Ok, I’m back from a rather hectic and somewhat emotionally tasking weekend. I have a lot of things to go on about, so expect a lot from me this week.
Onyeka Takes on LASTMA and Evil Lagos Gutters
Now, it’s been officially a month that I’ve been cruising the streets of Lagos in ‘my car’. And while I’ve had a few issues… I never saw myself jamming those yellow-clothed retards anytime soon. Cue: Darkman. After waking up early to scout for gifts for him (it’s costing me physical and financial stress… the financial I can handle, the physical? Not so much!) We met up at CMS to go catch a movie. He suggested going to the drycleaners.
And it all went wrong from there.
First of all, I said let’s go to VI and do everything there. So, we tried to leave the bendy, confusing roads of Broad Street. He said I should enter a turning. I did. I knew something was wrong the INSTANT I did. A bus was coming our way and blocked us, while flashing his headlights. Darkman wondered why the guy wouldn’t use his own lane. I slowed down, and the words formed in my throat: “Are you sure this road isn’t one-way?”
It never came out. What did come out however, was a LASTMA guy. From NOWHERE. To my absolute horror, he climbed in. I was speechless. I had forgotten to pin down when Darkman had entered minutes ago. At that point I became mute. Didn’t say a word, while Darkman tried to argue with the guy, pleading that we had gotten lost. I reversed out of the street, but at the last minute he said I should take some funny road, and so, I had to engage in some funny manoeuvring. The more the guy spoke, the ANGRIER I got. Angry, because the ‘One-Way’ Sign was facing the wrong way, so that, you would only see it if you ENTERED the street and looked back. Angry because, I would have never taken that road, but I assumed Darkman knew where he was going. Angry because it was going to waste our time and burn my fuel.
So, naturally, my driving temporarily became rubbish. I was reversing badly and I hit a pick up at my back. I was also blocking traffic. And I didn’t care. Darkman saw I was in no mood to be criticized and told me to relax. LASTMA guy told me I should let him drive and I very rudely told him I wasn’t letting him touch my steering. The guy frowned and asked me what I said, and I told him again. Darkman re-phrased it to sound nicer. We perambulated Lagos Island – at one point, a danfo partially scratched my side, jerk – till we got to their office, at which point we parked outside and the guy decided to ‘help us out’ by only asking us to pay N22,500. I almost laughed at that sum. Darkman and the guy argued in Yoruba for almost 20 mins and finally we parked somewhere further away, and he told me the guy won’t come down from 10k. At this point I was just SO amused.
I was like yeah whatever. We agreed to split it 50/50, cos it wasn’t like it was really his fault, and I would have felt bad making him pay the bulk. After he paid the guy, he came in and sat next to me. There was silence for a while, and I felt like I ought to have been livid.
Instead I was fighting the urge to laugh. And that annoyed me more. I told him. And he said he felt so guilty. I just sighed, started playing Robin Thick on the radio, and got moving.
We decided to go to the cleaners’ around there after all. But then he changed his mind and we started winding and turning the streets of Lagos Island again. I had drifted into a better mood and we were talking when …
The car sank with a dramatic and heart-stopping thump. I panicked and looked out the window. I had entered an open gutter that stretched right across the road. Someone had thought it wise to remove most of the cement slabs covering it, leaving about 3 or 4 for cars to drive precariously on. I hadn’t seen it, and now the front left wheel was buried in a large pool of soapy water. I couldn’t believe it. And neither could Darkman. Luckily it was a very busy street and once again we were blocking traffic, so a few guys came out to help lift the car. Problem was, every time I tried to move, the wheel sent a spray of dirty soap water everywhere. Tired, I finally got out and let Darkman take the wheel.
We got out. But not before half drenching about 6 guys. And realising my speedometer had decided to stop working. Later on, Darkman asked me if I had prayed that morning. We went to VI, wasted so much time at the Cleaners’ we missed the movie. Then had a horrible lunch at Munchies. The day ended badly after that. I couldn’t believe it. I could have just gone to Agbara and slept. Sigh.
I woke up yesterday morning, reflected over the previous day and felt the anger I should have felt. So much that I couldn’t sleep. I decided to drive back to Agbara. At eight am. Just to kill the distraction.
I ‘m over it now. But I swear, if I see another LASTMA guy…