​Newton’s Apple | | Henrie’s Bottle

I had barely adjusted my bearings to a more comfortable position when the empty plastic bottle hit my head, bounced off the window and rolled to the ground

I turned to see who had unknowingly struck me (I hoped it was unintentional).

Did I expect an apology? After all, this was a bus in Lagos. Everyone suddenly had something else occupying their attention; they seemed to look everywhere else but my direction. Only the woman beside me offered any comfort in her low whispered, “Some people can’t apologise”.

Funny how much a simple bus ride can tell about a people’s mentality. I’ll just say two things I picked up.

It’s cool to dispose waste wherever:

Lagosians (and yes most Nigerians) don’t seem to care where their waste or used materials go, as far as it’s not in their hands: on the road, under the bridge, 20 metres from a waste point, whatever. Yet 70%of these same people prefer a clean environment and don’t hesitate to blame the government for flooded gutters and unsightly landscapes; the remaining 30% seem not to care about the rubbish heap that would eventually harm them through water pollution or something. After all, “it was only one water sachet I threw”.

See no evil; hear no evil:

Shebi no be me dem throw bottle on, e no concern me” (since it wasn’t directed to me, I’m less bothered). When something wrong happens and it doesn’t necessarily affect them, it’s okay to let it slide. If it affects someone willing enough to speak then the entire place goes abuzz with voices advising, instructing and mostly insulting the offender’s ears, all at the same time. The timid voices or the ones who choose not to comment are left to bear the insult, with rarely anyone standing for them.

I’m not writing out of annoyance, just concern for the decay of etiquette and common sense. No distance should be to far that you have to litter like an ignorant child and no offense demanding a gentle correction should be brushed off just because no be me.


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