[ My LASTMA Encounter ]

To think time wasn’t even 7.00 am when I rushed out of the house that early morning, yet to brush my teeth and have my bath – I was even in my bathroom slippers, just so as to dash down and back.

I had parked my car inside the Adebowale House compound through the Shipeolu Street gate and then walked to Ikorodu Road through their main entrance, climbed the pedestrian bridge to the other side enroute my journey to Kayode Street, where I was meant to get a few iron rods for a pre-cast at home. 

The iron market was even yet to be opened as I discovered they don’t until 8.00 am – I was however, lucky to have one of their association guys attend to me, bought and paid for what I needed and then had a mallam carry them all for me to the other side.

Instead of having him questioned, carrying the bars into the Adebowale House compound with me, I told him to wait outside, walked in to drive my car out and he put my consignment into my car – all this, barely lasting 30 seconds.

Within a  twinkle of an eye, emerged a Danfo bus, springing to a halt right in front of my about to move car – about 8 people jumping out; thugs, and others in lastma and police uniforms. 

It was all like a scripted movie scene as I watched in awe – their cameras out, snapping pictures and taking video recordings. 

They tried to force open my car door:

‘You are parked illegally, obstructing traffic’

They barked out – a policeman had by now forced his way into my car, seated.

‘Illegally – How ?’

There was no vehicle behind or in front of me too, so I wasn’t in anyway obstructing the flow of traffic.

Long and short of my story – lastma towed my car unjustly to their yard in Oshodi.

A dastardly experience that started at about 7.30 am till I got my car out at 3.30 pm – my precious 8 hours wasted and I had to part with a whooping fifty thousand naira (N50k) to get my car out.

You should’ve been there to see how Nigerians were being unjustly treated by hooligans in uniforms – chased out into the streets from their compound and on our feet right there in the sun, thoroughly humiliated and drained.

Such an untowardly aggressive and rude lot too as they subjected me to psychological abuse and torture.

One was even going to beat me up as he struggled to rip off my car keys from me. It sure was a nasty experience I don’t wish on anyone.

While those unlucky to be in their net paid the ridiculous fines, you needed to hear their sad stories and how they sent down curses to the officials and their family.

Indeed, took me days to get my acts back together from the sad and harrowing experience – Phew ! 

*

LASTMA is an abbreviation for the ‘Lagos State Traffic Management Authority’

@ O’Shine Original . . .

[ I’m a CONQUEROR ]

‘Nooooo you didn’t get it’ 

He barked at me severally . . . ‘Just relax’ he further encouraged – ‘I hope you won’t run away after this ?’ 

Said the trainer, frustrated as he scurried outta the pool, looking disappointed and dejected.

Everyone present had their fill laughing at moi . . . That was my day one, my very first session inside a swimming pool – the phobia for water, eternally and finally defeated.

I showed up for my second session, determined . . . I did underwater diving and paddling . . . Shocking him with several laps across the breath of the pool . . . No less than 40 feet wide and for me, a breathtaking 6 feet depth.

Elemi lo ma last . . . He ain’t seen nothing yet.

Ready for the third session . . . Friend and I called trainer to no avail, he was nowhere to be found . . . We showed up anyway using another trainer . . .

This new trainer taught me another technique using my hands and my legs . . . Underwater still.

I shocked all present with no less than 15 laps.

Everyone is excited already with my progress . . . I personally thought I could do the whole pool lenght of about 100 feet by following week.

The days that followed saw me still improving and I remember this particular afternoon when my friend threw a challenge at me.

The odds were greatly stacked against my person as I only just loaded my tummy . . . A lunch of Ijebu delicacies . . . Ikokore and eba washed down with Orijin Zero …

Then . . . Then . . . The Bet:

A hundred thousand naira (N100,000) if I could swim the 40 feet breath and 9 feet deep section of the club’s pool . . . One beautiful woman looked on, smiling with that impossible look on her face saying . . . ‘I know you won’t dare do that’ . . .

A lifeguard urged me on . . . He wanted 20% of the stake, promising to dive in to my rescue if I faded off, midway.

I took a breathe in and then out . . . An opportunity to finally kill off my fear of water beckoned . . . A hundred thousand naira (N100,000) was the carrot too.

I looked ahead and it all seemed so long and far away – looking like the distance between Lagos and London.

My attitude is, I never say never.

I dived in . . . Sinking in deep and then gaining my balance . . . I took my first swipe with the hands and then my legs .  . . Holding my breathe and with the entire head, deep underneath. 

A few seconds thereafter and what looked like light years away, I emerged across the pool . . . Head up and hands up, clenched . . . I did it . . . Applause all over . . . Everywhere. 

I made it . . . Then a 2nd challenge to swim back to starting point . . . Stake raised to two hundred thousand naira (N200,000).

I sliced through the pool like hot knife through a chunk of butter, I did it again . . . Dawg . . . I entirely and finally, conquered my fear for deep water – like the man from ‘atlantis’ . . . 
Yeah – I never start what I can’t finish !

*

To think my first ever attempt at swimming dates back to sometime in 1985 . . .

I was at the time staying with an aunty in Festac Town and had ran into a friend’s friend, Sanmi – a boy about town that I’d met and became friends with while I used to frequent Dayo Aiyegbayo aka D1, my old secondary school buddy from St. Finbarr’s College, Akoka at his place in Ilupeju.

Dayo had other friends like Wale Mustapha, Wale Williams, Wole Dawodu that we all gathered together and Sanmi, who was Wole’s school mate at CMS Grammar School was always around too.

So running into Sanmi in Festac Town was exciting, especially having heard he had this really beautiful younger sis, Chuckles.

While I stayed around the 2nd Avenue – 207 Road, B Close, House 5 precisely, Sanmi stayed around the 3rd Avenue, somewhere on 312 Road.

He called at my place and in the heat of the moment while having touched on several exciting issues had mentioned his intention to go swim at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island – Lagos. 

He urged me to tag along on the chosen day and there I was also, my first ever visit to the then highly prestigious hotel. The quiet, serene and calm environment. I was amazed at their similarly inviting but what I had termed not tempting enough pool. A few number of people, fully drenched in its splendour.

There was absolutely nothing Sanmi didn’t do to lure me inside it, yet he never succeeded. The idea itself that I had to first and foremost bare my chest publicly was unthinkable plus the fact I had to ‘rent’ a swimming trunk and slip into what some goddamn unknown personality had once adorned – Nah, a total NO for me . Lol. 

Many years later, I scaled those ‘hurdles’ . . . Like a conqueror.

Lololololololololololol !

@ O’Shine Original . . .

[ The measure of intelligence ]

While window shopping at this interior decor place – I saw a matt finished wall tile I’d really liked, I wondered if it was available in a larger size:

“Is it available in 24″ × 24” size ?”(24 inches by 24 inches – Which is equally 2 feet by 2 feet size)

‘It is 60 mm by 60 mm’ 

He replied, looking lost. I schooled him . . . Or so, I thought:

“I use inches and feet for measurement where I come from. The last time I dealt in ‘cm’ or ‘mm’ was way back in primary school”

Unyielding, he objected to my lecture:

‘No tiler understands measurements in inches or feet, sir . . .’

‘Mo de gbenu mi sowun’ (And I kept my mouth shut)

As for me, since primary school which was way back over four decades, I have gone on to understand measurements not just in inches and feet, but even in meters.

This one is most certainly unyeilding and inflexible – a ’tiler’ obviously set in his own damn ways, not ready to change.

Outside my lecture, I had also thought of the popular saying:

‘The customer is always right . . . ‘

Lololololololololololol !

*

‘The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.’ – Albert Einstein

If you’re not changing, you’re not growing. If you’re not growing, you’re not being intelligent. Humans thrive in change and expansion – yet there can be so many internal or external blocks to change.

@ O’Shine Original . . .

[ My banker neighbour ]

I had very suddenly jumped up from bed, weirdly wondering where such noise and anger were coming from at that time of the night – twas early morning, really.

To my shocking discovery, it was so nearer home too – I got up from my bed, walked to the window, flipping the curtains to one side and could see from my room that the hullabaloo was from my young friend, Dr. Dre’s gate.

In the darkness, I saw a number of figures and heard unrecognizable voices shouting over each other, that of a woman inclusive. The torrents of abuse, most especially:

‘You this motherf.cker – who the f.ck are you ? – I will kill you and bury you here – motherf.cker !’

I couldn’t figure out the owner of the voice, though but checked what time it was and realised, that it was a few minutes past 1.00 am.

The female voice, coming up intermittently, begging and pleading for the man raining abuses to calm down – Probably that of his wifey.

I could see that the other person who was being abused and aggressed was pulled away from the scene, being spoken to and calmed down.

He eventually agreed to bury the hatchet, got into and drove his car away – then, the calm returned.

The following morning, I called my young friend, Dr. Dre:

“What was that ugly scene in front of your gate early this morning all about ?”

His revealing response, in Yoruba:

‘Banker lo muti yo o ! 😁😂😁’

(The banker got drunk . . . )

‘Nah me come settle the matter sef – I had to tell the other guy that the ‘banker’ was high up there already. That was what solved the problem – The noise was getting too much’

I was like:

“I was hearing too many voices and couldn’t place them – never even realised yours was one of them. Welldone jare”

His reply:

‘Even my dogs got unsettled and were barking . . . ‘

In the melee, the noisemaker while threatening to get his victim arrested, had pulled out his phone and made a call to whomever – that person must have been alarmed too, wondering what was happening and where on earth he was coming from:

He had responded:

‘Mo lo si hangout ni . . . ‘

(I went to hangout)

*

I still wonder what could have caused a fight of that magnitude at that time of the night till this very day.

My banker neighbour; fine boy, seemingly quiet from a distance and presumably, a snub to many in the hood, came home, heavily drunk that night . . .

Lololololololololololol !

@ O’Shine Original . . .