“Many are mad, few are roaming.” I perfectly agree with that quote, there are many many un-roaming mad people (awon were alaso) everywhere, you won’t know until you encounter them. I met two of them yesterday.
THE FIRST ONE
I took a commercial motorbike, popularly called okada, from my house area, yesterday, and dropped at a certain junction where I was to flag down a taxi to my destination in town. On alighting from the okada, I remembered I was asking my dad about the name of the area I was going and what I was supposed to call when stopping taxis. He wasn’t sure about the name of the place and I forgot to ask him again before I left the house. So, I stepped back from the roadside-cum-motorbike park to make a call to my brother who was sure to bail me out. As I placed the phone on my ear and started talking with my brother, I noticed a rascal was standing a few steps away from me, ogling.
“Ki lo de, ki lo n wo? What is the matter, what are you staring at?” I managed to challenge him while still on phone with my brother. I even thought he might want to snatch my phone from me. This guy kept staring and even inched closer.
“Tamedo Junction, Tamedo Junction lo wa. This is Tamedo Junction, you are at Tamedo Junction.” He revealed his burnt teeth and spoke with that throaty voice typical of agberos and omo-itas generally. E ma gba mi o, ewo leleyi bayii. Ta lo so fun un pe mi o mobi ti mo wa? Someone save me o, which one is this now? Who told him I do not know where I am? I thought, irritated. He was still gawking. I decided to ignore him.
Some okada guys parked nearby noticed the drama and I could see a stupid smile tugging at the corner of a mouth. Then this dunce did the creepiest thing I have ever seen in my life. He stepped closer and danced to my back, as if to access. I still decided to ignore him, not moving an inch, not turning my head. I had never felt so harassed in my life. I left the place, still on phone. Just when I thought I had had it all, he followed me and came to face me opening his gutter again and speaking some indecipherable Engrish, no, not English. I became livid and yelled at him.
“Woo, maa fun e ni ifoti, maa gba oju e…! Look, I’ll slap you…!” My brother asked from the other end what happened and I almost said “Oloriburuku kan nibi yii ma ni, it’s one unfortunate being here,” then bit my tongue and said “Olorigbeske kan nibi yii ma ni.” (I don’t know the English word for “olorigbeske” o, but you use it when you don’t want to sound abusive or cursive.
I actually meant it. I’d have fulfilled my promise if he hadn’t fled. He did not even let me finish my sentence before he disappeared, I wanted to add that I’d get him arrested by the police too. I still cringe now as I type. I had never felt so harassed in my life, harassment at its most raw level, not even coated or polished. Yuck!
I eventually found a taxi going in my direction and hopped in. I was supposed to board two taxis to get to where I was going. But when I alighted from the first taxi, while I was waiting by the road trying to get the second taxi, I finally decided to not go to my destination again. I was actually going to make a payment for something at a financial institution. But what I was going to pay for had certain conditions attached to it and I was not 100% sure those conditions would be perfectly met before the deadline. Afraid of having to pay a penalty fee at the end in addition to the original payment, after making some consultation, I decided to return home but stop at a market on the way to get something.
THE SECOND ONE
I wanted airtime (call credit) and had been looking around to see if I’d find a booth where they sell call recharge cards. I found one, but they sold for another service provider. I eventually saw a booth, just as I was about to make a turn to the part of the road where I’d stand to get a taxi that would drop me at the market, paraded as if it sells cards and I branched. I announced I wanted to buy call card and a lady there told another lady, her oga mistress. I stood there and there was no move from oga mistress to hand the card to me. I was piqued and started to leave, but the other lady persuaded me to not go and that was when the oga mistress raised her head and begged me. She said she was stretching her hand asking me to type in my number on the phone. But I want a card, why type in my number? I asked. They said it is top-up. Then I shook my head and made to leave again, because I was sure such style of recharging would rob me of the usual bonus I get for every recharge. But they persuaded me again, they said that my bonus would still come. If I had known, I wouldn’t have agreed.
So, I punched in my number and the lady added the code she needed to add. No message entered my phone. No network notification of any transfer.
“Auntie, the credit has been transferred, give me money.” Transferred keh? Nigba ti mi o kii se omo ana. When I’m not a baby. I told her it was impossible for me to pay when I hadn’t received the top-up. I checked my credit balance, no change. Then she gave me a silly explanation why the transfer had been done even if it had not reflected yet. She claimed she transferred to a guy sitting down there a certain amount higher that what I wanted and because she got an error message, she did it two more times and now all the three transfers that reported error had reflected on the guy’s phone. As a result, me, omo t’iya bi to foja aran pon, should pay her.
“You see, madam, we are both doing business. You claim to have sent it, but I haven’t received it, so I can’t pay you. If you insist it’s been giving you error messages, fine, I’d wait until it reflects. I cannot pay for what I have not received.” I told her.
“When you are not deaf,” she said rudely. “How many of you are doing business, am I walking around the street hawking? Did you not hear when I was explaining how it showed error on that boda’s phone. Believe me, it has entered.”
I was indignant and I made her know she was rude. Why would she say that to a customer? Already, I was calling the customer service. I wanted to confirm from them if anyone sent anything to my line. Later, a massive woman had arrived, she also wanted to recharge. Then this saucy lady spoke again, asking me to pay her because she knew what she was saying. She even insinuated that I already got a message from the network and I should give her my phone to check. Really? Of course, I didn’t give her my phone neither did I give her any money. The woman that just came intervened and this girl, now referring to me in singular pronouns (in my language, as a way of respect to older folks or people you are not familiar with or close to, we use plural pronouns in our conversation with them, just like ‘Miss’, ‘Ms’ or ‘Mr’ is used in English), told her nonsense story again. I let the woman know I hadn’t gotten any alert on my phone from her so called transfer (I had also switched to singular pronouns) and definitely could not pay. I also informed her I was still waiting for a customer care representative to pick my call to clarify the issue.
When I mentioned my calling the customer care, the woman said, “Which customer care again, is this not customer care?”
“Tell her o.” The foolish girl replied. I was shocked. Seriously? Ignorance is not cute at all.
At last, a lady at the customer care line picked my call and I lodged my complaint. I demanded to know if anyone transferred airtime to my line and why it was not reflecting. According to the lady, no transfer was made, my balance still remained as it was. I thanked her and requested that she let me give the phone to the booth girl. I rose up to give her the phone.
“Just get out of my sight and leave this place. Don’t give me any phone.”
“Wow, was it not you that claimed you made a transfer and now that it is being clarified, you asked me to get out of your sight.”
She started abusing me. I replied her and even said something I regretted later. I made sure I let her know pe o baje, that she was rude, talking to a client anyhow. The massive woman begged me to leave and I left shaken and shell-shocked.
In my mind I was wondering why I had to go through all that on the same day. First it was the scoundrel, then this uncouth girl, and to worsen it all, my reason for going out was not achieved. Even the market I thought I would branch at, the taxi I boarded was going in another direction, but I didn’t understand what he said when I entered, I thought he was going towards the market. In short, I couldn’t go to the market again. Maybe if I had been more sensitive before I left the house, I would not have bothered to go out at all and I would have escaped the dramas. I was also thinking out loud to the Lord how I should have handled the cheeky booth girl without having to use the word I regretted using.
“Honestly,” I said to the Lord, “this holiness and righteousness thing is not bread and butter, I need more grace, because you will always meet crazy people. What to do?”
Well, that was how yesterday went for me, it was not funny at all. How has your day been?
©2016, Ayobami Temitope Kehinde