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I’ve discovered magical way to survive city jams – daydreaming

Sunday June 5 2016

A traffic jam on Nairobi's Haile Selassie Avenue. The behaviour of drivers in Kenya has sunk so low that the bizarre has begun to look normal. PHOTO | FILE

A traffic jam on Nairobi's Haile Selassie Avenue. The behaviour of drivers in Kenya has sunk so low that the bizarre has begun to look normal. PHOTO | FILE 

CAROLINE NJUNG'E
By CAROLINE NJUNG'E
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I am a writer but, on my imposed spare time, I am a world renowned musician with a voice like Adele’s – you know Adele, the one who sang that absolutely heart-wrenching song, Hello. After my breath-taking performance, I always get a standing ovation, my fans screaming my name in adoration.

Other times, still on my imposed spare time, I am this anonymous philanthropist who has touched numerous lives, and whose benefactors talk about in glowing terms, explaining how my generosity made it possible for them to be where they are today.

Other times, I am this insanely brave woman who dodges a terrorist’s bullets to sweep cornered children to safety. Unknown to me, someone films my heroic acts, which end up on national TV. I get numerous calls thereafter from media houses wanting to interview me, but since I am publicity shy, I decline all the interviews.

Other times, still on my imposed spare time, I am sunbathing is a serene pristine clean beach somewhere in the Seychelles, sipping a fruity wholesome drink with no care in the world because I am fabulously rich, and can therefore afford to holiday for the rest of my life.

Other times, I am on a normal holiday, the one workers like you and me are granted every year by their employer. Mostly, when I am this kawaida (normal) worker on a normal, dull holiday characterised by an empty purse, it is usually on a Monday morning, when I am supposed to be energised after the weekend, yet if I were asked, I would rather go back to bed and sleep.

COPING MECHANISM

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By now, you are wondering what I am going on and on about, so let me save you the drawn- out suspense. When I talk about imposed spare time, I mean the one-and-a-half-hours I spend in the traffic jam every morning on my way to work. Nairobi jams are maddening, and if you are not careful, they could actually reduce you into an angry, moody human being who talks to himself. I am talking from experience by the way.

Before I devised my daydreaming tactic of coping with Nairobi’s perpetual traffic jams, I had even developed wrinkles due to all the impatient frowning. I had also developed the bad habit of clicking and glaring at no one in particular.

Other times, I would be so frustrated, I would unconsciously clamp my jaw until my temples started to hurt. On especially bad days, I would feel like uprooting clumps of hair.

Daydreaming cured me of all that. One of these days, should you spot a woman dreamily staring out of the window with a half-smile and unfocused eyes, that is probably me, positively dealing with our home-grown traffic jams. I mean, why worry if you can’t do anything about it, right?

Like many Kenyans, I had believed that construction of new roads and overpasses and bypasses would finally cure us of this long-running problem once and for all. Oh well, what to do?

If you are a long-suffering Kenyan like me, please try to restrain yourself from turning towards State House and vigorously shaking an exasperated fist at the President.

It will not solve the jam problem. Mine is far from a solution, but it will at least allow you to hold onto your sanity.

Free advice – if your mood tends to plummet every morning as you head to work or to other important engagements, or if your blood pressure rises to dangerous levels just from imagining what awaits you on our roads, try daydreaming – it works like a charm.  

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FEEDBACK

Your article about men acting sick when they catch a cold is hilarious to say the least. Men can take even more than a cold; take soldiers, take extreme sport, take prison horrors. I believe men crave for attention from their significant other just like women do. The cold is just an excuse the men uses unconsciously to blackmail their loved ones. There is a theory that states that we all need human touch throughout our lives and that men are not touched enough.

Miano

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I have had a nice laugh and I am sure I am not the only one. If I ever meet you, I will shake your hand and tell you, ‘thank you Caroline. All of your articles are on issues that we can all relate to. . . only that you tell them in such a humorous way that one is left in stitches. Thank you. Most of the feedback that you will get from men will be that the reason men act all sick is because the only time that wives give full attention to their husbands is when the hubby is unwell! There you are. When hubby is unwell, a wife will even cancel the trip to the hairdresser. When he is well, he is ignored completely. I will not ask you whether you do that... as I can see the smile on your face.         

Chege 

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Get this straight, mens’ cold is not kids stuff, not when one gets it once a year. When I get one, it knocks me down completely. At least I need two days bed rest. Please let us have our cold in peace.

Philip

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