It was either the music reaching my ears from the street or the light hitting my eyes that caused me to sit up in fear that I had overslept even before I turned to the clock hanging on the wall to the right of my bed. It confirmed my worst fears. I had seven minutes……..and twenty seconds to arrive at my office. It was an impossible feat but I dashed into the bathroom nonetheless. I after all still believed in miracles.
I yelped as the water hit me and caused goose bumps to break out. I didn’t have time to allow myself adjust to the temperature or to boil some water so I rubbed soap perfunctorily on my sponge before giving myself a scrub. In less than two minutes I jumped out of the bath and ran to my wardrobe which I swung open to pull out a black polyester shirt which would not require ironing. The sickly smell of sweat hit me as I lifted it over my head. I dropped my hand wondering when I had worn it but pulling it close to my nose all the same for a sniff. Eww! A quick rummaging through the rest of my clothes assured me I needed to iron.
Taut with tension I grabbed a red cotton shirt and a pair of black trousers from the pile now lying at my foot and hurried to my bed making a quick move for my iron. I plugged it in, turned the knob to the highest and rolled the iron over the shirt. After thirty seconds or so I noted with irritation that the shirt remained a rumpled mess despite my efforts. A quick look confirmed the switch was on and the knob was indeed turned to maximum heat. My brain registered the fact I could no longer hear the music at the same time I touched the iron to find it barely hot. I cursed NEPA, PHCN and whatever blasted name they decided to call themselves in the future.
Sweat had formed on my brow and armpits by this time and I berated myself for starting with a bath. In my hurry to get to the diesel generator at the back of the house I hit my right big toe on the bedroom door sending a sharp pain up my leg, an expletive to my lips and a sting to my eyes. I half limped to the generator wondering how I could have overslept on a Monday morning and feeling quite frustrated.
The generator coughed….. No, no, no I said as it sputtered before going off. I gave it another pull. Each time it coughed and attempted to start only to go off. I gave up when it stopped coughing.
I went back into the house a little more slowly. The clock in the living room told me it was now 8:15am and I was in a load of trouble. I looked at the pile of clothes with a less critical eye and eventually picked out a manageable blue shirt which I wore over a pair of trouser I hoped would straighten out by the time I got to the office. I was half-way out of the house, laptop in hand, when the humming of my refridgerator informed me power had been restored. I stood contemplatively in the middle of the house trying to take a decision. My boss hated lateness and sloppy dressing and I was guilty of both this morning. In the end I left the house in my not so rumpled clothes.
As I walked to my car I tried to think of a plausible story for my boss but none came. I was surprised to see my neighbour’s car still parked and I wondered if it was bad I immediately feared my car would not start. With my luck today I would not be surprised. I slid the key into the ignition and kicked it to life. I let out a huge breath which until then I had not realized I had been holding and honked to tell the gate-man I was ready to leave.
The road was a little freer than I expected and I feared I was later than I thought. I weaved my car through St Brigid’s road and hit the highway to avoid the hold up within town. In seven minutes I made it to summit junction. Let there be no hold up at the roundabout I prayed as I sped down Summit road. I spied the roundabout in front of me and noted with relief that there were no waiting cars. In another ten minutes I had made it to office.
I swung the car into the driveway wondering why the gate was locked, why the compound was deserted and why there were no cars in the compound. The gateman was coming towards me sleepy eyed when I remembered.
It was public holiday!