I was standing at the bus stop this morning waiting for a danfo bus to Obalende. I was looking off into the distance and practising reading conductors’ lips when I got lucky. This one was calling Obalende. I was standing off to one side at the bus stop, away from most of the crowd, and so I had a small advantage. I hopped off the sidewalk and went to meet the bus before it stopped. The bus looked full, so I knew there was just one seat left.
But then I noticed that this last remaining seat was one of those pull-out ones, right beside the door of the bus. And this seat looked shaky. I've seen people fall off seats just like this one in moving danfos, so you can understand my hesitation.
‘You no dey enter?’ the conductor growled.
I shook my head. ‘This your seat ehn…’
‘The seat dey good, enter.’
I glanced at the people at the bus stop eyeing me, ready to pounce on the seat I was considering rejecting. Then I remembered how long I had to stand most days before finding a bus to Obalende. I took a breath and got into the bus. I perched on the seat, careful not to put my full weight on it. The conductor climbed on, covering the doorway with his body, his feet on the ledge as he held on to the roof of the bus, and the bus eased into the road. My hope at that point was that one of the passengers would shout ‘o wa’ and get off at a bus stop soon. As it turned out, this did not happen for a while. Moments later the traffic eased and we were speeding down the express road, and this was where my troubles really began.
You see, I was wearing a wig. And though I’d been wearing wigs for some time and had grown used to them, every wig wearer knows the anxiety that lurks at the back of your mind when you imagine the various ways that your ‘hair’ can be separated from your head without warning. Like, you could be coming down from a danfo and a lock of hair could get snagged on the door or on some random shard of metal protruding from the roof, and then your head will be exposed. You could be riding on an okada with a helmet on, and then when you alight and take off the helmet to return it your wig comes off along with said helmet and your ‘true self’ is revealed. You could be riding in a danfo with open doors, sitting on that outermost seat, like I was, the wind whipping your face and your ear rings, one hand struggling to hold on to your bags on your thighs and the other holding on to the seat in front of you so you don’t fall off when the bus takes the next curve in the road, and then the wind blows your wig right off your head and into the face of the person behind you. Or worse, the wind blows your wig out the bus and onto the windshield of a poor driver who did nothing at all to deserve any of this.
With every second that the wind buffeted my face and head I felt a growing certainty that it would take my wig. And so I found myself presented with a choice.
With one hand I was holding on to my bags, which were resting on my thighs and held my laptop and wallet and random valuables. It was a no-brainer; I needed all this stuff so I couldn't let go. With my other hand, I was holding on to the seat in front of me, to reduce my chances of falling off the bus every time we reached a roundabout or a bend in the road. But, and here was my dilemma, I had the option of letting go of the seat and using this other hand to hold on to my wig.
My people, after careful consideration I chose to let go of the seat that was probably saving my life and hold my hair in place.
But wait, before you say I’m vain. Believe me, I promise and cross my heart sef, I chose this option only because of the poor person sitting behind me who did not wake up this morning expecting to get a faceful of fake hair, and for the sake of the even poorer driver behind us who might be so shocked by the unexpected wig in his windscreen he might swerve off the road and die.