I have to get up much earlier than i am used to nowadays in order to make it to work. This necessitates the use of an alarm clock; this is something nobody likes to do. The temptation to hit the snooze button is stronger than the first stream of piss that soon follows waking. I found a way around it. I just set my alarm for twenty minutes earlier than I want to wake up. When I do wake I know I have twenty more minutes of nap time before I have to leave the bed. I hit the snooze and drop off immediately into a dream so elaborate it cannot take place in 4 minutes. When it rings again I have almost forgotten that I was just awake and then I hit it again. Sleep claws me back like souls from hades; soft, insistent, and dark. Soon I’m back in dreamland and maybe the dream I was having before continues maybe another takes its place then I do it again and have this experience two more times before I have to wake up. Monday I woke up even later than usual. Most days I wake up and it’s still dark outside as dark as night. I hate waking up before the world. Something tells me that human beings should at least outlast the moon. We shouldn’t open our eyes before the sun has rubbed away what has robbed us of it. At the very least we should wake up to that weak almost reddish half-light that comes with the waking sun. Monday I did.
I woke up and the birds were chirping. The clouds were white. I had had 5 extra minutes of sleep and happiness enveloped me immediately. The Nina Simone song started going off in my mind. It’s a new day/ it’s a new life/ for me/ and I’m feeling good. That’s a song to wake up to. Every day is a new chance at this life. Every dawn is another new year and we should greet it with the energy it deserves. Tis the first day of the rest of your life after all and how you start it can determine so much about where you end up. Plus I found thirty shillings in a half coat I hadn’t worn in a long, long time. I took a matatu to work; my route now involves a long walk down a road that’s split in half by a river. Near the river there’s a guy who sells all kinds of things. Him and, I assume his wife do brisk business as it’s a heavily populated road at rush hour. There’s always people there buying cigarettes and cigarettes and cigarettes. Every morning I stop for a few minutes at the bridge and look out over the river. There’s a beautiful driveway on my right. Filled with trees that have flowers of blue and blooming with petals of yellow and yelling our specks of red and ready to shed leaves of green on the grass beneath it. It curves down to the river and then the water rushed away with all that makes a city like ours a city. Filth. I walk on and take a huge zebra crossing. Rush a little more and see those traffic lights that dot the city so much nowadays. I can’t help but join in the countdown especially the last few seconds of it as I rush and rush to make it. The adrenaline surge that rushes through me every time I make it just as it turns red gives me the energy needed to make the rest of the day worthwhile.
I went to the office in west lands happy because it was a Monday when I wasn’t going to stay there too long. I had to go to my former school, the Kenya school of law and drop off some documentation. So I left in the midmorning. In my pocket there was a book about the American civil war called the killer angels that I was struggling with. I just couldn’t get lost in the world that was being conjured up before me and that’s the worst. I read an article once that I can’t locate anymore. There was a guy who was talking about 42 lessons life had taught him by his 42nd birthday. One of them was that if you struggle with a book put it aside. He categorised books he couldn’t finish into two categories; those that weren’t good enough for him and those he wasn’t yet good enough for. Added to this I think that if I only magically read books that I love from now till the day croak I still wouldn’t have read them all therefore life is too short to spend on a book that doesn’t at least move me. Being in town I knew I could get a replacement and bent down in town, 150 shillings later I had two books. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, a copy of which I had lost last year, and The lives of the noble Greeks by Plutarch. I started with cloud atlas but the sun was fanning its way onto the bus from town to Karen. It was hot and comfortable. Heavy lids were all keeping me from sleep and so I curled up pretty soon and had a magnificent nap. The conductor woke me up for fare and I handed it over then couldn’t read or get back to sleep. I watched the scenery instead. I looked at the road near nakumatt galleria, the forking by-passes and flyovers that are now the route to law school. I enjoyed a detour that I hadn’t taken too many times before I was in school.
I dropped off and saw a lady selling mangoes at the gate. I asked for the most unripe ones she had. I have a relationship with these kind of mangoes. When I was growing up and for most of my life we used to have mango tree in the backyard. When I was hungry, considering that I grew up in a house where the three meals were believed to be all the nutrition you needed this was often, I would go out, grab an unripe mango, cut it, salt it and enjoy the bitterness of not having crisps or juice to wash it down. Last year these were all I ate for lunch in law school. It had the twin advantages of cost effectiveness and nostalgia induction. Monday they brought back nostalgia for two periods of my life and I munched it down, this time with red hot chilli as I walked to the admin block. There I met a friend I hadn’t talked to in years and felt that old comfort that comes with not needing to impress because that task was already done. Next I had a packet of bites that I used to eat every day in school. Met another friend at the smoking zone. I couldn’t ask for any phone numbers from these people because I had forgotten my phone in the office but I felt remarkably free without it.t.
I decided to take a round trip back to the office instead of going to town and thence to west lands I decided to go to Karen, then to junction, walk to kawangware and get a matatu through lavington to westlands. The matatu I got on in Karen had a sunlight in the front seat where I had sat. There was a radio tuned to a beautiful station and as we drove through Karen so many songs I like played but that journey is imprinted in me with Holy Grail by jay-z and Justin Timberlake. The trip itself was amazing. Karen has almost no traffic in the afternoon so we zipped through the landscape as light leaked in from the top, the front, and the sides. We lumbered up hills and cruised down valleys. There were trees to all sides. Green, brown, and grey battled for supremacy as we drove. Then we came to the Barclays golf course and down the whole road Barclay flags were flying. White flags hoisted on the left and the right waving in the wind as we zoomed past adding another colour and a touch of class to the proceeding.
None of the rest of the journey was as appealing. Walking from junction to kawangware was tiring. There is a hill there that can put the fear of exercise in anyone. But right at the top of the hill there was a man selling sugarcane. I asked for ten shillings worth and he filled in so much that I wanted to stop him. Then I got into those lavington matatus that break more rules than it is worth recounting. By the time I was back in the office I was joyful.
But I couldn’t see my phone on my desk. I asked someone to call and it didn’t go through. Quite simply it had been lost or stolen. This put a pall on the day. Losing a phone always does that. It changes things. And losing it to pickpockets without feeling anything is stranger. Suddenly you are cut off. Contacts you spent months amassing are gone. You have to spend money on a new phone. It puts its mark on the day.
On average though I think I had a good day. But there’s something about the bad events. They have a deeper, blacker shadow. They mark the end of things and they seem to be the ones we remember. I lost my phone but I also woke up to birdsong. I bought to books I may love on the cheap. I had one of the best matatu trips I can remember. It wasn’t such a bad day in balance. In fact looked at this way I think it was all right.