One of the things you won't be told about sleeping on a Sunday night while listening to Bradley Cooper and Gaga's Shallow is that you will be waking to a blaring alarm and the busy Lagos roads on a Monday.
It had rained the previous night. The weather is obviously cold. Take a bike and you will alight with your teeth clattering while your body shivers. So, you take a bus with a mind ready to tackle whatever lurks on the road.
The road is abnormally free. I am still wondering If I slept past Monday into a Tuesday.
The passengers are all calm till a lanky guy dressed in brown chinos, a cream coloured shirt to match and black heavy boots makes his way into the bus to sit by me.
He has his earphones tucked in his ears.
"Yes?" The conductor says in his hoarse voice after a couple of minutes. The young man casts a rather blank gaze at him and continues to listen to whatever was tingling his ears from the speaker of his phone.
"Yes?" uttered by a bus conductor in a Lagos bus is certainly not an affirmation. It's an urging for you to dip your hands in your pocket and pay your fare. Call it an undocumented culture and you won't be far from the truth.
Clearly, the young man was new in town. "You have to tell me to pay and not say yes," he tries to correct the conductor in his Hausa mingled accent. His English is clean and sleek with a lace of that recognizable Hausa smear. It's the way educated northerners speak, I have heard it countless times from the fine broadcasters on NTA, from my friends Muaz and Abdul. Everytime, I hear it, I recognize it.
My gaze stray to his fingers. They are well groomed just about the way our northern brothers would. I have a hidden ability of stating where people originate from by looking at their fingers.
Weird thing, I know but it's true.
"E funmi owo joor," the conductor yells from the corner of the bus where he hangs his plump tall frame like the flag poles you would effortlessly spot at embassies and consulates.
"Excuse me, I will give you. Your bus is tight," Mr Northern brother replies with slight irritation.
Brother Conductor was slightly not going to keep calm without a fight. He cursed and swore in Yoruba and 'Mr Polished Northern Brother' cursed right back in English and Hausa.
The driver, an elderly man had been quiet all the while.
"Him go give you, leave am," he urged his conductor. We ride amidst the passengers murmuring about who was at fault and who wasn't while I was scoring the two 'bus titans.'
"Eko Hotel o wa o," Mr Northern Brother informs the driver. The bus gets to the gate of the popular Eko Hotel, makes an abrupt halt and he alights handing his fare to the conductor.
The conductor has an angry look on his face but I have my scores. There was no point of putting up a fight. If they made an attempt to fight, Mr Nothern brother would grind those tiny toes of the conductor with the sole of this 'caterpillar boots'.
Nothern Brother 1 Vs Conductor 0 .