Where did we stop?
Oh!.. I remember, I started introducing you to the Lagos I know and I’ve come to love. So, let’s continue…
In my first week in Lagos, I met a personality that set me on the path of falling in love with Lagos irrevocably. This personality is none other than the infamous Danfo Conductor.
For an average Lagosian, “Danfo” is the major means of transportation. You see people wake up as early as 4:00am just to catch a Danfo, because meeting deadlines or getting to work in the metropolis of Lagos, is dependent on it. You can actually spend the whole day boarding one Danfo to another without getting bored. This is because you are sure to meet another average Lagosian like yourself, who will spice up the journey and make it an interesting one.
If you don’t have an “over-sabi” clerk in the bus who is hell bent on letting the whole world know how much the government is failing in its responsibilities, you will see the petty trader going to Oshodi who is ready to recount all her financial woes to whoever is ready to listen, or you meet that Ibo Pastor who will sing a Yoruba song using his Calabar accent. It’s rare to board a silent bus in fact, it’s almost non existent because when everything fails in making the journey a loud one, a wailing infant will disrupt the peace of the bus. All this being said, there are two constant personalities in every Danfo: The driver and the conductor.
You see these conductor guys, they are one set of unique men. The experience of any Danfo journey is largely reliant on the specie of conductor in it. Therefore let me run you through some of the many types I have met:
- The Violent Species : Woe betide anyone who isn’t familiar with his or her bus stop in this kind of Danfo, because your conductor isn’t ready to help out. If he calls your bus stop once and you are slow to reply or your voice isn’t audible, then you might miss your stop and it’s over to the next stop. He picks fight over little or nothing. You better don’t haggle prices with him or try to set him right because he’s sure to turn it into a fight. Mere looking at him, you will see the barely concealed anger!
2.The Rude Species: These ones are similar to the violent conductors, in that, they can also be violent but sometimes you meet some members of these category who aren’t violent. The most peculiar thing to this ones is “insult”. If you don’t have a tough skin and you board a Danfo with this category of conductor, then you are in for a bumpy ride because you can’t be right with them. They will find something wrong in the way you boarded the Danfo, they will see something wrong in your sitting position. If you are fleshy, they will accuse you of sitting in a space meant for two. If you are slim, then you are undernourished. The beautiful thing about this specie of conductor is that when they aren’t directing the insult at you, it is often an interesting sight to behold but never pray to be the object of their insults.
- The Flirts: I love this ones because ladies like myself actually benefit from these ones. They are a sucker for beautiful ladies. Regardless of how grumpy and violent they naturally are, immediately they see a fine “gel”, their tense muscles automatically becomes relaxed. As a lady, if you know your way well, you can get the ride for little or nothing. Unfortunately, if you are a guy and you are unlucky to be sitting next to the conductor’s object of interest, then you are in for it. As a lady, if you know your way well, you can get the ride for little or nothing.
- The Crooks: These ones use their violent nature to cover for their dirty tricks. Pray that whenever you meet these category of conductor, you have the exact fare with you because they have the tendency of holding on to passengers change until you forget. They are fond of sayings like “Mo ma fun yin Mama” (I will give you ma), “Wetin dey do you, I talk say I go give you una change na” (Stop pestering me, I will ensure I give you your change before you disembark)or “Cool down na, at least we never reach your bus stop.” ( Be calm, at least we are yet to get to your stop.) I particularly abhor these ones even more than the violent ones because I’ve been a victim of their tricks many a times.
- The Humane: My favorite guy; they actually speak to every passenger sanely. They help the aged settle into the Danfo and even help them when they want to disembark. They handle the goods of traders with care. Funny though, this specie is very rare.
I know if you’ve ever used public transport in the Lagos metropolis, you will definitely have encountered at least one of the aforementioned. Well if you’ve never tried Danfo, Pls do and you might just be lucky to meet a specie different from all I’ve mentioned. SEE YOU NEXT FRIDAY
Your nerdy girl,
Danfo. – An Eighteen Seater bus that serves as the major means of public transport in Lagos, Nigeria.
Calabar – An ethnic group in the eastern part of Nigeria.
Oshodi. – One of the busiest part of Lagos, Nigeria.
Lagosian – A slang used in categorizing residents of Lagos