I stood at ogba bus stop and watch as pandemonium broke loose when a reckless keke marwa driver collided with another impatient keke driver.
Then this lady, with a bag around her neck and some products in her hands, walked up to my side and held my hand. I looked at her in awe and said I wasn’t interested in whatever it is she was merchandising.
“Bros wait… You don’t even know what I’m selling and you are saying you are not interested” she said with apologia in her voice and countenance.
“I saw your colleagues so I have an idea what you are selling” I said rudely
“ok. Bros are you Yoruba?”
“where are u from?”
“I’m from Lagos”
“how can u be from Lagos and you claim not to be youruba?”
“I was born and bred in lag so that makes me a lagosian by birth”
“OK… I’ve heard you. Do you know Jedi? “
“No I don’t”
She looked at me with disbelief and began to explain.
“Jedi is when you have too much sugar or starch in your system.”
“but I don’t take sugary stuffs. I do more of vegetable and fruits”
“ah… Bros why are u lying na? “
I smiled wryly
“I’m not lying”
“do you take spaghetti or eba?”
“it’s a lie. Everybody takes carbohydrate”
I stared at her. She was beginning feel disappointed and defeated.
“OK.. I have another drug” she brought out another medicine from her bag. “this one cleanses any bacteria in your blood stream”
“I don’t need any of your medicine”. This time, I was polite and calm. My expression had changed from being unfriendly to nesher look.
“what’s your name? ” I asked. She told me her name.
“what school did u attend?”
“Moshood Abiola Polytechnic. Just finished my OND”
“oh… OK. So, averagely, how much do u make daily and how much is your commission on a product?”
She smiled and said “I don’t make much money. My commission on a product is 100 naira. For instance, I have made just one sale since morning” she said with a pitiful look.
Staring at her with so much empathy, I could feel her pain. I was a merchandiser who hawked the streets of Lagos for almost three years before I finally decided to pursue a career in film making.
“so why are u still doing it?”
“I couldn’t get a job and I must survive.?”
“bros buy Na. Even if it’s the smallest drug that goes for 300”
“mo n’agbo nle na. Mo ma n mu agbo” ( I have herbal medicine in the house)
She looked at me with surprised
“so e gbo Yoruba?” (so you understand yoruba?)
Then we started conversing in Yoruba.
“have you used this drug before? ” I asked.
“I have. Why would I be selling what I haven’t used? It dissolves easily in Tea, water even 7up”
“OK. Unfortunately, I’m not buying. I don’t need it. I won’t use it even if u give me for free”
she looked discomfited.
I dipped my hand in my pocket and gave her some cash.
Her face lit up. She thanked me and left. I watched her walk away. I smiled.
A keke parked in front of me.
“under bridge ikeja” the driver called out. I entered. Off I went.
Lagos… The hustle is real.