Thousands of years to come, when historians will be chronicling events from the current epoch, they are sure to reserve copious pages for a peculiar batty creature that lived in Kenyan universities. They will discover that this feral organism, known simply as comrade, was always fraught with myriad problems. But one habit will particularly intrigue the future Dr. Leakeys—the comrades’ absurd sleeping pattern.
The quintessential comrade will always be awake long past midnight; it’s not news to find him as busy as a bee at 3am. I used to think they all deserve a pat in the back for keeping vigil. But now that I know better, how about we replace that pat with a hammer-blow? This is because my comrades burn the midnight oil for all the wrong reasons.
If my comrades and their coterie are not dancing themselves lame and imbibing poisons at some seedy pub, then be sure they’re roaming the streets raising raucous hell until the wee hours of the morning. And if by a slim chance they’re spending their night indoors, let no one cheat you that they’re fast asleep. They usually carry their cell phones to bed and blather on Facebook all night.
They congregate in one big kamukunji on Whatsapp, where their LMFAO typing skills go from good to impeccable once the clock slides past midnight. On their laptops they’re illegally downloading movies and streaming nefarious porn. Their woofers are on at full-blast, destroying the peace by playing Bedroom Bully at decibels of insanity. You literally have to bribe them to make them lower their fornication sounds.
My old man, Grandpa Richard, gets really cranky when young people stay up past 9pm. If he ever caught me practicing my goat-screaming at midnight and I told him I have insomnia, he’d rush me to the nearest late night chemist, get me to swallow a dozen piritons, and put me to sleep forever.
In the morning however, something magical happens in campus. The comrades finally curl up in their cosy duvets and descend into chloroformic slumber. During the day, as the rest of the country is actively picking tea, discovering oil and courting MCAs, my malingering comrades are busy skipping classes and entertaining asinine dreams. Dreams that don’t lead to anything but tomfoolery and waywardness.
If I had ever slept till noon, my old man, who grew up sleeping on a threadbare mat and a sack of sweet potatoes for a pillow, would have assumed I was dead and sent me off to the morgue. He always forced me out of bed at 4am into school, the coffee plantation or church. According to him, campus students should all go to bed not later than 10pm and be up not later 4am. Just the way nature intends it.
“What’s it with your bat-like behavior of staying up all night and slumbering all day?” Grandpa poses. “What’s next? Walking on your hands and eating with your legs? Watching books and reading movies?”