It was typical of me: I had small money in my account, so instead of going to the village to spend my “Nigerian summer,” I visited Lagos.
We all know that if you visit Lagos and you don’t visit Lagos Island market, you might have as well have stayed back where you came from. (Hello IG sellers, I see you.)
So this fateful Friday, my friend Chinny offered to show me around the market. If she had left me alone ehn, I would have just broken down inside that market and cry so tey e fit cause flood. You can’t blame a JJC.
I was scared after my friend read the rules and regulations of the market to me, even though it wasn’t my first time. I already knew I wanted to buy a denim skirt, one trouser, three tops, and then cups for my Oriyoke Parfait, so we had specific places we were going to. No aimless walking around looking for who wasn’t looking for me. I withdrew money and we entered the market.
As soon as we got in, people started dragging me up and down to buy this and that. I wanted to tell one to get his unsanitary hands off my recently scrubbed skin. Body products don’t come cheap oo! But let us thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit, who whispered to me to just ignore and use chicken-feather-removing hot water to shower when I get home. I obeyed, let myself be dragged. At least fine boys were dragging me, use your single mind to interpret. I finally felt how Charles Inojie did when he said: We fine boys no dey too follow woman, na dem dey rush us, na dem dey rush us oooo.
We made our way to Chinny’s aunt’s shop to ask for directions to where we could get cups. Next thing, one lady stormed the shop opposite, raging. I swear, if I had moved closer, I would have seen steam pouring through her nose and ears. She was raining profanities on the shop owner. What was his sin? He gave her a wrong suit size for the page boy and the wedding was the next day. The man gently told her, “Aunty, please stop shouting.” And what did she do? This aunty changed from gear one to gear five. That’s how the shop owner too changed it for her. He gave it back to her hotter, locked his shop and left.
We left there shortly after so I don’t know how they settled their issue. But I prayed he changed the suit back, if only for the little boy’s sake. Imagine him wearing agbada as a suit. The damage the pictures would do to his big boy reputation in the future. I don’t want to imagine oo.
I hung my bag around my neck but still held it tight in front of me. Everything about me screamed JJC as we made our way through the crowd, rubbing bodies with everyone and praying to the Almighty God that I don’t get scabies. We got to the plastic place and I priced the cups. It was ₦2,500 cheaper than I bought it from Uche in Enugu. Mr Uche Cup, when I get back, I will use your head to wash the back of party jollof pot. Just wait for me. Because I used the money for my denim skirt to buy more cups just so I won’t see you in a very long time.
As we were heading out, we saw the ‘bend down select’ with a Ph.D. The clothes were ironed and hung on racks all of them sold for ₦1,000. It was like a street boutique: innovation, and packaging at its best. I quickly went there and started picking clothes because nne m they were fine. And since abroad wasn’t calling my name, I had to make do with my own version of Saks Fifth Avenue.
Two hot chics with enviable bodies and faces that had slay plastered across them joined us to pick through the clothes. One of them took out a top, removed it from the polythene bag, aka Ph.D. graduation gown, looked at it, then crumpled it and put on the rack. The seller went berserk! “Come, this girl, why you rumple that top like that if you know sey you no wan buy?” The girl made a rude remark and the man just rushed her. I swear.
At this point, I knew fine girl fine girl couldn’t save her life. So I tried to stop him. If you see the way he flung my hand, it almost came off the joint. The people around told me to leave him, let him beat the devil out of her. Luckily, he restrained himself, but only after pouring venom all over her. I just imagined her getting slapped across her yellow face and the story she would have posted on her lit Instagram. I doubt she would have given Balogun ‘bend down select’ seller credit for the slap. Out of fear, I paid for everything I was holding. My brother, I didn’t want any trouble.
Unfortunately for me, I pushed someone’s wares down when we were very close to the car. It felt like my village people just wanted to get me in trouble because I didn’t spend my holiday with them. Dear villagers, is it where I am crushing palm fruits with my bare feet and sweeping the compound and singing village songs that I will find a husband before December?
I almost fell on the ground apologizing. The owner didn’t understand why I was begging like that. He said something in Yoruba and the lady beside him laughed. They asked me to go. I hope they said I was a well- mannered girl sha.
My home training almost left me when I asked a man for jeggings and he said he didn’t have big size. Chim! When did I become big size? I wanted to change it for him, call him ‘Omuti.’ But I remembered I was still inside Lagos Island market and I wasn’t allowed to have an attitude because anything can happen. Also, all the cake and jollof rice I had been eating since I got to Lagos had to show somehow. I had to let it slide after giving him uppercut in my mind.
It was a fun day in the market, looking at all the wares and pointing out to my friend the things I had seen on Instagram. Hi IG sellers again, in case you missed my first hello. I live in Enugu, come and beat me. I survived Lagos Island Market, no slap, nobody locked their shop in my face, so your case is moi moi.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime