By Famara Fofana
One of the most common sights in major intersections and garages around this time of the month is that of commuters and drivers exchanging verbals. Sometimes, they would come to the point of squaring off like a pair of timid light-feathered boxers in a ring or as it used to happen in our hamlet in Jarra – two hens facing off, flapping their wings in style and looking into each other’s eyes, similar to the modern day version of ‘faasaa-faas’ before a duel.
At a time when most people are literally a contestant in the highly competetive rat race that is ‘raba raba’, anything that could delay ir throw a spanner in somebody else’s work is hardly taken lightly. If anything, that four-lettered word called TIME is considered tones of money even for a people that have spent years subjecting one another to the so-called West African International Time (WAIT).
And boy do you know? Of all the players in the game that is ‘Raba Raba’, motorists, particularly those in the commercial sector, appear to be the dominant players. Patience, it would appear, is their Achilles’ heel.
Picking and dropping passengers anytime, anywhere and anyhow ,it is not uncommon to hear cab drivers especially those that ply the West Field area, barking at pedestrians asking what on earth has become of such people they almost knock on the backside. Usually it is one of the side mirrors that does the trick. To send you panicking, a middle-aged taxi driver wearing a singlet and a Jim Iyke type of shades would impolitely yell ‘Uncle hana yow gisulo moto bi’ or in some instances to the ear-piece loving, mini-bag carrying young ladies ‘Son yew lu jot sa botiyi. Doh bayi doh di loh’.
Who knows , like the taxi driver himself, that commuter atthe receiving end of his fury, also woke up in the morning without a ‘kopar ndawal’ for the day and had to rush to one of those money transfer bureaus along Kairaba Avenue to collect some bucks wired to him or her the previous night.
In a spontaneous response triggered by the numerous items on their to-do list , the person on his or her feet too is tempted no matter how cool-headed they may be to say, ‘yow driver soh ma laa leh. Hana yow amulo brake’?
That is where it stops. No blows to trade but only words to bandy about, for the mantra of the drivers themselves is ‘fat-fat’ in reference to the little time they have. Similarly, the other person in the business of ‘nyeffeh’ would put the little altercation behind him.
These sort of scenarios I tried to depict may sound humorous but in reality they are daily experiences people like myself stumbled on or at times encounter to and from the workplace. They provide a bird’s eye view of the dwindling rate of patience among most young people; driver or pedestrian. It also underlines the gravity of intolerance fast creeping into our society.
In the end however, there tend to be only one winner; the one who exudes cocksure bravado amid the ‘shouti-bouty’ or the ‘dangam’ types. That is how they play by the rule book in such situations.
This is Sere-kunda after all. We are fond of the hullabaloo. We rarely fall in for real fights. So the young lady offended by the motorist would end up saying to herself ‘man mii nga hamneh seyanguma, awma dom amaanguma dara’. In contrast, the uncle who has seen enough in his life would pretend not to have noticed the driver asking for trouble because he can’t afford to indulge in any scuffle that may end up costing his family especially the newly wedded ‘Jongoma’ he has taken. Meanwhile, for the highly-ambitious taxi driver with fire in his belly, all that has passed has indeed passed. Attention is swiftly shifted to the next ‘kiliyaan’ as he hope for a happy return home, just like the uncle or young lady who was out in the morning to fend for their families.