Some people just must make their irritation known, even though for the most trivial and absolutely unworthy-of-a-fuss reason. I suppose we’re meant to understand it as their ‘person’ and not dally on their rebuke; not even let it interest, let alone shock us. But I simply cannot acquaint myself with my coexistence, with that sort; its right to ‘be’ without question, and so, once in a while when I’m in the company of such one, I shake my head in disbelief.
Sitting in the keke maruwa (the infamous Lagos tricycle) being borne to my designated bus stop in the early hours of the night with nothing to engage with my mind but the busy Lagos road (my copy of Soyinka’s Ibadan: The Penkelemes Years was secure in my backpack, the arriving darkness proofing discouragement for any reading), I was the perfect sitting duck of such an experience. And it was quite the comic one. What happened was very normal…well, normal in the Nigerian sense that means ‘everyone does it’: out of impatience for the traffic congestion, and quite frankly, attitude, the young man who was rider of the tricycle I was on chose to forsake his lane and go the opposite lane. This was a successful move, one that even pleased the fatigued me slouched in the backseat, until we came heads on with a sedan. This, too, was perfectly normal, expected even, and the rider proofed himself adept, crawling into a tiny corner to allow He Who Legally Owned the Lane plenty of space to exercise his right.
But He Who Legally Owned the Lane must have been a sort of Mandela, for he paused a bit to yell a few rude words to my rider. I had no problem with this, in fact, it impressed me immensely, and my rider, who was probably wise enough to recognize that the other man was within his rights, kept mute. But a fellow from within the tricycle was obviously very unpleased with this, for he took it upon himself, the 40-some-years old man (or perhaps he only looked as old), to reply the car owner in the most obnoxious and enthusiastic way I had witnessed in the past week. And he took it overboard…long after the car owner had driven off, Mr Agbejoro (representative), who, funnily, had an immensely tiny voice, still yelled curses like ‘foolish man!’ and ‘idiot!’.
What could I have done than laugh within, even though my face was like a grotesque mask of disbelief plus shock…? When a fellow passenger got off, and our ‘protestant friend’ came to take the seat beside me, he almost let himself loose on another driver, I think a bus driver this time. I looked his way, perhaps for the millionth time since the first event, and the look on his face made me decide that he was simply, undoubtedly a troublemaker.
I still have to grasp why some people are naturals…