The bus is practically empty. I'd rather sit in place and wait till it's full. I really don't want to go on and experience a continuous tussle for public transport. The rain has just subsided. I'm sitting next to man on the third row. He looks to be in his late thirties. He looks at me through the corner of his eyes at intervals. Another man is sitting right in front of us. He looks Hausa. His head looks recently shaven and his beard too. There are three tribal marks at a corner of his eyes from where I can see. The lady in the passenger's seat in front keeps shifting in her seat to show her impatience. A lady in a pair of tight, low-waist red trousers has just entered the bus. She's about to clean the seat in the first row, when the Hausa man sitting just behind her, mumbles something to her. I imagine he has told her the seat is taken, but really I don't think he said anything audible. The lady's trousers are drawn so low and tightly so, that the top of her buttocks is showing. The whole scenario is clear to me. The lady frowns and moves further back, to the last row. I can't blame the man. Even me I'd feel uncomfortable with such a free display right in front of me. Apparently the lady is oblivious to this. I feel like telling her to draw up her trousers, but I don't for the unpleasant, unfriendly contortion of her face.
More people are entering now. It seems we would be able to leave early enough for me to get home. A short, light skinned man is standing by the entrance of the bus now, a bag strapped across his front. He has plenty goods for sale. Oh my. The pack of mint lozenges that cures any form of sore throat, for just N50; worm expeller that tastes like vitamin C; 'Sharp Sharp' insecticide that kills all insects especially mosquitoes, "you won't hear the sound of common mosquito"; and rat killer that gets rid of all rats completely, "if it doesn't kill rat, e mean say rat no dey that house."
The man beside me wants to buy the lozenges. He tells me to pass N50 to the vendor in exchange for the lozenges, because he doesn't want a certain person sitting outside the bus to know he's buying the lozenges. Weirdness. I wonder how any of that concerns me. I don't accept the money but instead gesture to the vendor to pass a pack of the lozenges.
It's quiet now, relatively. The vendor has moved to another vehicle. 4 more passengers to go.The bus smells a bit funky to me. It seems like one or more of the people that have entered recently have been chewing on kolanut and something else, because this smell reminds me a little of grandma's house. She likes to chew kolanut, that most times her home, her clothes and all smell of it. I don't quite fancy its smell. However what I'm smelling now is a worse stench.
Finally the bus is full and that's when the conductor, or should I say money collector (since, later on he doesn't go on the trip with us) decides to start collecting the transport fare, seat by seat. The man beside me claims to be 'staff' and doesn't pay his transport fare. A certain dark man outside the bus, clad in a long, white Jalamia and that looks like he works in the bus garage, gestures to the driver and in this way corroborates the man's claim. I now understand why before the man was buying the lozenges secretly. I'm trying to make sense of it actually.
The bus is about to move. I still have change to collect and so do three others.
The conductor has given only me my change now while the others are screaming out how much they are being owed as the bus wheels out of the garage.
I'm sitting here pleased that I have collected my change. Thank God I don't have to wrangle with the driver on the way.
I'm starting to feel sleepy and decide to sleep anyways.I still have quite a long distance ahead and I'm stopping at the last bus stop.