#3: The One-Way Driver

***

Get out of the car! Get out now!!
I stare at the policeman in disbelief, then start laughing out loud.
I say get out !!

***

15 MINUTES EARLIER

Thanking my lucky stars for getting away from the bus fight without an elbow-blow to my head, I hop off the bus.  There are about 3 buses all calling out for the next bus stop so I am spoiled for choice.  I pat the beads of sweat off my forehead and decide on which of the buses to get on.

Orile fifty naira! Orilie – Orile, fifty-fifty naira!!

The bus conductors beckon, and I depend on my developing instincts to pull me towards the bus that I feel is the safest.  I take the seat next to the driver this time, and another passenger sits next to me. This ride is the shortest of the four daily trips back home. Surely it should be an uneventful one. Right? Right??

The rate at which the driver speeds shows that he wants to beat traffic, and the fact that he wants to take a diversion is another indicator that he doesn’t have time to waste.  He slows down and attempts to take the shortcut, but the passengers discourage him.

“Abeg (please) don’t follow this road, go straight!”
“There is no traffic yet naa, go straight!”

The driver mumbles but hits the accelerator and we take the normal route, driving up the bridge that leads to Orile.  As we descend the bridge, we sight the long queue extending from Orile bus stop, and the driver halts the car.  He cannot tolerate this traffic and quickly seeks a solution.

Immediately behind us and to the right is a one-way street which bends to Eric Moore road and leads back to the shortcut the driver wanted to take earlier.  It’s obvious what is next: he is going to reverse into the one-way street.

At this point in time you must be thinking “Doesn’t this guy know the meaning of one-way?”  Of course he does! We all do, but our interpretation of one-way is slightly different from that of the dictionary…

DICTIONARY’S DEFINITION

a street on which vehicular traffic is allowed to move in only one direction – http://www.thefreedictionary.com

A LAGOSIAN‘S DEFINITION

1. The act of driving against traffic in the same lane as the cars one is driving against. 2. Driving in the opposite direction of a one-way street in order to beat excess traffic.

*straight face*One way street on Eric Moore

The passenger beside me tells the driver to “Just go forward, the traffic is moving”   but their minds are made up.  Several cars speed past us and join the long queue up ahead.  However a taxi and two other buses halt in front of ours. They all must be thinking the same thing our driver and his conductor are thinking: The Great Escape from the building traffic ahead.

The one-way street is a sharp bend, so reversing is tricky. Our driver listens to his assistant “conduct” his movement into the street.  The cars in front of ours follow suit and reverse. Suddenly he gets a burst of confidence and speed – reverses into the bend.  As he does this I think: something isn’t right…

I hear the conductor shouting in Yoruba.  The driver shouts back, stops his speed-reverse and speeds forward instead… I roll my eyes – What is is now?

The Police!   I knew something wasn’t right. Policemen are always stationed at this junction.  Today their van was parked just after the bend so we didn’t see them and fell into their trap!

The cars in front of us have taken off already. One conductor is running as fast as he can, puffing with all the breath he can muster from his weed-fected lungs, but can’t catch up with his bus whose driver is way ahead of us.  Poor guy!

Zoooooom!!!!!  We head towards the traffic we were avoiding in the first place, and as we overtake one of our partners-in-crime, we shout at the driver “You forgot your conductor behind!”  The driver laughs, gives us a thumbs-up and we all race forward.  We’d rather endure 30 minutes of traffic than 5 minutes in the hands of any policeman.

“See?  The traffic is moving, I told you before. We would have left this place since!” The passenger beside me complains again, but we are all pumped by the short burst of action, and everyone excitedly exchanges comments.  This excitement is short-lived because the front passenger door opens and someone is shouting at the passenger sitting next to me.  It’s one of the policemen.  They pursued and caught up with us, thanks to traffic.

“Get out of the car! Get out now!!
I stare at the policeman in disbelief, then start laughing out loud.
I say get out !!

***

The policeman has “arrested” the bus and wants to sit in it so the driver can’t run away.  He makes the passenger beside leave his seat and takes his place.  We observe that they have also picked out the other offending cars from the traffic and are ordering them to open their doors so they can sit inside.  I’m amused by the whole situation but I keep a straight face.  I am now seated between the one-way driver and the policeman.  I update my BBM status and replies start pouring in.  What a day, haha!  😀

The policeman directs the bus through the traffic to their “police station” – a spot where they can charge the driver of his crime and make him “pay” for it.  As we get to the bus stop and the policeman alights to let me pass through, I half-hope that the driver will speed off.  But he’s obedient this time, and as soon as the bus is empty, the policeman gets back in.  Behind him are the other offending vehicles, each with a policeman in it.

Shoot.

What happens to them?  I don’t know.  Two more stops, and I’ll be home.  All I want now is to get into a bus without any sort of drama.  But this is Lagos. The drama never ends.

FIN.

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12 thoughts on “#3: The One-Way Driver

  1. Wow…cool…..I could just picture it all in my mind especially the change of gears from reverse at the sight of the cops…..nice….keep on!

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    1. Why, thank you Chris! As much as I’m honoured to receive your comment, I’m humbled by the fact that the blogosphere is filled with immensely wonderful writers (such as yourself) and I am just one among many who are just finding their way here. Thanks for coming by, and I’ll stay out of trouble – hoping it doesn’t find me! 😀

      Like

  2. In Baltimore, I swear the bus drivers play what I refer to as “passenger bowling.” They drive like they want people on their way to their seats–even if it’s a drunk, a druggie, or an old lady–to fall. They take off so soon.

    Like

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