Fast and Furious

    A gigantic pissing contest! That is the basic summation of the Lagos driving experience. This is in no way a reference to the actual unsavory act of peeing on the roadside. [That is an equally prevalent Lagos tradition, that completely peeves me out and is therefore worth its own separate rant. On that matter only one thing must be said, STOP, but I digress…] Like I was saying, driving in Lagos requires a level of madness I doubt even New York cabbies are yet to reach. But what do I know.
    Being female I readily admit to not having the equipment to win an actual pissing contest, but it is not difficult to doubt my metaphorical pissing potential, which increases with my proximity to the Lagos road. For one thing: Alive is a state of being that I admit to enjoy remaining in. If you observed Lagosians in traffic you would realize that I am in a small minority in this respect. What’s a girl to do?

    Licenses are just handed out to anyone willing to pay the fee; everyone else has to be decidedly faster than the police. Add the fact that road security personnel do not shy away from hinting to outright demanding compensation for their job from random drivers [particularly those of low income or a female persuasion [low income because they fear jail/loss of their goods and females just because!]

    For example: I got hit by a man trying to exit a round-about from the inner lane. We both pulled over to the traffic controllers were station. He proceed to check his car for dents and when he found none he drove away. While he did this, the officers had apparently decided that he was a big man and out of the league [the power of a big car and a nice suit] I on the other hand was wearing sweats so they proceed to ask me,

      “are you coming from the gym?”
      “Can I get to know you better?”
      and “happy Wednesday!” [This is the universal Lagosian phrase for give us money]

    It is no big shocker then that people tend to cross traffic authority whenever possible.

    Seriously, though the best driving advice I ever got was to “drive like you have a brain and everyone else doesn’t!” This would be a cute punch line if it weren’t true. I find myself in a constant battle to defend my right of way.
    Then there is the sexist nature of the Nigerian road. Where by virtue of the Y chromosome you are a good drive. Every time I get behind the wheel I am meet with horror on the face of relatives, so called friends and parking attendants who are sure I need practice even before they see me drive.
    If you really need to be somewhere then leave on time and if you have nowhere to go [and many of you don’t] then let others by. What do you gain every time you move past someone whom you’ll probably never see again? What is that look you give each other and where in the name of testosterone can I learn to give it.

    Don’t get me started on the noise pollution. Any hesitation is met by an onslaught of horns. If you attempt to switch lanes I guarantee a honk, or if you change your mind, or pause or God forbid, obey the traffic signs. That’s why Nigerian cars should be fitted with a honk per minute limit, because someone once said to me,

      “If you are not sure honk for good measure.”
    The noise is doubly confusing because it seems like vehicles compensate for their size through horns. When I first started driving I would swerve out of the way of what I thought was a lorry only for a tiny motorcycle to cruise by.
    Not to rain on earning power of the mentally deranged but I believe that a psych test should be given to anyone who wants to drive an okada. Okada drives are like cockroaches, kill one and another one rises in his place, with seemingly no recollection of his predecessor’s death.
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One thought on “Fast and Furious

  1. Pingback: Joy walker « Yamika's Blog

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