On Friday the 13th, April, 2012, I had to make a decision.
I was on my way to the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in the evening from the office. I’d made that trip so many times that I never even gave it a second thought. I had to be at Calvary Baptist Church in Adabraka by 6:30pm. Fairly routine, no?
Not quite. This time, I was making the journey from my office in Dzorwulu.
Origin8 moved from the old hangout downtown into a much more stunning building in a quieter and more classy neighbourhood the day before. Yet, it was hard to let go of my former lifestyle just like that, so I decided to go to Calvary for one last hoorah. It was a no-brainer, really. Right out of the front door, there was a driver’s mate half-heartedly calling out of his crawling trotro, “Circle, Circle!” I hopped on, not minding any stares – real or imagined – from the posh female staff of the Fidelity Bank branch that occupies the ground floor of our building. In my mind’s eye, we were already breaking the speed limit on our way past Accra Girls’ Senior High School, and zipping past slowpokes on the Kanda Nima Highway. I’d soon calculated the time it would take me to get there. All was going well till we took an unfamiliar early right turn.
I never reckoned the trip could be so painfully slow. The route to my destination had always been the most straightforward around. Not this time. Our journey took us through inner Nima. At least, that’s where I thought we were. The kayayoo to my left was fast asleep. Her head was bobbing in all directions. I feared she would smack her head against the rusted frame of the trotro and never wake up again. The aluminium pans on her laps, with which she carries goods on her head for shoppers through crowded marketplaces in Accra, were dented from use. They produced continuous clanging rhythms as we bounced over the pothole-ridden back streets. Human and vehicular traffic shared the road in a system which would easily confuse the uninitiated. Where on earth were we?
The slowness was enough to get me thinking about a few things. One of which was this blog. Was the name now irrelevant? After all, I now find myself working a world away from Ridge. I liked the ring of the name, From Bridge to Ridge. Just drop it? It felt like cutting off your right arm. I wrestled with the thought a long time.
We snaked our way past goods depots and night markets at Pig Farm. Or was it New Town? Our battered Nissan Urvan trotro was slowly being digested, having been swallowed into belly of the monstrous traffic jam. This was another side of Accra for me. Second-hand clothing was being set up on cheap mannequins. Kenkey sellers were making brisk business, while hits were blasting from randomly placed speakers. Every now and then, it was like a new set of passengers would get on board. Was anybody going to Circle at all? Perhaps that’s why we came this way in the first place. Otherwise, wouldn’t it have been more prudent to use the main highway?
I was now too tired to think, and with all the determination I could muster not to have to revisit this issue, I made the decision: I’ll keep the name. Sure, it’s not Ridge anymore, but does that really matter?
So my commute has changed. I haven’t even figured out how the easiest way to get to work is. I don’t fancy taking three different cars, but I still want to get to work as fast as I can, and stay off the roads as long as I can. How can it take me almost the same time and cost me about the same to get to a location which is geographically much closer to my house? (I thought that was strange until I remembered that back when we were in Adabraka, if anybody offered me a lift anywhere along my route to East Legon, thinking they were doing me a favour, I’d gladly refuse and just join the throng of workers trying to get home at the Circle station.)
Discovering a new route and all the little bites that will no doubt come with it may not seem like fun. But seated in my new and much more spacious creative studio, maybe it’s worth it, this change of environment. And the view from the rooftop sure beats the sight of a leafy Indian almond tree any day.