She was behind the steering wheel. Seated right beside her, I caught sight of this motorized tricycle (“keke”) that suddenly sped past us. Briefly focusing on the writing on the top rear side of the keke, I turned to her. “Sweetie, did you notice the writing on that keke?” Hmm, she could have only done that at the risk of unwarranted distraction, dangerous to her and her passenger who is also her husband. Unrelenting, I continued, “O, you only need to read the beautiful wisdom captured in those writings. I really wish you can catch up with it so that I can capture a snapshot of those writings with my camera phone. But you have to drive like a man. Driving like a woman often puts you and your car at risk on our roads. Most of these keke drivers will take advantage of you if you get sluggish. They will scratch your car and then speed away or if you managed to catch them some of them will start begging you to forgive their reckless driving that resulted in their damaging your car. All because you were too careful.” Picking up my cue, she deftly maneuvered the old car along.
By now, a big construction truck has made its way between us and the keke. So, there was no way of safely catching up with it. “OK. Don’t worry. Come some other day and another time, surely, some other chance to grab one more snapshot of these travelling pieces of wisdom will surely come my way.” I always watch out for these kekes and the mobile graffiti and wisdom emblazoned on many of them. “Just ensure you drive safely first. I can always take some other shots some other time.” Continuing with our journey, we managed to catch up with the keke at the Elelenwo to Woji bridge less than one kilometer from where we first sighted it. With the keke now right ahead of us, here comes the challenge. “If you can slow down enough for me to take a sharp and nice shot of the mobile graffiti, I will give you an award of N500 (~$1.30).” Taking the challenge, she revved down. With the ongoing construction work along the road, the traffic had to slow down anyway. I was able to grab three shots with my rusty Samsung Note3.
“Yes! I caught it! Now you can have your award!” Immediately redeeming my pledge to her we kept on with the driving. With my heart warmed and my mood brightened by her rewarding lovely and lively smile, I disembarked at the new Slaughter bridge (still under-construction). She made a U-turn to continue on her trip to Rumuomasi while I hiked across the old bridge, proceeding to the Post Office and on to complete my other outing chores for the day.
And so, come to Port Harcourt and learn wisdom. There are thousands of these kekes (I call them “yellow lemmings”) on our roads. From the most profound and sublime to the utmostly hilarious or absurd, this and other pieces of wisdom are festooned on many of these “yellow lemmings”. How much better our country will be if only we all endeavor to follow just a few of these words of wisdom blazing along our streets and roads everyday?
“The beauty of life doesn’t depend on how happy you are but on how happy others can be because of you.” ~ Zero Dean
“If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” (Gospel according to St John)