Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Stalkbook voyeurism

I've been meaning to write a post about Stalkbook, I mean Facebook, for ages. Why? Because it fascinates me. I love the way it can induce all sorts of heated arguments from people who have stayed off it, proclaiming that it's an invasion of privacy. Somebody even called it 'dangerous' the other day. Come on, people, it's just Facebook. Guns are dangerous, crossing the road without looking is dangerous. Facebook... not so much.

Nobody forces people to go on to it, or upload their photos, or become friends with people who used to put chewing gum in their hair at school. It doesn't actually define your relationship status. I haven't heard of any hijack situations where people have been forced at knifepoint to log on and, shock-horror, update their statuses. Nope, as far as I can see, it's just made voyeurism part of everyday life and, come on, who doesn't love a bit of voyeurism, hmm?

I do understand that the internet is filled with predators and it's possibly not clever to allow your wayward 12-year old daughter to frolick about on Facebook unattended, but us consenting adults with more than two braincells to rub together are probably quite safe. And those twits who stay home from work because they're hungover and announce it on their statusses for everybody at work to read, well, they're just twits, and twits generally do get caught out every-so-often.

One little thing I struggle with, though, is friend requests from school people. I don't want to hurt people's feelings by denying friendship requests so I leave them festering in my notifications box (or whatever it's called), inducing guilt every time I go in. Why, though, would I want to now be friends with someone who, really, was very mean to me at school? More guilt. Then I remind myself that it's just Stalkbook.

And then there's Farmville, that appeals to my 10-year old boy brain (and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Okay, maybe a little), and Scrabble, which I'm completely addicted to. That reminds me, I have a fabulous Facebook Scrabble Romance story to tell from my long-ago past. I must write that post too. I must be off now, though... my Forget-Me-Nots need harvesting and I should pet my turtle.

There's nothing wrong with living on an imaginary farm until I get my real one, surely?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Grumpiness and gratefulness

You know how people talk about Glass-Half-Full people and Glass-Half-Empty people? I work with a The-Glass-Has-Been-Empty-For-Years-And-Is-Growing-Mould person. Like in, seriously, this guy is grumpy. He could find the bad side of a triple chocolate cake. It's like having a large black cloud walk into the office when he arrives each morning.

Don't get me wrong, he and I are very good friends and my intrinsically sunny disposition (thank god for it, if I may say so myself), normally manages to push the cloud away from my side, and back to his. I've given up (after 12 years) trying to make his go away. I tried and tried. And tried some more. But, alas, the task was too huge. We do get along though mainly. Like a house on fire really. I love that saying... like a house on fire.

The result is that, most of the time, I hum a happy tune in my head and make it louder than his grumpiness. Sometimes, though, it's hard to hum loud enough. I think I may be a bit PMS-ey too, and am going through one of those unsatisfied-with-my-job phases, so that may be adding to it. I do just, every now and again, want to hit him (possibly quite hard) and tell him to look around and realise how much he's got to be grateful for.

Good grief, listen to me (and my sunny disposition I was just bragging about) whinging like, well, a grumpy old man. I'll stop now, shall I?

I have a wonderful dinner to look forward to, with two old varsity friends, one of them being K, mother of my beautiful godchild, who is going back to Sydney on Thursday (sob!) And then home, to where my love will be. See, I have SO much to be grateful for, and that's just scratching the surface.

I am a lucky girl, aren't I?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Having my head read

I was going to be so good about writing this year because I know it's good for Me... I started with promising Me that I'd write every day, then she got lazy/distracted by life and bargained it down to every second day. Then I had a bit of a wrangle with Me and got it all the way down to once a week. At least. I think I'm almost getting that in but, really, I know I is right and Me should butt out with her manipulations. If she just sits down and starts writing, she loves it. It's time I and Me get on the same page (preferably this one).*

So, I've had a nasty headache for about the last two weeks that was initially only at night, then progressed to during the day too. I never get headaches (and my mind fretted about causes - tumours, bleeds, aargh! I am slightly over-dramatic, and it doesn't help to be medically-minded and know all about such things) so I saw the doctor, he referred me to a neurosurgeon who made me go for an MRI to have my head read. It was scary.

In the meantime, my sister had her cards read in Joburg and the woman told her the source of my headaches would be found, they would get better, and it could possibly be psychological. I was quite impressed with that thought - if my mind was capable of causing such excrutiating pain, perhaps I have other super powers too.

So off I went for a brain scan. This is not something I would recommend to anyone as a pleasure activity. It is claustrophobic, and loud. But like in really, really loud. They use soothing voices and explain that it's a tight space, they give you earplugs and warn you it's 'quite loud' and they tell you to keep dead still. Then they pat you on the shoulder encouragingly (these displays of touchy-feelyness from complete strangers (although very nice ones) should've alerted me to what was coming).

Then they leave the room, close the door and you move electronically into the gaping (but very small) mouth of this huge machine. I asked how they fit fat people into it when I first saw it. The answer: "We don't". Okay then.

I got such a fright with the first noise, I nearly jumped out of my skin, forgetting the no moving rule. Oops. It sounds like magnets being clicked together, and probably is, considering MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. That's bearable. But then extremely loud noises, prolonged, like a tractor, but a tractor in your head, begin. It's the kind of noise that makes you want to scream and run.

What they forget to tell you is that this ordeal goes on and off for 28 hours. Okay, I exagerrate slightly. It's about half an hour. But it feels like 3 months. I tried to establish a beat in it, and pretend I was in some wierd, monotonous rave club but then realised it was making me move my head, so I stopped, and concentrated on just getting through it (which, obviously, I did)

They gave me the disc with the images on it to take to my doctor, but not the report. That makes me cross. It's my brain, why shouldn't I know what comments they have? I, of course, instantly put the disc into my computer at home and looked at my brain. Wierd, my brain was looking at itself. And all my brain could say was: "Hmm, yes, that looks like a brain. It could be me, but fuck knows if there's something wrong with me. How should I know?" Apologies for my brain's profundities. I, apparently, have no control over it.

I duly delivered the disc and waited for the doctor to get hold of me. About 24 hours later Which, again, felt like a week, I was worrying myself silly) he called. I was fearful that he took so long because he was trying to work out the best way to tell me that, actually, I had no brain at all. But, no, I have one, and there is nothing dire wrong with it. Phew.

I am now slowly going through other possible solutions to send the headache packing - increased fluid intake, changed my pillows, am getting a new mattress (it's been 12 years, probably a good thing) etc. It seems to be getting better. I'm still feeling a bit like I've been run over by a bus though. Damnit. And I can't bear whingers. Now I am one.

If these all fail, I will be forced to go with my sister's card reader, and fix my head psychologically... I'm not sure quite how, I thought I was doing just fine, thank you. So, that's my excuse for being bit quiet.

Is it manipulative of me to use a sore head as an excuse, when I've quite happily managed to continue doing everything else in my life, regardless of the pain in my pip?

* I do not actually suffer from clinical Multiple Personality Disorder, it's much milder than that. My angel and devil are just both extremely strong-willed.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I survived. Day one back at Real Work… tick. Day two busily carrying on it’s business as I write. Note I said “I survived.” Not “I took it by the horns” or “It was brilliant.” Reason being? I seriously did just survive. There was no horn-taking or brilliance involved. Just surviving.

On entering the office, I was astounded by the fact that my desk seemed to have been magically transformed (and not in a good way) from the pristinely clear workspace that I left, into a seemingly insurmountable pile of work. And so it began. And continues.

I miss my afternoon nap.

In case it’s not obvious in the tone of my writing… I don’t want to be here. When I’ve waded through a bit more of it, and have time to actually blog properly (as opposed to whinge), I will write my next post about all the fun I had while on holiday.

That’ll be much more palatable, won’t it?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Holidays fly by

There is a bunch of St Joseph's lillies on the table next to me. My mother brought them over about a week ago, in the middle of my holidays. They were still buds then, and opened slowly, petal-by-petal, allowing their beautiful fragrance to waft through the house. They are over now, petals litter the table, leaving blood-red pollen-filled stamens staring nakedly down at the fronds that made up their skirts, slowly curling up in the heat.

I go back to Real Work tomorrow and I am not ready yet. I just don't wanna. I feel like one of those lillies, staring miserably down at my beautiful long Summer holiday days, a thing of the past now. I am trying very hard to force myself to revel in a new year at work, be excited, anticipatory. But I'm finding it a bit hard.

Let me stop being a miseryguts and be off into the sunshine to frolick for my last day of the holidays, shall I?

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Sad Room

I had the experience today of entering a room which was filled with tangible sadness. As the woman buzzed the security gate and we went through it, the sadness hit me in the face, in the chest, below the ankles, almost forcing me back into the street. It was hard to breathe in there, the air was so thick with lost innocence. It was a room that had obviously been designed to be comforting. But it wasn't.

It was a big room, with comfortable-ish looking chairs set all around it, a bit like a school staff room, or maybe even for a rather large tea party. Except there were no chattering people. The carpet seemed to absorb even the city sounds from the street outside. It was eerily quiet, save for the muffled sound of the woman in the office leading off the room, speaking on the telephone.

At the end of the room stood a flight of six stairs that looked like something young debutantes could be led down in their white frocks on the arms of their proud fathers. The stairs led up to a blue sliding door which was tightly shut, listlessly looking over the room.

A woman and her daughter sat in one corner talking quietly about the magazine the daughter was reading. On the other side of the carpet sat a lone woman, looking busy, riffling through some papers on her lap, while talking on her phone. Still it was silent.

We were there for five minutes at most, our business here was short. Others though, presumably, who were here for the core service this place offers, would be here for longer, possibly need to come back again, into this sad, draining place.

I am a true believer in, and fighter for Pro Choice. I think as women and, especially, young girls living in the world we live in, it is vital that safe abortions are freely available to those who wish to have them but, shoo, abortion clinics are sad, sad places.

Who would've thought it was possible to get breathable sadness?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Long-time love

Someone I know really well told me today that she has been in love with (and having an affair with) a married man. For twenty years. She was scared of my reaction. I was filled with sadness for her. He is a steadfast man who will never leave his wife. He has been completely honest about that, always. They have tried to end it over the years, but she loves him and has, therefore, never managed to sustain any other relationship (despite numerous attempts).

She told me with such deep-seated grief at her love for a man she can't have, the love shimmered off her. What tragedy to be in love with someone with whom you spend such fleeting moments. It made me realise and thank my lucky stars for what I have, as complicated as it is (and I mean that in a not-the-complicated-way it sounds. Mine involves no cheating spouses, thank god. Sorry... still not public knowledge. Yet.)

It's not that I condone infidelity in any shape or form, it's just that, as you get older, you realise that there really are (at least) two sides to every story. Each person's story has multiple facets, some which twinkle and shine when looked at from one angle and look dark and murky from another.

Twenty years, though. Twenty years?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Blue Moon, babies and oodles of love

Apparently Isobel Allende starts writing her books on the 1st of January. I'm guessing, therefore, that she probably doesn't host a long table of fabulous old friends with yummy food, lots of champagne and a sneaky bottle of tequila on New Year's Eve.

It's 2010. Shoowee. Here's to a fabulous one for everyone, filled with more love and happiness, as it was brought in last night, beneath the Blue Moon which hovered in the most incredible whispy cloud palette in The City Beneath the Mountain last night.

The babies are visiting, and my house is filled with gurgles and giggles. They are delicious. And I love and am loved. Who could ask for more?