A Day in Life

Grrrrrrrrrh!!! The alarm goes off.

Lucky little thing – it isn’t within my reach today. I stand up, put it on snooze and stagger back to bed to snooze likewise.

Ten minutes later – grrrrrrrrrrrhh!!! It goes off again. This time around it is within reach and (poor me) I put it on snooze once more. However, I slip out of bed and kneel by its side with blanket and all, struggling to start my day with some devotion, but alas I doze off again.

Grrrrrrrrrh!!! My obstinate morning crony goes off again – though so much loathed, I find it hard to do away with my alarm, or else…your guess is as good as mine!

Thrice it goes off every morning and you can be sure I am almost fully awake by then.

I stand up, cursing the cold weather and the early morning classes. Swagging towards my wardrobe I reach for my toothpaste and brush.

“Damn it”, I cuss. The toothpaste is finished and I keep forgetting to get a replacement. As usual, I squeeze life out of the poor thing – it gets its own fair share of my petulance (as if it has any feeling at all). I grab my bath case and all, heading for the shower.

During my short travel to the bathroom, I remember I have to prepare some sandwiches for lunch. (By the way, I am not a breakfast-lunch-dinner person. I only eat when I am hungry. It might end up being once or twice a day. I don’t care, because that is the only time I enjoy eating. Quite a number of people have complained about my physique, but I think it’s one of the best in the world).

I open the refrigerator, to take out all the fixings that will make up my much-adored sandwich. I love my sandwich rich and bursting – with sardine, jam, butter, egg, meat loaf and any other junk I can lay my hands on. I hurriedly make two and place them in the toaster and retrace my steps to the bathroom to take my shower.

Looking into the bathroom mirror, I can see my scruffy face.

“Oh no! Not today”, I tell myself consolingly, “I’m already late.” The shave will have to wait till another time.

I take my shower after a hurried teeth brushing.

Subsequent to applying generous amounts of body lotion, spray, hair cream, roll-on et al (no thanks to the cold weather), I face one of the time-consuming decisions of the morning – which clothes do I put on? Not because I have many, but it’s either they are not pressed or they are dirty! But not to worry, I always have a way around this – details some other time.

Getting dressed at world-record speed, I remember my sandwiches. I dash to the kitchen. Oops! Poor little things – they are burnt brown-black. Away into the dustbin I dunk them, because they are beyond salvation.

Back to the room I proceed to complete my dressing. I grab my knapsack, keys, wallet, head warmer and my cherished Sony Ericsson W800i phone cum walkman, wondering why I must attend this early morning lecture if I’m feeling this irritable (come to think of it, it’s not really compulsory I attend).

Nonetheless, I find myself locking the door and rushing to the lift.

Remember, Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” You got it! The lift refuses to open after a two-minute wait that seems like ages. Hence, I opt for the staircase and guess what – Yes! You are right once more – the lift opens and I fly into the enclosed shaft.

“Good morning”, I greet the two fellow sojourners inside the elevator, grinning from ear to ear (as if I really mean the compliment) and I plug my ears with the earphones of my “little piece of technology”.

Stepping out of the building, I am attacked by the first gust of cold wind.

“Damn it!” I cuss as I remember leaving my hand gloves upstairs. Too late, I can’t go back.

Oblivious of my immediate environment as I listen to my favourite Beautiful Nubia songs, I stroll (or better expressed, I hop) the 20-minute distance to school. On typical days unlike today, I always enjoy the opportunity (which I hardly ever get) of being on my own to ruminate on quite a lot of issues, as I leisurely saunter to school.

“Wally”, Tomi an Indonesian in my class greets as he tries to wave and at the same time delicately balance on his bicycle. I wave back, wondering when these guys will be able to pronounce my name properly (guess they might never).

You might wonder why I am trekking while other colleagues pleasurably ride their bicycles to school. Poor me, I don’t know how to ride one. Why not learn (comes the question)? The answer – I keep procrastinating.

With a sigh of great relief, I enter the school building dislodging myself of all unnecessary clothing accessories that have shielded me from the cold weather, as I head for the coat rack. I check the venue for the lecture on the notice board (never really bother to know the venue until I get to school).

Swimming through an ocean of “good mornings” to colleagues, I skid to the lecture room. I hurriedly join my prestigious and notorious assembly of backbenchers. We are most of the time three – Mario (a Mozambican), Nevin (a Zimbabwean) and I – with some occasional members. It’s actually great fun sitting at the back of the class, as you are chanced to safely pass little tittle-tattles about the rest of the class, out of the range of the prying eyes of the lecturer.

As I fidget through my bag looking for my lecture notes, it just occurs to me that good old Murphy is at work again – I brought the wrong lecture notes to class! Never mind, “when there’s a mess, there’s always a means.” (Axiom is mine).

Without saying, I share Mario’s notes.

We saunter through the morning lectures characterised by a quarter of an hour coffee break every now and then, as we refreshingly look forward to the lunch break.

“…So ladies and gentlemen we’ll see tomorrow. You can start working on the models on Thursday.” says Dr. van Dam, signifying the end of the morning lectures and the beginning of the much awaited lunch break.

After reading and sending a couple of e-mails, Mario and I head for the restaurant downstairs. There is always a lot of binges down there but you end up picking what you are familiar with, for two main reasons. Firstly, you wouldn’t want to experiment with your money and lastly, you’d like to avoid excessive damage to your bowels.

Mario and I join Pema and Kencho (two Bhutanese colleagues) on a table for four as we all wolf down our different kinds of déjeuner. As a way to aid digestion, we gossip (Oops! I mean “discuss” because guys don’t gossip) about various issues – our almost-becoming-boring stay, lectures and lecturers, assignments and exams, ladies, politics, sports, computers – and any other interesting subject that will pass for guys’ “intelligent” deliberation.

“Guys, let’s go and play some ping-pong men.”, Pema suggests. We all agree. After disposing the remains of our meals, we head for the table tennis room to savour the remaining part of our lunch break. As usual, Pema beats us all.

The rest of the afternoon is not uneventful with Mrs. Sturrock’s presentation skills classes, where you experience all sorts of deliberations from individuals originating from different parts of the globe. We all have great fun during these lectures – at least nobody dozes off.

At the end of school today, I decide to go shopping for some groceries alongside with Suki (a Bosnian-Herzegovinan colleague) who doubles as my intimate pal and a “mother-in-law-to-be”. I keep teasing her that I’d do anything to marry her 16-year old daughter but she tells me incessantly that I’m too old for the girl.

However, she is willing to consider my proposal if I can show evidence of a personal bank account (running into millions of US dollars); buy her an 8-series BMW power engine convertible, a yacht and a house in Paris; sponsor her annual summer holiday trips and provide all the good things of life for her, so she doesn’t have to work for the rest of her life.

With all these suicidal demands, I sometimes reconsider my proposal and “love” for this teenager that I have never even set eyes on – I think it’s better to remain single than to self-destruct. Or what do you think?

Suki is always fun to be with as we talk about everything and nothing in particular. Today she recounts how her country’s national flag and coat of arms are continually being changed due to the disagreeable stances of the two coalescing countries.

After a shopping extravaganza that seems like eternity with Suki I head back home. Entering my kitchen, I empty out my bags as I endeavour to put “what”, “where” it belongs. I stand gazing up to the ceiling trying to remember what I forgot to buy. Could you remind me, please? Yes! You’re right – toothpaste! Never mind, there’ll be a way around that tomorrow morning. Why cross a bridge before you get there?

I take out my pot of soup from the refrigerator, to warm on the electrical cooker. I wonder why I keep warming a pot of a soup I hardly eat from.

I pour myself a drink and pick a packet of biscuits. I change into something light, put on my computer. I try to read and send some e-mails, catch up with some latest news back home in Nigeria while I enjoy my snacks.

Subsequently, I make a couple of phone calls. During my talking expedition, Godwin (a Nigerian colleague and flat mate) rushes in and alarms, “Wale, your soup is burning!!!”.

I dash to the kitchen. Too late, the soup’s turned into a thick dark paste – that will be the second in three weeks! So much waste in one day – first the sandwiches, now the soup. I really feel bad about these happenings.

I stroll back into my room to complete my phone calls and tidy up other necessary activities.

Finally, I stand on my balcony gazing aimlessly into the moonless dark skies, taking in some fresh air. This is one aspect of my day I greatly relish, because it avails me the opportunity to switch-off from every distraction and allows to me to think – on anything. The length of time I spend is dependent on what is available to ponder on and how cold it is outside.

I step back into the room to complete some personal and devotional chores.

“Aawwwwwwwwh”, I yawn as nature comes knocking and my bed, beckoning. I pick up a John Grisham bestseller that I’ve been reading for only-God-knows-how-long. This is my last companion for the day, as I lay on my bed reading with sleepy, drooping eyes through the pages.

I can’t see the words any longer, so I put off my bedside lamp and.…..

“Good night”.


This work is taken from a collection of the writer’s memoirs. It is not really a project in itself but one of the pennings of the writer’s experience of (un)typical days.

It might be necessary to state at this juncture, that the setting of this particular event is a city (Delft) in the Netherlands, where the writer (who is an African) is presently pursuing a Master’s degree at the UNESCO-IHE, Institute for Water Education.

The writer endeavours as much as possible to narrate one of his daily experiences in a free flow, frivolous manner while simultaneously not permitting the reader lose the import of the write-up. This is deliberate and intended to keep the interest of the reader right through the account.

The story depicts the unwillingness of the writer to set out on compulsory activities of his day. Moreover, this is interlaced with a number of events that are awry or ill-timed against the writer’s wish and/or expectation, although most of these can be construed to be caused by the writer’s absentmindedness or clumsiness.

The influences of other individuals and events in this narration are discovered to play a crucial role in shaping the daily experience of the writer. It should be noted that the places, characters and events mentioned are real and not fictitious.

Written by
Adewale Ajani
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