When life doesn’t turn out the way you want 

Sad woman

It is funny how, sometimes, our best laid plans don’t turn out the way we had envisioned.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • I will spare you the excruciating details of the other remaining five days, but that was the longest leave I’ve ever had.
  • That experience also taught me that if you’re going to go on leave, go when schools are closed.

A couple of weeks ago, I got to take a week’s leave that I had looked forward to in a long time. I had a year’s worth of accumulated sleep and had vowed to sleep until 1pm for three of those seven days before figuring out what to do with the remaining four days.

Anyway, the evening before day one of my precious leave, I decided to treat myself to a late night movie on Netflix after everyone else had gone to sleep, after all, I had no job to go to the next morning, I was a free agent, so to speak, therefore, I could afford to sleep in the following day, the whole day if I wanted to.

I did get a movie I thought I could enjoy, but to cut a long story short, I think I dozed off in the first 10 minutes of that movie, and like it happens to me for a reason I have never understood, I woke up when the movie credits began to roll.

At that point, my neck was aching from being placed at an impossible angle, and my spinal cord was on fire. Disappointed in myself, I dragged myself to bed. Unfortunately, when I got there, the sleep had disappeared, and I ended up counting sheep for maybe two hours, tossing and turning to sleep deprivation.

I eventually managed to sleep, only to be startled awake in what seemed like 10 minutes later by the grating sound of my neighbour’s gate opening at the ungodly hour of 6am – why doesn’t he grease that creaky gate? 

My neighbour gone, I settled down to continue with my sleep, but just as I was dozing off, the school vans began to come for the neighbourhood children, hooting all over the place, disrespecting the people on leave. Thirty minutes later, it was all quiet, but the damage had already been done, so I woke up in a huff.

My longest leave ever

Around 12pm, when I was supposed to have been waking up, I decided to take a nap. My sleep doesn’t come easy, so I managed to start dozing off about 45 minutes late... just around the time my neighbour’s househelp decided to make a very loud and lengthy phone call outside in her mother tongue, and you know how energetic mother tongue can get.

It is then that it occurred to me that I would not get to cash in that accumulated sleep. Just because I was on leave did not mean that everyone else was. Life would go on uninterrupted.

The next day, I decided to visit one of the malls. I could have gone on a three-day holiday, but I didn’t have money to spare, if anything, I am not one of those people that go on holiday alone - did I tell you that going to a mall on a weekday is a bad idea? The place was empty and devoid of life, it was a weekday after all. Plus, I could only window shop, remember I was broke.

A mere 20 minutes later, I was ready to weep from boredom. But I was determined not to waste my second day of leave and decided to watch a movie – I could, at least, afford Sh380 – only to find out that the movies showing that day were cartoons, while the only adult one was a film in Hindi. I will spare you the excruciating details of the other remaining five days, but in a nutshell, that was the longest leave I’ve ever had, and not in a good way.

It is funny how, sometimes, our best laid plans don’t turn out the way we had envisioned. That experience also taught me that if you’re going to go on leave, go when schools are closed, the neighbours’ gates might wake you up, but after they all leave for work, there will be no hooting school vans to jolt you awake. Oh, and, have some money to spend too. 

The writer is editor, Society & Magazines, Daily Nation. Email: [email protected] ke.nationmedia.com

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