I am on Day Eleven of this sabbatical and nobody is enjoying it…except, perhaps, people and companies who pay me to do stuff. And maybe my wife.
It all started Twelve Days ago when I set off for this birthday party…Actually, if I were to be strict about this I would say that it started the day I took my first drink, because I recall quite vividly the story I did about Uganda’s Acoholics Anonymous and its champion, who told an incredulous me that the path to alcoholism starts with one’s first drink.
That was way back when I was just beginning to extricate myself from life as a university student. Being in university, a pal of mine (Stephen M^l3ma) said, was “three years of seriously mismanaging one’s life”.
But let’s start at about eleven days ago. That Saturday evening, I went out to a party quite innocently, with full wifely permission to have a ball. I am sure of this because we were scheduled to go together till some medical doctor took it into her head to advise my better half that taking it easy would be the best plan for that Saturday evening.
The sky was growing dark as I drove out of the gate – not because dusk was approaching, but because the weather seemed to be turning. Remember, this was ten days ago, when the sun was hovering at about the level of most ventilator windows in Uganda. Remember, eh? Those days just recently here when we would be drinking water by the gallon and feeling it evaporate through the nostrils even before it got to the epiglottis? Eh? When piggeries had taken on a distinct smell of bacon in a clay pan?
The storm that was impending as I drove out of my corner of Kampala was impressive. To be honest, the manner in which the lightning blazed across the skies that night appeared to be a hint from the Almighty that I should really be turning back to the safety of home, but my judgement was clouded by the deafening thunder that followed, so I drove on blithely into the party night and succumbed to the excitement brought on by the long-anticipated rains. Let me just say now that I strongly suspect that after that weekend there must have been cows, pigs, goats and other such tasty animals that became so excited by the rain that they slung themselves onto mchomo grills to celebrate.
I did the alcoholic equivalent.
The downpour was only the beginning of my downfall, both of which continued when I got to the party venue and found that the rain had forced the DJ and mchomo guy to take up occupancy in the tent that had been planned for guests.
Being a small residential party, the plan appeared to be for the small 50-seater tent to provide cover just in case the sun persisted beyond 2100hrs, as it sometimes seemed to in those days. This small tent, we discovered after twenty minutes of rain, can actually fit 80 people under it alongside a large BBQ grill, a DJ and his equipment, and one or two of his speakers. And a table for the rest of the food. Plus all the other people who run out of their cars into the rain, cross a parking lot, and race up the grass into the same damn small tent.
Cold, wet, dishevelled and squashed between machinery, smoky well-marinated meats, loud machinery and other cold, wet beings, I focussed on warming up the good old traditional way when a party presented itself. It took a while before I began to confuse the lightning for fireworks, and after managing to suppress the urge to go, “Yeah!” the third time, a streak of lightning shot down the side of Kololo Hill, I decided to sober up a little and changed drinks.
My condition at the time, what with the continuous exposure to heat since the start of the year, the sudden onset of rain and the presence of alcohol exacerbated by the absence of guests this wet and cold night, was not good.
Under normal circumstances, changing drinks would have involved the introduction of water or soda or even fruit juice. These were not normal circumstances, and it wasn’t long before I lost the plot entirely.
To cut a long story short, I believe I was ejected from a night club shortly before the sun came up, and made it home without incident as far as memory serves.
I awoke at 1000hrs to find the good lady of the home sitting by my bedside ready to cook me a hearty breakfast punctuated by painkillers and fresh juice.
But not before she politely informed me that I had stopped drinking for a month.
I was too messed up to think about what I was agreeing to – and the reality hit me the next Wednesday as my throat started thinking about the coming Friday.
But I have stuck to the so-called ‘agreement’ these eleven days past and must say they have been pretty good so far. The house help can’t stand me, because now I have my superpowers back and keep pointing out dust on the wall at the bottom of the compound…at 2000hrs; and can hear them not turning the tap off in time to avoid letting a few dr0ps go to waste up at the boys’ quarters.
But I am on an abuse sabbatical and I will stay here no matter how much anyone complains.
For the next eighteen days.
Unless my wife decides to politely update me one morning.