Pardonnez-Moi

May 26th, 2016.

The time is 8.45pm.

Its been one of those ‘Ugh, can you just be over?!’ days, and standing at this park with no hopes of transportation home, it looks as though relief is far.

Finally, a bike*.

I hope on (at twice the normal rate), and we’re off.

The bumps in the road, the traffic and the noise do absolutely nothing to help my mood. I’m sitting there, seething, gritting my teeth and just wanting to be in my bed.

Bad maneuver on the driver’s part, and with hit a particularly deep pothole. I’m jostled so hard my teeth rattle, and my head hurts a whole lot more.

All my irritation bubbles over, and I yell “Oga! Wetin?! Abeg! na on top iron I sidown, stop all this action film wey you dey do! (Sir! What is this? Please! I’m sitting down on an iron rod, stop this action film you’re acting!).

I snarl this out, kiss my teeth, and return to the seething, muttering to myself about all these drivers sef, and complaining about life.

The driver slows down, parks, and says two sentences. “Madam, you for just talk say you sidown on top iron. Don’t insult me on my sweat, please”. (Madam, you should have just said you were sitting on an iron bar…)

That shut me up.

On the one hand, I was being pissy and sassy, seething about I’m the one sitting on the iron, and I’m gonna pay. On the other hand, I’m well and truly chastened.

It struck me then that just because I had a sucky day, I had absolutely no right to be rude or impolite to this man who, like me, is just looking for his next meal. Why are my troubles more relevant than his? They aren’t. Am I more stressed or under more pressure than he is? Probably not.

The rest of the journey, I was ashamed of myself.

I came down from the bike, paid, and apologized.

Needless to say, I’m faaaarrrrr more cautious now.

*Bike: In Lagos and other parts of Nigeria, motorcycles are a form of transportation. They are popularly called ‘Okada’