My September started not much different from the months preceding it. This similarity lasted only for the first twenty-three hours, then things kicked into gear properly. I picked a fight; found a love; met my inner freak; made up with a good friend; suffered a scare or two; remembered a lost love and tried something different.
Now it is the tried something different bit that inspired this post.
Last Friday evening I met up with a few friends of mine to go clubbing. This in itself is no big deal, unless you are Franque.
The last time I went clubbing was in 2007 and before then was 2006, so this was something of a big deal. My idea of a good time is a cool lounge, mellow music, a few drinks, some bites, good company and witty conversation; then there is the stay at home and play video games – preferably soccer – with friends, drinks, music, yabis and some food.
Starting on Thursday I borrowed Jigga’s car as he would be out of town. On Friday morning whilst cleaning the car, I noticed a graze around the bumper. Quickly, I took a photograph and sent to him enquiring who or what he hit – I have the singular misfortune of getting bashed or grazed whenever I took out the car, even when I have no recollection of it happening. So, I took photographic evidence for my vindication.
We agreed to meet up at De Marquee and that was where I met with my first difficulty. I personally avoid the Island as much as possible, so the only places I have ever allowed myself to know are the Galleria and straight from there to the Palms. Once I have to turn off that straight road, a GPS will be needed to find me.
I asked my friends for directions on how to get there and it was decided I would meet up with Sean to take me.
21:19hrs found me at his place, and after a couple of stops, we were parked and crossing to Mega Plaza.
As soon as we came out to the rooftop, I was glad Sean had called ahead to reserve a table. Drinks were ordered while we waited for the rest of the gang. It started off as a balmy night, the stars above us, people around us, alcohol inside us – I was getting introduced to Jack, being a Southern Comfort man myself. When the others arrived and I got up to say “hi”, the woozy feel told me I had to slow my roll a little since I was driving. It was cranberry juice for me from that point on until I had lined my stomach with oil and pepper from the platter we ordered.
As the night wore on and the drinks settled in bloodstreams, the music seemed to get better. I blinked, and everyone at my table was dancing. Make that everyone minus me. I wasn’t that inebriated – yet. After several attempts by the gang to get me dancing – including a sandwich which I liked very much as it involved soft flesh pressing against me on either side – the rhythm found me.
It started with a left- right shuffle, then twirling arms, the occasional fist pumping, the grind, next thing I knew, I had moves like Jagger. Well, it may have been jaga-jaga moves, but in my head it didn’t look or feel that ugly. In retrospect, I guess alcohol does that to you.
By 04:00hrs Saturday morning, we were ready to leave. This was after changing the dance floor a couple of times because the rain would fall and then stop; knocking over a drink which almost landed on DJ Jimmy Jatt’s million naira equipment – I do not think he would have been so cool had the drink hit; meeting with and talking to complete strangers; killing off enough Jack to make me worried; taking really funny photos and watching one of the girls with us hook up with a BBCrush.
Locating our cars was easy enough, we were parked on the ground floor close to the entrance, plus most people had left anyway.
I pulled up behind and to the right of Sean, and was trying to sort out the parking fee when I felt, then heard, plastic on metal. I was too shocked to react, but Sean calling out my name snapped me out of it. Dude had reversed into me! I leaned out the window to examine the damage: some scratches – nothing brake fluid would not hide, and a slight dent in the lower part of my door – nothing I could do anything to hide.
“It’s alright,” I said even though I knew it wasn’t. I was thinking of how to explain it to Jigga. As if he read my mind, Sean said “Tell Jigga I did this.” You bet I will, I thought in my head.
We drove off, me tailing Sean through all the twists, bends and turns that is Victoria Island. As soon as we got on Eko bridge, my geography auto-corrected. I knew my way home from there.
I pulled out from behind Sean intending to pull up alongside him as there was no need following in his shadow anymore, plus his blinking hazard lights were hypnotic to say the least. I signaled left and my bumper was close to his fender when I heard the whoosh of water, and then milky blindness! Even though I had my wipers working, the volume of water Sean’s tyres had sent crashing onto my windscreen was plenty. I gently tapped my brakes afraid that an outright slamming on them could cause the car to spin or drift on the wet road.
The water cascaded off and I saw one of the wipers bent at an awkward angle, still working. I was just accelerating when I felt a thump behind me. Someone had just hit me. 4am is not a time to be assessing such on a Lagos bridge, so I carried on driving only to be bumped on the right by maybe another car! Amazingly, through all of this I did not feel any panic. Not even when it sank in that the wiper not working properly was the one on my side. I wound down, reached out and held it in place.
When I finally got home, I found my neighbours were haphazardly parked in the compound and I had to leave the car outside. I made sure it was right in front of the gate!
When I finally woke up, I went out to assess the damage: a small dent in the driver’s door, a not-so-small dent on the left hand side of the fender, a busted right side view mirror and a missing wheel cover. All because I chose to go clubbing rather than play safe and attend a 7pm Bez concert at Jazzhole that would have had me home before midnight!
More than the cost of fixing the car, what weighed heavier on my mind was “How do I tell Jigga?” That ‘evidential’ photo I had taken earlier now came to bite me in the behind. After hours of stressing, I finally told him later that day when we all met up at Mama’s house. I was sweating profusely and Big Mama – my sister – could not keep a straight face. Surprisingly, he took it better than I hoped. He told me he was glad I was ok, and that everything would be fine. Just as long as I understood I was bearing the cost for the repairs.
PS: If I had stayed home, it would have cost me a whole lot less than that night did, more than it is doing. Just this morning, I learnt I picked up a piece of metal that eventually shredded one tyre. Yes, I have a new tyre tacked onto my bill for repairs and replacements. The only thing is, if I had stayed home, I probably would not have had this post.
Shocking even is the realisation that if I had a choice, I would repeat that night over and over again. Sadly, it only happens in September; only happened this September.