THE WALK THROUGH IWO ROAD
THE WALK THROUGH IWO ROAD
Flexibility, swiftness, stern look, sharp tongue; these are the requisites for making it through Iwo road untouched. And by untouched, I mean uninjured, not robbed. Your legs must move faster than you blink to avoid being pushed, or hit by a crazy driver (note ‘crazy’, not ‘drunk’. These people are crazy liquor or no liquor).
You need to bend, twist; the hawker doesn’t care if the edge of her tray makes straight for your face. If eventually there is a collision – perhaps, your legs moved faster than your optic nerves travelled and you hadn’t mastered flexing your muscles enough to swerve as she hurried towards you; she will call you blind and grab your collar.
Just pay her and leave. Please.
Who is the most uncouth person you have met?
You remember indices, don’t you? Now, uncouthness of the most uncouth person you have met is variable a, a^10 = uncouthness of Iwo road folks, which is to say everyone who is in that sphere because they belong there.
It is easier for you to walk through Iwo road without nail imprints on your wrists; you are a man. But you will be held and pulled. Those boys selling Akube shoes and menswear, conductors shouting one more passenger” when the bus is only half filled will. The stern look and sharp tongue step in here, to ward them off.
Fatima, Bose, Mariam, Sade. I’ve been called these names. I’ve been held against my will till I fought off their grips. The miscreants found me attractive and force is their mother tongue.
Yes, the harassment is utterly infuriating but there’s nothing to do. Recently, I almost slapped a rascal but stopped short because hitting him would depict my level of reasoning parallels with his and his clutching my wrist in the first instance would be submerged by a deluge of rancid mouths justifying the reciprocating beating I got. Because, “why would you hit an area boy!”
You know what I want? A renowned feminist trekking through Iwo road, held, butt-smacked (the scoundrels wouldn’t know her anyway). She might have to figure out how to stop this.
Sensitize Taxi drivers, conductors, and area boys on equal rights and penalty for molestation under law. That would be her solution (or she could surprise me), which is no more useful than threatening to castrate them.
“What do I suggest?”
Leave them be. If there are people you can’t change, it is these rascals. These are men who own their wives, grew up believing that all moving in skirts are for the sole purpose of sex. And you want to wipe that from their brains? Well, good luck with that!
Sometimes it is not people who must be changed, it is one who should understand that life is a crone who won’t grant one all requests. One has to adjust, be more tolerating. As much as this is a guide for you, it is also a self-talk for me. I have wanted a sermonette on this subject since the day I almost slapped that guy.
And oh, add the Niger kids who beg for alms too. You will have to give them money because they seem not to understand that you have a choice in this matter. They will tug at your pant till you give in. The other option is: stern look, sharp tongue. You might need to push them off, but gently. See, just give them Twenty naira and save yourself the drama.
I was at the market today to get a new shirt but bought a pair of shoes after I had entered and exited too many stores to not see my dream shirt. In the bus back home, I sat with three older women; two were obese and refused to stop talking. The third woman couldn’t have been a little older than forty. We made faces with each other, the third woman and I. In that moment, our eyes chatted.
Hers said: Ibadan women sha!
Mine replied: Yeah right.
Then we smiled.
This birthed our short messages: The conductor gave one of the obese women her change, short of ten naira. She complained that he’s so stingy he wouldn’t even buy her a bottle of Pepsi if she asked for one.
Ibadan women sha!
Yesterday, I got the mail that you will be here next week. The IMs still don’t meet your standard of what genuine communication ought to be? It is okay. This forewarn was only necessary.
So dear (youve always wanted me to call you this, I know) master the skills, practice them every morning till you leave Abuja and you’ll be surprised at the good it will do.
It is raining here now. I must go out to read what message the drops have left in the clouds.
THE ATTACHMENT IS AN ILLUSTRATED DESCRIPTION OF MY HOUSE FROM THE CAR PARK IN IBADAN. HASSAN, MY YOUNGER BROTHER MADE THE SKETCHES YESTERDAY EVENING (I GAVE HIM A TIP) AND BECAUSE OF HIM, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIND MY HOUSE WITHOUT SWEATING.
Give my love to your sister, Zahra (oh how I love that name!)
Till we see (which the mere thought of is as exciting as the event itself (should be?).)
- Posted in: NON FICTION