It’s nearly nine hours into a day whose novelty is slowly wearing off, but it’s still three hours into yours. PHCN in emotionally unstable fashion restores power after another brief hiatus, and like a serial heartbreaker cum perennial flirt, you know that they will go away again, but you bask in the fleeting moments, switching on all the (functioning) bulbs and putting your fan on full spin. Half of your heart wants to tell your neighbour to save his hard-earned petrol, but you remember that he did not have your apartment in mind when he did the wiring, and you shrug as you head downstairs.
It is inevitable; the dying coughs say it all, and
our fears are confirmed. Yes, the bus we boarded
has broken down, and we are all doomed to show
up late at the doors of our homes. From the bitter
argument between driver and conductor, we find
out what happened: the engine had run out of oil,
but they chose to manage.
The spot hurts, and not without good reason. Twice in the space of ten minutes, that corner of my head has made forcible contact with a sharp-edged portion of the bus. Not that the bus is comfortable by any standards, but there is something about this part of the bus that makes it seem like a reservoir for pain. My head was already previously aching from a long day at the slave site I call an office, so the double bump is just perfect. No, I didn’t cause the hurt myself by nodding carelessly to loud music. On the two different occasions, passengers had thought it wise to make unsolicited body contact while boarding the bus, and apparently, an apology is too much to ask for in this big city. Life is too short for that, and besides, you should understand that the one thing on every passenger’s mind is getting home, so courtesy and good manners face suspension like a country’s constitution under a military junta. I am learning. There is still a lot to catch up on around here, but I’ll be fine…. Continue reading →
(Apologies in advance for any errors or distortion in flow. These words will not be edited; such is the spirit of this piece.)
Typical day in this city that aims to sap the soul out of you. The ‘owners’ of the park call out their respective routes like they are reciting mantras, and the citizens stick to the corporate passenger cliché of suits and headsets. I step out in similar gear, but I still feel like an immigrant here, like a sheep in the big city. The lady who sits next to me in my office thinks that I had never heard of Jumia before I got here, and whenever she describes the sights and sounds of this city to me, there is always this “I’m sure you don’t have this in your place” tone in her voice. Her MTN-customer-service accent fails to mask the “h” factor attributed to people in these parts, but that’s a story for another day.