Tuesday’s Terrible Traffic – The Timeline
Today, 6:07pm: Mostly due to the incessant rumbling in my tumbling, I recall that I haven’t eaten anything since morning, except for a Sausage Roll (Gala) that I forcefully stole from a staff after a client meeting, and the Cabin biscuits that I dug out from the office locker upon my return from the meeting. So, as the responsible body owner that I am, I decide to go get something to eat.
6:18pm: Walking along my office street leading into Allen Road, I decide to call a friend of mine to lay my burdens (of how hard it is to find decent talent in Nigeria) upon him, asking if he could help us scout for new recruits. I walk into the Allen Avenue main-road and see the usual, long evening traffic. Something seems a little off though – just a few cars have their engine running. Maybe just a coincidence. Still on the call, the network decides to misbehave. *** was at it again. I lose the call and use the next 2-4 minutes trying to reconnect, all the while pacing the front porch of the eatery that I’m gonna get chow.
6:23pm: I’m done with my call. On the other side of the road, the car engines are still off. I walk into the restaurant and order something rewarding – Two wraps of Fufu with Vegetable and Fish. No takeaway this time. I need some reflective, alone, non-office time – just me and my chow. There’s no Malt, so I decide not to get any other drink.
6:30pm: Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. Down goes the chow. It isn’t microwave-warmed but who cares? Hunger knows no temperature. I absent-mindedly watch the Allen traffic. Nothing seems to be wrong. Then I recall the order of the cars I saw during my phone call – a black Ford Explorer, a Lemon-Green Toyota Camry, a Dark-Green Mini-Jeep (couldn’t catch the brand) and a Black Honda Civic. The same cars still sit idly there. “Maybe it’s just another happy coincidence,” I think to myself.
Then the dude in the Mini-Jeep steps out.
He starts stretching. Taking air. Roaming the tiny range between his car door and the demarcating road kerb.
I’m a slow eater (most of the time), so time flies, naturally. Nothing to entertain me but the random stretching dude and a bunch of static rides. I’m thankful that I’m not in that traffic, but then it starts to worry me.
6:43pm: Done with chow, I order a takeaway snack. The lady at the till takes forever to get change for me. No pressure, I tell myself. Inner peace… (it’s weird, but a fat Panda always comes to mind when I’m trying to fake inner peace).
Then I hear a rev of hope.
6:49pm: The rumbling of car engines. The inaudible and inexplicable aura of expectation oozing from the previously-frustrated motorists. And then they move! Yes, they move!! Finally!!! Yeah!!!!!.. yea… wait.
They move, but not for long. The cars screech sadly back to a halt.
Since I’m already a part of these guys’ reality show, I decide to estimate how many metres they moved. Gosh. I can categorically say that they moved the equivalent distance of the single pace of a bamboo-stick-legged masquerade.
Give or take, three or four complete rotations of their Goodyear tyres.
And they are back again. Stand still. The dude in the jeep, without hesitation, jumps out again. Seems he really loves the thrill of idle traffic. Or maybe that’s how it’s been for the past hour. The least he can do is revel in the moment.