
It’s at this point that one dumb ass guy in the bus now started shouting
“Deal with him, teach him a lesson. They don’t know how to behave…” fueling the big guy to continue rehearsing how to kill mosquito on someone’s face (How to kill mosquito for dummies). If not because I don’t like trouble and I am really small, I would have slapped that guy o. You’d think with the tiny grey hair sprouting out of his head, he’d have small sense. Didn’t he want to get to his house today? Who will now take us home if they beat the driver black and blue? I paid complete transport ooooooo and I know these guys have a non return policy in times of crisis.
People started telling him to keep quiet. Explaining that he can scold the driver when the big guy leaves. “Let’s beg the guy first, when he goes, we can now vex for driver.
Next thing we saw, this man grabbed the driver by the neck and smashed his head three times on the bus (ok, that was my imagination). Truth is, the guy grabbed him by the neck and took him to his Toyota Land Cruiser and showed him the damage he had done to the mirror.
“Do you want to sleep in the dungeon tonight? Ehn? Answer me.”
Elderly people came down from the bus to beg the man o before he finally let our driver be. The driver took 5 minutes to regain himself before he was able to enter the road again. He avoided everyone on the road even “keke maruwa” for the fear of being slapped again. Once beaten twice shy.
The conductor wanted to shout at a passenger, she just changed it for him o
“When that man dey beat your guy, your mouth no open. Na true say Man pass Man.”
The conductor just kept quiet.
I feel like the big man was a soldier or something but even if he was just a civilian, he taught me that how you carry yourself is how people will see you. You teach people how to treat you. Passengers called him “oga” and “sir”. For all we know he could have been a driver o but he was a confident man. He exuded power/confidence even in aggression.
What do people see when they look at you?
I’m sure my driver felt he was driving somewhere in the galaxy because that man was really dazed. I got home safe.

PS: I know you’ve never really heard/seen me write like this but Lagos brought out the razzness hidden somewhere inside of me.


11 thoughts on “Man Pass Man” by Einsteinette (@Einsteinette)

  1. Quite a style! I’m just wondering if some terms are appropriate e.g ‘jejely’, when used in the narration, not in dialogue. (Anyone who knows can help me out.)

    I like this sentence: you teach people how to treat you.

    1. Hi Namdi, truth is, you’d hear the weirdest things on the street and this narration is not based on English standards. It is done street style. I also narrate like I am talking which means, “jejely” works because no other English word conveys the message.

  2. i can totally relate! Lagos drivers/conductors na wa! I enjoyed this, I think I’ve read this ur piece on thenakedconvos but still couldn’t resist. Kudos!

    1. Thank you very much…. I’m glad you liked it. The street lifestyle in Lagos is amazing and needs to be documented every once in a while.

  3. @einsteinette writing style works for me perfectly because it works for this particular story…that’s what’s realistic on Lagos roads or streets. It has “Traffic Credibility”

    @namdi as I said “jejely” or whatever words the writer must have coined, works very well for this piece, for me. One can check Ken Saro-Wiwa’s “Sozaboy” and Uzodinma Iweala’s “Beasts of No Nation” for the non-standard English writing style referred to as “Rotten English”

    Kudos to you dear, it looks so real, it feels like I was beside you as you gist (NOT narrate) me.

    You do well o. GBAM!

    1. Glad you liked it.

  4. Hahahahahaha..mehn I laughed thruout dis piece. Yr writing style was mixed wit so much naija was perfect..abeg did one na beta gist

    1. Hehehehehe… Thanks

  5. Oh I like this…. I haven’t read anything that has this much pidgin English influx in it. It was a funny piece and that was intended. I liked the last few sentences. It’s true, however we portray our selves is how anyone especially the people who don’t know us, that’s how they’ll see us!

    1. Truth is, there is always a lesson in every situation, we just have to look closely. Glad you enjoyed it Ufuoma.

  6. I went to Lagos recently; it was my first time, but I saw a lot. I saw a lot of these things you are talking about. I love the message behind the humorous story. Keep it up.

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