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.


Heather said...

ha ha, i was concerned there for a second - but then it probably beats what ever was on telly.

and i have no idea how they keep the make-up on. i know when I used to visit a gym I was always red faced and sweaty.

Elan Hoffman said...

How did you know I was laughing???

Shiny said...

Heather - absolutely no need for concern. Had they had Tassies in their health/energy-drink-laden fridge, I probably would've had a glass of it in front of me too!

Elan - need I explain?


Shiny said...

Heather - oh, oops, I just realised you were probably saying you were concerned about my possible gym voyeurism and not over my mere presence in a gym... no need for that either... we're having a heatwave, thus watching swimming in an air-conditioned environment, while reading one's book is a particularly pleasant experience! x

family Affairs said...

I think it sounds like the perfect (and only) way to go to a gym Lx