Wrong. Everything is wrong.
At least that’s how it feels. And yes, maybe I am being an ungrateful, selfish little brat. I have everything, they would say. According to Maslow, I should be well on my way to self-actualization, now that material and emotional prerequisites have been met. Two parents, siblings, health, education, basic needs, friends…all of them: check.
Everything is wrong.
The lecturer goes on. He is either completely oblivious of the lack of interest evident on everyone’s face, or he is taking the lack of interest like a trooper. My watch says we have half an hour to go and frustration mounts a little. I don’t understand computers. Or computers don’t understand me. Either way, it has never worked out between us and this class is by far the worst thing about this semester. The girl next to me is tapping away at her smartphone. Cracked screen, of course. With a tendency to hang. I know because over the past one hour she has banged the desk twice, dropped the phone a little violently, and cursed about as many times as she has blinked. No one pays attention; we all know the struggle. There’s a guy next to her watching YouTube videos. Apparently everyone in the room can hear the music except the good man trying to dispense knowledge. Me? I just sit here. Unlocking my phone screen, doodling on the mouse pad, drifting off into fantasies where I am rich and can afford to sit at home and scribble in my notebook all day. And eat all the eggs I want without fear of diabetes or whatever. And chocolate. And wafers. And lots and lots of milk.
“…Make sure you do the exercises I have uploaded…”
How time flies when you fantasize. Everyone lazily picks up their stuff and makes for the door. The lecturer is putting on a brave face, but I see the crease between his eyebrows. Teaching is a calling, I tell you.
Outside it’s teeming with movement. Everyone is heading for lunch and normally, I’d be too. Not today though. Because, well, everything is wrong. It’s a long walk to my next class and I’m glad. There’s something about walking alone when you’re feeling all morose. Like, you think you’re going to be thinking about your problems and their possible solutions, but end up having a blank mind or thinking about pizza pie instead. It’s great. So I walk. That classes should only be held in the morning is one of my firm beliefs. In the afternoon it’s hot and you’re full most of the time and sleep is the greatest seductress I ever met. She comes with no rush about her and sits next to you, stealing glances and pulling those Mona Lisa half smiles. “Hey,” says the sultry voice that sounds like vanilla ice cream, and then she strokes your head. From the top, slowly and lightly, behind your ear and down to your chin where it lingers for a bit. And that’s when your attention wanders and it feels so good and your eyelids begin to droop. It’s downhill from there, my friend, and although most times you do put up a (sissy) fight, she wins. All hail Sleep the Seductress.
The class is empty and again, I’m glad. I take a seat- my usual seat. It’s around the middle of the classroom. Which is weird because in every other class I sit at the wall or at least more to one side of the classroom. Usually near the door. My psychology lecturer says that students who sit towards the door may subconsciously want to make a quick escape, or maybe they really don’t want to be there and want to leave as fast as they can as soon as they can. Maybe she is right. But who likes being in class anyway?
My classmates start streaming in soon enough. It’s always the same batch that comes early. The girl who sits at the very front and asks three billion questions. The quiet one who sits a row or two from me and has a voice so soft that it if voices took tangible form, hers would be a kitten’s fur. The lady who appears to be in her fifties and once told me that she came to school for self-actualization (Go, Maslow!). The guy who has the answers to every question the lecturer asks. Then some others like me. Quiet, alone, here to learn then go home and lounge because they don’t have much of a social life.
At 1:21 the lecturer walks in. She’s easy-going, this one. She comes, teaches, and leaves. She is always in a dress. Not trouser, not skirt. A dress. And heels. She has a calm look about her. Her feathers are impossible to ruffle. Maybe she has three children, youngest one just joined Form One. She must be the kind of mother that does not want your nonsense and attention-seeking ploys, and minces no words telling you as much. I respect her. But maybe that’s just because she is a psychologist.
I never sleep in matatus. Too paranoid. I always think that someone will make off with my bag, which has my phone and no, I cannot afford to have my phone stolen. Also, I’m a deep sleeper. No, no, not deep like you have to tap me for me to wake up. Deep, as in, the matatu could ram into an electricity post and I will slowly open my eyes and be annoyed at being woken up in the middle of a good dream. This means, I could very easily miss my stop. And we can’t have that either. But today…I sleep.