I happened to be traveling from Oyo back to my place some weeks ago and was at the bus stop, waiting for the bus to get fully loaded so that I might be on my way. During my time there, waiting for ten (10) other passengers to take their seats, I had lots of encounters and experiences to recount. I could group these encounters by the persons that brought about them and into the following categories..
1. The Hawkers
We are all familiar with these people. They’ll bring all sorts of wares to you and start sweet-mouthing you and sugar-coating them so that you’ll just purchase at least a thing from them. They will cling to you like Hausa perfume (forgive me) and never stop advertising in your ears like mosquitoes (forgive me, again) even after you’ve asked them to stop. They sell ranging from ‘pure water’, plantain chips, perfume, drinks and all. I was even surprised when I saw one trying to make me buy his ‘suya’.. Imagine, suya on a hot afternoon? That man must be silently praying for my death in some parts of his heart.
The thing with the hawkers is, there is no monopoly when it comes to a certain ware. There would be like five people selling a particular thing and all would want you to buy from them. Just too tough a decision to make. You’ll scream for “Popcorn” then twenty of popcorn sellers would come. You’ll buy from one and others would start holding you ransom with the talks of “Oga I came here first na”, “Shey you wee not buy from me also ni”, “Oga shey I should bring some?”. Man gats get strong mind. These people can sway you.
2. ‘The Tax Collectors’
I didn’t want to sound so rude. These are those that’ll come to you and start praying prayers that even your grandma has never prayed for you before. They’ll pray so much, you’ll think that they are Bishops or Popes. You all like to call them beggars, I call them what you see above. They’ll linger over you for some minutes and if you’re unresponsive, my dear, they’ll move on. No Time. You’re bad for business niyen.
Some of them, and I mean those that sing that “Babiyanla” song, don’t even know their real talents. Their voice, even without beat, is sweeter than that of Wizkid and Davido combined. Their acapella is the best mehn. Sometimes (God forgive me), I wait for them to sing this sweet music to my ears for a time before I bless them with the little the good LORD has blessed me also with (Somebody say Halleluyah). All they need is a good producer. Omo, they’ll go International.
Sometimes I pity them. Other times I don’t. Depends on my mood. Depends on whether my bladder is full or not. And it depends on my pocket. I won’t pay ‘tax’ and forget to pay my bus fares. Those drivers would use my face for slapping practice.
Let’s move on.
3. The Gentle Passengers.
I’m scared of these ones the most. They’ll just be looking forward like they’re seeing into the future. They’ll never laugh at jokes nor turn sideways to even look at the person beside them. I even sometimes try to stylishly look at them up and down to establish that they’re not carrying a bomb or anything (I’m too young to die jare). The ones that scare me most here are those that’ll now be pressing their phones all through. Even when the car starts to somersault, they’ll still be with the phone. They’ll do things like zombies. They won’t sleep throughout the journey, they’ll be looking like the second born of Mama Fish. I’m tired of them already.
4. The Talkative Passengers.
These types are the worst kind of people on earth. You won’t ask them question, and they’ll start talking. They’ll make you wish human beings came with a “Mute Function”. Before the 3-hour ride is over, you can basically tell where they live, the year they got married, number of kids, home address, ATM PIN (I lied), and even phone number. They just can’t stop talking. Maybe they weren’t created with the special ‘machine’ that enables shutting up when necessary. Maybe. But there’s an upside – They’ll always make you laugh.
5. The Drivers.
These ones are the craziest. You’ll see some, gentle at face, but when they speak, you’ll think Godzilla speaks through them. You won’t even be able to count the teeth of some. Some would have got their teeth equaled to their complexion, blackened by cigar. They’ll stay at the back, drinking and smoking while the bus gets loaded, ordering the conductor back and forth and be feeling like Aburo Dangote, owner of the “Danfo Industry”. I just look at them and I shake my head. Then they mount the vehicle and settle behind the steering like driving is some super power then start to punish the road from their drinkings.
The funniest thing about them is that nearly all, if not all, of them have nicknames. Like, ‘Opebe’, ‘Obeke’, ‘Ejo Gbongbonran’, ‘Otalantolo’, ‘Small’, ‘Agbara’, ‘Itu’, “Ekute’.
Sometimes I wonder if they got to choose those nicknames themselves or if it was forced on them. If they chose it themselves, then I believe the cigar is blackening something more important than their teeth.
6. The Insulters.
Eewo.. I can hear some of you say that. I always pray three prayers before entering a bus. “Lord, don’t let the road use me for lunch”, “Lord, don’t let a big car jam us”, “Lord, don’t let me sit beside an insulter”. See, if you sit beside them, pray again not to get in their trouble. You’ll cry for the rest of the journey, I promise you. Even my driver wey dey form James Bond cried when this mama finished with him, so who are you not to cry? Ehn, tell me.
They’ll carefully analyze you. They’ll tell you all what has been the problems in your family. They’ll tell you how your tie looks like a cutlass. They’ll remind you that your forehead would have made a better drawing board back in primary school. In short, they’ll make your eyes start competing with Ikogosi Warm Spring on which one can bring forth the most water. By the time they’re over with you, the whole bus would have been flooded with your tears. Even others would cry for you, aswear.
So again, I beg you, identify them and don’t get them angry.
I believe I’ve enlightened you enough. Feel free to add others in the comment section. For now, bye.
Once again, Bonsoir (I don’t really know what that means)