I probably hadn’t seen a black man sweat so profusely since Kunta Kinte in ‘Roots’. Although this chap wasn’t in such a dire situation as the aforementioned character, he was evidently tense. I noticed as I was driving to work along the slow-moving morning traffic on 3rd Mainland Bridge that I happened to be behind this male learner in a small Japanese car. Even though I had observed that the guy was driving a bit too indecisively for a typical lagos motorist, it wasn’t until his car’s engine went off that I decided to swerve out of this sluggish lane. As I drove past the gentleman, I noticed that he had someone with him in the front passenger seat who was voicing out instructions and encouragement in apparently equal measure.
Looking through my rearview mirror shortly after, I observed that other drivers behind this ‘troubled’ line had started changing lanes also when it became clear to them that the occupant in the Nissan was in anywhere but a hurry.
I then started to think of my own days as a learner, and putting into perspective the fact that everyone on the bridge was probably in a similar state at the start of their driving career. I recollected dreading to ever have the ‘L’ sign at the back of any vehicle I was commandeering, for nothing but male ego’s sake.
Actually, my own learning experience behind the wheels wasn’t derived through conventional means. I didn’t attend any driving school/s or take lessons from my dad’s driver, as was the case with many experts today.In my case, I practically schooled myself by the age-old method:trial and error. Yes, I had stolen a car from home before, but only to get instant payback for it by scratching the side door as I was driving of the house gate. As time went by, my driving skills expectedly got better and better(less life-threatening, rather).I know many guys/girls who started driving in their early teen years while there are those who still don’t have the ‘liver’ to dare take sole control of the ‘almighty’ automobile, especially in a crazy country for driving such as ours.(To give an example, as at a few years ago, reputable movie director Spike Lee, still couldn’t drive due to his phobia for it).
I do feel though, as many would agree,that driving in Naija (especially in our mad Eko) is far from easy and those who can do it flawlessly here can certainly handle the wheels in any other part of the globe. In fact, even in Mars.Abi there’s sand there?