DECEMBER 6: BRAKES FAIL

RINGROAD, IBADAN

Car trouble is one of those things that remind you of how little your sphere of control is (especially when it is a car driven by many people). You’ll like the car to develop problems just as you’re backing out of the garage on a slow Saturday morning; when all you have to do is go to the store to buy groceries. But no, that never happens.

You’re on your way out of a wedding reception, with friends in the car who you are to drop at the bus park before joining other friends in Bodija, when your car’s brakes fail. You can’t even get mad, this is what brakes do: they usually work, but sometimes fail. There’s a metaphor about life here, but you can’t milk it properly yet. You have a failed brake to deal with.

Your friends board a taxi and tell you sorry as they depart. You’re smiling. You tell them sorry too because you’ve wasted their time. You gain perspective quickly and are thankful: what if the brake failed when you were driving at top-speed? You’re thankful.

You start the car, put on the hazard lights, and start a slow drive home. Commercial motorcyclists honk at you and curse at the top of their voice: Oga leave road if you no fit move. Wetin dey worry this one nah? Abeg comot for road. Your windows are up and the A/C is on. Your mind is in a good place, too good to be soiled by irate okadamen. Plus, you’ve put on the hazard lights, you can’t be responsible for their ignorance.

You wish that life also came with hazard lights so people can give you space in your brake-failure moments like the cars behind you are doing now. Of course there are people who will still ignore the lights and rant at you in your brake-failure moments, but at least, like the okadamen, you won’t be responsible for their ignorance.

You get home safely, change out of the white lace you wore to the wedding, and hop on an okada to join your friends in Bodija. Brake failures are never an excuse to stop moving on–just ditch the car.

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2 thoughts on “DECEMBER 6: BRAKES FAIL

  1. “You wish that life also came with hazard lights so people can give you space in your brake-failure moments like the cars behind you are doing now.”

    I try to put on my hazard light for friends and family. I let them know that now isn’t a good time. Ah, but I have to smile and ‘function’ for the rest of the world.

    I have enjoyed this series of writing, where you reflect on normal activities in your world- take the mundane and give it a lively twist 😉

  2. Very insightful piece. Life offers the gift of friendship to help us through our brake failures. But sometimes, friends might have to leave us for Bodija. We have to learn to move despite their absence hoping not much is missed.
    How do you milk these lessons out of everyday things? Its an art I really want to be good at! Thanks for sharing!

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