via Driving with Decorum

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Quote  —  Posted: September 8, 2018 in Uncategorized

Driving with Decorum

Posted: September 8, 2018 in Articles
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Ten Ways to Insult Other Road Users in Lagos.

Driving on Lagos roads can give you a headache. Horns are blaring as cars whizz by,

action asphalt black and white blur

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

dilapidated trucks are emitting strong green house gasses from rusty exhaust pipes, and people are shouting curse words at one another. Occasionally, some people are raising the middle finger. Throw in a hold up of unknown origin and you have a literal stampede across the streets of the largest metropolitan city in West Africa. Driving in Lagos is a test of will and fortitude and at least fifteen million people living in Lagos, do it daily.

It’s hard to drive with decorum amidst the many annoying road huggers and rude high-way code illiterates. It’s especially difficult because the decrepit roads we travel daily are punctuated with holes and pits that wait to ensnare one.

  • It’s insulting to be blamed for an accident that was not actually your fault. It’s even more insulting when someone hits you or nearly causes an accident and doesn’t even stop or show a gesture of apology. It’s worse when a driver hits you, stops, gets out of the car and can’t even open his mouth to make an apology. It’s either our morals have finally hit rock bottom, or some people are just plain slow.
  • Avoiding road rage is what a lot of Lagosians need to burn into the bank of their memories. No human being, no matter how wrong he is, deserves to be told in sign language that ‘His or Her head is not correct’ or that ‘Their mother is mad’. It is not right to insult anyone because no one is perfect and we all make mistakes on the road. No human being deserves to be screamed at or abused at on the road.
  • It is wrong to feel that everyone queuing on the line is not nearly as smart as you are, and so therefore you cut out of the line and drive further down creating an extra illegal lane. Even worse, is the driver who heads in the opposite direction to oncoming vehicles in the bid to jump the queue. No wonder the state government needed traffic offenders taking psych evaluation tests at one point in time.
  • It is insulting to horn behind a car in front of you, and ask them to get out of your way. The courteous thing to do is to overtake a slow driver. It’s just as bad to horn behind a car in front of you, when there is an obvious hold up ahead or the traffic light is still on amber. Even a nursery school child knows that amber means get ready, and not go.
  • It’s insulting to know that a driver needs to get out of one lane into another, and he/she is trafficating, and you push your car forwards and block the space. Do let another driver into your lane even if you think they do not deserve it. Extend grace to other people because one day, you will need someone to return that favor to you.
  • Be civil enough not to drive your vehicle into the gap in the lane so that vehicles driving perpendicular to you and going in another direction can come out of the compound, street or a filling station that they are in and go on their own way. Especially if the line of vehicles ahead of you is at a stand-still. It won’t hurt to let someone else go on their merry way.
  • Be patient enough to let the person buying fuel in front of you, shut his fuel tank, receive the extra change with the petrol attendant, start his/her car and put on the seat belt before you start honking in an annoying way. It’s rude and unfeeling.
  • It’s insulting to stop in the middle of a narrow road of two lanes to drop off a passenger or buy something from a road side seller. The appropriate thing to do is to park to the side and let the cars behind you pass on unhindered.
  • It is insulting to think because you drive a larger vehicle than most people, you have the right to hug the road especially when coming in the opposite direction. Other vehicles must respect your car enough to scoot to the side or nearly fall into a ditch because of you. It’s wrong.
  • It is insulting to insult anyone via words or hand gestures for any reason be it a wrong driving move or an accident. No human is perfect, and we do not measure up to the standards we often judge others by. Let your words be seasoned with grace and respect, even if the other guy is at fault.

In, conclusion, I will say that life is difficult enough without us making it worse for each other. Many drive on our roads worried, anxious, distressed and confused about one aspect or the other of their physical, social and emotional lives, and with the economy in the shape that it’s in, it doesn’t hurt to show a little respect to them on the road.

Do drive with decorum. Decide to be civil on the road. You never know if your civil gesture, will brighten up someone’s dark dreary day or prevent an accident. Stay safe, and save a life in the process.

via Love’s Indenture (an Excerpt)

Quote  —  Posted: August 26, 2018 in Uncategorized

The strong, sweet smell of well brewed coffee and muffins in a chilly atmosphere is one of the first things you encounter when stepping out of London’s Heathrow airport on arrival. The hurried ambiance is intensified by the sound of marching feet and silent bag trolleys trailing an array of different colored people heading everywhere imaginable. The pace is quick and everyone minds their business, but you still get the feeling of being welcome.

There might not be that friendly drag of extended greeting or horns blaring down the street with the ever present call of street hawkers that epitomizes Lagos life and makes home what it is, but there is drama of a different sort by a people of a different culture. Almost everyone is holding Styrofoam cups filled with star bucks coffee, or hot chocolate and almost everyone has a bag, be it a trolley or knapsack. It’s a society where men wear suit jackets over shirts and blue jeans to work, and old women truck around in Addidas canvas to no raised eyebrows.

You might not meet someone who’s ready to chat about the weather and the current political issues on the bus or in the underground trains. You will however encounter people ready to stop and give you accurate directions or point out how to get to where you’re going if they know or politely tell you who to ask if they don’t. There is no time for chit chat, and everything runs with clockwork precision. The people are not sociable, and their ingrained work ethics and life habits make them bother on being curt, and somewhat aloof.

So I was deeply astounded, when a complete stranger parked her car and stopped to help me drag four travelling bags down one end of a parking garage to the other with a genuine smile and unfounded enthusiasm. She then proceeded to help me load them in the elevator in an unhurried manner. I do know she had things to do, but it wasn’t too much for her to stop for five minutes  to give a hand.

It took me by complete surprise when an elderly man, graying at the temples, offered me the last seat in a coach on the underground train one day. I didn’t want to take it because our own culture mandates respect for the elderly, but this elder was wearing his shirt with the sleeves rolled up and the ends tucked in faded jeans over a nice pair of boots. He carried a knapsack on his back, but I was sure he was in his fifties. Truth be told, there is a dying breed of people with authentic compassion and pure etiquette. However, I still find them in Britain.

One day aboard a United Airways airline in Atlanta Georgia bound for Lagos, Nigeria, I struggled to push my hand luggage into the over head cabinet above my seat. After a couple minutes of arranging and rearranging and turning the bag to get it to fit so I could shut the door, I finally did it. Just before taking my seat, I looked around and saw myself surrounded by many gentlemen seated in their seats, talking to each other or flipping through the magazines stuffed in the pockets of the airline’ seats’ back-rests and I wondered very, very briefly, why none of them had gotten up to help me. I found myself unconsciously recalling a similar situation on a plane bound for an European country from London. I had my small bag ready to place in the cabinet when a young white man promptly snatched the bag from my hands and slipped it into the cabinet for me. He smiled cheerfully as I said my thanks and continued down the aisle, searching for his seat.

It is appalling, that Nigerians will rush into a line and push each other out of the way in order to get in first. It doesn’t matter, that the airline has reserved a seat for them that practically has their names written on it. It doesn’t matter that the item they are queuing up for will be enough for everyone. There is this ‘me first’ ideology swathed in the ‘scarcity mentality’. And everybody rushes for everything.

I have been in waiting rooms, where men were seated and women were standing. I have had to give up my seat so an elderly man wouldn’t wait on his feet. Forget sounding biased, but some men don’t even help other men. My husband and I were at the bottom of a staircase in an underground station in London one day and we were going home from a shopping outing. An European I do not know from Adam, reached from behind, slipped his fingers in mine and ran up the stairs with my bags. I ran after him, wondering if he was trying to make off with them, but he paused at the top and handed them back to me. My husband, who was lifting two heavy bags, was propositioned by a guy around his age who also offered to help him. But being the typical macho man, he refused. The point is, people were ready to help.

I will not say that we do not have gentlemen in Lagos but they are a rare breed, an endangered species and we must, should, be alarmed.

While waiting at the Ojodu branch of the Federal Road Safety office for the issuing of the new driver’s license, I saw a young Nigerian man give up his seat for a heavily pregnant woman. There were other men present, but he was the only one who offered. I could not resist the urge to say thank you to him. I do not know the woman, but she could have been a friend, or a sister. Back in the day, children washed cars for free or struggled to help push a faulty one to start. Today, a tip is a bribe given upfront, and hardly will anyone offer help without a tip.

Chivalry has been kidnapped by selfishness and ignorance. Etiquette has abandoned our society and left us with a nation full of people who no longer care for themselves. No one is prepared to be inconvenienced for the good of others and in the light of armed robbery, kidnapping and swindling hoodlums, it is understandable that people will be hesitant to offer or receive help from strangers.

We must however, rescue our society from these bad ideals. Our sons must be taught to respect women and hold open the car doors for them. Our daughters, taught to wear kindness in their hair and clothe themselves with ready hands and willing smiles. Children must be taught to give up their seats for the elderly and say their “Please and Thank you”. If there is anything we should emulate from the Europeans, it is the art of being gracious, cordial and polite to one another.

We have a rich cultural heritage of mutual respect that is slowly being eroded by the mix that comes with western civilization. But there are still a few things we can imbibe. So in a crowded room with few seats, will the real gentlemen please stand up?

 

Oga at the Top

Posted: June 17, 2014 in Flash fiction
Tags: ,

Oga at the Top.

If you are a Nigerian, then you will enjoy this flash fiction. If you are not a Nigerian, the story may be hard to follow as it is written in one of our colloquial languages. But you could still try,

Don’t forget to share it.

The 360 degrees Christian.

The Real Christian

Two Men……and a Window

Posted: September 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

Collection of Stories

It will take just 37 seconds to read this and change your thinking..two_men

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same
hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an
hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from
his lungs.

His bed was next to the room’s only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on
his back.

The men talked for hours on end.

They spoke of their wives and families, their
homes, their jobs, their involvement in the
military service, where they had been on
vacation..

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the
window could sit up, he would pass the time by
describing to his roommate all the things he could
see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those
one hour periods where his world would be

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The Beggar

Posted: August 22, 2013 in poetry
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The Beggar.

Sizzling Hot.

I know there are incredible people out there, doing incredible things. Can you believe these are paintings not pictures?
Whatever talent you have, horn it and become incredibly amazing at it.

boy with a hat

View original post 70 more words