Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Kissing Chronicles, Part 3

I woke this morning from a dream in which I was with The One I Loved. The boy from so many years ago who I'm not sure I ever stopped loving. We all have one I think. I tried my hardest to close my eyes and go back to sleep, back into that place but to no avail. It got me thinking, though, that I have neglected my Kissing Chronicles. I thought quite hard about it too, and realised that I've been struggling with writing fodder because, honestly, I am still reticent about writing honestly about my now, so writing from before and leading to now is the perfect way to do it. To write about things that, while they mattered hugely at the time, don't matter too much now, being in the past and all.

So, we'd been through The First Kiss in Part 1 and The First Boyfriend-of-Sorts in Part 2 and, oh look, the young Shiny has now ended her illustrious school career at The All Girl's School, being spat out the other end supposedly "A Lady" with a good knowledge of Maths, Science and English and a poor knowledge of the social skills involved in dealing with creatures of the opposite sex. This chronickling I fear may be long and boring but I'm practicing writing, that's the point of this whole bloggy thing.

Oh, wait, I forgot one fumbling which was quite a funny one really (shit... are they all? I'm beginning to wonder...) He was a beautiful boy called Simon, who I met in a nightclub in Plett while there for my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary. My Botswana cousins were down and it was a joyous family reunion filled with lovely things. Anyway, one night the cousins all went out and there we came across this (again younger by a year) boy, who was very obviously filled with the usual 16-year-old hormone rush. Let's just say I can't remember too much wooing went on - some arbitrary conversation about where we went to school I think it was -while he ever-so-surreptitiously put his sweaty little paw on my leg.

We landed up in a dark room somewhere next to the club (what was I thinking? Oh, the folly of youth) where we feverishly set about kissing, until... he pushed my head toward his crotch. Good grief! My still-innocent brain was horrified. After his third attempt at this, my neck was actually getting quite strained from trying to push against his ever-so-persistant hand on top of it, so I cut my losses, got up and left the poor thing to sort himself out. Oh, how glad I am not to have to deal with 16-year old boys anymore. He came sidling up to me a bit later and asked if I'd come again tomorrow. But I was busy.

So, yes, I finished school and joined my sister in the city beneath the mountain for my holidays. She was at university there (at the time I was destined for there too, but things changed, as they do) and, at the time, had a lovely German boyfriend who's father made clocks. He had a German friend, M, who was 23, played in a heavy metal band (I can't remember if he was the singer or the bass player, but I think it was base) and was doing his Masters in Chemistry. To my 17-year old mind, he was a very clever Rock God. With a car. And he was interested.

We all traipsed off to The Playground, a fabulous, dingy club in the centre of town which no longer exists, and he, to my sister's horror and full-on fury when we returned, lured me out for ' a walk in The Company Gardens'. Now, we're talking 1am, in the city - I have done some very stupid things and been extremely lucky! It was beautiful though, being mid-Summer. We ambled through the rose gardens and then he turned, pulled me close and kissed me. Oh my god. It was like I was kissing one of those vacuum-pack machines they offer on TV, except that those hadn't been invented then. Seriously, I thought the guy was going to swallow me whole, or detach my tongue from it's roots. Luckily, very soon after, a security guard came ambling along and advised us that it was pretty stupid place to be at that time of night. Actually, he said to M: "I'd take my lady elsewhere if I were you, if you don't want her mugged or worse."

Being 17 though, and of minimal experience with these things, I thought perhaps it was normal, so I saw him for a bit and tried the kissing a couple more times. It was worth pushing through, you see, because his band was in the paper... And we even went to watch them practice in some third-storey club in Long Street. My mind wandered to a life on the road, travelling in a huge bus-made-into-a-luxurious-home. But it was not meant to be. I decided that I was way too fond of my tongue to allow the poor thing to be ripped out. Oh, and I left to join my parents on holiday. And didn't go back to varsity there. I think we wrote to each other for a bit, but I (and my tongue especially) were relieved about the distance.

Okay, that was Part 3. I need to do Real Work.

I wonder if I should've been cleverer, and invented the vaccum-packing machine after the whole experience?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Another letter - Brrr

I have some sad news. It is with much pain that I drag the following sentence from my innermost regions and announce it to you. I apologise profusesly, but it is beyond my control. Really, it is. As much as I like to think that I am in complete control of my environment, every now and again I have to admit that, actually, I have absolutely no control over it. Whatsoever. But wait, maybe I could write a letter to someone, as I am wanton to do. Oh, yes, the news... Sit down, first, okay?

My view across to the mountains is gone. Winter is here and with her she has brought her cloak of grey that she has flipped and flapped and thrown over the mountains. The sky is low, we've had spatterings of rain, and I've had to go digging in the dark (and sometimes scary) recesses of my cupboard for my scarves. I'm not a fan of Winter. Nope, I'm not. I do like the first couple of dark days and rain... as long as I'm snuggled at home. I don't like waking in the dark and cold and coming to work. It's that simple. So, yes, a letter.

Dear Winter,

While I am perfectly aware of the fact that you probably don't have a huge choice in your working hours, I was wondering if perhaps you could speak to your boss, The WeatherMan or WeatherWoman (I'd be intrigued to know which, if you'd let me in on the secret - it could solve gender arguments worldwide), and ask if, just perhaps, we could come to an agreement? You see, I have a couple of (very small) requests:
  1. Please can you shorten yourself? Just a bit. Two months would be perfect, but if you want three, I could probably cope with that - your choice.
  2. When you bring rain, can it please only be when I am indoors, preferably at home, because I do like the sound of it on my tin roof? I quite like to see it from my office window too, so if you'd like, you can bring it between about 7:30am and 4:30pm, and stop while I'm getting to and from work? Do check where I am, though, sometimes I run a bit late, especially when you're around, with your dark mornings - I'm sure you understand that.
  3. One last thing - I'd hate to be too demanding, and I'm sure your time is precious, being so important - could you please be sure to bring snow on one of the weekends that I can go away to the mountains to see it? A little before, on the peaks would be good, and then a good smattering once we're holed up in our lovely little cabin with a fire roaring. That'd be just lovely. The weekend of the 1st of August would be good, depending on when my sister's babies are born, so just keep an eye out on that too. Or shall I let you know if I need to change it?
Being a season and all that, I assume you're quite powerful so I'm sure you can comply with these little requests. I'd be really grateful. I hope that you've got your mittens and scarf out.
If you don't have any, or yours are worn out, let me know - my mum makes lovely warm, bright scarves - send me your size and I'll get her to do one for you.

Again, thanks. I look forward to hearing from you. Don't forget to let me in on that he/she weatherperson question, okay?

Lots of love,

I wonder if I'm asking too much?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Heavy heart but happy belly

I've had the day from hell. One of those where you just lose faith in humans. It's most unlike me because I have one of those Pollyanna outlooks normally but sometimes, just sometimes mind, too many things crawl under my skin and claw at my heart and the rips are too sore to Pollyanna-over. And then it's just one of those days.

It didn't start well, admittedly. You see, my sister was here with her partner, N, for the weekend from The Big Smoke which was so, so lovely, but too short and her leaving made me feel wretched and hate the fact that The Big Smoke is 1 400km away. The thing is that, not only do I adore my sister but she is also 6 months pregnant. With identical twins. I shall be Aunty Aunty Shiny. And the li'l creatures kicked me on my cheeks as I held my face to her tummy and spoke silly words to them. The fact that it was twins was one of the two fabulous things that happened on my birthday. The other was the fact that my best friend in Australia, K, is also pregnant.

These twin babies are a huge thing for my family. I think my parents had resigned themselves to the fact hat they wouldn't have grandchildren. My sister is gay. And I will never have my own children (yes, yes, I'll eventually tell the story of The Tragedy and it'll all become clear. But not now, not yet, certainly not today, when my heart is already shredded). But then she and her partner N, who is lovely too, decided it was time and, voila! Babies for us. A new generation of us. And twins! Turns out we have them on both sides. My parents couldn't be more thrilled. Me neither.

Anyway, putting this fabulous news in writing has made me feel slightly lighter, if a little more longing to be in the same space as that incredible growing belly and all the happiness that surrounds it.

Anyone know any good Astral Travel teachers?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

X marks the spot

There couldn't be a more electric time to be in this country than right now, today. It is, pretty much, the best place to be. In the whole wide world. And I seriousy feel like that. You see, it's the eve of our Elections. And I absolutely love Elections. Even more than waffles with King Cones. And that is saying a lot.

You see, I'm of the fortunate generation in this country who are 'post-apartheid'. Yes, I was here for it, and was surprisingly aware of it considering my age at the time, but I turned 15 the year (1990) they released Mandela and unbanned the ANC (on my 15th birthday, actually - how auspicious) and was able to vote in the first democratic elections of this country (1994). Along with hundreds of thousands of other South Africans, it was the first time I voted too. Auspicious indeed, and I felt (and still do) incredibly priviledged to be able to. Standing in that queue for hours, snaking down our small university town street to the Great Hall was electrifying. And getting the ballot paper with Nelson Mandela's name and picture on it... Inexplicable.

And, yes, these elections are the most important since. The rosy glow of Mandela's term has faded somewhat, we've had scandals, our (almost certainly) new president has some characteristics that defy description in their horrendousness, but he also has some glowing ones and we can only hope that those are the ones he uses. If we don't put our faith in that, we may as well pack up and leave. Essentially though, this country is ours. We have the ability to vote in a decent opposition. We have the power to change things ourselves. We need to stop sitting back and blaming the 'powers that be'. Oh, there are so many tangents I could go off on here but I must do some Real Work.

I just needed to get it out there that, right now, in this amazing country, I couldn't be prouder, or more excited to go and make my X tomorrow. My tummy is positively burbling with glee.

I wonder what I should wear?

Monday, April 20, 2009

A wild party, perhaps?

There were paper clips everywhere, I kid you not. When I arrived at work this morning, my desk was a mess... like there'd been a (very small) wild party here over the weekend while everyone was away. Tiny strips of paper too, like mini-streamers. It seems the foot of the computer might've been transformed into a dancefloor of some kind - I could see tiny hoof-prints interspersed with paw prints in the dust.

And there, lying in a little pool of sunshine on the window sill, side by side - the dinosaur and the cow, looking as content as can be. If they weren't plastic (and thus have immovable legs and arms), I swear they would've been spooning. They were as close to spooning as plastic animals can be. Bless.

What better scene to arrive to on a Monday?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The dinosaur and the cow

I have a small plastic dinosaur that stands at the base of my computer. It came out of the handbag of lovely R, who used to work with me and who I miss terribly since she left the coop and moved to The Big Smoke with her husband. She always had amazing things in her handbag – small Lego men, half-sucked sweets, single socks. It comes with having 6-year old twin boys apparently. I miss her handbag of tricks. I miss her more, though.

Anyway, back to the dinosaur. His friend is a small, plastic, three-legged cow (held in place by Prestick – it’s hard to stay upright when you’re small, plastic, a cow, AND three-legged.) Point of this (rather rambling) story is that I swear I just saw the dinosaur bend over and kiss the cow on it’s – what would be, if it wasn’t plastic – velvety nose.

Now, while I am so very, very pleased that there is romance blossoming on the foot of my computer, and cross-species at that (how tolerant and ‘one-worldy’ – I hope the cow’s parents aren’t upset that she’s getting involved with an extinct boyfriend…), I think perhaps I need more sleep.

I wonder what their kids will look like? Oh, wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. She'll look so sweet in a veil. Argh. I'll keep you posted on the evolving love affair, shall I?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Goldfish Syndrome

Hmmm, yes, back at Real Work today, after a five-day weekend. I think that’s how it should always be. Two days work, then a five-day weekend. I really think it’s a good idea. After all, everyone goes on about how we need to improve our qualities of life and stuff. It just makes sense. I shall have to spend my day working out who to speak to about making it happen.

Anyway, beside all that, I have a gripe. About our IT department. I work at a university, so I assume that the guys in our IT department are good guys, who know what they’re doing and are, well, not only Pimply Youths, but Clever Pimply Youths (referred to from here onwards as CPYs). It seems I assume wrong.

Well, no, maybe I’m blaming the wrong people. Thing is, you see, when one gets into work on say, a Wednesday morning, and one pushes the little button on the box, hearing the whirr of it coming to life, and then pushing the button on the screen (yes, save electricity, I religiously turn it off daily), one expects the screen to light up with one’s lovely donkey picture. When one doesn’t get this, one panics, and picks up the phone to call a CPY at IT.

And then, one gets this message: “You have reached the ITS Helpdesk. Your call is important to us. All of our consultants are currently busy but your call will be answered as soon as one becomes available. Alternatively, you could e-mail us, on its-helpdesk@***.**.**.”

Let’s dissect that, shall we?

Sentence 1: Yes, thank you for the reassurance. I was concerned that I may have dialled the wrong four digits to get to you. I have only done it 328 times in the past year, since you changed our e-mail program to some obscure, ill-functioning one that I’m sure was designed by one of your very own IT post-grads with a chip on their shoulder because they slept with the lecturer (who was involved with the HoD at the time) once, after one of ‘those’ staff parties, and she never spoke to him again.

Sentence 2: If it was important to you, I would not be listening to this message. Instead I would be talking to a real, live CPY. In fact, if I was really important, said CPY would’ve come running over and be beside me, sorting out my problem. And he would’ve brought me a Cream Soda. In a bottle.

Sentence 3: Ah yes, how busily important you are. Or is it importantly busy? Don’t fret though, I don’t have piles of work waiting, I’m perfectly happy to wait 45 minutes, listening to your phone ringing and, intermittently, this message.

Sentence 4: Fuck me, but are they stupid? If I had access to my e-mail, would I really be putting myself through this hell?

And the worst thing? They repeat that message at approximately 26 second intervals. While I know they’re terribly busy, and very important, as am I, and I also know they’d like me to e-mail my problem, I cannot, for the life of me, understand why I need to hear it, on repeat, every 26 seconds. I am, as far as I know, not a goldfish, and therefore do not, as far as I know too, possess a goldfish memory. I think I’d prefer the doorbell songs. Oh, wait, maybe not.

Maybe I should just stop whinging and swim around my bowl again. Oo, that’s a new plastic castle in the middle… Was that there before?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Good and the Bad: Another letter

So if tomorrow is Good Friday, does that make all the other Fridays bad? I think that's a little unfair really. Fridays are generally such nice creatures, especially for the likes of me, who don't go to Real Work on them, and instead do Other Work (read: eat waffles) in our lovely orange kitchens.

And, forgive me if I'm wrong, it's a long time since I went to Sunday School, but it doesn't make sense. So, as I'm apt to do, I've written an e-mail to The Pope. He was the only guy I could think of, even though I'm still angry at him about his ridiculous non-condom statement.

Dear The Pope,

I was just thinking, while munching on a rather delicious, lightly-toasted Hot Cross Bun with loads of melting butter (I highly recommend the ones from the bakery down the road from my house), that perhaps it's time you guys reconsidered the name of Good Friday. Forgive me if I'm wrong (I have to admit that I haven't been to church for a while), but wasn't Good Friday actually a really awful and sad day for Christianity?

Don't you think it's time you renamed it? It could be something simple, like Bad Friday, but I'll leave that decision up to you and your cronies. Far be it for little old me to decide.

Let me know. I know it would probably make all the other Fridays feel a bit better too. One might assume that they all feel a little minimised by that specific one being Good.

Wishing you a lovely Easter Weekend. I hope the Easter Bunny is kind.


P.S. I could send you some of the Hot Cross Buns if you're struggling to find good ones in The Vatican.

I wonder if he'll even read it, considering I'm not Catholic?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Simply sad

It’s really weird that I wrote that post yesterday morning, considering what happened yesterday afternoon. Well, actually, I guess it’s not that weird. It’s been coming. I’m too sad to talk about it though. Heart-achingly sad. And this suddenly seems too public. I’ve always had an issue with that.

Instead, I will talk about the weather. That’s what my family do. We talk about the weather. My parents both did Geography at university (although my father is a geologist, my mother a social anthropologist who actually taught extra maths mainly) and have a fascination with anything meteorological. And so do I.

I love the weather report. I love to see what weather systems are boiling about off the coast, what’s going to hit us and whether they’ll skim past, leaving a chill breeze or dry wind or smattering of rain in their wake.

Oh, really, my head’s not in this. Normal service will resume. Sometime.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Getting my bearings

I am working on my honesty pants, honestly I am. They've been washed, but they're still all crinkly and wet and needing shaking out and some good drying time on the line, in the sun. In the meantime I remain talking in metaphor. So it's honest, but not yet blatant.

I've finally realised what it is (it came in a blinding flash of insomnia-induced possibly-far-too-deep thinking)... It's the mirage. He's so busy running toward that pretty, shimmery mirage, that he doesn't see anything else, and I keep getting knocked over, even after asking not to be.

It is time for some balancing of the scales, I need to get over to the other side, my bruises are beginning to show from being knocked too many times. I need to get over there, to my village, my safe spot. Where I am sure of myself and can get my bearings. Sometimes I care too much you see and it makes me feel that other's are careless with me. I need to breathe and work out if they really are, or it's just me. I think it might be both.

Then I'll be able to not be knocked over, but to wave and smile at him (and give him juice), hurtling by toward that mirage, and can only hope he realises that it's exactly that - a mirage - and that he finds what he's looking for on the other side of it, and doesn't miss (or lose) too much on his way there.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The real fiction

I read a book this weekend. That's not really news I guess, seeing as it's something I do fairly regularly. Read, that is. It's just that it was one of those books you can't put down. Or, at least, I couldn't put down.

Whiplash, by Tracey Farren. It's a gritty story set in Muizenberg about a painkiller-addicted prostitute. So, no, it's not my normal fluffy 'chick-lit' kind of book but it's the kind of book that I love - set in a familiar place, with real characters. It's not an easy read, it is sad and violent and scary and, well, gritty. That really is the best word for it. But, overwhelmingingly, it is filled with the human spirit and beautiful, fragile, but firm relationships between people.

In one breath it made me wonder at the cruelty of the society we live in and, in the next, rejoice in the silver thread of love that runs through us all, regardless of our circumstances. Essentially, in comparison to the (very real) circumstances in which this book is set, I am a spoilt little rich kid, and I always find myself thankful that people write books like this so that I can open my eyes too. That makes me sound like I walk around blind to the world, I don't really, I sometimes think I take too much in, but that's another story.

Coincidentally I found myself in Muizenberg for dinner on Saturday with some friends. I was in another world though, my head still in the book, that I had left on my bed. As we drove through the dark streets, I saw her shadows dancing down by the beachfront, the salt air blowing through her hair, as I watched a deal go down in the car in the parking lot over the tracks.

I think I may be blurring my fiction with reality. Or is it my reality blurring with fiction?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

You knock the breath out of me

Ah, how bored I have become with my whitterings on computers and the such. Indeed, I have. Although, before I relegate it all to the dusty archives, let me just ay one more thing. The BFF has some fabulous music on this thing. I'm filling my head with tummy-twisting tunes of before. The type that throw you back at such a speed, your wind gets knocked out of you, leaving you breathless and flushed.

As a child, we had a swing made out of a long length of fraying rope tied to the Plain tree on our front pavement, with an old car tyre attched to it. I spent hours in it, swinging higher and higher into the bright blue sky that I could see through the leaves, flying through the air to places in my head.

One day, however, the frayed rope finally gave in, slamming me into the pavement, knocking the wind completely out of me. I remember lying there in the dappled shade of that beautiful, big tree, trying to take in a breath and not being able to, wondering if I was going to die.

I didn't (obviously). My mother, most fortunately, happened to come out of the front door (I wonder how mothers somehow just manage to do that?) She rushed over, sat me up, and rubbed my back to calm me, coaxing the breath back in, there on that grassy pavement in small town South Africa in the '80's. Having got my breath back, I sobbed uncontrollably into her chest - my first glimpse of my own mortality.

Flittery hot Saturday musings, with a head full of music. I think this might all just be an allegory for something else that's going on.

Friday, April 3, 2009


So I am here, in my orange kitchen (it's Friday) and I have sent off what I needed to, and have loads of other things to do, but, yes, I just don't feel like it. It's hot. I think it's that one, final, stinking hot day, before everything starts to turn, well, Autumn. I want to go out and play under the sprinkler with the Big Black Dog, but I must work. This grown-up-work thing is for the birds.

Oh, yes, I'm working old-style. On a desk-top computer. With a box and everything. It feels wierd. I did find a tiny solderer but he can only see my LLL on Monday, so The BFF set up his spare computer (some people have spare computers, can you believe?) just here, on my kitchen table (while we ate waffles, of course).

It's very cute, as desk-tops go, it's just that it seems so big and bulky. Oh, how easily we become accustomed to things. And you should've seen the tantrum I threw not being able to connect to the internet this morning! Scary.

Work? Play? Work? Play?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tiny solderers

Oh, woe is me. The BFF came over, looked at LLL, shook his head sadly, and said: "The wire is loose". Hmm, okay, so off I sent it to the computer shop this morning who reiterated this (Thank you, Pimply Youth, yes, I know the wire needs soldering. That is why I am here). But they don't solder. Try computer shop 2, around the corner. Trudge, trudge. (Thank you, Pimply Youth 2, yes, I know the wire needs soldering. That is why I am here). They don't solder either. Try the electrican waaaay down the road. Trudge trudge.

You guessed it, they don't do such tiny soldering either. At least it wasn't a Pimply Youth that told me this time that the wire needed soldering, instead it was an adult electrician. I still, however, knew it needed soldering... that was why I was there for heaven's sake. And they had no suggestions. At least I have had quadruple opinions on what it is. And they all concur.

Where the hell does one go to find a tiny soldering person? (And by that I don't mean that the person needs to be tiny, just the solderer. The person can be any shape or size they please. They can even be not-very-nice. Just as long as they tiny solder).

In happier news, The BFF has offered me a spare one of his so I'll be able to harriedly meet my deadlines this weekend. Yey for The BFF, he is a dear.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Chaos and silent LLL's

Oh-me-oh-my. I have a problem. Really, I do. I'm not being overly-dramatic, I swear. I know I'm prone to that, but this time I'm not crying wolf, no sirree. Let me back up a little, not get ahead of myself in my panic.

So, I've been quieter than normal on this blog, purely because I have been given an awfully large amount of paid writing work. This is great from an economic point-of-view, fun from some of the writing bits point-of-view, daunting from others but, mainly, certainly now, at the beginning of it, all-consuming, timewise. I have to create timelines and themes for consumer stuff for the rest of the year, and costings (my worst) and my first deadline... Tomorrow. Which is why, typically, I am here, waffling (ooo, waffles... yum), the deadline crouched in the corner looking at me reproachfully.

And then... last night, I got home from my Real Job, to begin work on my Other Job, and my Lovely Little Laptop (LLL) blinked her laptop eyes at me, started up and then turned on that annoying battery-low red light, accompanied by it's bleepy little on/off voice. So, of course, being the logical being I am, I plugged it in. No change. In fact, the LLL's bleeps got more urgent (and more irritating) until, with a little sigh, everything went black.

Good timing? Fuck me, I think not. No amount of tinkering helped (I even tried The Pond's laptop's cable, much to the amusement of The BFF - some thing about different outputs? They're both silver, and the plug fits in so, surely, it should work? I swear, The BFF snorted in derision). Apparently not.

So I was up at dawn this morning, getting some Other Job in before Real Work. The BFF is coming over tonight and will look at it. I could see the glint in his eye, even though we were on the phone, as he said: "Open it up, blow out all the dust, reinsert the memory and give it a hug."

Oh-me-oh-my, will that work?