One of my favorite songs used to be Bad Day by…my God. I don’t remember. I can’t remember half of the artists that I swore I would die loving only a few months ago. It seems that when they slip out of my playlist, they fade from mind.
I can never properly classify a day as bad because of how changeable my emotions are. One minute I’m bubbling over with the joy of living, breathing, blinking!And the next, sticky annoyance is oozing out of my pores. To prevent myself turning into an intolerable grouch,I break my days down into 30 minute moments.
When I get shortchanged by a conductor or left behind by the pioneer bus or hissed at by a street idler, that’s a bad moment. If two or more motorists try to run me over in a given moment, it’s an unlucky one. If four irritating songs from my playlist show up in my ears, in a row, that’s a fake moment, because come on, out of all the hundreds…
This system has rules.
You are not allowed to carry unpleasant feelings from one moment to another but you can feel as nice about a happy occurrence for as long as you wish. You’re not ever allowed to swallow your feelings. Want to tear your leggings and fling them at a dumb workmate? Go ahead! Feel like jeering long and loud and then bursting into bitter tears? Do it. Similarly, if the urge to scream I LOVE YOU WORLD, I LOVE YOU comes upon you, express it. Put it on a social network for those unlucky people whose eardrums aren’t going to be blessed with your good feelings. Pat a conductor on the back. Smile at your boda man and tip him if he’s been particularly ninjarific in getting you to work three seconds before the morning status meeting.
There are, however ,certain occurrences that can’t be fitted into a 30 minute box. Tragedy for example. I remember wanting to punch the face of some person who, when I complained of depression after my mom’s passing, told me I had only a year to be openly sad about it, after which my friends wouldn’t be so tolerant of my gloom. What? Shya! You’re allowed to mourn as dramatically as you want for as long as you feel is necessary.
We’ve already established that the system allows for joyful feelings to be spread over as long a time as you want. Absurd happenings too can be spread out for puzzled reflection and quiet chuckling.
I was once walking (skipping) down Kampala road after bagging a fairly large writing deal. I was swollen with the promise of money. Dollars and shillings dressed in raffia skirts had started to do the Macarena inside my head when some woman stepped in front of me and said, “You look funny!” and then just stood there waiting for my reaction. Because of the high I was on, I smiled and glided away. She must have been confused by this reaction because as I was entering the computer shop that was my destination, I looked back to find her still staring after me.
What turns a day bad for you? Burned ground nuts at the cafeteria? Unproductivity? And how do you turn things around?
This week, I’m reading Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese. One of the best lines in it is ‘Make something beautiful of your life’.
Do make something fantastic of your life this week.