I remember then in secondary school; a senior student would look for a junior student to pick on. He could give the junior N100, and tell him to buy snacks and drinks worth more than the given amount, and ask the junior to return with N50 change. How this junior performs the miracle is not his concern. Whether he would borrow, phone a friend, use his own lunch money, as long as he didn’t want to be punished, he must find a way. To make matters worse, after the junior student has performed signs and wonders to provide the impossible, the senior student will send him out on a journey of no return in search of a book titled “Journey never ends”. Unknowingly to the junior, he would be asked to go to a student in a class far away to ask for this book, and this student, already knowing the scope of the hunt for fool’s gold, will extend the journey by saying the book is with another student in another class. Still on the quest, the junior will make way to search for the ultimate prize which is the book and head down to the next class to find the student who allegedly should possess a copy of the book, and on arrival, that student will also fabricate a story that will leave the location of this book unknown, and leave this poor student overwhelmed, wondering how he fell into the trap of this senior student.
In my own little way, I fell victim to this endless journey. I was heading back home after a long and stressful day, so I decided to take a BRT (Bus rapid transit) that plies my preferred route. Two buses stay at the terminal, one heading to CMS, and the other heading to Oshodi, and they were both parked at their allocated parking spots. I would normally ask to confirm the destination but since it was already my daily routine, I decided to hop in. I chose a sweet, luxurious, window-side seat that was fully air-conditioned so when it’s time to dose off, nothing will stop my shine. I even bought the famous road snack combo, “Gala and drink”, so I could have “something to hold belle” till I got home in time for dinner. Then, I put all my valuables in my bag and assumed my sleeping position. At this point, if anybody had disturbed me, I would not have hesitated to dish out his size. So, I closed my eyes and let the “weather for two” take me away to “La-la land”.
Before I knew it, I opened my eyes to adjust my sitting position, Lo, and Behold,
“Na Third Mainland Bridge be this na”
I took a deep breath and decided to listen to the wise words of the elders
“Abere ona, ko kin shina”
“Person wey ask for direction, no fit lost”
I tapped the lady right in front of me. Not wanting to sound like I was lost or on the wrong bus, I asked with a subtle voice where the last bus stop is, and she replied “Oshodi”. I appreciated her by saying “thank you” but deep in my mind, “Wahala”.
I started asking myself who I could call at a time like this. I began to analyze business problems; Identify the problem, develop the criteria, and execute the action plan. Deep down, my eyes just clearing up from my nap, and finding myself miles away from my destination, I tried not to panic. First off, I had spare change on me so I knew I could not be stranded. Secondly, Oshodi was not familiar but I had heard stories of how you could be extorted in such areas in Lagos, so I switched on my “Street OT”. I squeezed my face, switched on my Pidgin-English, and started to walk aggressively like a soldier. Before anybody will consider approaching and extorting me, he’ll think twice. I asked one or two local transport conductors where I could get the nearest bus to a familiar location, or at least somewhere close to my destination. I got sent left and right, up and down, and even across the red sea, before I could find a bus that eventually took me to Mushin.
On arrival, knowing that I was fully kitted in a dashing suit, it was only normal that people will assume I was a JJC (Johnny just come). I tried getting a direct bike to my destination, and what normally shouldn’t have been more than five hundred to eight hundred Naira, ended up being called for “Two thousand Naira”. At this point, I knew there was no one else to blame but myself. As much as it was a mistake that could be made by anyone, I should’ve confirmed my destination before entering the bus. It would have cost me nothing. If anything, saved me from all the stress and drama.
“In every disappointment, there is an appointment”.
“In every problem, there is an opportunity”.
There is a big lesson to learn from all this. Always prepare for uncertainties. As much as things could go your way, it takes a split second to make a mistake that could alter your whole course of reality. Never feel like you know it all, or everything is guaranteed because nothing truly is. Always hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
Eventually, I got a bus that took me close to my destination, and guess what?
Let’s just say I stopped by the supermarket to pick up a bottle of red wine to relieve myself from all the stress and the hustle and bustle of Lagos.
“The journey of life never ends”.
We only pick up learning points along the way…
Photo reference Oshodi-Lagos-Bus-Interchange-bustop.jpg (686×431) (autojosh.com)