You know, I used to think that the argument about who gets the front seat in a car was a strictly Nigerian thing.
So, every time I see a random woman start up a post with, ‘if you are going out with your wife and your mother in law, who should sit in the front seat…’, before going off on a long, shapeless rant about a ‘friend’ whose boyfriend or significant other slapped for something or the other that had to do with the front seat of a car, I’d just say to myself: ‘abiala ha o – dem done come again o’.
Nigerian slay queens and ndi woke, always majoring in the minor.
I used to say all that until I saw the video of this American running errands with his wife and mother, and choosing to place his mother in the front seat of the car. The wife would have none of that and so an argument broke out on how the wife felt she should have the front seat because I mean, she IS the wife and no matter what the mother does/did for the son, she can’t do what he needs the most now – schlump him at night.
The mother, of course, felt that the man passed through her birth canal and as such, she had the bragging rights to the front seat of his car.
And the battle raged on and on until the agbaya (in my opinion) man waded in by joining his mother to roundly curse out his wife. If you are a man, pull your ears and repeat after me ‘wrong move’.
Anyway, that was the point at which the clip ended, so, sorry, I cannot jist you beyond that point, but I thought to myself, ‘so, this struggle for the front seat is not a Nigerian slay queen plus ndi woke combined sontin?‘
I mean, think about it: It was either that these people had followed a couple of Nigerian blogs where we wasted devoted a lot of time to discussing that non-issue, or it is truly a universal problem.
Think am na.
And as I was thinking about it, I remembered how I was also once a slay queen plus onye woke combination that felt that I had an entitlement to the front seat of the car, until Angel Maroov – my own personal guardian angel – had mercy on me and opened my eye in a very brutal and down-to-earth-crashing way.
I had been dating this dashing young man who seemed in sync with me in almost every aspect you could think of. He was my spec, had a quirky sense of humor and no filters like me, enjoyed rough horseplay, and liked to hang out in crowds.
It was perfect for me, a match made in heaven.
He also had this dilapidated gwuragwura car that used to do ‘push and start’ and which had absolutely no guarantees whatsoever – as in, there were no guarantees it would start, no guarantees that if it started (after a lot of pushing by yours sincerely) it would reach its destination, and absolutely no guarantees that any of the gauges and dials were working; so we often played it by ear.
But I loved this guy that year na, and so we played the love of ‘love me, love my dilapidated rust bucket masquerading as a car’.
I would happily push, sit in the dark in the car while he goes in search of fuel or oil or ‘forkanaiza’, sleep with him in the car if it was too late, wedge a window or door with my hand or finger, push the glass with both hands while he cranked the winder… etc.
It was ‘our’ car, and I had the privilege of the front seat.
Most times, we went out with a couple of friends – his friends – and the front seat was either empty by the time I came to hop in; or if they saw me coming, they changed position, so I assumed it was settled that the front seat was mine until this fateful day.
He pulled up in front of my apartment in our dearly beloved gwuragwura; I stepped out to occupy ‘my’ seat in the front but one of his friends was already seated there. This was a guy we usually play around with, so I thought it was one of his jokes.
I pulled open the front door, he grabbed it shut.
I was like ‘ahn ahn, come and be going to the back na’.
He replied: ‘make you enter back na, all na the same thing’.
Shuuu? For ‘our’ car? Me and you dey drag ‘my’ front seat? Abi na play?
So, because the guy man behind the steering was busy laughing and making it seem like ‘the two of you never tire of these your games’, I just opened the back door of the car wide, yanked open the front door and wedged it with my big body, grabbed the pally sitting there and dragged him out (he was too surprised at the effrontery, so it was quite easy).
Before he realized what was happening, I had virtually stuffed him into the back seat, plonked my behind on ‘my’ throne in the front seat, snatched shut the door and pinned it locked.
Thunder fire the baggar.
Unfortunately, the thunder was headed in my direction.
The guy whom I had uprooted and replanted started yelling and ranting and in the midst of it, I heard, ‘you dey dere dey drag front seat of the car of a married man, is the joke not on you?’
You know how the Igbo ‘agwu’ works? When it is upon you, you can do and undo but as soon as it leads you to your hubris, it clears completely from your eyes.
As soon as those words left this young man’s lips, the agwu in his eyes cleared and there was this deathly silence in the car.
All this while, I think say he still dey play o, so I was still laughing and ‘playing along’ like the didirin I was – but I heard those words too. I turned slowly to look at my guy, and his mouth was agape staring at his friend.
Then he brought his head slowly down to the steering and just kept it there while the one in the back seat started ‘sorrying’ everybody.
Shuuuuuu, so all the time I was being a wife material and ‘shuffering and shmiling’ with an assured front seat in this accursed glorified sardine can, I was sowing my seed on barren land?
Iye meh oooooo!
I just slowly extricated myself from the car, closed their door for them, waka enter back my house, off cloth and cook one packet of Indomie.
At least, na that indomie sure pass.
That was the day I also learnt that it was better to occupy the back seat in peace, than go fighting over the front seat and open a can of worms – either the realization that your husband is still sucking feeding bottle and will join whoever is in the front seat to curse shege comot from your body for your raz attitudes or in my case, that you are feeling like a madam when in actual fact, you are the (un)official assistant madam.
Oh and the second thing I learned?
You see men? Fear them.
They can cover up for themselves ehn, tufiakwa. A man can escort his friend to his proper white wedding and reception and when they are done, still escort him to come and visit you – the brand new (unbeknownst to you) official assistant madam – and still be calling you ‘our wife, our wife’.
Tufia kwa unu and this una bros code.
My sisthren, lerrus share the grace, please.