Welcome to my random musings about the world, on a weekly-to-occasional basis
Some people think we’re on perpetual vacation, therefore the most egregiously Mondayish Mondays wouldn’t apply to us. We’re not, though, on perpetual vacation. We get up on Monday mornings and go to work like everyone else. Lee gets up much earlier than I do, admittedly, but I get to the keyboard eventually. In Dakar, our cleaning woman came on Monday mornings, so I made a point of getting out the door with a modicum of alacrity, by my standards.
But some Mondays are more Monday than others. Sometimes you know, from the get-go, that it’s going to be one of those. This particular Sunday evening, I couldn’t find strawberries at any of my usual spots. Overnight oatmeal just isn’t the same, in my opinion, without berries. I know, cue the sad violins. Princess is out of strawberries.
So I had no choice but to resign myself to making hot oatmeal in the morning, and topping it with cashew butter. It’s nice enough, but not my first choice in this subtropical climate.
I slept terribly. I have rheumatoid arthritis, and my hands were unusually painful. Plus the bed in Dakar was queen-sized, and the comforter wasn’t big enough (this is a stupid design trend we’re seeing everywhere, by the way—just, no), so we both wound up in the middle of the bed, and Lee kept breathing in my face. Five AM breath—not exactly minty fresh. Maybe I woke up a little grumpy. Maybe.
About a minute into the oatmeal’s cook time, I started smelling toast. Singed toast. Which is weird, because there wasn’t a speck of bread in the whole apartment. I stopped the microwave, and the water was still cold. Hm. Was the whole thing about to explode? Were my internal organs being fried by microwaves while I stood there peering in through the glass, anticipating the boil-over that probably definitely wasn’t going to happen?
I had nothing else to eat, so I considered the regular stove. I hadn’t attempted to use it in the three weeks we’d been there, because there was a tank of fuel attached to it, and a box of matches on a shelf, and I think kitchen pyrotechnics (really, pyrotechnics in general) might be above my pay grade. Besides, the only pot was about the size you’d use to cook a pound of pasta, and I really couldn’t see dirtying that for one measly little serving of oatmeal.
I could go to the coffee shop and get a sad little mediocre croissant, but that’s just a waste of calories, and at my age, every bite matters. Welcome to midlife.
So I tried the setting that looked like it was meant to boil a cup of water. By some small miracle, it worked. At this point, though, I had frittered away too much of my morning, and needed to shake it if I was going to get out before the cleaning lady finished upstairs. I could hear her bumping around. I inhaled the oatmeal and hopped in the shower.
For the record (yes I counted, once I got the shampoo out of my eyes), the shower in Dakar was the twelfth one I used in 2019. This was in February. We’d been there three weeks, but for whatever reason, that morning I couldn’t remember which way was hot and which was cold. And this particular one was incredibly slow to adjust, for some reason. So I got scalded, then I got frozen, and I can confirm that it wasn’t No More Tears shampoo.
I got myself dressed, quickly, because the bathroom door had a full-length glass panel (also a poor design trend, in my opinion, although slightly better than the hotel room bathroom that is completely walled in glass, or worse, not walled at all—yes, we’ve seen both of those) and I prefer to be dressed when people walk in.
Then I picked up my computer and purse, put on my shoes, and went to the door.
There was no key. The door was locked, and I was trapped inside, because Lee had inadvertently taken my key.
Admittedly, this was less of a problem in Dakar than it would be anywhere else, because there’s always a guardian sitting by the front door, just under our balcony, and I could hear the cleaning woman upstairs and knew she was headed for us, but she usually waited until she heard me walk out, and remember, it was Monday. Some Mondays you just know, right?
I knocked on the door a few times (stupidly using my knuckles, which were already hurting), and nothing happened, so I went out on the balcony. It was a different guardian than usual sitting below, and my French, while good enough for buying strawberries and negotiating taxis, doesn’t actually extend to my husband accidentally locked me in and took my key. It didn’t that day, at any rate. It does now.
Anyway, the cleaning woman heard me mangling the language, quickly sussed out the problem (I guess she’d heard my knocking and ignored it?), and came down to let me out. The guardian clearly hadn’t understood a word, because when I got to the outer door, I had to knock a bunch more before he fumbled around with his keys and let me out onto the street.
Princess was feeling a bit pouty by this time. Our regular guardian, Pape, would totally have understood if he’d been there. He always let me out as soon as he heard my footsteps on the stairs.
The thing is—and I remembered this as I walked away from the building—Pape was off that day, because his four-month-old was having surgery for hydroencephaly.
Some Mondays are a real bitch.
P.S. Thanks for reading, and feel free to share. If you have feedback, I’d love to hear it. And if someone forwarded this to you, thank them for me, and go to https://bookwoman.com/to subscribe.