This afternoon, I got rear-ended by a Ghanaian driver. His nationality is actually of no consequence apart from the fact that the accent in which he eventually pleaded for mercy was mildly amusing. The traffic incident occurred on Ajose Adeogun, at the VCP Hotel junction. I’d taken the toll-avoidance route from Lekki Phase 1 after doing the school run and was headed back into Onikan via Victoria Island. My West-African brother was trying to U-turn at the aforesaid junction. There was already a queue of cars waiting to make the same U-turn “bet” our “bratheh” was obviously in a hurry, so he formed a new queue, closer to on-coming traffic than everyone else.
The chap in the SUV at the front of the appropriate queue realised, I presume, that I had right of way and stopped nudging forward in that annoying fashion that many Lagos drivers do. As I nosed past SUV-man, I kind of ‘saw’ “Bratheh” nudging forward but wasn’t overly alarmed because, well, Lagos drivers do that. I didn’t even manage to get my front door in line with SUV-man’s face before I heard that sickening crunch of what Google tells me are Thermoplastic Olefins – the material that most car bumpers are made of. Luckily, my rear lights and Bratheh’s headlamps were spared but my car no longer looked like Kim Kardashian from the rear – I wanted blood!
I find primal abuse very difficult, even at the best of times, so I didn’t manage to do better than “Do you have a problem?” (Sumtin dey worry you?) and “Can’t you see you’re sick in the head?”(You no see say your head no correct? Bastard!). Perhaps I was conscious of the two children, roughly the same ages as mine, and their nanny in the car. But Bratheh was immediately apologetic. Twenty seconds had passed since the crunch and, already, traffic at the junction had doubled. SUV-man was the hardest hit – wedged between my car and Bratheh’s, he needed to reverse to able to go round Bratheh’s car. The folks behind him weren’t having it, though.
“You have to fix my car. If it’s not yours, call the owner,” I stormed. Bratheh quickly agreed to take me to his Madam but pulled over halfway there and began to plead for all he was worth. “’Cahm’ and know my own house. I will repay whatever you spend fixing ‘theh’ vehicle.” I asked him, getting frustrated (as I knew where the conversation would end), what would happen if he moved tomorrow. “I cannet do sahch, sir” Bratheh replied. The nanny left the kids in their car and came to plead for her co-employee.
I heaved a heavy sigh and looked away from them. “Please sir. God will bless you sir.” Somehow, in the middle of all that, my mind still broke that down into “Please let me go sir, God will bless you if you do.” A fallacy – appeal to pity. Maybe even an ad populum as well. I sighed again, resigned to fate and let them go.
As Bratheh drove off, I had a Benjamin Button moment. Perhaps if I’d not had that banana snack after the school run, I would have got to the junction earlier than Bratheh and the rear of my car would still be fine. Thinking like that can drive a person mad though as, after all, it’s only after the undesired event occurs that one realises how a little delay may have altered the chain of events. Bratheh should simply have respected my right of way. End of.