Like many Lagosians, he’d been praying for RAIN, definitely not because he wished to be drenched in or by it, but just so the temperature could be cooler.
He’d begun to distrust the meteorology news that puts temperatures at 30°C mostly, thinking it to be closer to the fifties, an exaggeration maybe to science but like they say in Pidgin English around these parts, “na person wey wear shoe know where e dey pinch”, he’d readily agree to that than the meagre thirty the Mets claim it is.
So when dawn took some time to break this morning he was half pleased seeing it might mean the possibility of rain later in the day. Because he had urgent business to pursue he made to leave early to arrive his destination before the skies opened up.
Interestingly, it never occurred to him to get his umbrella. He was already seated in the bus when it started to rain torrentially, his relief was shortlived as it came to pass that as with many Lagos public buses, he wasn’t totally covered from the rain. Not because the windows couldn’t shut properly (gladly he wasn’t near any of them), but the roof above had a rust with a tiny hole via which rainwater leaked through settling directly on his head making the only escape to mean he would have to slant his had awkwardly with the little space he had in the always jam-packed Lagos public buses, where passengers are packed like fish in tins.
The only respite he got was when the bus was close to his stop with some reluctant passengers alighting at their own stops. Eventually, seeing that the driver won’t have to stay in one position all day in sympathy with his hapless passengers, everyone had to alight and find their way in the unrelenting rain.
There was no point walking into some rain this intense, except one’s life depends on it. So he sought temporary shelter under a bridge till such a time the rain’s intensity subsides enough to allow him walk the next distance to board a bus to his rendezvous to make his appointment.
As usual with spaces under bridges in Lagos (considered by many to be dark spots), replete with people who do menial jobs or nothing at all. These were the usual, while many like him were visiting by reason of the inclement weather and hence on transit.
It was an opportunity for him to catch a glimpse of goings on there. Many of the ‘visitors’ couldn’t stand the stench coming from the legion of hemp-smokers sitting away from the rest of the people cowering for shade, in what seemed like their morning ritual. Males and females made the number.
The ‘regulars’ were also on hand to stake some claim on their ‘BÀBÁ ÌJÈBÚ lucky numbers, hoping that the first rain in a long time may be the much needed muse for a hit.
You could also have your breakfast here as food vendors exploited the opportunity provided by weather to bring this ‘unusual mix’ together for an extended period, enough time to make even the most reticent transiter consider a meal before reembarking on their journey.
He also saw mini groceries with the hawkers making the most of the time and chance by going as far as cutting up pineapples, pawpaws and watermelons into slices one could easily pick with a tiny stick and lounge away at, while waiting for the rain to dissipate in strength.
Drivers and their conductors, already high spliffers, also get their nerves spiked with local and foreign gins and other herbal concoctions and afrodisiacs, thinking to find some space to burn their agro when the rain abates (you could already tell from the explicit banter been exchanged between the male and female potential hookups around).
Ladies who hadn’t bothered to wear under-clothing suddenly became the cynosure of all eyes though most guys made do with sneak peeks.
Though appointments were delayed, even canceled for some yet it became unthinkable at a point to venture outside the safety the space under the bridge provided while the rain pummelled those exposed to it’s wrath.
Eventually, there came remission and though he was happy to leave to make his appointment, he was sad to leave the environment so soon (though checking his watch afterwards, he found he’d spent an hour and a half holed up down there).
He made his way to the Joint where he was to meet the link, an appointment he was already late for, but found she hadn’t come yet. His decision not to call earlier to inform her that he’d be coming late appeared to have paid off.
He was however shattered when he made the call and was told by the link that she overslept, because of the conducive atmosphere for sleep brought about by the rain, that made an attempt at waking up tedious.
Downcast, he made his way back home. Many, indeed are the troubles of a man.