The yellow commercial bus, aka Danfo, is one of the symbols of Lagos. For the car-less, or those who aren’t sure of their route and are afraid of LASTMA or the men in black or are simply trying to avoid traffic, the Danfo is the easiest and cheapest way of getting around Lagos.
The thing about the Danfo is that one is sure to “watch a movie” on almost every bus ride. As a seasoned bus jumper (God will bless my hustle soon, sha), I have observed a few of the major actors. Here they are:
The Mother: There’s always that one woman with three to five kids who is paying for only one seat. Somehow she’ll manage to arrange the kids around her body and if you are the unlucky person next to her and you grumble or complain, the response will be something like this, ‘my dear plix epp me’ or she will rudely say ‘abeg shift for them you no go born tomorrow?’ Or as I saw in a tweet, ‘they’re like your broda and sistah.’ No Ma, I know my family members.
The Preacher: ‘Brothers and sisters praise da Lordu!’ Sigh, almost every bus especially in the mornings and evenings has its own resident preacher. They don’t care that they are disturbing other people. What annoys me most about bus preachers is the crap most of them preach in the name of God. I was in a bus once and the lady said ‘Wearing trouser will take you straight to hell fire.’ Yes, and I was wearing trousers that day and sitting right beside her. If looks could kill ehn…
Medicine Seller: This person has the cure for every ailment on earth. We have all met these medicine sellers at least once. I am always amazed at people who buy medicine from them. Who are you going to cry to if something goes wrong?
The Orobo Passenger: (Or plus sized, if I want to be proper). Please as a fat person, can’t you use your mind to pay for two seats in a bus? No, there’s always that one who will want to squeeze into a single seat and then go, ‘abeg help me adjust.’ Adjust to where? I always suffer this one because I’m skinny. They’ll now take the space I’m supposed to take.
The Caller: The one whose goods are stuck somewhere, or this person is trying to sell ‘market’, or settling another person’s marital issues. This person will talk at the top of his voice, often speaking one of our native dialects, with a smattering of pidgin (that’s how we follow the conversations), but if you are next to this person, I’m sorry for you because spit will be sprayed generously on you.
The Troublemaker who hears ‘enter with your change o’ but still enters the bus even though (s)he has no chànge. When it gets to ‘yes, owo da’ time, the person will bring out a thousand naira note and proceed to have a shouting match with the bus conductor. Use your brain sometimes na, ehn?
The Current-Tapper: Usually a guy, pretending to be asleep, or acting like he doesn’t know what he is doing while touching a girl’s boobs from the side. He’ll stretch, move elbows up and down, adjust his bag every five seconds all to keep rubbing on the girl next to him. A hot slap usually cures this nonsense behaviour.
Thieves: There’s no other word to describe these set of people, they are just thieves. If you forget yourself for one second in a bus, say goodbye to your phone or wallet. There’s always one in a Danfo, watching unsuspecting passengers. They slice bags open, pick pockets and once their operation goes well, they get down at the next bus stop.
The Beggars: Living in Lagos is not easy, we all know this but preying on people’s compassion daily? This is so common in Lagos. A well dressed person will enter a bus and start begging for fare. It’s either ‘please help me complete my fare’, or they start with plenty sob stories. Some may be genuine but how do we tell fake from real?
The Spies aka Lookman: These ones will not remove their eyes from your phone screen. Sometimes you are trying to reply messages or just scroll through Twitter while in a Danfo and there’s this person beside you staring at your screen, no shame. Just kuku offer them the phone and ask if they want to help you read your messages.
The Musician: This person just discovered ear phones or how else do I explain someone with headphones singing out loud in a bus?
The Aje Butter: This one is just entering Danfo for the first time (or pretending, we’ll never know). It’s either fear or delight on their faces. They’ll look so out of place, asking how much the fare is, trying to make sure their body does not touch anybody, flashing their iPhones around until it vanishes into thin air.
Are there other characters I missed? Oya add your own in the comments.