Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Feeling pathetic (as opposed to groovy)

The Full Moon played with me last night, sending her silver tendrils through my window, wrapping themselves spider web-like around me in a claustrophobic cocoon filled with wild dreams and tossinged sleep. That Full Moon… she’s a trickster. So hard to resist her beauty. But, hell, I am just not good at being tired. And now I am.

I am also a little overwrought (I love that word, but wish I wasn’t using it to describe me). You see, my love is going away tomorrow to a barren land filled with over-sized birds and lots of arts and culture. Going away for five days, leaving me behind, at the mercy of the Easter Bunny and such creatures.

I have made many plans to occupy me over this rather fabulous long weekend (I am, truly, the luckiest girl in the world with all the wonderful friends I have) but I have to admit to being a bit pathetic and feeling very despondent about the whole thing. You see, I’ve got used to having my love near and loving it and I’m going to miss that for the next few days. Oh-so-terribly. Like a goldfish would miss its’ water if it, say, fell out of its’ nice, large, oxygen-filled bowl accidentally while peering over the edge to see if the cat was hiding beneath the Oregon pine table on which its’ bowl sat. Or something like that. Basically, a hell of a lot.

Like in, and don't you dare laugh at me, I just spoke to someone on the phone and told them about my despondency and huge missing feelings, and... promptly burst into tears! Good grief.

Maybe I should use the time, too, to finish our love story, and get to the point?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Very important thoughts

My mind is a-flutter and a-flitter, like a tangling mass of earthworms in a worm farm (doing my bit for the Green Revolution, by metaphor). I have things to think about, I am swaying back and forth, a pendulum of indecision, a writhing collection of uncertainty.

Instead of trying to sort it out in my mind by writing it on this here page, I will leave you with the thoughts I keep returning to, in an attempt to not drive myself completely mad.

  1. Are there lots of turkeys in Turkey? Or, at least, just one.
  2. Why is it ‘turkeys’ and not ‘turkies’?
  3. Wouldn’t it be a good idea if our eyelids made a noise when we blinked? I think so. Then you’d know if people are awake or asleep, without having to look. Maybe a gentle tinkle, like those old-fashioned bells people have on shop doors. But a bit softer.

Important stuff, isn’t it?

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Blurt, Part 4

For those who want the story from the beginning (I know, I know, it's been terribly drawn out):
Blurt Part 1
Blurt Part 2
Blurt Part 3

Where was I in my love story? Ah, yes, there I was, safely ensconsed in my parent's warm bosom while my house was renovated, living in the bedroom next to theirs, calling 'Night, John Boy" before going to sleep. Okay, I admit, that might be pushing it a bit, we really aren't anything like The Waltons, but you get the idea. And at the same time romance was blooming, surreptiously, like teenagers. It was exhiliratingly fun. Some plans were made - dinners and such, with friends, nothing one-to-one, but the more I learnt, the more I got to know, the more I liked.

A common sense of humour (yes, the 11-year old boy one), a common outlook on love and all the wonderful shiny bits and the tangles associated with it (come on, we're in our 30's, baggage is part of the deal). A kindred spirit, as Anne of Green Gables would say. It happened at one of the dinners where old friends of each of us were met, another thing that attracted me... I like people who have old, comfortable friends. I always think it's a good sign. It was at one of those dinners where 'air was needed', a walk outside, despite the rain. We left our respective friends to chew the fat amongst themselves (who were getting on fabulously - another good sign). I wrote this the next day:

It was a completely unremarkable setting – an alley, protected from the rain, where the restaurant’s kitchen door was closed. Big drops of rain dripped from the eaves. A cigarette, and then a perfectly fluid movement to bend and kiss me and it felt like a movie kiss, with a swelling soundtrack. Melting into each other, inspiring Mills & Boon-esque, frilly descriptions. Then the door opened, and a pool of light fell on us. One of the klitchen staff. We directed him to the broom and the cloth, behind the door, and skipped off, giggling like naughty schoolchildren, translucent in the light of it, electrified, wanting much more.

I don't think I can explain it better now. It was that electricity thing, the kiss that takes your breath away and makes you reach for more. See? I told you, I'm getting all Sweet Valley High about it. Really, I'm such a girly girl. But it was, just that.

It was also at one of the lunches that a bunch of us spoke about a weekend away to a beautiful valley outside The City Beneath the Mountain. A paradise-like place and... we were ALL going. Shivers of delight, tummy twirlings of anticipation, the occassional twinge of anxiety...

You know what I'm talking about: all the good stuff that comes with the beginnings of something beautiful, don't you?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A political letter

This is an unusual post for me. I’m not usually a political commentator (and can’t claim to be the brightest cookie when it comes to politics, so bare with me) but decided to give this one a spin, just for the halibut (sorry).

Here in South Africa, we having a cooking pot of politicians. I guess that applies everywhere, there are always hot-headed people involved, some who use their hot-headedness positively, others who don’t. We have one in the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), that is exceedingly worrying. He was just found guilty of hate speech and harassment, by the Equality Court. I really liked what the judge said: “Being a man of vast political influence, be wary of turning into a man that often speaks but never talks."


Before I start on my actual rant, let me just congratulate you on your great choice of webpage (and party) colour – yellow is so cheerful. In fact, it reminded me of one my favourite dresses as a child, which my mother made for me out of white and yellow heart-patterned fabric that we bought at The Grand Parade in Cape Town, when were there on holiday in the ‘80’s. I’m straying from my point though.

I have a couple of little bones to pick with you. Firstly, your president. Are you not a Youth League? I am a bit confused as to how ‘youthul’ he is? How old can you be to lead a youth league? Maybe it’s just me, but he looks a little on the mature side to be referred to as a youth.

Secondly, should he really be allowed to stand on any public podium/in any public space/near any microphone or TV camera, when what spews out of his mouth always seems to be, well, honestly, a load of twaddle (and, often, violence-inciting twaddle at that)? It seems to me that the man so often finds himself with his foot in his mouth. Perhaps he should keep it there, to prevent further ‘spoken misshaps’, if I can call them that.

Just a couple of thoughts, you can take them or leave them (obviously). I have to admit I’m a bit of a political philistine and, perhaps, should not base all my thoughts on the media, but, well, I’m just your average member of the public with only that to go on.

To end off, let me go back to my mum’s sewing skills – if your president would like a sweet (admittedly a bit ‘80’s, but I think the ‘80’s are in again) yellow dress to match your party colours, which he could wear while keeping his foot firmly in his mouth, I’d be happy to ask her. She is quite busy making the most beautiful things for my sister’s twins, but I’m sure she’d do something for you too, if we asked nicely.

Shiny x

I wonder if this would make them cross?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I went to a rugby match this weekend. A real, live one, with a whole bunch of men with no necks and tree trunk-sized calves feeling each other, and a rugby ball, up on a beautifully manicured lawn under huge lights. The testosterone in that place swirled and flurried, I’ve never felt anything quite like it.

As you can see from that description, it will probably not be a repeated experience. I was excited, really I was. I was keen to experience the shared humanity of the massive crowd. Until I heard the baying for blood, the boo-ing to the other team, and the drunken stream of expletives from the bullies behind us.

Now, I can honestly say that I am by no means a prude or a priss and have been known to use language that could make a sailor blush and, at one time, be able to drink said blushing sailor under the table. I don’t, though, when there are hordes of young kids around. And if there’s one thing I abhor, it’s bad sportsmanship. Call me weird, but I was brought up to acknowledge good play, on both sides. Boo-ing, in our household, was a no-no.

There were exciting bits, let me not lie… “Our” team won, and there is something very special about mass enthusiasm. It was just the violence that got me. I do think we were unfortunate in our nearby neighbours. Perhaps it’d have been better elsewhere.

Admittedly, I’m not the world’s biggest rugby fan. Basically, I know nothing about the sport, but am learning. I tend to limit my exposure to it to international games, in a pub, with beer, preferably in the company of others who are also only slightly interested in the rugby, and will talk to me throughout the game. My lovely friend, E, who instigated this live match at the stadium, tends to make sure there is at least one such person when I watch rugby with him. He knows, if there isn’t, he’s going to have me wittering away in his ear for the whole 80 minutes (See that? I even know the length of a match.)

Perhaps I’m just too much of a sissy, but is it okay if I stick to cricket?

Friday, March 12, 2010

No clamming

Did you see that? Did you? Did you? There, under here, in the comments from my last post? I have one, I do. A real one. They made a comment, that's how I can be so sure. That makes my blog, like, um, a real blog.

I have a lurker!

Now, I like to think that I write this blog purely to get some of the swarming thoughts in my head out and into writing, a practice pad but, honestly, who doesn't still revert back to that I'm-in-Sub-A-and-got-a-gold-star-on-my-forehead-so-am-puffing-my-chest-out-with-pride state on hearing praise from any audience. I just didn't realise I had one, really. Well, I mean, I knew a couple of people read it, but lurkers? Wow.

So thank you, to all those people who commented, and to my lurker who made me all chest-puffy-outy, for providing me and my often arbitrary ramblings, with an audience. I did, indeed feel very raw and exposed and almost felt a little bit like I needed to step back and clam up a bit, but then everybody was just so nice.

So I am going to try and keep this clam shell pried open with the stick from a cocktail umbrella I kept the other day, okay?

P.S. In the interest of honesty, I apologise... I lied, that was my 201st post, not my 200th. I somehow missed 200, even though I was, supposedly, paying attention. Tsk.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A momentous 200th post, Partly Part 4

I realised the other day that my ‘Tragedy’ story is far from finished when Allie, well, told me so! It’s a long story but, I guess, the thing that I haven’t reached yet, in the telling of it, is the crunch.

You see, while I spoke in Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 about the acute happenings (and that story is far from finished) of that fateful day in 1996, I didn’t get to the bottom line. So, because this is my 200th post, I’m skipping to the last page of that book, and I’ll fill in the rest, um, sometime later. Deep breath.

I am paralysed. Quadriplegic. I am in a wheelchair. I can move my arms, but not my fingers. I can move my shoulders, but not my legs. I can feel from a line just above my boobs and up, but nothing below that. I need help with most things.


I can breathe. I can think. I can speak. I can see, and smell, and hear. I can love. And I do.

I have avoided this blog post for all this time maybe because I wanted to keep my head buried in the sand. I don’t think that’s it, though. It was (and is) more the fact that, in my everyday dealings with people, the wheelchair is the first thing they see (and forgive me, I am generalising hugely here). Before they see me, they see the chair and, often, they miss me completely. Here, though, on this page, I am seen. Just me.

It’s like blogs take away the pretty/ugly/scary/torn and broken cover of the book (which we all share, as humanity, just to different degrees and in different ways) and just reveal the beautifully intricate stories inside, without the exterior distractions. It’s like going straight into people’s souls. Thus, my turmoils with the anonymity of it all.

I have never wanted this blog to be a record of my paralysis, or to be stories of the struggles (and happinesses etc) of The L’il Wheelchair Girl (as my friend SJ refers to me), so I’ve not said anything. That’s not what this blog is about. I may, or may not mention it again. It’s part of me, though, and now seems the right time to just be honest. It may explain some of my more cryptic posts. Or not.

I wonder if I should be feeling as if I just took off my skin and dumped it in the corner, revealing my soul beneath, exposed and raw?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hot. Just, plain, hot.

The heat is unbearable. We went out for dinner last night, sat outside, came home at 9pm and were still, then, boiling-to-the-point-of-sense-of-humour-loss. I know that this is Africa, and it’s supposed to be hot, but sheesh kebab, it’s sizzling. Like in oppressive, thick heat. It almost feels like somebody has wrapped me in a thick, feather duvet and then tightly circled duct tape around and around, pinning me inside.

In the early hours of this morning, great bolts of lightening zig-zagged on the other side of my pale curtains, the skies rumbled like a very hungry, very big tummy, and we had a short, heavy downpour. It was delicious, and the smell of the wet dust through the window made me want to go out and roll around in it. The thought of the cooling down effect made me gleeful.

It did not, however, cool anything and I’m sitting here at Real Work, listless, and listening to our poor air conditioner, duct-taped into its own feather duvet, struggling to cool the soupy air around it. My brain is slow-cooking in my skull.

Please, Weatherman, could you tone it down, just a little?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Blurt, Part 3

Okay, time to move this story on. Part 1 and Part 2 are getting lost in the mists of time. It's just that, well, you'll see, when I eventually get to the end (and, sorry, that won't be today, it's a long story, this is just the next installment.)

It was not too long after the drinks with friends that I had a couple of those lovely, long, lazy lunches around my kitchen table, in the orange kitchen. It was Heritage Day, September 24th, and it just seemed right to extend an invitation to The Person Who Seemed to Click (TPWSTC). It was a large-ish lunch, with Pop and various others in the initial plan but then Pop cancelled, as did a few others, and I thought, perhaps, this particular day would not be our next meeting. I was wrong, it was.

Unperturbed by being the only 'unknown' at a table filled with old friends, TPWSTC came, and sat with us, and slotted in like a comfortable cushion on an old couch. I wrote about it, actually. A little cryptically, as I am wanton to do.

And then some gentle SMS-ing, another comfortable lunch, and then a flurry of SMSes. All, of course, coinciding with my moving in with my parents, for the great floor overhaul of The House in the Middle of the Street. Inconvenient timing, indeed. It was that stage of nothing's-happened-yet-but-I'm-pretty-sure-it-will-but-maybe-I'm-wrong, heart fluttering every time my phone bleeped... the time when everything seems a little brighter and Mills and Booney.

Living back with parents, going through the motions of a new flirtation, a surreptitious affair, the Maybe Stages, set upon a backdrop of my parent's house, I felt like I was fifteen again. Maybe that had nothing to do with being at my parents, though. Maybe that was just love blooming. Deliciously.

More to come, it is so hot I can't type anymore. Since when was 38 degrees celcius an acceptable late Summer temperature?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A serious and a frivolous

My lovely friend Tamara, over at Fleeing Muses, has written a brilliant open letter to Minister Lulu Xingwana, about her atrocious behaviour at the opening of an exhibition at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg.

For any who don’t know, apparently she stormed out after seeing photos depicting women embracing intimately, saying: "Our mandate is to promote social cohesion and nation building. I left the exhibition because it expressed the very opposite of this. It was immoral, offensive and going against nation-building."

I couldn’t even try to write anything as eloquently as she has, her writing skills are extraordinary and I really hope that she sends it to the papers. They were beautiful photographs. This kind of behaviour from so-called ‘important’ people in this country is completely unacceptable. And just bloody sad.

In other, more frivolous news, I went to the gym last night. Stop laughing Elan. I am not a gym person. Never have been. My forays into ‘organised’ exercise involved one yoga class with my best friend K, at university. We were expelled for uncontrollable giggling (politely and gently, of course, it being yoga). I’m sorry, but it is just so funny seeing a bunch of people with their bums in the air, breathing like they’re all about to have a baby.

Then we tried doing yoga by ourselves, to a tape. We took breaks in between, for sips of Tassies (a.k.a. cheap red wine, favoured by students). The uncontrollable giggling became, if possible, more so.

After that K decided jogging was the way to go. She’d get suited up in shorts and t-shirt, I’d put some shoes on, and we’d leave our front door at the same time, me turning left, ambling the 50 m to the bottle store to buy the next bottle of Tassies, her turning right at a good-paced trot. By the time she returned, I would be sitting on the stoep of our beautiful 1820’s house, two glasses ready, bottle of wine ‘breathing’. They were screw-top, this did not involve much effort. And this was before screw-topped wines became acceptable.

So, yes, me and gyms? Not best friends. I went to watch*. I sat in the cafeteria and read my book (Alexandra Fuller’s The Legend of Colton H. Bryant – it’s great!) and watched people. I was astounded. It’s a whole different society, mostly consisting of people seeming to want to be seen, interspersed by the odd one who’s just there to get some exercise. Kudos to them.

I came away with some questions, which almost (note: I said almost. Watching all those exercising people exhausted me) kept me awake, wondering. How do those buff women in their designer gymmy gear keep their full face of make-up on? Do they actually exercise or are they just ambling about? Or maybe they just don’t sweat?

* I just realized it sounds a bit freaky that I went to a gym purely to watch. I was actually there with G, who was swimming.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Good grief, another letter

I had planned an honesty-laden, full-tilt-ahead blog this morning while lying in my bed before getting up. Then the universe spat on me from a dizzy height. Like in getting up was filled with irritating, mind-gobblingly, shitty obstacles. I thought once I got in the car to go to work, that I was coming out of the fug. It turns out I wasn’t. Another letter formed while we sat, in the fast lane, cars whizzing by at scary speeds, waiting for the AA (Automobile Association, as opposed to Alcoholics Anonymous although, at this point, I may need the Alcohol version in the near future) to arrive and help us with our deader-than-dead car.

Dear Man in Super Luxury Car,

While I realise that it is inconvenient for you to have to change lanes in order to avoid slamming into the back of my not-so-luxury-but-very-sweet old car while on the way to work, I think it is, possibly, completely and utterly unnecessary for you to put your hand on your hooter for such a long period. In fact, perhaps completely unnecessary to hoot at all.

I can see how, perhaps, you’d think that we had stopped there, in the middle of fast-moving traffic, just for the fun of it, and to have a little chat, but still. I thought, perhaps, the fact that our emergency lights were on, could’ve alerted you to the fact that we were, actually, stuck, and not just frivolously stopped in that particular spot.

I am pretty sure your mother, like mine, brought you up to be a decent gentleman (in my case, lady) and would probably be horrified that, instead of stopping to help, you rudely hooted. I’m just assuming, though. Perhaps she did bring you up to be a rude prick.

I hope you have a lovely day.

Shiny x

Good grief. Will this day improve, please?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Yes, I can spell Larry

Yesterday, at Real Work, I was hot and bothered. I was also inspired to write another letter by Mud's fantastic Dear So-and-So letters about her exotic adventures being an 'ex-pat'. There was this... urm... tosser who phoned us. A regular caller, but a tosser none-the-less. At least, he was yesterday (he's not really such a tosser but, like I said, I was hot. And bothered.) The result:

Dear Larry,

I apologise pre-emptively if you find this letter unnecessarily abrupt, but you just made my blood boil. This may, also, be due to the fact that it’s about eighty five degrees celcius (give or take) out there, and my blood is not used to that, but that is, I fear, beside the point.

You have phoned us regularly with medical questions over the past 12 years that I have worked here and, admittedly, mostly spoken to my collegue who is, also admittedly, quite esteemed. I have, however, helped you too on occasion, and I think you will probably agree that I am, at least, relatively literate.

While I don’t like bandying my qualifications about, I do have a degree, as you know. From a university. In fact, to be honest, it’s an honours degree. Why, then, would you think that I am unable to spell Larry?

I wish you no ill, but next time you phone and leave a message, please, there is no need to spell it out. I may have to do something, or say something, unnecessarily rude and my mother didn't bring me up to do such things. We wouldn't want to upset her, now would we?

Shiny x

Perhaps the heat is getting to me but, honestly... Larry? Why didn't he just ask me to spell cat? It is K-A-T, right?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tousled dreams

It was hot last night. Like in swelteringly, unpleasantly, stickily hot. I have this clever fan that works on a timer, because normally I get cold after a bit. Last night, however, every time the thing went off I woke up feeling like a muffin in an oven. Seriously. And I had one of those killer mosquitoes. Which bit me just where I can’t reach to scratch. Bastard.

And it was full moon.

Boy, did I dream. First of being in a plane crash. We took off, and as we lifted into the sky, I heard the engines splutter and fade. Out of my window I watched as the land came hurtling toward us, panic rising. I think the fan switched off at that point because either I woke, or the rest is lost in the sands of sleep.

Then my recurring one. But with a twist. I was with a whole lot of friends and people I love who were all being mean to me in a very luxurious hotel at the seaside full of lifts and escalators. They were all being mean to me. Until I ran away. Then a bit of a blurry bit, until I was running along a coastal dust road, trying to get back to them. First I kept running too fast, and missing the entrance, then when I got in, I couldn’t get to my family, I was too tired, and my legs weren’t obeying me (the recurring bit). It was horrible, and I woke up filled with anxiety. Ugh.

Twenty+ degree nights, paired with the full, silvery moon (as pretty as she is in her finery) are not good for my psyche apparently.

I’m fun today, aren’t I?