A silly British friend once pointed out to me that there was nothing you couldn’t buy in Lagos traffic. He wasn’t sure human skull and other body parts were available but he was pretty convinced that you could purchase everything else while driving from one part of Lagos to the other.
In fact, he insisted, it was possible for you to drive out of your house naked and hungry and by the time you arrive at your destination you would be fully dressed and well fed, without making a single stop at a clothing store or eatery.
But there’s a science to shopping in Lagos traffic and, because I care so much about your wellbeing, I shall share juicy secrets of shopping in Lagos traffic with you today.
1. When buying boiled groundnuts in traffic, buy from more than one seller. See, there’s no way of knowing whose groundnut is over-salted or too soft/hard. You are safer buying from different sources. And please don’t ask why you need to buy boiled groundnuts in traffic. Anyone who can stay in Lagos traffic without chewing anything is not to be trusted. What are you trying to prove? Please apply same theory to plantain chips and gala (yes, Gala; all other gala wannabes don’t count!). The harder the Gala, the better. You are going to be in traffic for a while; you may as well fill up. Don’t buy peppered plantain chips in traffic unless you brought soap and water to wash your hands from home. Why? You are going to be in traffic for a while and at some point you’ll be sleepy. If you eat peppered chips and then rub your sleepy eyes (or other body parts)…do I have to spell it all out to you?
3. Do not buy belts, phones, wristwatches, shoes and sun glasses in Lagos traffic: they are all fake or stolen. Be a good citizen and do not encourage thievery. However, you may buy recommended glasses in traffic. Yes, you do not need an optometrist. The guys that sell recommended glasses in Lagos traffic are geniuses. By merely looking at you, they can tell what sort of corrective lenses you need to sort out whatever your issues are. Have faith.
4. All genuine ice cream sellers in Lagos traffic are Ghanaians. Yes, the Ghana Must Go policy of the 80′s sent Ghanaian prostitutes, tailors and great teachers away from Nigeria but somehow the ice cream sellers made their way back. And they no longer wear jerry curls in their hair. Do not buy ice cream from a non-Ghanaian in Lagos traffic unless you want to experience food poisoning.
5. Collect your change before you pay. Do not open your window beyond an inch when paying, giving change or receiving purchased items. Do not let the buying of Gala turn into the loss of your phones, laptops, handbags, underwear and body parts. Are you a learner?
6. Do not buy sex in Lagos traffic. Have some decency for God’s sake! Do you want to put her on your laps for a quickie while driving? For those of you wondering at this point, asking yourselves how anyone could buy sex in Lagos traffic…well, you have not realized that it is not only the oranges some of those girls have on their heads that they are selling. There are other oranges. Or you have not heard: ‘Bros, buy ‘orange’ o. This one no be palasa like pure water o…e sokulent well well. You go press? Make I enter motor na…‘
7. Except you were dropped on your head as a baby or your mother handed you over to a goat to breastfeed, do not buy cooked food in Lagos traffic. You do not know what body parts were washed into the soup, abi? I hear it is what makes Buka food addictive. Besides, Emperor Fashola has declared that we shall all no longer eat while driving, or else he will increase our taxes. However, should you run into someone willing to sell you fluffy Amala, Gbegiri and Goat meat, or Ewe Agonyin in traffic anywhere in Lagos, like I did in that bastard traffic at Ikotun the other day, well…who am I to ask you not to fall for temptation?