Monday, October 6, 2008

Operation My A$$

So the other day I was coming home from work. As usual, there was a traffic jam coming in from Accra Girls down to the 37 Military Hospital area. Bumper to bonnet: steadily descending the hill. I've spent a few decades in this universe and I am yet to meet a person that enjoys sitting in traffic. Everybody hates it. Especially...everybody. But we don't always have the power to convert a one carriageway into dual carriage. Nor do we want to dole out 30 plus cedis to the next corrupt 'koti'(police officer). Or, for the bold & brave, argue out why we had to drive on the shoulder of the road and cite a million and one reasons why it's a matter of life and death.

So we sit in our cars, cuss, bully our way in front sometimes, decide which lane is moving faster, join it, only to realise the other lane was faster after all. Then we prevent others from crossing over into our lane and so on and so as it goes forth.

Very often, in the glum of our car seats, we hear the constant honking of private cars and sometimes taxis. They speed past and we oft find ourselves steering aside to make room for them. When that brief moment of excitement dies down, we wonder if there really was an emergency or the emergency lies in the fact that they wish to skip traffic. Who doesn't? When it comes to the police and other law enforcing agencies, dare we question their authority? A police vehicle will go as far as they think is tolerable (for them in traffic). When that elastic limit is reached, they simply turn on their sirens and drive around poor civilian cars like ours. One time I found the nerve to query them through the safety of my window of course. I waved my fore finger at them in disapproval and said in the most Ghanaian accent I could gather 'Ei policeman'. He asked me why, with a wring of his wrist- very typical of Ghanaians- being full aware of what he'd done. He replied in a thick Ga accent: this is police operation car, I can pass anywhere.' Traffic moved on and there was a break in transmission. Then calmly, yet eagerly I retorted, 'are you on operation now?' He frantically searched his head for an apt response, he shouted back through his cracked window: ', anytime I'm on operation'. That was the last I saw of him.

"Operation my a$$!" I wish I had the nerve to tell him that in the face, but my mummy told me to be polite. Plus, I didn't feel like spending my weekend in a jail cell. Of course, it might improve my street cred, but I'd rather not do that, thank you very much.

'Small power man get see what he dey take do.' Who can fault them? They abide by one set of rules and people like you and I abide by a different set, perhaps even a subset of those same rules. Who in his right mind would dare to question the acts of a uniformed man? I beg oh, I like my life as it is. That's the attitude most of us will adopt in instances as this. Someday, just one day, I promise I will make sure everyone stays in their right position and not cross the border, otherwise, as we say "they'll smell pepper!" (after I've coated their faces with it)

Maybe next time, I'll be bold enough to get out of my car, stop them and ask them to prove to me that they really are on "operation". Maybe I'll just stay in my car and forget about them all...

1 comment:

Paa Kwesi said...

"Can I join the operation?" You might get to tail them and get out of traffic faster:)