“Alago! Alago! Iduma! Iduma!” shouted the bus conductor bringing me out of my reverie. I looked around seeing that I was already at the main gate of the estate where I had gone for the interview. There were few people on the road waiting for buses due to the rain so it was no struggle entering the bus as it should have been.
“Hold your change o” the scruffy looking conductor stated blandly as he perched on the iron railing behind the front passenger seat. I wondered if being unkempt and dirty was part of the job description for being a bus conductor. Maybe the mouth and body odour was the standard requisite condition before applying to become one. That and being excessively aggressive.
Oh! Ginika, pipe down. I told myself. You are becoming bitchy and condescending. This is so not you. I rolled my eyes at my inner voice and tried looking out the my window, my teeth chattering due to the cold clothes that were dripping water on the floor forming a puddle.
“Come o madam, why you dey wet my bus na?” the conductor asked me aggressively. I looked at him and decided to ignore him. Pick a sensible fight Ginika I told myself looking out the window again.
“Madam, you go pay extra O. Why you no run enter somewhere make you no wet come dey spoil my bus” the conductor grumbled again “All these women sef. Una like to dey cause person trouble. Rubbish women” he muttered to himself while some boys behind me snickered amongst themselves at his words.
I saw red and the poor unfortunate bus conductor was going to be at the receiving end of my frustration.
”Are you blind?” I hissed at him causing the other passengers that had been quiet to turn and stare at me. “Can’t you see the rain? How else am I supposed to enter the bus if not under the rain?” I shouted angrily noting that the boys behind me had gone quiet. I turned to look outside through the window again.
“Calm down sister. You know how these conductors are. Ignore them and don’t let them spoil your day” A spindly looking young man with earphones said to me quietly. I nodded in agreement and proceeded to ignore the conductor.
However, the son of a snake was not going to allow me get the upper hand.
“Make your day spoil na. Na me cause am? Na woman like una wey go make man run commot for house because of una wahala. Abeg give me your money. Witch woman” he sneered at me.
Tears unexpectedly filled my eyes. That barb hit too close to home and I wondered if I carried a mark that made it so visible to people.
“You dey craze conductor” A fat woman wearing multiple necklaces shouted at the conductor. “Make una dey insult anyone wey una see. One day una go insult ghost and na so una go die” the woman hissed and looked belligerently at the conductor.
I didn’t join in the commotion that followed after the woman’s rebuke of the conductor. I just watched silently as the conductor gave as good as he got from the passengers.
“Driver, please school garden bus stop dey” I said as we approached the bus stop where I usually drop. The driver who refused to be drawn into the argument between his conductor and the passengers simply nodded and parked neatly once we reached the bus stop.
I hopped down still wet and cold but thankfully not dripping. The rain too had stopped but everywhere was still wet and muddy. I got to the house cold with chattering teeth and still annoyed with the rain, the stupid interview and the rude conductor.
It was as if the universe was against me on all sides. I walked into the living room hoping to just rush to the room and change out of my wet clothes….