*June 14th 2018*
Where are you? I asked Peperenpe.
We are just about to leave Alausa.
We? Who are we?
She did a mental head count as she was humming, Myself, Tee, Maxi and Alika……………Sazzy, leave me jare! Better leave that your Office now and join us.
I called to know their location.
Sazzy leave that your office now, now o! we are close to you. Just leave, to that bus stop before you waste our time.
Let me digress a bit; there is that one friend you have, when it comes to distance and location, never trust them. My friend, Peperenpe is their class captain. So, if you trust her, you will get lost, punished, sun burned and stand for two hours for no reason, all because you trust them. They will say, “you will see me now” and that will mean, you ain’t seeing nada! Not even their shadow. You will dis-friend and banish such friends almost every day from your life out of anger, yet you will still trust them and suffer many, many consequences just like that, again and again, and again. It is impossible not to love them and be a glorified scapegoat. So, you will keep asking yourself for the umpteenth time in your life, why the heck do I trust such friends?
Ok. I am leaving my office now. I left Oba Akinjobi Way, G.R.A. Ikeja for PWD. Thinking I will see my friends in 10mins. That was a blatant lie. Remind me later to cry. Peperenpe’s time estimation always defy gravity. That was how i supported my being on the feet in an erect position for 1Hour, 47mins. Every inch of my body ached, but I just wanted to wait for them-if you have true friends you will understand this die-hard friends code 101.
I was finally picked up. I lamented, Peperenpe you are just useless. You made me suffer today. See how long I stood, now my back ache from standing. In our cheerful manner, she apologized and blamed Ambode’s incited traffic on Lagosians. We laughed over everything and in no particular order, thanked the Nigerian god of holiday, for such a time as this………….Yippeeeee!!!
I sang, Holiday is coming! Holiday is coming! No more alarm sounds! No more early court! Goodbye office, goodbye seniors, we are going on a jolly holiday, A joly holi- I was barely over when we heard an awkward sound.
It became horrible every two seconds. It finally jerked us out of the holi-jolly mood. We just passed the route that leads to the airport road. Like some object has got itself stuck on the tyres, Tee said. The sound became really worrisome; we parked in a filling station called PM Petroleum Managers just before Cele busstop. Worse place for women in distress!
We drove in, got down and inspected the tyres…………lo and behold, a screw had gone all the way into the tyres. It was at about the size of that ruler you find in a math-set. I was so angry at the devilish screw, but yet so relieved, as I thought the Lubricant section would save the day. I counted five men in uniform. Police, MOD and the Army was ably represented. I sighed. We are safe. We never felt more comfortable. I was soooo wrong!
We all jumped down from the car and in unison like children seeking for candies, we asked for help. We said, please change it or patch it, do something, anything. The evil extortionist in their bodies rose up.
The Owala (this is a name I just dashed him) said, “your tyre, you will pay =N=1,000” in Yoruba. Ahan N 1000 fun kinni? shey oju tyre yi lo ni? Ahaan!!! shey ko gba N 500 ni? (for what? Do I want to repair more than this tyre? is it not for N500?)
Even when I actually don’t know how much it costs, if I were to be in that kind of situation alone with Peperenpe, I know we will pay the =N=1,000 and extra =N=500 as thank you for being our saviour. But, there was something off here. The way and manner with which this Owala said it, ehn, was too humiliating. He said it, went to sit down, crossed his legs and had this flint on his face. In fact, he told us, we must beg him before he moves an inch. I had gone from mad, to boiling mad. Livid actually.
But, how could I remain mad, it will soon be dark and my brain quickly told me, this definitely might be robbers in uniforms o! the way nobody sent us at all, my heart raced. I could literally hear my heart pump blood to the rest of my body. Tears silently flowed as we all stood. Six women. Five lawyers. On top tyre and our money? Gracious God!
How can one person just speak down on women? Just like that? He was damn sure, we had no choice, but to beg him, just like how Haman expected Mordecai to plead for the lives of the Israelites, and then, we will still have to pay him. Double Jeopardy!
He sized us up well and took the mental note that after all, as women, we will never get out of this with our toothpick strength.
Maxi got angry.
I had thought I was the odd one out. She wasted no time to tell Tee, she would change the tyre. That was how this script changed from the hands of Owala. Tee brought out the spare tyre, jack and spanner to set to work. I could not believe my eyes. Shey Maxi fe change e ni? Moo ma change e. Kini gbogbo nonsense yiii? Wor roboya, aile shey ni? Moo de ma shey ni waju won. (meaning- Will Maxi change it? I will change it. What’s all this nonsense? Do they all think, we can’t do this? And I shall do it in their presence) What ray of hope in my heart. I did that legbegbe dance……oya fun won legbegbe……
All I could do was assist to pick two sizeable stones like my fist, and place behind both front tyres. Alika made jest of me. Is this how you use to do? I gave her this scowl of, “I better pass you wey just dey stand there like firewood” And Maxi set to work as Tee assisted. I prayed to my ancestors. While I was silently pleading to God that if after all this show of girl power, we happen to be unable to change the tyre ehn, we are in deep shit.
Peperenpe stood beside me and said;
O God, let our enemies be put to shame….we chanted Amen…
They shall not prevail over us……we chorused Amen.
Alika said, this good work, we have began, we must finish well ooooo, lest, it is N10,000 we will use to bail ourselves and the car……we chorused ….Amen.
All what the men could hear was “amen”. They jeered at us, saying, are they praying? Talo ma gba won? (who will deliver them?)
Tee’s mum laughed at the whole scenario. Not really wanting to interrupt our girl power moment, nor discourage us. Our sweet Mama encouraged us……Go girls, you can do it!
Peperenpe continued, This is our warfare against these men, Lord grant us this undeserving success…..we chorused Amen.
It is shame, they must feel….. God pepper them finish……….we screamed aaaaaaaaamen!
You will think it was more than changing of tyres, and we gathered to break the teeth of the ungodly men surrounding us. Though we laughed powerfully, we were sure to chorus the Amen. All the men heard from afar, was, Amen.
And Maxi had the power of Okoronye from no where, she just kept on, picking, rolling, yanking and jacking. One of the PM female attendant approached us to give advice about our madness. We almost skinned her alive with our tongues. Alika said, is it your tyre? Mind your business.
They gathered around us with their eyes. And God of Victory, did not only answer us, he gave us more……speeeeeeeeeeeed! In at about fourteen minutes, we were done. Just like that. Just like that o. Maxi put up the hall of shame for them boys.
The men were not so shocked, but so amazed that we did it without any hassles, in such a short time. The Owala and co. were clearly angry, as we had not only deprived him of the N 1,000, we had bruised their ego badly.
I wasn’t going to let this go easily, as we filed back into the car, I made sure to roll down the glass and scream, brother Owala, wala, wala….oooobiiiiii.
Very happy, with the stench of appeasement all around us.
We sang the original song into the air;
Holiday is coming!
Holiday is coming!
No more clanging bells
No more teachers’ whip!
Goodbye teachers, goodbye scholars
We are going on a jolly holiday!
Maxi: A jolly –
Pepereenpe: A jolly –
Tee’s mum was just amazed at the children all around her. She spoke so softly, damn, I admire this woman….as we cheered along, I was finally able to appreciate Tee’s mum beauty, as I have never seen someone so graceful, fine and exquisite. Now, I know for certain where Tee got all her gracefulness and awesome skin from. They are fine in their house just like that. With my eyes, I already plunged into the future and can foretell how Tee will look like when she’s 60.
That being said, I am of the opinion that what a man can do, a woman can equally do, if put under the same circumstance and given the same opportunity. Or if provoked. Not one is greater nor the other lesser. We are all equal before God and should be, before man.
Enjoy the rest of the day!