…and yet, we are eerily similar

Since the last time I let Enyima on here, I’ve received incessant requests for her to have an encore. For the sake of my sanity, here she is again with her own rib-cracking take on the commute in the UK, where she lives and works. You’ll love it. Please, comment beneath.

Asomasi.

*******

The last time Asomasi let me hijack his blog for a week, it was all drama and suspense – a real life experience spiced up with everything except an over-the-top attempt at ominous-sounding background music (think Nollywood movie when the evil husband-snatcher is pouring rat poison into the oblivious wife’s Malta Guinness, looking furtively over her shoulder to see if anyone has noticed a stranger in a bright red boubou tip-toeing around Chief Oguntola Davids’ gaudy mansion).

This time, I’ve toned it down a little. I’m in the throes of pre-examination panic and the creative juice-factory in my head has all but shut down. It’s all financial reporting rules, tax-saving strategies, general confusion and occasional anxiety-induced hyperventilation up there, so my apologies. There are no tales of run-ins with ganja-boys in this piece. Just an experience I’ve had in both my Ghana and UK commutes that I thought I’d share.

~∞~

A few weeks ago I was on the bus home from the city centre, balancing my book-bag and handbag on my lap and bag of groceries on my feet, trying not to spill my stuff into the narrow centre aisle and silently chiding myself for not picking a seat with more leg-room.  I was, as is typical after a long day of study, in a bit of a bad mood – a mood only worsened by the fact that I didn’t have a free hand to raise the volume on my iPhone and drown out the sound of Disgruntled Screaming Baby.

Barely five minutes into the journey, I felt a tap on my shoulder and immediately my guard was up. People don’t just randomly tap other people on Bus 35 – unless one of those people is a chatty old lady, oblivious to the fact that times have changed and touching strangers gets you a filthy look at best and a stab to the chest at worst. Before I could turn around to shoot said filthy look at my tapper, a handwritten note scrawled onto a hastily torn-off piece of paper was shoved in my face, accompanied by a heavily-accented, “Excuse me, this is for you.”

In retrospect, I wish I had read what heart-melting words this Nigerian Neruda had written, but as I was in no frame of mind to be swept away by Love at First Read, a curt “No thank you” was my retort, after which I went back to staring at the riveting scenery of shops, flats and run-down warehouses whizzing by. Thankfully, he wasn’t the persistent type and the rest of the journey home was uneventful.

Anti-climactic, I know, but the whole incident took me back to my trotro hey-days of the late 20th century, when at least once a week some randy bachelor (or father-of-three, who’s to say?) would express his interest in being my “friend”. It was always on that stretch of road between Sankara and Equip (yes, I realise I am old and that Equip is now Busy Internet – or was that L’Air Liquide?) and I was never remotely interested – maybe because I was all of 13 years old at the time.  Perverts.

Looking back, I’m a little disturbed by the fact that certain adult males did not find it inappropriate to try to chat me up whilst I was still in my  “kokonte ne nkatekwan” school uniform, never mind in a cramped, humid rust-bucket travelling at 80 miles an hour. Even worse was the standard of the “game” being spat. It ranked somewhere between shameful and awful.  A typical conversation usually went something like this:

Perv:    Excuse me, can I ask you a question?

Me:      (Isn’t that a question in itself?) Okay

Perv:    Are you a Christian?

Me:      Yes.

Perv:    So you believe in God?

Me:      (No, I’m an atheist Christian) Yes.

Perv:    I am a Christian too.

Me:      (Fancy that! I would’ve never thought so looking at you) Okay.

Perv:    I want to be your friend.

Me:      Okay. (See a pattern in my responses here? Fellas it’s called disinterest. Take a hint and move on.)

Perv:    So where do you stay?

Me:      (You mean where do I live? Why would I tell a stranger that? Bold-faced lie coming up) Mamprobi.

Perv:    I stay at Lartebiokorshie. Do you know there?

Me:      (No, somehow I’ve lived in the adjacent neighbourhood for over a decade and yet I have never heard of it) Yes.

Perv:    Do you know there very well?

Me:      No. (But I’m sure you’re dying to show me the wonders of the local check-check joint)

Perv:    You are not talking very much. Why?

Me:      (Shrug)

Perv:    (Oddly encouraged by my reticence) I want to be your friend.

Me:      (And I want a million dollars, but I’m living contentedly with the knowledge that I don’t have it and won’t for a long time) Okay.

Perv:    You are a very nice girl. (Toothy grin)

Me:      (Hah – keep talking and you’ll realise that’s not true) Thank you.

Mate:   Equip!

Me:      Bus Stop!

Perv:    You are alighting at Equip?

Me:      Yes, I am going to visit my uncle who is a manager there. (Code for: don’t even consider following me or my big, bad uncle will beat you to into apotoyiwa-grade tomato puree)

Perv:    Okay. So how can I contact you?

Me:      (Shrug)

Perv:    Can I have your address?

Me:      No.

Perv:    Do you have a phone at home?

Me:      No. (Lie number two in the space of ten minutes. This man was doing nothing for my morals)

Perv:    What’s your name?

Me:      Asabea. (Lie number three! Three lies and the conversation was officially no longer worth having. I started squeezing my way out of the trotro)

Perv:    Okay, Asabea. Maybe I’ll see you again. I’m Prince.

Me:      Uh huh.

To this day I have never seen an onboard proposition result in the exchange of phone numbers, let alone vows. But then again I only ever catch a few minutes of The Hunt – far too little time to predict whether the gazelle escapes the lion or is dragged down by the ankles and devoured by the whole pride. All I know is there’s a time and a place for everything and when it comes to making a good first impression on a woman (or girl), the bus or the trotro at rush hour Just Ain’t It. Consider yourselves told.

Xx

Enyima

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About Kwaku Dankwa

By day, I'm an advertising copywriter. That's what I've done all my working life (National Service doesn't count). Husband of Esther, father of Jesse, and servant of Christ. I previously wrote a blog on the dramatic side of public transport in Accra, "The Daily Commute: From Bridge to Ridge." Enjoy.
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29 Responses to …and yet, we are eerily similar

  1. dannie says:

    Hahaha…this is one of the best posts I’ve read in a long while. I love the whole convo part because I can totally relate with that (and they’re the once with the creepy names like Prince or Romeo or some other cliche name.)

  2. Ama says:

    LOLOLOLOL – where to start? Fat, bright red boubou-clad intruder completely unnoticed by all inhabitants, rust-buckets at 80 mph – so true! You really lost guard with your Bus 35 love notes though, I’m dying to know what was written on that paper! Really good.

    In my North London heydeys, I used to run every so often into a dreadlocked bespectacled guy who would mysteriously appear in front of me, seemingly out of thin air, coo “Sexyyy” and then vanish as mysteriously as he came, in a flurry of waving fingers and kisses blown in my direction. I never ever saw him approach, all of a sudden he was just THERE. It was really surreal. The last straw was at Seven Sisters tube station, travelling on the down escalator, you guessed it – “Sexyyy” – I look around and there he is standing on the up escalator, looking down at me and, you guessed it, blowing kisses and waving. All the people on both escalators turned as one and gazed at me … unfortunately the ground refused to open up and swallow me on the spot, despite my feverish prayers … na war!

    • Bamfo says:

      Ama, I love your responses just like the blogs. What about being a guest blogger once in a while. I am sure you have lots of experiences to share.

      • Sis says:

        I second!!

      • Ama says:

        Hehehe, as for this fan club diE, I “suspect” – (and actually forget who could be reading about my escapades, *blush*) but anyway thanks for the vote of confidence, guys!

    • Kwaku Dankwa says:

      The brother must’ve been everywhere! Ei, the audience too, what was their beef? If you’ve got your somebody blowing you his kisses in public, they too why?

    • Maab says:

      Hei, Sexyyy, you must be as amazing as your story is, to be noticed by this chap more than once out of these huge crowds who traverse London’s busy tube and bus stations daily!
      Hmm, this shatters a notion I hold dearly, that at these London transport stations my identity is always perfectly protected.
      I remember this time when I had to take my 14 year old daughter for an urgent passport picture in London. We walked to the nearest self service booth we found underground. As we stood outside the booth whilst I read the instructions on the booth, my daughter was in tears–why? She didn’t like the way we were standing there whilst everybody zoomed past staring at us! She felt embarrassed that we were making a fool of ourselves and displaying our ignorance. I tried to explain to her that surely I had to know what to do before entering the booth–that is why the instructions had been posted on the booth, so she should relax! By way of comfort I also tried to assure her that on the London underground and tube stations nobody took notice of anybody—but perhaps I am wrong— or perhaps except for “oldies” with trailers??

    • Enyima says:

      Yes, Ama. I did indeed “lose guard”. Now I’ll never know. Sigh.

      And lol at your number one fan and his antics! Did he seem sane? Did he just appear to get a kick out of the horrified expression on your face? Or was he genuinely trying to start something? I’m with the others – give us a full account of your Tube escapades one of these days. Asomasi ei – make her write one!

  3. Tetekai says:

    You have totally nailed it, gal (high five)
    Great post

    • Kwaku Dankwa says:

      Hahaha! I told you she was good.

      • elorm says:

        Did you say she was good? Rocks I’ld say. But of course she is your friend. What can be expected? Perhaps in the next millenium I will be half as good and then I will also join these intimidatingly funny bunch.
        Keep them coming.

    • Enyima says:

      Thanks, Tetekai. And high five right back. Do not let it be said that I left you hanging ;).

  4. Pk Anane says:

    lol… but erm..I actually met my ex-gf in a troski :).. Obviously I probably had the kinda “game” Prince would never have 🙂 (okay..okay.. maybe she liked my shirt..)

    • Enyima says:

      Haha, PK. Ayekoo.

      Do you remember what your opening line was?

    • Kwaku Dankwa says:

      Ei, Anane, you be hard guy oo! You for give we the run down. You know what they say about … I can’t remember, but it has to do with securing business in the time it takes to move from one floor to another in a lift. You over that sef!

  5. Kwaku Dankwa says:

    Just the other day, I was going home late at night, and since the mate hadn’t given me change till the last stop before Bridge (appalling!), I couldn’t sleep. At Shiashie we picked some guy up and he was sat next to this girl. Then he started chatting her up. Asking her if she was a student. No. Did she work?

    On and on. Unfortunately, he was talking to low, so I couldn’t hear. At a point, it became too much for me, so I leaned forward on my folded arms. The girl was obviously not interested and was looking away. The dude was obviously drunk. I can’t remember his questions, but at a point, I remember I started laughing. The girl noticed and laughed too. The brother’s brains were too drenched in alcohol to care or react. I didn’t care either. I was 30 seconds away from Bridge.

  6. Sally says:

    I love this write up, I’ve had a good laugh. The conversation lines are so real and I could not stop laughing. Well done!

  7. christiana says:

    I thought these things happen only in Ghana. Perhaps people are the same everywhere. Good one there, Enyima!

  8. sharlon says:

    K.D i told you Enyima was good. loved her choice of words most. I sat in this trotro once (yes kwaku i did so drop that eye brow) and this guy next to me takes one look at my lapel pin and immediately starts talking to me. Did i look interested or eager to chat at 8.30 pm in the evening on my way home from work ( modern day slave trad)? i don’t think so. Never has the English vocabulary seen few words for responses as it did that night. When the mate asked for his fare i pulled out my purse only to realize i had no money. Guess who my knight in shining armour was?? at my stop I muffled a thank you and good bye all in one breathe and jumped out of that car with face on fire. That was not fair fate. not at all.

    • Ama says:

      ROFLM*O – that is really good! Hope you never ran into him again as he would surely be expecting some sort of “repayment” in kind … we used to all it “comporting” back in the day …

    • Enyima says:

      Oh Sharlon, animguase paa nie, lol!

      Glad you enjoyed the post.

  9. nallie says:

    Fantastic!! I love this 🙂
    Bus rides/trotro rides can really give us all tales-to-tell. lol.

    Kwaku, I went on a lil break, but I’m back for good! LOVE THE BLOG :))
    Naa Lamiley

  10. Maab says:

    Dear Enyima I nearly forgot to post my comment on your opening remarks; to say that your creative juice-factory in your head has far from dried up! The pre-exam panic seems to have done wonders to your creativity in writing–enabling you to come up with this hilarious but educative piece. May it go on to surprise you with a superb exam result.

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