Did I ever tell you how I cannot sleep in on Sundays because my environment is not conducive? If I am not done with my sleep by nine-thirty, I would have to find a way to zombie about the rest of the day or visit my mother to sleep there.
Right behind our bedroom is a church, one of the seriously enthusiastic ones that illustrate the word cacophony, and they constantly get me imagining what all those characters in the comic Asterix must have felt whenever Cacofonix threatened to sing. It’s mental torture. I kind of feel sorry for them because, how can a group of over fifty people be so unlucky not to have a single person with a melodious voice?
I have made peace with not sleeping in on Sundays because I live in a village where structural planning is a foreign concept. Over here, we have residential houses, churches, illegal and legal alcohol dens, all under one harmonious roof.
We grumble half-heartedly, sometimes, even the more exposed people will threaten to report the noise to NEMA, the environmental authority, but nobody does. The village is supposed to be a place where everybody is tolerant, even to the seriously intolerant individuals infringing on your right to the sound of silence… unless you are a half-bred villager like me.
I may have made peace with sleepless Sunday mornings, but I refuse to make peace with sleepless Saturday nights. The pastor, bless his soul for the dedication to trying to convert evil souls, has a habit of spending the night, alone, in church.
Before the confrontation, he would use the loudspeaker to preach, but he would turn it off at 9 pm then start praying, all night. His muffled sounds never stopped us from sleeping, until he started pushing boundaries with the loudspeaker. He extended to 10 pm, then to eleven, and when he went past midnight, I snapped.
I stormed out of my gate in my nightgown and forgot to wear my glasses, which I guess did not matter as I can’t see at night anyway, with or without glasses. I banged on the church’s door, banged louder to override the noise inside until a very perturbed pastor opened.
“How are you, pastor?” No matter how agitated you are, you always start with greetings. I once witnessed a fight, right after the two fighters shook hands in greeting. So the pastor answered that he was fine, which was a blatant lie as I could see the uncertainty in his face. “What time is it?” I imagined at that moment, he thought I had lost my marbles, that I banged the door just to ask what time it was. He looked at his watch and told me the time.
“That means it’s sleep time, not church time.” His face was so shocked and looked so hurt, I started feeling guilty, but I was on an unholy mission. Mission accomplished, as my lecture has seen us all having peaceful Saturday nights since. My fellow villagers should thank me, but they probably wouldn’t approve of me telling off a pastor. It was a talk that lasted about five minutes, but a talk that has seen my Saturday nights more sleep-friendly.
He wasn’t done with me though. Something about this church is, they seem to specialise in casting out demons. Women, yes, women, are always screaming as the demons depart from them, two times a week. To each their own, but I draw the line when you start naming demons after me.
It was a Thursday afternoon, a few weeks after my one-sided confrontation with the pastor. From my bedroom, where I work, I could hear the pastor casting out demons. It should not have bothered me, as I am used to that.
Then, I clearly heard him, the pastor, casting out two demons, one of them was monikered Wanjiku, the other one Brenda. My name is not Brenda, but it sure is Wanjiku, and I took offence.
Well, as long as I do not have badly tuned loud-speakers and kesha right behind my bedroom, I can deal with demons being named after me.