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The beginning of wisdom

31 July 2012, 11:26

Was in a bus recently when this guy, clad in Kaftan and with a thick beard, got in and took the seat beside mine. He spent a few minutes and then got off, leaving his bag in the bus.

Informed that he had left his bag in the bus, he replied that he was only going to buy something for his kids and would be back in a jiffy.

I even asked him to take his bag along as there were only a few empty seats left for the bus to be filled up but he stuck to his guns and continued to walk away at which point thoughts of Boko Haram and a spate of bomb blasts across the country immediately flashed through my head.

It even got worse after taking a look at the bag beside me with my imagination going hey-wire with thoughts of C4 and shrapnel doing collateral damage to me and everyone within a 50 meter radius. (Guess I have had my own fill of war movies).

With paranoia setting in, I immediately got off the bus with the bag, ran after the man, and accosted him, all six-foot-plus of muscle and beards, asking him to go along with his luggage, which felt quite heavy for something so small. He however took offense at my rudeness and heaped insults at me - most of them unprintable - for having the effrontery to take his bag off the bus.

Some passengers in the bus began to alight and even took sides with him when it suddenly dawned on me that no one, other than myself, knew why I had acted the way I did.

However, after informing them of my suspicions; that I felt there could had been a bomb in the bag, the mood among the passengers, as well as among onlookers who by this time had gathered around the bus, changed from one of excitement to anxiety.

The bearded man however started laughing, and in my state of paranoia his laughter sounded hysterical. He nevertheless assured us all that there were no explosives amongst the contents of his bag; that it was only his work tools; that he was an automobile mechanic and was on his way home after a hard days job (as if most of us weren't doing likewise).

He then asked that he be given the bag so that he could open it and reveal its content to us.

I proceeded to hand over the bag but I didn't wait for him to open it though as I, along with a number of other passengers and onlookers, slowly moved a safe distance away from him. But rather than remain on the spot, our bearded friend began to walk towards me, all this time with one hand on the bag's handle and the other trying to undo the zip.

At this juncture, an image from my varsity days of a young man pulling a gun at me and a couple of friends on the basketball court, suddenly popped into my head and I took to my heels as fast as I could.

I wasn't alone though, as so many others at the scene did likewise running helter-skelter in all directions before our bearded friend screamed at the top of his voice: "Na my spanners and pliers dey inside the bag!" I turned around to see him at a safe distance, and probably with something like a smirk on his face, waving the said tools in the air.

Embarrassed, I slowly walked back to the bus and got aboard but I never stopped thinking all through the duration of the short trip home of what would had been if my suspicions had turned out to be right.

And I was sure I wasn't alone as it was the most quiet bus ride of my life.

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