– Don't get in strangers' cars
– Don't meet ppl from internet
– Literally summon strangers from internet to get in their car
— Carol Nichols (@Carols10cents) July 2, 2016
Two weeks ago, I had a business meeting to attend. I decided to go straight from home to the venue because I figured there was no point going to the office first. And because I didn’t want to meet clients with the stench of Lagos transport clinging to me, I decided to take an Uber.
The app linked me to a driver named Moses who was, weirdly enough, only a minute away.
You see, I live in a place Uber drivers hate to go. It’s far away from everywhere, has bad roads, and they never get rides when leaving so it’s like wasting fuel for them. But I took it as good luck and hopped into the car the moment he arrived.
He seemed friendly. The wide ass smile he greeted me with let me know that I was in for a ride full of conversation. He asked how my night was, and I had half a mind to tell him, in graphic detail, about how relentless my sleep paralysis demon had become but being sarcastic to someone so nice would be a terrible thing to do.
He had just started the ride when he asked the first question.
“Were you born on this street?”
While wondering what the hell kind of conversation starter that was, I answered “no” and explained that I moved there with my family in 1996. He got excited by my response and revealed that he used to live on my street and attended Gideon International Children’s school.
The most popular primary and secondary school in my area.
The same one I attended.
Excited, I was like, “No way! I graduated from primary school in 2002. When did you graduate?”
With a smile, he answered, “Finished from secondary school in 1989.”
I looked at him.
This nigga didn’t look a day over 30.
And so began my slow mental descent into the abyss of conspiracy theories.
“If he finished secondary school in 1989, he must’ve been 16, at least. It’s been 30 years since then. He should be pushing 50. What the hell is this? Is he messing with me? Should I ask for his skincare routine?”
Because I’m me, it didn’t take long for my mind to make the leap.
“What if he’s a ghost? That’ll explain his never ageing thing. What if he lived and died on this street? What if he was murdered here and gave up his chance at a peaceful afterlife so he could haunt his murderers and their descendants? That explains why he just happened to be on my street. If so, why is he riding an Uber? Is this something he has to do? Has capitalism ravaged the afterlife too?”
I kept tapping my foot nervously, waiting for the journey to end. I checked the app to see how much time was left. 7 minutes. More questions raced through my mind.
“How can Uber be so careless as to let the living dead sign up to drive for them? Do they not carry out background checks? Such incompetence. If I make it to the end of this journey alive, I’m so taking this up with them on Twit–”
Relieved AF, I thanked him and proceeded to open the door when he locked it using the central lock. In that well air-conditioned car, I was like:
He turned to me and said, “I’m supposed to ask if you’re happy.”
At this point, I hoped he would just kill me and get it over with because the fear I’d felt the entire ride had left me exhausted.
“Yes, I am. That’s a very weird way to ask if I enjoyed my trip sha.”
“No, I meant are you happy with your life in general.”
My curiosity was piqued.
“Why would you ask me that?”
“That’s a thing I’m supposed to find out.”
“Someone I’m friends with who cares a lot about your happiness.”
The car suddenly got very cold. I glanced at the AC knob and it was off. I’d seen enough episodes of Supernatural to know what that meant. So right then I was like, “Listen, Moses, this entire ride has been on some Twilight Zone shit and frankly, I’m tired of being polite. Please, unlock this door before I start shouting ‘kidnapper.’”
He apologized and unlocked the door. As I got out and walked away, he yelled, “I’ll tell your father you said ‘hello.’”, and drove off.
My father has been dead for 7 months.