Ten tips to live by from a self-proclaimed authority on moving around Lagos by bus. Trust me, I’ve been doing it for years.
1. If you’re concerned (who wouldn’t be?) about picking up fuel fumes and the smells of strangers, wear a jacket or a thick sweater. You may get uncomfortably hot, but it will absorb everything. Your trousers won’t fare well though, because smelly seats and sweaty bodies.
2. Never sit right next to the driver. Everything from sweat to musty face towels and loose change will touch you. Your head will be the bridge over which interactions between him and the conductor will take place. Your head will suffer. Sufferhead.
3. Look out for your feet (because no one else will). I’d say you shouldn’t wear fancy shoes, but who am I to stifle your sense of style? Just don’t place your feet where they can be easily stepped on. ‘Sorry’ doesn’t clean a scuffed shoe.
4. Window seat available? Take it. The closer you are to fresh air, the better for your humanity. Besides, it’s a vantage point from which purchases can be made in slow-moving traffic.
+ Window seats are also ideal spots for your watch to be snatched off your wrist. Keep your hands inside the bus.
5. People will wipe sweat off their bodies without any concern for those around them. Noses will be picked and boogers flicked indiscriminately. Fortify your mind and keep your mouth firmly shut.
6. Hand sanitisers are not just an Ebola precaution, they are the difference between peace of mind and the feeling that bugs are crawling all over your skin. Carry a bottle all the time.
7. This one is a no-brainer: Don’t display your phone or tablet. That’s like putting up an electronic billboard calling thieves to crash your life’s party. Leave the first in your pocket and the second in your bag (not some case). Ignore calls or use a hands-free.
+ If you have to make or receive a phone call, don’t discuss personal details such as your itinerary.
8. Be paranoid, don’t talk to strangers. Seriously, don’t. Yes, you could meet your soulmate on a bus, but you could also meet your end. Besides, your soulmate will find you eventually…I hope.
9. If anyone starts talking about large sums of money in a loud voice, get off the bus immediately. I don’t care if it isn’t your stop, get the hell off!
+ ‘Dollars’ is a trigger word in a bus scam.
10. Don’t fall asleep. Stay woke, literally. Drift off and you could wake up in a neighbouring state. Or in a cave. Or in Heaven.