Memoirs of a Lagos Hustler

Living and working in Lagos has to rank at the top among some of the most difficult things to do in the world. And I am  not talking about living in lekki and working 5mins away - no. I mean the kind of living and working where you get to commute for almost an hour to get to work. The kind where if you make a mistake to put on your white shirt from Iyana Ipaja, it'll be rumpled, cream colored and smelling of fish before you get to your office in Obalende. That kind of life is hard. 
               Being a mid - 20's fresh boy getting his first very serious job on the island, the daily hustle has been one of the most effective learning periods in my life. Daily boarding different vehicles whether private or commercial has unconsciously made me have 'more sense' by the day. Several stories to back that point up come to mind but they'll be stories for another day. 
I honestly believe there's an extent of insanity required to live successfully in Lagos. It has become common place to see women applying make up while driving in moving traffic and men fighting over the silliest things. Meanwhile there's a vocabulary specifically for the traffic - the legendary lagos traffic. 
              One of the first things I learnt was that, if you really want to look good for the whole day at work and 'work' is quite far away with a lot of boarding and getting off buses involved - don't even bother getting dressed from home. I learnt the hard way when one of my beloved white shirts got a 6am tattoo that condemned it. Getting condemned wasn't the bad part, it was having to walk about that way for sometime before being mercifully handed a 'coat' which reminded me of my oversized matriculation gown - that was the bad part.
Interestingly, I have a car of my own, but it's parked Monday - Thursday as driving it to work daily would have to rank among one of the bravest things I could ever do. It seems like the yearning to get back home after a long day's job turns lagosians into lions. By the way, Lagos has the most abusive people on the face of the earth and that's a fact. I was once told that my brain was as unkempt as my beards. The statement affected me psychologically. I've been combing my beards ever since. 
               Our return trips are always constituted by bickering and chancing and fighting and every ungentlemanly quality you'd expect from lagos island workers. One time I saw a Keke scratch a beautiful chauffeur driven Toyota. The owner jumped out of the back seat in his 3 - piece suit and ran in to the Keke to seat in it, loudly daring him, 'let me see how you will run away now'. The traffic lights and law enforcement agents are other actors in the never ending lagos drama, more on those ones later. The one commendable thing i'd say about a Lagos worker is that you can always have that confidence that you're sharper than the next guy who works outside Lagos. It's a certainty.

Written By Temi Sodipo For Sarafinny's Blog
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  1. Smiles... I can not only imagine, but relate somehow

  2. Lagos traffic is legendary...even getting to your workplace which may be 30mins away may end up pushing into hours, another painful thing is staring at your street across the road but as one cannot carry the car and jump over to the other just gatz lowkey curse sometimes..but then's LAGOS

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  4. LOL,I always look forward to your comment zee. thanks for commenting

  5. Thanks for the comments, i'm sure the diary of our daily lives in Lagos‎ would make a great read.

  6. Temi, I totally heard your voice while reading through. The bit about the brain being as unkempt as the beard got me roaring with laughter.