CLIMB OR DIE!

It was a busy morning, as always. Everyone was in hurry, drivers and riders tooting their horns, pedestrians walking fast with straight faces caring less about others. I wondered what was on the minds of some, none of my business though. I sat there on a yellow commercial bus, popularly known in Lagos, Nigeria as ‘danfo’, looking out the window with several thoughts running through my mind. The next thing I heard was the loud voice of a Yoruba man raining curses on the driver of the bus I was on “were ni e!...” (which means you are mad). I wanted to alight, walk up to the man, tap him on the shoulder and say politely “no sir, you are the mad one”. Of course I did not do that but that was what came to mind.
There is this wonderful thing called a pedestrian bridge. Someone, somewhere, someday must have thought of a way to make crossing easier for pedestrians and BAM! the idea of constructing a pedestrian bridge came up. This long thing does more than just making it easier for people to cross over to the other lane of a busy road; it also reduces the risk of getting hit by a vehicle. Ever since its inception, the rate of accident has reduced significantly and many lives have been saved. This man in my story was crossing right under the pedestrian bridge (Did the word ‘ode’ cross your mind too? It probably did). So, He was almost hit by the bus I was on but instead of him to just finish crossing the road in shame and thank God for sparing his life, he still had the mettle to look back and insult the driver. (Please tell me the word ‘ode’ crossed your mind again.) This happened at Ikeja-Along bus stop, Lagos State, Nigeria to be precise.

There are so many people like that man who would see a pedestrian bridge and refuse to climb it. As far as I think, there are just two reasons why they do that. It’s either they are in a hurry and don’t mind risking their lives to cross just so they would get to the other side very quickly or they are just too lazy to climb up the bridge, walk to the other side and then climb down. It would have been a different story entirely, if there was no bridge there, but crossing just underneath or around the bridge? That’s crazy! That’s suicide! What if they get hit by a vehicle and get their bones broken? (Awon alakoba). Drivers are driving and some people want to disturb the free flow of traffic for them. Hian!
Harsh title, it seems. If one doesn’t climb, that does not necessarily imply that they want to or will die but I think it means that they don’t value their lives well enough to climb a bridge specially built for those who value their lives. Refusal to climb a pedestrian bridge to the other end of a busy road is like a death wish. These bridges are constructed at strategic places where there is heavy flow of traffic. I see a lot of people on a pedestrian bridge and I look down at the speeding vehicles underneath and I whisper a “thank you” to God because I wonder how difficult and traffic-impeding it would have been for all those people to try to cross the busy road at the same time going in opposite directions. Although there are pros and cons to using the pedestrian bridge, it is very evident that the pros far outweigh the cons. One con is that it is punishable by the law. If caught, one could get punished. How embarrassing!
 My favourite 'pro' is that climbing the bridge could be a form of exercise. Most people do not make out time to exercise before leaving home and so should cease every opportunity to do so. I do work out before leaving home but even at that, when I see a bridge I need to cross, I do it happily because that is extra exercise for me. The climb up, walk to the other side and climb down process feels good to me. One has to exercise those legs you know?
So to end this I'd say I hope you are not like the man in my story, if you are, please change. Don’t cross underneath the bridge. Value your life. Have pity on those you said goodbye to before leaving home and those who await your return. You only live once (YOLO). If I’m going out with someone and there’s a need to use the bridge and the other person refuses, I’d gladly tell them “see you on the other side.” So if one refuses to climb but tries to cross, gets hit and dies, and there's a question about who is to blame? My answer? The dead body.

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