By Omoye Uzamere
Some months ago, I decided to go to the Mainland by public transportation. The reason? People watching.
So I got a bus to Lekki Phase 1. At Phase 1, after waiting for about 20 minutes for the bus to CMS to get full, I got off, along with other impatient commuters and caught another as it stopped briefly to drop off a couple of people and refill on the go. From CMS “on top bridge”, I waited for another bus going to Ikeja and got off somewhere on Ikorodu Road. I was worn out and tired from the “exercise”, so contemplated calling an Uber to take me the rest of the way, but I managed it by taking a bike to my destination.
I decided to take public transport because I had not done “people watching” in a long time and needed to step outside my circle. This was one of the quickest ways to observe people from different walks of life.
It was intense – productive time spent waiting for one bus, waiting for another bus to fill up and the many stops to drop off and pick up people at every bus stop. I wondered how I would get anything done if that was my daily routine. You can’t pull out your laptop on a Nigerian bus and start working or make phone calls on the go, that’s an invitation to treat!
It made me more sympathetic to the people who have to ride the bus on different routes every day. Here I was, catching feelings on their behalf, they are used to it… or maybe not.
There were all kinds of people on the bus; respectable people, properly dressed men and women, good looking fellows, educated folk, people who probably hadn’t had a bath for days, pick pockets, women on their way to the market with their wares, the whole works. For some, as for many, this was a temporary phase of life. They would eventually have enough money to fix their car or buy their own. For others, who knows?
It was interesting to watch the people and their interaction with one another, as well as observe public transport etiquette. For example, if you got to the back seat first, you weren’t required to move in when someone else came in, you simply squeezed yourself to the door of the bus and have him or her slide in to the end. This was your turf. Or in the front seat, you get a seat by the door and everyone else comes through you, to the middle seat between the driver and yourself – until someone ‘bigger’ than you came along and bullied you for your ‘spot’ – then you moved in to the middle.
People looked out for each other and mediated disputes between passengers or between bus conductor and passenger. Someone even saved me from getting cheated of N50 when the bus conductor wanted to charge extra for my fare, the same person who had told me what bus to get on at CMS.
All of this is important because as actors, we need to understand the realities of the people we portray. If we haven’t lived their life, we may not be able to project it with honesty.
All your life experiences add up to make you a more layered person and essentially, a more textured actor. The lesson therein is “USE IT”. Channel all those emotions into the character, rather than have the demons control you, you tell them when you need them to come alive. J
So, I’m learning to relish all my experiences, good and bad. I am going to use them. I will use them to achieve excellence until they become afraid of me.
Grief, Shame, Disappointment, Heartbreak, Pain, Being broke, Having more than enough, Jealousy, Temporary insanity, Illness, Surgery, Recovery, Agro, Anger… Y’all are my b*tches now!
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