MOBILISTA – Episode 1: The Drive

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Bola snatched up the phone from the dining table as she bolted for the door. This was her morning routine. She was always running late and so almost never walked out the door of her apartment on her way out in the morning. It was always a dash. In another life, she would be a sprinter. A runner. In this present reality, she was a tall, slender, and intelligent executive in the employ of a media agency in Lagos.

Her trip to work from her Maryland apartment was a one-hour drive to Ikoyi, where her office was located. It always began with that trademark dash for the door.

MOBILISTA

Every other day, she would forget to pick up her phone on the way out. Today had not been one of those days. Her early morning drill had been executed to perfection this time – a dash to the bathroom, back to the room for a quick dress up, a few shuttles between the living room and the bed room, and then a bee line for the door.

Outside, the car was waiting, dirt-stained from the previous day’s ordeals on Lagos roads. She called it the Beast. There was a special love affair between Bola and her car, but this was not time for kisses and hugs. She jumped in, woke up the engine rudely and backed out of the yard. In a few minutes, she had left her residence behind and was making a turn into Ikorodu road. The first streaks of daylight were just breaking out, but a quick scan of the highway told her that traffic was building up already and would likely get bad in another few minutes.

Driving in the bustling city of Lagos was all about timing and being smart, and Monday morning drives were the worst. Her right foot floored the acceleration pedal like a Formula One race driver. Fortunately, the Beast was no Formula One car and didn’t clock 100 kilometres per hour in 6 seconds. But it was good enough for her purposes. She was no slouch at the wheels of a car or at anything that she did for that matter.

As she exited the side lane at Anthony Village, she heard her smartphone beep. The distinctive sound told her that she had new email on her office account. She had set up her email notifications such that she could recognise work mails just from the buzz without her needing to take a glance. In her line of work, that was a productivity hack that had come in useful repeatedly. 

Don’t these clients have a life?!” She muttered. “Mails at 6am!”

She didn’t reach for the device. No matter how urgent the mail was, she knew better than to let herself get distracted while at the wheels. Email, SMS and voice calls were a no-no while driving, unless she had a headset on, which was okay for only the most important calls. 

She was no slouch, but she was no daredevil either. Breaking the concentration that the car and the road ahead required to attend to a phone call or message was courting trouble, especially at 6am in the morning when everyone drove like a demon was after them. 

She scanned the road ahead, saw a clear opening, and floored the pedal again. The Beast roared loudly in the cool morning weather as it responded to her demand and then eased into a smooth purr as she settled into the flow of traffic. She was humming one of her favourite tunes now. Her spirits were high this morning, but she knew from the intermittent beeps coming from her smartphone that this was going to be one heck of a day at work.

“I hate Monday mornings!” she muttered, as she became one with the traffic on the giant concrete snake that connected Yaba Mainland with the islands of Lagos city.

Stay tuned for the next episode of MOBILISTA.

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