Wednesday, 9 August 2017

LS1 - On Half Tank

Every morning as soon as I hit the road I close my eyes briefly to pray. A much specific, different kind of prayer from the morning 4 a.m./5-ish general prayer. This time I cast and bind reckless okada 'motorcycle' riders and the unavoidable danfo 'yellow' bus drivers who are and will remain the king of Lagos roads, regardless of what Governor Ambode does.

In fact I have 3 critical spots where my heartsong and whisper to Baba God is loudest. Make that 6. First would be CLIMBING the Ojuelegba bridge with steady hands. Second would be MAINTAINING a single parallel lane on the entire stretch of that bridge. Third would be CLIMBING the Kalakuta bridge otherwise known as Mosholashi bridge; you know that one connecting Fadeyi bus stop. And fourth would be what? You guessed right! MAINTAINING a single parallel lane on that bridge, without wavering at the sight and sound of all cars, trucks and tankers (As a driver and as a 'drivee' passenger, my fear for tankers, trucks - all huge vehicles is extreme). Fifth critical prayer spot would be that Ikeja computer village bridge. Goodness me! The white and black, zebra-like pattern on the culvert makes me dizzy and lose focus. I almost rammed into it on a return drive from the office…

Let me hold the last tightly to my chest before you figure out my commute to work J

Anyway so I set out this morning ready to begin my ritual. Normally I would drive through service lane once I burst out from Stadium and link the Ojuelegba bridge after Barracks because I don’t have enough liver to join the express drivers descending Stadium bridge. Today was no different except for one major glitch, TRAFFIC!!! I suppose it is inevitable to live in Lagos and not be held still in one. That Barracks area in particular has gained some notoriety in press. It almost always makes headline with news of one tanker toppling over or something as strange and depressing.

This morning I faced that dread on half tank! AC off because I had no idea how long it was going to take to ease. Windows all up because of fear of being attacked and smartly robbed, yes I have heard it happen in broad daylight. I put my mind to work as we all waited. I thought of all the things my instructor taught me about defensive driving. Could I apply any? Imagine being sandwiched between a long truck and a BRT bus, not knowing which lane to fall into. No shakara on Lagos road mehn. No ‘headstronging’ anywhere. Using your trafficator light won’t cut it for you. You have to look meekly into their eyes - that always paves way. Eyeball to eyeball ‘lo le se’ (only direct eye contact can do it). I wound my glass down, just a bit and begged oga truck driver to let me take position in front of him. A mistake? With every small movement I would feel the truck drag behind me and shake the very core of the ground we drove on. Everything was vibrating. The bridge. My car. My legs. Any small move, tanker will follow. I was tempted to wave at oga tanker driver to keep his distance as we neared a slope. I mean it wasn’t exactly gridlock but switching lanes was impossible! At that moment when oga tanker climbed the slope in preparation to descend, I unhooked my seat belt, unlocked the doors and remained alert…well you can imagine why.

The first breather I got, I switched lanes straight up.

After wasting precious time and battling emotions in traffic(conflicting emotions like if I should park somewhere and jump bus to work or if I should randomly pick up someone who could drive at the bus stop), my DH has agreed and promised to show me an alternate route so wisdom will be profitable to direct me next time.

Till my next #LearnerSeries XoXo