Pauline didn’t consider herself an ajebo (i.e. genteel) neither did she look down her nose when others engaged in unsavoury activities like spitting out of a moving car, digging for gold or blatantly adjusting underwear in full public glare (with the sagging and low cut jeans awash on the streets she doesn’t even consider that an issue any longer!). Her first encounter with a commercial motorcycle (a.k.a. okada) left an indelible mark on her and made this mode of transportation essential only in the direst of situations. Certainly she also only preferred relatively short distances, but like she had come to learn there was always a first time for anything! A recent stint in a remote location had introduced her to longer distances than she had ever journeyed on a two-wheeler.
She had been regaled with tales of friends, acquaintances and absolute strangers crossing the notorious third mainland bridge and other great distances on commercial motorcycles. She was yet to taste this and knew it would only be embarked upon when it became the most and ONLY prudent thing to do. This was also not a thought she relished either!
The fateful day finally arrived when she would join the more hardy commuters of the city of excellence. This elite sect comprised of members of either gender that didn’t blink an eye when they had to ditch more comfortable forms of transportation in order to make deadlines for meetings, deliveries and the like. In this instance, Pauline had concluded her business during the peak of rush hour traffic and found herself inevitably stuck. She immediately jumped on the first okada that she struck a deal with. She had to review her plans when the destination was attained and because traffic was inordinately bad and interestingly it included crossing IBB Bridge. Pauline was relieved because she just crossed to Oyingbo and technically she really didn’t have to traverse the entire length of the longest bridge in Africa.
Her adventures that day were not at an end since the traffic conditions on the mainland were worsened by the rain, thereby wrecking havoc for all and sundry. At Oyingbo the only vehicles on the move were those returning to Lagos island, the others were packed with passengers and lined up waiting for movement to take place. The conditions reminded her of the movie, ‘The greatest American traffic jam’ she had watched years ago. Not one for standing on one spot and to find out if conditions ahead were more favourable, Pauline decided to start walking…
To cut a very long trek short…she ended up at Alagomeji. On a good day if you were to ask whether she would consider walking this distance (i.e. Oyingbo to Alagomeji) she’d think you were crazy! In reality she trekked it in starts and stops, carrying her laptop (that increasingly got heavier by the minute!), whilst a light drizzle wet her to the skin. Lady luck finally smiled and provided another motorcycle that completed her journey and dropped her off a minute’s walk from home. The first thing she did when she got inside was to take off the back-pack and make provision for a hot beverage and bath. Having done justice to both, she hit the sack and went out like a light.
Pauline got almost more than she bargained for with her two-in-one adventure…a crossing of the infamous bridge and a memorable trek to last her a lifetime! Life certainly has a way of giving some things no holds barred…even when you don’t ask, think, desire or believe you need it!