I insulted an old man today.
It’s not in my character. My mama raised me better, but there, I did it.
In my defence, I did not know he was an elderly man before I insulted him – and you can read this to mean it would have been okay if he was young lol. Weak defence maybe, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Here’s what happened: I am on Eko Bridge in Lagos, heading towards the Island. I’m on the lane closest to the edge, moving fast enough, minding my business. Then the car in the lane next to mine decides it’s time to switch lanes. He’s drifting so close that in a quick second I imagine the impact, how badly the side of my car will be dented and whether I’d fall off the bridge. I get that sinking feeling in my tummy that comes with fear fuelled by adrenaline. I’m honking like a maniac, and once he corrects himself and we are side by side, I reflexively ‘give him five’. My eyes meet his and I see he’s older than my daddy, dressed humbly with an elderly lady who may be his Iyawo sitting beside him. I immediately feel like crap, and I should. All he did was try to switch lanes without looking in his mirrors – and maybe cause an accident – and next thing someone is disrespecting him on what should have been a cool Sunday evening. Please if your uncle got insulted on Eko Bridge around 6pm on Sunday evening by one youngish looking boyish girl with short hair and blue glasses, tell him I said I’m sorry.
For the next few minutes, while processing my shame, I fell that I need to do some sort of penance. I wish I could find him and apologise. I decid that to make up for it, I’d go for a week without cursing at anyone on the road – not even under my breath. Or maybe 21 days, considering how long they say it takes to form a habit. Hopefully, if I can go without mouthing off for that long in spite of the madness on Lagos roads, I’d be done with road rage forever. With my plan finalised, I get to my destination without incident.
On the return leg of my trip, however, I was not so lucky.
The mind is a powerful thing. While driving back, it crosses my mind to make sure I’m not out of airtime so I can call a friend in case I have an accident. Thankfully I’m not. I decide not to take the Apongbon route cos I recently read about a spot that bursts tyres, and the unfriendly boys there. I opt for Third Mainland Bridge as it seems like the less dodgy option at this point. Driving down Kingsway road, I flirt with the idea of grabbing some Glover Court suya and masa, but quickly decide it’s wiser to ignore my longathroat and get home as soon as I can as the day is far spent. Again I’m going on my way, minding my business, heading towards 3MB when some guy in a car I wish I had noted its plates, drives like a maniac to catch up with another driver. In what looks like a special level of road insanity, he stops abruptly. Slowing down, I will him to carry his wahala and go, and then it happens.
The impact sends me forward, and my car comes to a halt at an awkward angle right at the concrete barricade. Apparently the guy behind me did not realise there was a need for him to slow down, and he rams right into the back of my car. In a few seconds, the cause of the accident speeds off. Thankfully the position of my seat protects me from whiplash – another thought I’ve nursed recently. After a minute of just sitting in my car and wondering what the hell just happened, I come out to assess the damage. The six male occupants of the other car as also standing by the side of the road. Their car is worse off – significantly squashed with with dark oil running across the road. In the middle of the madness, a guy across the road screams from the dark that we can catch the main culprit ahead, as he has stopped again – apparently to continue his fight. The other driver breaks into a run to go get him and when one of his passengers stupidly asks me if I was on the phone, I quietly head back into my car and lock my doors. I try my car, it doesn’t start and I’m at a loss for what to do. I call my friend whose house is closest to the spot to come rescue me. After some more damage inspection, picture snapping and some tinkering under the hood, my car starts and I’m able to move it to allow the other car move out of the way. Motorists slow down to gawk. Some bellow their consolation. Others sing ‘you don hit my car’. In trying to figure out what to do, the other driver suggests we may ‘just have to beg ourselves’. Soon enough my help comes. My friend arrives, takes charge of the situation. We get what we need to process insurance, and safely leave the scene, leaving the other driver with a car that wouldn’t start.
I couldn’t help but wonder whether this was my punishment for being rude to Papa earlier. But I had repented from my wrongdoing, yes? And if I have been punished, do I still do penance? Have I atoned for my sin? Can I continue cursing bad drivers now? Just kidding. I know God is more merciful than that. LOL. Still I wondered – maybe I shouldn’t have taken this route; maybe I should have gone to buy that suya. That way I wouldn’t have been on the road with the culprit at that time. Maybe this, maybe that.
The most annoying bit of all this is that the cause of the entire thing got away. So again, please if you know some guy who was acting a fool and driving like a proper idiot on the road beside Osborne Foreshore Estate in Ikoyi leading up to Third Mainland Bridge around 8:30 pm on Sunday night, tell him he owes two people for the damage to their cars, and if he continues to drive drunk – whether drunk with alcohol or with anger, one day one day (repeated deliberately), he will ‘jam the one that pass his power.’
(And to my friend who helped me – Thank you!)