This Sleep will Kill Me

Monday, 28th September 2015

Today, for the third time in my driving life, I fell asleep on the road.
There was traffic , we stayed stationery for many minutes, I put the handbrake up and the gear in Parking mode, switched off the car and left only the radio on, then, without realizing it, fell asleep.

I was woken up by honking because traffic had started moving and I was not moving. I quickly turned the car on and got ready to move, but the policeman manning the roundabout was like, Not so fast. He told me to park on the side. He was very angry, he came over to my window. He asked me what I was doing, I told him that I had fallen asleep and I was very sorry. He asked where I was coming from such that I was so sleepy. I told him I was actually coming from work and heading home.

Thankfully I was still wearing my work name tag on my neck, so I showed it to him. He told me to be very careful, pointed at me one more time and told me to go. He stopped the other cars, so that I could get off the curb where he had asked me to park and drive onto the Nyayo Stadium roundabout. He had moved forward and was waiting for me to get back on the road as he had instructed. As fate would have it, the steering wheel refused to move, it was stuck.

So I switched the car off then on again and thankfully it moved. But he stopped me again because from where he was standing, he couldn’t see why I was taking so long to just move. He came over to my window, pointing at me again and this time asked me what I had drunk. I told him I hadn’t drunk anything and that my car just stalled on me. He said ‘No, you must have taken something alcoholic at lunch time.’ I told him that in fact, I don’t drink.

I was smiling by now and he was smiling too because the whole situation was so seriously ridiculous seriously. He asked me why I don’t drink, is it because I am Saved (born again)? I told him Yes. Though, in all honesty, the reason I don’t drink is that alcohol doesn’t do much for my taste buds, and it just makes me sleepier anyway. But, yes, I am also Saved. He told me, he knows that some saved people do drink, for example, Catholics. I told him that coincidentally, I am Catholic, but I am one of those that don’t drink. He could even test me with those gadgets that they use to test people, I told him. He laughed, he said they are called Alcoblow. I said, Yes, those ones.

He shook his head, like to say he didn’t know what to do with me. He said he could charge me with obstruction of traffic. I asked him not to charge me please, to let me go home please so I could sleep, and to note that I was very, very sorry and it wouldn’t happen again. He let me go but told me to be very careful.

I thanked him profusely and moved into the roundabout quickly before he could change his mind. This time the steering wheel cooperated.I drove home and got home safe without sleeping again.

I couldn’t tell him that I was sleepy because we had a party that lasted from Friday evening through Saturday day, and night till morning, through Sunday day to evening to celebrate Poriot’s birthday and Quarter Three birthdays; that it was really fun doing so in our house with family and friends, and that I was really happy that we all had such a grand time together, but as a result was thoroughly exhausted. I didn’t tell him that. But if we had talked longer, I would have. He was a policeman with a heart and he was friendly so I am very lucky.

It is not lost on me that this is not a funny story. It is also not lost on me that beyond getting charged for a traffic offense, I could have caused an accident and worse things could/would have happened.

I have often said that my sleep problem will kill me. It is no longer a light statement. I am going to get help. Today yes, I was tired from the weekend, but there have been other times, one too many. In traffic, in meetings, in class, in church, in that very party, during conversations, during choir practice… One too many times. I will seek help because I don’t think it’s as funny anymore.

Anyways, so that’s how my Monday went. How was yours? I hope you were awake, at least.

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