This is an honest cry for help, folks! I need help with living in Lagos!
I have changed into many unpleasant things and I didn’t realise it until now. Remember when I said the best thing for Lagosians living in Lagos is a trip outside Lagos? And I mentioned that I was on a short break to Southern Kaduna recently? Well, this has been the wake-up call I didn’t know that I needed.
I have become a tout! Lagos has toughened me up and turned me into what my dear mother did not raise.
When did I become this way? Was it when I learnt how to fight danfo drivers and bus conductors before they even had the chance to stress me? Or was it when I learnt to mind my business and face front even in a friendly company? Ah! It must be when I reworked my body alarm to wake up by 4am; especially after I realised that getting about four hours of sleep daily doesn’t kill anybody.
How many people have I snapped at because I’m just tired and need a full day of sleep? How many people have snapped at me because they are tired and need even more than a day’s worth of sleep?
Your guess is truly as good as mine. Lagos has a way of affecting lives in ways that will give you serious culture shock; especially when you visit other places. In Kaduna, I’d react with surprise when strangers greet me as I walked down the street because I’d gotten used to ignoring my neighbours and people in general. I indeed like to keep to myself. But I have taken it further by staying away from other people to avoid wahala.
So, all the warmth those Southern Kaduna people were showing me was alien.
Another strange thing was how life resumed by 7am on a weekday only because kids had to go to school. My body had to learn to stay in bed till 6am at least because nobody was rushing off anywhere that early. The lifestyle is so chill that I was in a constant fight not to give in because I must return home. Even in the very hot afternoons, you’d not hear a single generator. The silence was like a thick warm blanket. It can never be so in my area in Lagos where generator noise has become part of the ecosystem.
Do I want to talk about how strictly officials enforce COVID-19 regulations at the airport and train stations? If I start, we will be here for ages, so I won’t. But they did a fine job and even though the Lagosian in me wanted to flout their orders, I behaved. Subservience is not a Lagosian’s strong suit.
I don’t wish Lagos would be like other states. We have our special points. And after my time in the North, I appreciate the community living despite religious and tribal differences. But can we relax?
This life is not kill and die o! Is it possible that we learn to chill in Lagos?