#LagosChronicles [Episode 01]: Lara’s First Day

Lagos 2Lara had left home way too early in her own judgement, she clearly didn’t like it but apparently had no choice in view of the current situation. The road was deserted and would have been quiet but for the low rumbling sounds from various overworked household generating plants in the estate, the air was not so sweet smelling either, there was a distinct scent of exhaust fumes clearly from the generating plants which must have been running all night in the absence of regular power supply.

The occasional sound of early morning commuters filtered over the estate fence as she approached the main gate, a glance at her wristwatch showed 4:28 AM way too early she thought to herself again. She had showered before bed and again just before leaving home after minor morning chores, not necessarily to freshen up but to compensate for poor sleep, even now she felt sleepy as she emerged from the estate’s main gate heading towards the fuel station which was the pick up point of her company’s staff bus.

Thank God, at least the place was not deserted, there were other people standing around apparently also waiting to hitch a ride via the regular public/commercial means or like herself waiting for their company staff bus. This was her first time, officially on the job, she remembered the process she went through just to secure this job, it was unconventional by all means.

A year ago after service, Lara made up her mind not to sit at home making herself redundant and a burden for any man. She paid attention to the complains by her friends and elder sisters married and working in Lagos, complains about how there are no jobs in Lagos anymore and how one must know someone before getting a slot in a good company but beyond all the uninspiring talk she kept in touch with her friend Grace who had finished serving three years before herself, her success story has always been a constant source of inspiration to Lara which she claimed is completely replicable, Grace got her job with a blue chip company without knowing anyone working there at least not in the sense that people referred to.

All she did was visit several companies from time to time asking to be employed while establishing contacts for the sake of checking up for gentle reminders, sounds like a lot of work but Grace kept this up for just five months and bam! She walked into firm during a recruitment exercise by chance and was picked and asked by one of the panel member to join the recruitment test all because he was impressed with her neat and smart dressing. Although she was not picked for that job, she was alerted for another one in the same month by the same agency that handled the first recruitment exercise and this time she got in.

Lara on her part had replicated the move almost to the letter with just few adjustments here and there to fit her own discipline and unique requirement as a Human Resource personnel. Despite criticisms from her friends and others that the plan would fail, she kept at it and got her own job after seven months of consistent scouting by herself, despite submitting employment letters both online and via highly placed proxies.

Oh well, her thoughts slowly returned to the present and she was now on the staff bus heading straight for the Island from Maryland, she had almost missed the bus being her first time, her phone rang while she was waiting at the bus stop, on picking the call the voice from the other end asked “good morning is this Miss Lara James?” the mention of her full name startled her a bit but before she could respond to ask who the voice belonged to, the man said “we are at the bus stop and about leaving, are you close by?” it was then she realized that the call was coming from the staff bus and she immediately noticed a white unmarked Coaster bus parked about fifty yards away, flashing it’s headlights as if waiting for someone, she immediately walked towards the bus with fast pace as she identifying herself and quickly concluded the call.

After the initial pleasantries on entering the bus, she made her way to the fifth row and sat down near the window, she noticed that the bus was mainly quiet but for the radio which was on at a low volume. A lot of her colleagues in the bus were either sleeping, on their phones or fiddling with some other gadgets. They stopped at Anthony to pick up Bryan the tech guy who came running as if he was being chased from home, he sat down next to Lara grinning from ear to ear like the poster of a political candidate.

She took in the sights on their way. Initially shops and businesses appeared closed to be opened soon but the unmistakable crowd trooping out to the bus stops was evidence that businesses would soon start opening their doors. Some fuel stations were yet to open for business while others seem to be ready to start selling their products. Commercial bus drivers were also at it as usual, conductors yelling destinations and subtly harassing commuters to choose their buses, all the while blocking right of way with their unreasonable parking habits, typical.

There were hawkers too, young boys and sometimes girls running around in traffic with various wears, many of them chasing cars and buses to attend to customers too inconsiderate to park well even when they had the opportunity to do so, others drove slowly as these traffic hawkers looked for change before getting paid.

One could practically stock the house with items bought in traffic because these hawkers sold all kinds of stuff from snacks to other food items and house hold appliances. They were usually present everywhere there was traffic because the Traffic to them was like a stream where they all came to fish.

The bus got to Palm Groove, she could not believe people were up this early to the point of causing minor traffic at major junctions and park ways spilling into the highway. She observed a bulk of a man sitting on a motorcycle with a stomach so big that she refuse to believe anyone would so damage himself with obesity, he must be a heavy drinker, she thought to herself, he looked very mean as he watched the road, eagle-eye style from the corner, his dark worn out police uniform gave him a rough look. At that precise moment a Tanker from no where rudely cut in front of their bus almost driving them off the road, a mixture of angry utterances filled the bus, some of which were profane and others in dialects Lara couldn’t decipher but it was clear every one was upset, the driver yelled “Ewuuu” at the Tanker driver whom from all indication did not hear him and kept on driving as if nothing had happened apparently this was a norm.

Everyone began talking at the same time, mostly recollecting past nasty experiences with these truck drivers, how they seem oblivious of other road users and how the Government need to step in to regulate or ban them.

“You can’t ban them” Bryan, the guy sitting next to her said, reacting to the utterances of their driver, “if that is done it will mean chaos for the shipping industry”.

“Then regulate them then, do you know how many innocent lives they take with their carefree attitude on the road?” The driver continued and so the debate went on.

By the time they passed Ojuelegba it was clear everyone in the bus was going to keep talking about the Tanker incident. Bryan who sat next to her and had been on the phone when it all happened kept asking her odd questions like “what would you have done if the Tanker had hit us head on?” she gave him a disapproving look just to discourage more of such questions, Mr Obed who sat next to the driver drinking tea from his compact flask when the Tanker incident occurred was still scrubbing his white shirt which was now ruined by spilled tea, he was silently cursing under his breath.

Lara looked out the window from her fifth row seat on the driver side of the Coaster, they were on the bridge now, she saw the lagoon and felt a chill from the cooling system in the bus. “So this is the drama I will face everyday to work” she thought to herself. It was as if the entire mainland residents were embarking on an Exodus to the island… She was sleepy, very sleepy… Lara leaned on the window and floated into dream land.

To be continued…


About The FirstSonar:

Sunday Imonah, also known as First/Lord Sonar because of his good music ears and vocal prowess, is an enigmatic Presenter on Drive Time belt, the Weekend run as well as other belts on Metro FM, He is a voice Actor and writer at heart. He has produced, written, and directed creative works for the Station and beyond. He has voiced Commercials for Companies like Afrab Chem, Cornoil, numerous pharmaceutical and beverage companies as well as religious houses to mention but a few. Sunday is a social critic who uses his writings to proffer solutions for social good. He was recently nominated in the Nigerian Broadcasters Merit Awards [NBMAwards] for Outstanding Radio Programme Presenter, Midday/Lunch Hour Category.

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