23 February 2006

To ride or not to ride

It’s been harder than usual getting out of bed this week; I think it has something to do with the fact that I have been going to bed later than usual. I like to sleep, my family members are convinced and have convinced others that if sleeping where an Olympic sport, Nigeria had great potential in me! I usually go to bed like 9 pm, latest 10, but this week, the earliest I clocked in was 11:30 pm! I think the only thing, no two things that got me out of bed early this week was the thought of traffic, and the idea of not getting a parking space. If there is anything I don’t like, its traffic and not getting good parking in the office ranks a close second. So I stumble out of bed into the bath, pull on some clothes and I hop in the car, its 5:35 am. I usually let my engine run till the needle on the temperature gauge is half-way through the scale before I turn on my air-conditioning. I don’t know why I do this, I have just always felt it was a good idea. So my windows are down, that’s how come I hear this … girl/young lady shout ‘VI’. I am still in my estate so I slow down and yell back ‘Marina’ she waves frantically for me to stop so I do and she hops in. I tell her I am going to Marina and asked where would be okay for her to get off she says she will get off at Obalende. So on I go, as we approach Obalende she asked if she could have my number so we could hook up the next day, I am not really sure if I want to be saddled with picking someone every single day, so I happily tell her I am off work (I actually was meant to be, its my girls wedding this weekend in Ibadan, and I had asked for the day off. My direct report would insist that I do a half day though I didn’t know this at the time). She got my number all the same though.

After dropping her off, I thought about the whole thing for the rest of my trip to work. Why would I not want to be saddled with the responsibility of giving a person a ride every day? I had worked for 3 years before buying my car in 2003, and for most of the time I was car-less, I benefited from a lot of free rides. This is how I met Guze and TA, and they have been good friends to me, Guze especially (I would want him at my bridal shower). I remember one time Guze didn’t see me waiting at my usually spot. He drove all the way to my house to find out what the matter was (I had over slept). He then proceeded to wake me up and then waits while I took a shower and get dressed, and then he drops me off at work. I can never forget that day. I was very appreciative of what he did (and no he wasn’t digging on me, he was then dating his very lovely wife Flaky). I guess that’s what further endeared me to him. As a recipient of many free rides why would I not want to give them in return? I can imagine that it wasn’t always convenient for Guze or TA to give me a ride, but they did nonetheless, and even went the extra mile for me on occasion. I guess it all boils down to personal choice. Guze and TA for whatever reason chose to give me a ride that first time and then decided to continue to do so. I always remembered that they were doing me a favor, and I was very appreciative of that fact, so I did my best to not take them for granted or abuse the privilege.

Not many people I have found can do that; not take you for granted/abuse a privilege. My friend Mudi calls it taking the piss. I guess that’s what I really don’t want. I recall sometime last year seeing a KC boy on my street on my way to work at 5:30 AM!. I felt very bad; this young man should still be sleeping at home. Overwhelmed with compassion, I stopped to offer a ride. He said he was actually going to hook up with his friend whose dad takes him to school, but thanks all the same. I wasn’t home for the rest the week, imagine my surprise when my flat mate called me the next day and spent like 20 mins giving me a thorough tongue-lashing! ‘What did I do’? I managed to get in when she stopped for air. ‘How can you be offering a guy a ride’? She bellowed. I had to press pause as I racked my brain hmmm … which guy could this be? I wondered. Then I remembered the KC boy of the day before. ‘A KC boy hardly qualifies as a guy’ I reply. She then gives me a lecture on how it was poor judgment on my part, what if he was a thief? I am like on our street in a carefully pressed KC uniform? I should hope not, not after all the money we spend on security bills in the estate. I asked her how she came to know about this, did our mallam report me? No she snapped, apparently the young man had made a note of the house I drove out from and came by in the evening to ask if he could ride with me in the mornings on a permanent basis. I then ask her why it’s okay for me to accept a ride but not offer one. She rolls her eyes ‘You are a girl’!! Duh!!! I decide it would be wise to just show remorse so we can move on. Eventually it worked out that he started riding with her (he was a senior boy and so was in the VI campus). He paid her back by falling in love with her (these darned hormones!) and even asking her out (he was 17 at the time and she was 33!). Things fell apart between them after that (obviously) and I resolved not to offer anyone who pees standing up a ride again (I have since broken that resolution). My flat mate felt very really insulted and although I was sympathetic I wondered if she shouldn’t feel flattered (I am not okay, I know). I guess the young man wouldn’t have had the liver to just stop her on the road and start toasting her, the fact that he was riding in her car 5 days a week made that possible.

I am very protective of my personal space, and can get very nasty if one ventures too close to its perimeter uninvited. Daily riders would eventually do that, and would not be able to resolve their actions to my reaction. One-off riders however wouldn’t have the opportunity to do that. I think I will stick to helping out my brother/sister when they are in need, but only once! Since I have resolved my issues, I consulted my to-do-list, and checked off ‘do a good deed’.


Anonymous said...

Driving a car is a unique experience - I imagine not many chauffeurs will sign off on this sentiment. Still I cannot think of many emotional parallels to the thrill of giving tactile experience to the concept of "personal space". Nor for that matter being thereafter able to carry this space along with you.

Driving does this; and more.

And I have come to associate the casual passenger with a gratuitous invasion of this space.

That was until I met this one female ("girl" she ain't; "woman" she says she's not yet; and "lady" we both are agreed she may never be).

Experience of her determined that it was possible to share one's private space without this sense of an "invasion".

An exception?

I guess so. Because it so very readily proves the rule.

adefunke said...

Interesting. I thought I was the only person faced with that dilemma! Until recently, i referred to myself as a girl, indeed I was quick to state to all who cared to listen that I was still having a happy childhood! I am still having a happy childhood, but to continue to call myself a girl for sure will encourage all those other sub 20 boys. Young Lady sounds patronizing, Lady I am not, too rough around the edges and Woman sounds so grass roots! So what to call me, I think it requires a whole post.

Epictetus said...

"Babe" is so sexist.

"Female" smacks of immeasurable distance - ideologically and spatially - from the person contemplated.

How about "person"? Anonymous? Methinks so.

Are you as conflicted as is this failed attempt to reach a proper gender description?

adefunke said...

I like to think that I am normally not a conflicted person. The inability to describe myself I think is evidence of a metamorphosis. When its complete I will know who I am (I hope).

Epictetus said...

The metamorphosis of "Sister Funke"?

adefunke said...

or funke's metamorphosis!

TRAE said...

My flat mate felt very really insulted and although I was sympathetic I wondered if she shouldn’t feel flattered

i feel the same way. funny things we do when we're teenagers...for reals you should write a book or something. your writting is enchanting. peace!