Thursday, 31 July 2008
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Tuesday, 29 July 2008
Monday, 28 July 2008
Friday, 25 July 2008
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
A door-to-door electricity salesman came by while I was washing the dishes (God, can you get more domesticated? I was barefoot too) and tried to persuade me to change my electricity company to the wonderful company that he represented.
In order to get rid of him speedily, I told him that my partner pays the bill, that I don't even know which company we use, or how much we pay (me just the woman, me just do the dishes. Speak to the man).
He was having none of it. He wanted to explain to me how he could save us money, and then I could explain to my partner. IT would just take a few minutes of my time. I just was not in the mood for humouring this guy, so I told him again, no, it is no use, I don't know anything about our bill, you need to speak to my partner. Still he did not give up.
Eventually I managed to persuade him that I was too stupid to understand his little sales pitch and he left me alone. The things I do for a bit of quiet.
That is one good thing about SA. A lack of door to door salespeople. People aren't keen on opening their doors to anyone in case they have removal company tendencies. And you definitely don't get telephone and electricity companies trying to steal each other's customers like you do in the UK, because there is only one of each company.
I used to think that having many companies would be a good thing, and in some ways it must be. At least there is competition for good service.
But I am not convinced that having multiple companies to choose from drives down prices. There are so many companies and they all use subtle price tricks so that one company is the cheapest after 12pm, another is the cheapest if you are over 65, under 12, or a monkey, and the other is cheapest not at all but tells you that it is anyway.
There are so many companies with so many price plans and schemes that the consumer is completely bewildered and ends up using the first company to come along. And in the end they are all expensive, and can get away with crap service because it is such a pain to keep switching companies. I should know. G once switched electricity companies 3 times in 3 months. Which is one of the main reasons why I now avoid electricity sales people like the plague.
And there are too many door-to-door and phone sales people who refuse to give up and let a girl wipe her plates in peace.
Monday, 21 July 2008
I suffer from an extreme form of prejudice which will sadly never go away. The world is back to front for me. Yes, I am a left-hander in a world designed for the 9 out of 10 people who are righties. Bastards.
Everything, I mean EVERYTHING is made for the optimal use of right handed people. Doorknobs are one. Left-handed people have to form “T-rex arm” in order to open doors, and let me tell you, there is minimal manoeuvrability in that position. Bottle tops require a similar arm seizure. Guns, computer mice, rulers, books are all right-handed. Hence I read magazines and newspapers back to front. If only I read Arabic!
Scissors are another biased implement. I can tell you that I cannot cut well. It has always been so. My edges are always jagged and crooked and horrendous. Teachers were not impressed with my presentation in workbooks, it looked like a shark had been at my worksheets.
I was discriminated against at school (poor lickle me). In std 2 (grade 4?) our teacher announced to us that we would be allowed to write in pen. This was a huge step in our lives, we were becoming adults. We were very excited.
Then there was the knitting debacle. No teacher could figure out how to teach me to knit. We were graded for knitting in those sadistic times. My teacher literally just shook her head and said she gave up. She abandoned me to a chair on my own. So what the fark was I, a mere 8 year old supposed to do? I asked my mother if she could teach me. She was convinced she could, but she ended up teaching me right handed. Lets just say my knitting was not great at ALL. But I persisted and eventually could produce super-duper knitting, by about age 14. So there.
If I am complaining now, consider how it was for my grandmother and people before her. She was forced by teachers and parents to tie her left hand behind her back so that she would not use it. Left handed people were said to be doing Satan’s work (he is supposedly a leftie) and the Latin word sinistra (meaning left) has acquired the meaning evil. Great.
Add to that the fact that lefties are likely to die younger due to our clumsiness in a right-handed world.
Sunday, 20 July 2008
To kiss the sun
slow and deep and long
would be an experience
titillating I think
hopefully the tongue of flame
will reach right down into my inside
and warm me from the toes up.
It is too cold in this place
copyright of Po
I'ts buried deep and unseen
a sharp and silver stone
lodged behind the dutiful heart,
inflicting obdurate, yet subtle pain.
Enclosing them, both pump and flint-
a machine, cage construct, shell so cold
with glowering pallor it looms
motionless, with power off.
Decommissioned it comes undone
each screw loosenes, wires ripped out
and final crash into metallic heap
then with a sussurus of slow decay
the stone dissolves
and settles in a shimmering haze.
This molten mass of sharpened dust
that shreds the throbbing orb of blood
in a scream of minced up shards and flesh
is how it feels, chaos, collapse,
a secret stony storm of hurt
deep inside the ribbed cage
behind the plastic smile.
copyright of Po
Dunno what to say. I hadn't learned the art of "minimalism" at this stage of my life. And I clearly really wanted to use the word "sussurus". My word.
Saturday, 19 July 2008
It falls slowly
through a sludge of time and distance
the jelly of dramatic slow motion.
It's screams are silent
mine have more volume
the despair of the helpless onlooker
I watch with gravity
as impact occurs:
the shatter of shell and bowl
the spill of yolk and transparent goo
that egg is dead.
I must just point out that I was not smoking mari-joo-ana at the time of writing this.
copyright of Po
I would love to know what I was smoking at this time.
There is a cow on our roof
my sister told me
I ignored her
I thought it was April fools
until the mooing grew louder
then I went outside and there it was
on the roof of our suburban house
a bit embarrassing really
what will the neighbours think?
I know what they will think
It looks like there is a cow on that roof
but there isn't
cows do not stand on suburban roofs
and moo and moo til the...
cows come home?
So we did what seemed best
up the ladder and down again
with a bucket of fresh creamy milk.
(What the fack?)
copyright of Po
Friday, 18 July 2008
In a sense he achieved the impossible, creating a country where there was not one before, out of people who were anything but united, and would not take much pushing to start an all out civil war upon each other. Then he had to make sure that somehow, this bag of wet kittens held together, depsite the ten million reasons why it could not. And it did.
Thursday, 17 July 2008
(really I just liked this pic).
Amongst my friends in Cape Town, the term “car guard” was the highest form of insult. It meant you were beyond irritating. So the poor guys are not well loved. It does not help that half the time you are not sure if you are paying them to guard your car, or paying them to not harm your car.
As a scrounging student, I did not always pay car guards. But in April of this year, G and I were back home on holiday from the UK. As a “tourist” in my own home, carrying pounds, and feeling guilty about poverty and all, I felt duty-bound to pay all car guards. After all, R5 translates to about 30p, which is absolutely peanuts in the UK.
There was however this one day from hell, “the day of the car guards”, which I shall never forget. It was the day, on our trip up the east coast, where we drove between George and Plett. We stopped at pretty much each town along the way, and encountered at least 7 car guards. They came at us from nowhere. How come they are not to be found when you arrive, but randomly appear as you are about to leave, helping you to reverse out of a parking lot in which you are the only car? Are they helping you to reverse so that you do not hit them? (tempting…
I did not just say that!)
One of them kind of forced us to park in his area, although there were car-guard-free options elsewhere. He was an awesome guy from Namibia (I hope he is okay after the xenophobic violence in Knysna), but after conversations with x other car guards, we were worn out. We would have happily paid him to leave us alone. After we left him, we realised we needed to stop again at another shop, but after considering having to face another car guard, we decided to stuff it and keep on driving. It was all just too much for one day. I would say 6 car guards in one day is my upper limit.
The UK is conspicuously car guard free, and on the whole it is a pleasure not to need them.
However. In the last two years or so in the UK, G and my mom have had bricks through their car windows, my mom's entire road had their tyres slashed, G had a number 9 spray-painted on his car (of all the things you fear happening to your car, being "nined" must be number one), and my mom had her car “keyed”. My friend had two bricks through his windscreen in a week. And people here dent and scratch your doors ALL the time. They just don’t care.
The ironic thing is that G’s brick through the window happened the day after we got back from a totally crime-free month in SA. We were so sure something would happen to the hired car while we were there. We even forgot to lock the car once or twice, but nothing happened, probably thanks to the damn car guards, if it must be admitted. Typical.
In South Africa at least you feel consoled that people are assaulting your car for a reason, because they want either it or what is inside it. Here in the UK cars are vandalised for no other reason than the joy of pure destruction, and that is particularly annoying. Perhaps there is a niche for car guards here after all. Oh yeah.
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Monday, 14 July 2008
My mom then suggested kitchen roll tubes as a substitute. But no, apparently those are germ - ridden too. Cos kids never enter the kitchen now do they? (I hear Jaws music in my head right now: dudududududu - When health and safety goes horribly wrong).
He was telling the kids (high school) about his days hunting on the farm in SA . A girl was horrified and attacked him for such cruelty to animals. Fair enough, said my dad, but if you are so concerned about animal cruelty, are you vegetarian? The girl said no. What the hell has that to do with it, she asked.
My dad asked, "So how do you feel about the way animals are treated before they are killed for your meat?"
The girl exploded and attacked my dad. "How dare you say such ridiculous things, so insulting etc etc. People do not eat animals, that is terrible and cruel. Disgusting."
My dad asked, "but, but, where do you think meat comes from then???"
She informed him: "from supermarkets, from factories."
M'kay. Scary. But true.
From me (when working in a coffee shop in England):
During our training we were told that we must warn every single customer who buys a hot coffee to "be careful your drink is very hot." Every single one.
Now I feel that this is quite an insult to the intelligence. I would fairly resent someone telling me that my coffee is hot. I bloody know it is, it's bloody coffee! But apparently some people had tried to sue the company for serving them hot coffee without warning them, and they had burned themselves. Sigh.
In order to combat this evil scourge of hotness, we were instructed to offer customers ice cubes to cool their drinks down. You should see the looks you get when offering someone an ice cube in their Americano. Priceless.
Sunday, 13 July 2008
2. I like handstands
3. I am a nerd
4. I am totally uncool
5. I am totally cool with being uncool. Surely it is uncool to be too cool? Or to wish you were cool? I figure that I am so uncool that I am practically cool.
6. I drink too much coffee
7. I fiddle with
8. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, which I figure will be when I hit 60.
9. I hate shopping and I have no dress sense
10. I hate make-up
11. I am a girl
12. I cannot drive
13. I am left handed
14. I am a Leo who is totally shy and avoids attention. And then seeks it, in a repressed kind of way, only to run away again as soon as I get it. See? Confused. Not that I believe horoscopes or anything.
15. I have brushed my teeth with shampoo before. Don’t ask. It was in Bulgaria. Desperate times.
16. I have lived for 7 weeks straight in a tent. In a field with a portaloo. To shower we had to go to the local swimming club and pay. Was working on a blueberry farm.
17. I do not believe in marriage
18. I once slept on the street in London outside Kings Cross station. I worked in Cambridge and missed the last train to where I lived, Stevenage, so I took the train to London (about an hour from Cambridge), hoping to take a train home from there. I missed the last train home. There were loads of other people who missed their train doing the same so at least it was safe.
The next morning, all trains were replaced by buses for some reason (a leaf or something, I don’t know what that day’s excuse was). Our bus driver got lost for two hours, started swearing, and threw his map book at us. We hadn’t even left London. I have had better times.
19. I have an obsession with peppermints
20. I’m alright really…
Friday, 11 July 2008
A friend saw a poster for a show at the arts centre at the University where we work.
She told me that it was a break dancing show. I am into amazing feats of strength and acrobatic skill, so we decided to to go.
We paid (PAID) for our tickets and moseyed into the theatre. Something was...odd. The audience didn't feel - right. I couldn't put my finger on it. But whatever it was, they were all staring at the two of us.
I get that a lot, in the UK especially. So I ignored it. We sat down and surveyed the programme.
The title was something like ( I am making it up according to vague memory):
"Bringing Boys into Interpretive Dance"
I was puzzled. My friend insisted that it was break dancing fused with interpretive dance. I read on, and was not convinced. But I suspended all disbelief until the show began.
The curtain came up and there stood before us a horde of six year old pirates in tights. They began to...interpret pirateness via dance. We watched. Our row of seats quaked and puddles accumulated as we silently began to wet ourselves.
At the end of the pirate performance my friend was still trying to convince me that the breakdancing was to follow, possibly because she was afraid I would blame her for bringing me to a kiddies school play set to music. I blamed her.
The next piece was by some older boys and was an interpretation of a Magritte painting. It was impressive. For schoolboys. Now my friend started swearing under her breath. We realised we would have to sit through an entire show of schoolboy interpretive dance.
The strange looks from the audience took on new meaning. I am an Aunt! An aunt of...that one. I picked out a random kid who looked like he knew what he was doing. These parents probably thought we were female paedophiles or something.
The show progressed with a full on interactive get-the-dads-on-the-stage little dance that of course the audience must follow. One of the parents looked like a breakdancer, with the backwards cap and baggy clothes, but he held his skills back lest he overshadow his kid.
By the end of the show I had my favourite kid, who knew all the moves and signalled to the other kids when to go. My friend was in pain. I tried to figure out how she thought this show was related to breakdancing. It is still a mystery today.
We filed out of the show sheepishly, trying to hide our faces from suspicious parents, muttering, hmm, wasn't my nephew good? Then we ran.
I have looked at interpretive dance with new eyes ever since. Uh, and breakdancing too.
Sunday, 6 July 2008
Saturday, 5 July 2008
I just saw Kung Fu Panda, and the panda's name was Po! I swear I did not steal the name from the movie, although I do feel a certain resonance with the cuddly two-tone bear.
I can currently see my toes (bearly, if you will excuse the outrageous pun(da). Ok, stop this. Stop). But I think that I share his aimlessness, confusion, clumsiness, lack of kung fu skills, and obsession with cookies. Does this mean that I will nevertheless defeat all odds and become a hero? Kewl. And I can (or could) do the splits.
There is another cool looking animated movie coming out about a cute robot called "Wall E". Now funnily enough, one of my other long-standing nicknames is Wally. I think this is some kind of a sign. My time is coming, and it shall be good.
Be prepared world, for a kickass cuddly-bear robotty superhero (who trips over her own feet but knows how to do a tribal stick dance with real sticks) with a cartoon turtle tattooed on her ankle. His name is Norm.
The wise old ancient in Kung fu Panda was a tortoise. I see more connections between us all the time.
(The movie was great by the way, first good animated movie I have seen in ages. Yay for Jack Black. There were no cringingly over-emotional scenes, and no rabid outbreaks of joyous song. Yes, no singing. Such a pleasure.)P.S. There was a trailer for another animated movie about Kung Fu chickens. Now this is so unneccessary. Firstly, they looked nothing like chickens. They looked like weiners with hair. Secondly, it just so blatantly copycatting. It seems that this year's buzzword is kung fu, so just bung it in your movie title, and ka ching! Instant coiny coiny. It is just crass and so Hollywood.
Thursday, 3 July 2008
I remember that we were given a whole week off school during the elections, because they weren’t sure WHAT would happen. In case of Armageddon or aliens in the anal phase, we were sent home. (We were all thinking, sweet, give us free and fair elections any time).
The week of the election was sunny and bright.
So, while history was unfolding around me, I was inhaling turps fumes and murdering innocent earthworms.
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
The mornings are not easy times for anyone. I tend to stumble about half-blind and drooling until I can find the kettle to make my coffee. Now there has been a recurring pattern of events in the mornings that has left me somewhat more confused than normal:
I decide to have some toast, as you do, and retrieve slice of bread from bag. Upon examination through gummed up eyes I see that my slice of bread has a huge bite taken out of it!
I decide to have a lovely slice of cheese. I fish out the cheese block from the fridge. Upon opening the wrapping I discover a 1cm cubed crumb of cheese. Who puts a crumb of cheese back in the fridge, all carefully wrapped up?!
I decide to have a yoghurt, hazelnut to be precise. I peel off the plasticky lid flap, to discover that the container is empty!
Is there some kind of a rat in your house, I hear you ask? Hah, no. I have traced this menace to my other half, whom I shall call G.
The whole bite out of the bread thing has been going on for ages, and quite frankly does my head in. but he is useful for other things, so I must put up with my wholegrain half chewed.
Tuesday, 1 July 2008
I have noticed a worrying trend in my blogging. I am starting to write about the events in my life as if they are something fascinating that people would actually want to read about. It is becoming horribly self gratifying.
Note to self: