Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nibbling along

There I was, sat at a table at the Thai place down the road, outside on the stoep (verandah to my UK readers. Well, reader - Mud), the new moon (and, no, nothing to do with those blooming teenage vampire hearthrobs who seem to be taking over the world) just visible above the rooftop across the road, balmy air, looking around a table at which there were seven people. Six of us live within walking distance, and the seventh was The Pond, who is here from Faraway. She used to live with me, and still has a place in The House in the Middle of the Street so, basically, we were all from The Hood.

It got me thinking how lucky I am, to live in the area I live in, with the other people who live there. It's a small suburb, within a bigger suburb which prides itself on it's 'village' persona. We have a little street of restaurants, we have a Village Association, and we have rules about not building high rise buildings. People (generally) greet each other in the streets and their dogs, and then them, make friends in the parks (we have three). It's just all rather lovely really.

My mind wrapped itself warmly in those thoughts as I stared at the silver sliver moon and the easy conversation between the people at the table became background noise until my reverie was interrupted, not unpleasantly, by the lovely Thai lady who owns the place saying:

"Would you like any starters to nibble along before your mains?"

Who can say no to starters to nibble along?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A letter to the good-looking man

I am very fortunate to be driven to work every morning. Traffic can be a bit of a bitch and turn our what-would-normally-be-a-15-minute trip into... well, sometimes... a 40-minute trip, possibly more, depending on the weather etc. People in the City Beneath the Mountain forget, instantly, how to drive, the second even one drop of rain falls out of the sky. But that's another story, and has no bearing on my thoughts today, whatsoever. Especially since it seems Summer has (finally) arrived, and it is gorgeous outside!

Point is, I have plenty of time to look at the mountain and the people in cars around me, which I find fascinating. I am, however, always amazed by the fact that people driving in their cars seem to not be aware that everyone around them can SEE them. This morning, it caused me to formulate this letter:

Dear Rather Good-Looking Man in Blue Car,

Firstly, I liked your choice of tie this morning - you obviously have good taste as it matched your shirt perfectly. Your shirt, however, could've done with a little more ironing. My Mother is an excellent shirt ironer (or so my Father has always pronounced... thinking about it now, though, perhaps it was just to keep her doing it... Hmm... But back to my point) and is now retired so, perhaps could be persuaded to show you how to do it properly. Just a thought.

That's not the reason for my writing, though. I just wanted to tell you, because you obviously haven't realised, that your windows of your car are see-through. Like you can see out... we can see in. You need to be aware of this, really.

Picking your nose, while vaguely tolerable in a 3-year old (and even then, only vaguely), is completely unacceptable in a man your age. I have one word for you: tissues, love, tissues. Don’t spoil such a lovely view of a good-looking boy for those of us whiling away our time in the traffic by sticking your finger up your nose, please.

I’ve got a really sweet pack of tissues that fit nicely in my handbag, that’d fit perfectly in that cubby-hole thingamy in the car, where you put your change. I’ll even buy you a pack if it’d help. Let me know where to send them. Oh, and also if you want me to organise your shirt-ironing-lesson. My Mother will probably give you tea and cake and she makes a killer lemon cake!

Shiny xx

Am I wrong in thinking that nose-picking should remain in the realm of toddlers?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Being brazen at The Dentist

I went to The Dentist last week. I haven't been for an 'annual check-up' in, well, about five years. I do not like The Dentist. I was the nerdy girl at school with railway tracks, adorned with coloured elastic bands, which necessitated painful monthly visits to the orthodontist. They did, however, allow a morning off school a month, and a chance to wander around the campus town where my boarding school resided. Each time the housemistress questioned why we couldn't get afternoon appointments, we shrugged our shoulders teenager-edly and skipped away. I digress. Point is, I feel like I had my fill of dental appointments in my teenage years and, therefore, avoid them now.

So I went, with long teeth (snigger). And I sat nervously in the waiting room, with it's specific antiseptic/dentist smell and the sound of high-pitched drills and screaming (yes, I'm prone to over-exaggeration) coming from down the long passage to hell, I mean the consulting room. The twenty minutes I waited (why can they never be on time), felt like three days, as nervous anticipation gripped my stomach, causing me to feel ill and making me think I should leave, quickly, while still alive. Beads of sweat dripped from my forehead, landing on the sterile, tiled floor, while an exceedingly irritating screen showed the same six trivia questions in repeat, next to a 50-times life-size poster of a dental implant (WTF?). I'm not good with nervous anticipation. And I knew he would ask me about flossing.

And then the pretty (why are they always petite) dental assistant came clip-clopping through on her high heels, bright white smile lighting up her face as she cruelly called my name and I followed her to the chair of torture, behind which a rather nice-looking young dentist was standing in his turquoise dentist suit, face mask casually wrapped around his neck. His nice-lookingness didn't fool me though, I saw the evil dentist glint in his eye. The left one.

"Lie back and relax, " he said, pulling his mask over his mouth and wielding that extremely sharp scrapy thing which he'd surreptitiously extracted out of the box of torture next to him. "Open up." I did. I'm obedient. But my heart beat so loudly it (fortunately) drowned out the next door drilling sounds. He did the usual dentist thing and asked me all sorts of questions while digging around in my wide-open mouth, me splutteringly mumbling answers through his hands/instrument of torture.

Each time he opened his mouth to speak, I anticipated his next words to be: "Oh dear, I'm sorry, we'll have to pull these two out, and do root canal on the five over there." They didn't come, though. He kept making rather pleasant 'mmm' sounds. I was pretty sure he was lulling me into a false sense of calm. Cruel man.

"That all looks fine. Let's just do some X-rays to check." I couldn't believe my ears. All fine? Hmm, yes, X-rays... here it comes... pictures of the enormous cavities hiding in my teeth, filled with vicious germs, like in the toothpaste ads. Then he pulled this tiny little plastic thing out, which he put in my mouth in various positions, taking X-rays which showed my teeth, immediately, on the screen next to us. It was amazing. Like I said, it's been a while since I was in a dentist's chair so I was awe-struck by this new technology.

"All good. Your teeth are perfect." I almost fell out of the uppy-downy-lie-back-if-you-wanna-dentist chair. Relief flooded through me, causing me (almost) to kiss the dear man's cheeks.

"Do you floss?" he asked.

I was brazen. "No." He looked at me in horror. "I have perfect teeth, you just told me. Sans floss." The man could not reply. I smiled broadly, thanked him for his time and rushed away, safe in the knowledge that I can probably put the next visit to the Torture Chamber off for another, well, five years or so.

There's nothing better than being able to be brazen with The Dentist, is there?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Novel writing takes a back seat

So, I'm a naughty girl. I so very much wanted to be cool, like the ever-so-brave and incredibly talented sisters Tamara and Miranda and write a 50 000 word novel in November. That amounts to 1666.67* words. Per day. I even signed up. And started. I got to 509 words in my first sitting (1 157.67 words short, for the day). It was complete trash, but fun to write. Then it was the next day, and I realised I was 2 824.34 words behind. I'm now 7 824.35 words behind (including today). It was starting to stress me out.

You see, in September, I wrote on my blog every day, and then in October, I wrote 100 words every day on another little project thing, so I (way over-zealously) thought that this was the perfect next step. What I failed to realise, was that I have just moved back into the newly renovated House in the Middle of the Street. Which still has no kitchen taps. We have a sink, but no taps. It's a long story. And boxes. What looks like thousands of them. Filled with Stuff. Stuff that needs to be unpacked, have the concrete dust wiped off it, and returned to its rightful places.

Then there's Real Work, which is chaotic, and fills my days fairly fully (except when I sneak off to blog) from 7am until 5pm. And the Other Work, which also seems to forget that I'm freelance, and not available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to bow to their every whim. ("Could we have 350 words of copy, for a competition, by, say, yesterday afternoon?" "Um.... no.") It's just that time of year with work-type stuff. I really shouldn't sound so ungrateful. At least I'm being paid.

And then, there's the small matter of the fact that I am very busily falling in love. This takes up a lot of time and, on much contemplation this morning, I decided needed more attention than any 50 000 word novel deserves from me. At this point. You see, I'm feeling I should rather revel in this starry-eyed, fluttery-hearted, Mills & Boon-esque gushiness that I'm experiencing right now. It only seems fair.

And I'm pretty darn sure that my 50 000 word novel can just revel in said feelings, and possibly develop a bit more in my head, and be ready for next November. Or, at least, I hope so.

Novels don't have expiry dates, do they?