Photo Credits – Google
I moved the car forward a few inches and stopped again, then shifted the gear to park and relaxed. Traffic was horrendous and all I wanted to do was put my head down somewhere cool and sleep. Yesterday’s late night social media frenzy was back to haunt me big time and were it not for the lure of cash I would have stayed in bed at home. My pocket, however, has other plans, so here I am behind the wheel, hustling.
The guy in the back had given his destination as Lekki Phase 1 ages ago, but we were still at Ikeja along. I checked the dashboard clock to confirm that we’d been stuck in pretty much the same place for over twenty minutes.
“It’s the BRT construction that’s causing the wahala. This place is normally free by this time of the day,” said guy commented.
“Hmm,” I acquiesced, nodding slowly.
“I’m telling you the truth,” he pressed on. “Before, passing through this place by this time of the day doesn’t take more than five minutes, a breeze. Our prayer is that the work is not abandoned sha, you know how Nigeria is.”
Again I just nodded.
The guy had been trying to start a conversation with me ever since I picked him up at Egbeda. On numerous occasions, I’ve come across people online complaining about their taxi drivers having severe cases of oral diarrhea, but in my own case, it has always been the passengers who won’t just allow me to be. Male o, female o, once they enter the car like this the next thing is to start talking as if I had ‘Gist Me’ painted on my shiny forehead.
The car in front of me moved a few inches and I shifted to close the gap.
“So how did you become an Uber driver?”
“Here we go again,” I groaned inwardly, rolling my proverbial eyes. “Can somebody shoot me already?”
“You’re the first female Uber driver I’ve come across in my entire life, so I’d love to know.”
I hazarded a quick glance at ‘Mister inquisitive’ with the aid of my rear view mirror. Thankfully he was focused on his phone and didn’t catch me evaluating him. He looked thirtyish, clean, and was dressed well enough to indicate he had a reasonable source of income. A part of my mind debated whether he ran his own business or was just one of the regular white collar guys on vacation, but I didn’t draw any conclusions.
I was just thinking about the tale to spin for him when the car in front of me started up and moved again and I spent the next five minutes maneuvering to the edge of the bumpy road. With some aggressive driving and bouncing we managed to wriggle free of the encumbrance and once I got back on the Expressway I switched on the radio, tuned it to SoundCity FM and stepped on the accelerator.
Mister passenger wasn’t going to give up that easily.
“I like how you drive, fast and confident, not like a woman at all,” he chirped. “Where did you learn?”
I answered him by increasing the volume of the radio. I don’t know what went through his mind, but I think he realized the futility of trying to outshout a Tuface who had just been disappointed by Amaka and decided to let me be. I didn’t let up on the volume till we got to Lekki.
His trip was N2,900.
“You can keep the change,” he said with a huge smile as he handed me three not-so-clean one thousand naira notes.
“Thank you,” I responded, keeping my voice even. One would have thought he was dashing me a wad of cash and not one hundred naira.
I waited for him to close the door after he exited the car, only for him to get out, bend down and whisper.
“My name is Chidi, can I…”
Knowing what was coming, I rushed him.
“Sophia, pleased to make your acquaintance. Now please shut the door, I have to hurry.”
In his confusion he did, and I moved off.
He was still gazing at my car as I turned the corner.
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