Yesterday was one of those good days where I just want to conquer the world. Now, I’m not a morning person, but you know I’m in a damn chirpy mood when I successfully bathe, dress up, compose a love letter and still have time to take a gazillion pictures courtesy of my shutter-happy mother; all before 8am. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I was wearing a new dress; or perhaps I was projecting the happy birthday mood which actually belonged to my fiancé; or I just simply fell off the right side of the bed. There’s also the possibility that I’ve been finally infected by the contagious virus in our water that gets everybody in my house all revved up by 6 o’clock in the morning!
Anyways, as I was saying –so here I was looking all fly and rushing to meet a 9am appointment in the office. I get to the bus stop and it’s a commuter’s nightmare. I had forgotten that I was in Lasgidi, the city of traffic gridlocks and Agege bread. The vehicles were at a standstill, even the over exuberant keke marwas. As I pondered my doomed fate, I walked past a group of bikers that I had always turned my nose up at in the past –yes, I’m a classic snob for anything that endangers my life besides cholesterol packed fast food. And before you judge me, am I the only Nigerian that has ever thought the difference between bike riders and okada men is that the latter group are a necessary menace, while the former are suicidal ‘bad boys’?
I hastened my pace, until one of the bikers called out “Alhaja, you dey go? Na afternoon you go reach office o” So I paused, weighed the options in my mind, and took two tentative steps back. I scrutinized the machine and its rider as I tried to find some fault, a little glimmer of doubt in this crazy decision I was about to take. In my epic bitter pill moment, I swallowed my pride and hopped on that bike after the rider helped me fasten the helmet. I swear the sound of that machine coming to life is like a dragon waking from deep slumber. Ok, maybe that’s a little too Beowulf theatrical, but I had to literally squeeze my red Prada bag for dear life. We zoomed unto the road and I died.
Oya, stop rolling your eyes at me; what I meant to say is, a part of me died. Something happened to me in those twenty minutes spent swerving and catapulting through the traffic –much to the irritation of stuck passengers and admiration of some guys with a probable biker chick fetish. When I actually had the courage to open my eyes, the fear disappeared. It was like lifting a blanket and I was left in awe as I watched the world speed by me. Gone were the numerous what ifs that included us sliding under a trailer and my helmet catching fire –I was having a Fast and Furious moment and I even had the courage to take a selfie and record a video.
Sadly we reached my destination and I had to give the helmet back and part with four times the normal fare I would have paid for a bus. This was a small price to pay for the gift I received from this adrenalin fuelled experience. What if we took on life more daringly and lived like each day was the last? What if we were more open to the possibilities that life has to offer, instead of missing them due to our close-minded perceptions and unrealistic societal limitations? Could we do the same things differently, or inject more passion into the things we claim to care about? These are the questions that should drive us daily and in the answers, we should find an epiphany. This is the difference between AO’s “I think you should write about it” and Pacheco’s “You rode on a power bike with a complete stranger??!”