Monday, September 25, 2006

An Experiment

In the last three weeks I have transported myself to work atop an okada (variously known as "machine", achaba, boda-boda, "bike" - depending on what part of the world you are in). It takes me less than fifteen minutes to get to work, which means I can afford to watch the clock sneak up on eight before I dash out. But last week - Tuesday or so - I had an accident. I lost some skin on my palm, ankle, and knees, lost a hanky to bloodstains, and lost a cherished pair of trousers to the impact of the friction that accompanied my sliding on tar. I had to go back home to change my trousers, and I have endured the pains of my injuries for a week now. Sadly, not many people paid me any attention when the accident happened. I concluded that this "nonchallance" was attributable to the following:

1) A more serious accident had occured just before mine, on the other side of the road at Adeolu Odeku junction, Victoria Island -- which produced at least one badly dented automobile.

2) The accident involving me happened "in the twinkle of an eye"; or better still, "like a thief in the night". It happened too fast for even me to realise; one moment I was balanced atop a bike, the next moment I was sliding on the tarred road, and the next I was up again, checking my "expensive" wrist watch for damage, and then, yeah, of course, counting my teeth, my heartbeat(s), my bones.

3) This is Lagos.

I'm thankful to God that I didn't sustain any major injuries - okada accidents kill and maim countless lives all across Nigeria everyday - the riders are often reckless, ignorant of basic traffic rules, and many times dead-drunk! No helmets, no common-sense.

Back to the meat of my story. This morning I decided to stop taking okada to work, and endure the less convenient bus transportation. I left home at 7a.m, and got to the office at 8:15. You can calculate the difference between okada and bus: ONE whole hour. I was quite pissed off as I got into the office this morning. The Ikoyi/Victoria Island traffic jams are hellish, too many cars and so little road - and so little driving ethics/sense too...

...meanwhile, on a bike, there you are slicing through the narrow alleys between the posh-and-not-so-posh aut'mobiles sardined as far as the eyes can see...Tomorrow, I intend continuing my bus experiment, I'll leave at 6:30, hopefully I'll evade the jam before it spreads itself on the bread... but to be honest, nothing beats the good ol' bike... Nothing!

3 comments:

Ayoola said...

Oh, my dear! Sorry about your accident, bro. Well, I've always been afraid of okadas and motorbikes in general.

Aside from your accident though, your post was funny as heck!!

So how are you finding this "roach race"? As challenging as I am? You should see me praying to God everyday for help in retaining my focus and my sanity!

K.O. said...

oh my. sorry about ur accident. Terrible terrible okada chums. those things kill peeps faster than mosquitos these days. well, i still go on them anyways.

i only like the island on sundays. its a semi-hell hole in there y'know... but it flows some really good milk n honey.

cheer! blog on!!

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