Okay, the violence got your attention, didn't it? We will get to that.
In my last post (if it's your first time, I apologize now for wasting your time), I mentioned that we try to get to work as often as possible using the water ways as opposed to the roads due to the unbelievable traffic condition.
I believe I also mentioned about the kind of drama you see on the side of the road. Last week, I became part of that drama. We will get to that.
First though, did I mention that Nigerians can sleep anywhere? How about this number (spotted on my ride to work last week)...
|How about a nap? Where? Here? Yes. Okay.|
I'm not proud of everything I am about to write about but I feel like I should be honest about who I am. I am not perfect but my daily goal is to work towards perfection like Christ preached that we should.
However if you've known much about me in the last decade, I pride myself in staying even keel. I don't get too high or too low. Amy on the other hand embarrasses the entire spectrum of emotions and Lagos can easier move your dial either way.
So all week, we had been bracing the roads which meant late nights at the office waiting for traffic to die down. And each day that went by, my agitation level began to rise.
I managed to keep everything under control. I thought I was doing a good job but everything was annoying...more than usual. Traffic, the heat, personalities, coworkers, superiors, subordinates, vendors, my phone constantly ringing, the fact that the Irish Embassy can't process my visa fast enough...
You get the point. Thursday night, we tried to leave work around 6.30...we spent about 2 hours and only got as far as 100 yards...no exaggeration.
We went back to the office. We tried leaving again at 11.30pm...we went further...200 yards but not we couldn't turn back.
We then spend almost 2 hours on the same spot before we could keep moving. Inside, I worried about Amy's safety. I sat in front to make sure I was alert if anyone approached the vehicle. We'd been warned that robberies were on the rise.
We got home sometime after 1am and went straight to bed. It's okay. It's Friday, I thought.
Friday, we took our time getting to work and again we had to brace the roads. It's the middle of the afternoon. How bad could traffic be?
We got to same spot by the facility and faced intense traffic as well. But I was calm as usual so I thought. And then it happened.
Nigerians can be passionate and some let whatever ounce of power get to their heads. Kenneth our driver, rolled his window down to inform this guy of our intentions and he turned his aggression to Kenneth and start hitting the car with the "stick" in his hand.
I was mad.
I said to him to stop hitting the car. He responded he was going to break the windshield and then start hitting Kenneth with the stick. At that point, I lost it. With the car still rolling, I jumped out of and in milliseconds, I was giving this guy a piece of my mind as calmly as I could (not very calm but I was trying).
Then he put his hand in my face and I took it down gently and told him not to do that and he did it again and asked what I was going to do. At this point I had become Lagos drama,
I slapped his hand and he raised it again to me, now I grabbed his head and his fellow traffic guy rushed to his aid to pull me away and other bystanders started holding me back. He recovered himself and took his "stick" and hit me in the back with it as people pulled me away.
It was cardboard. And I felt sorry for the guy. He came to a fight with a piece of paper.
The next thing I see is this petite white girl throwing herself into the midst and yanking the paper out of his hand ready to fight him.
"GET BACK IN THE CAR!" I wanted to say. I didn't get a chance because, Kenneth jumps into the fray. Too many people are holding me back at this point and a police officer begged me to calm down.
What has happened to me?
Things calmed down shortly after that. Every evil side in me wished that I wasn't held back so that I could pour all my frustration on him. Thankfully (looking back), it didn't escalate past that.
As we walked back to the car, I noticed that I had a 6 inch scratch across my chest that I must have acquired in the process of being dragged away. Amy had a hole poked him her shirt and suffered a couple of scratches. We have pictures.
We found out later that the same traffic guy got into it with an off duty navy officer only a few minutes after we walked away. The navy officer wasn't as gracious as I was, I heard.
Told my siblings (who are all living I presume comfortably in the States). My older said I need a break. My sister in law was shocked.
I will say this...had I known, it was just paper not a stick he was using on the car and my driver, I would never have come it. It is company property and I feel responsible for it. I guess I can't stand it when people abuse power.
This is a new week. I don't think I will be getting into any scuffles. How do I know? Well, we used a boat this morning and I was told, regular service will commence this week.
*An important side note* Amy's parents made it in safely yesterday to spend a few weeks with us. So glad to have their company but not as glad as Amy...especially when the following came out of their suitcases.