Sunday, April 25, 2010

The sound of one hand clapping

I intensely dislike slackers. Their self-centered ways are irritating.

Don’t misunderstand me. By ‘slackers’ I am not referring to people who are incapable of doing certain things. Oh no. Slackers are perfectly competent people who choose to be bad at everything, so as to avoid any serious responsibility or acceptance of delegation of tasks. Mostly, more so than anything else, it is this avoidance that perturbs me.

Is it the assumption that some people are stronger than others thus they are able to cope better? I have news for you. Strong people are often only strong because they have to be. That’s it. That’s all. People are strong because someone has to be.

‘Only the strongest shall survive’. Hah! Amendment should read ‘Only the strongest shall survive stressed, burdened, overwhelmed with responsibility while carrying the load for both themselves and the slackers around them’. A harsh thing to say but truth there is plenty in this adaptation and while we are all slackers at some stage, others are slackers always.

Because they can be.

Because people allow it.

For the slackers I propose a one hand clap. One hand hitting open air; soundless and irrelevant. The only recognition you receive is the disruption of air particles into dusty waves.

Stand up and take some responsibility. Open your selfish eyes and perhaps lighten the load of those around you.

WARNING: The strong run the risk of burning out.

What are the slackers going to do then?

Ornamental warmth

My trampoline is warm. Wonderfully, wickedly warm. I love to lie on my stomach, basking like a lizard in the sun. Usually, I just lie and think about things. Today however, I am typing.

It’s an old-school kind; wrought iron frame, old rusted springs, a mat with missing thread. Repair jobs here and there. It has one repair, my favourite, with overlapping gray stitching. It was my mothers, as a child. On a Johannesburg plot. 1973.

My father made us dig the hole. Most of it anyway. Ok, some of it. He relented to hiring someone when we declared the digging of the hole an impossibility. One man dug the hole in an afternoon. We were three siblings, one boyfriend and two friends. My father had said we would appreciate it more. We did.

It came out of a big (enormous) steel box. The box was beautiful. Like a chest holding our new-found treasure.

Lying here, you see things from a different perspective. Like what the grass looks like at eye level. I love to look through the net, at the small pebbles and rust coloured autumn leaves beneath it. A splash of pink, fallen bougainvillea blossoms from across the yard. Some unexpected delights; one of our puppy’s many chew toys, a sucker wrapper faded pink (Cherry Fizz pop – the best kind). A small plant makes its way through the cracks of hard earth. The winter rains will drown it in due time but for now, it’s growing strongly. Maybe I’ll take the time to climb under and replant it – Geraniums usually – maybe I won’t. A hairclip?! The black mesh of the net provides a quirky offset to what lies beneath.

A lizard disrupted by my antics; funny company for a Saturday. It’s ok though, I’m in a funny mood. The springs are full of webs. Jumping spiders, always. Yuck. Peach pips, an indication of summer past. A Powerade label; my brother the obvious culprit.

I like the sides of the hole the most; deep crevices into the earth from the pick. Erosion from winter has worsened the cracks. Some are now deep caves. By July, this underground cove of wonder will be full of think green moss, exploding with little black beetles.

I like our trampoline. I like its imperfections. We don’t really use it too much anymore. Yet it is always here for us; for topics of heated debate that are sent outside, for a little midnight star-gazing, a quick way to get dry after swimming, some quiet time (my house is chaotic…always). Or a simple lie-in-the-sun. It’s always ready to share its warmth.

Not necessarily an over-sized ornament yet but already perhaps a sort of memory.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Not all who wander are lost

Not all who wander are lost...Uh, yes we are. We just do it in style.

Some people have a plan from birth. They march from the womb and declare to the doctor delivering them, ‘one day I am going to be a doctor just like you’. Sure as peanut butter on toast is the best thing to clamp your jaw shut, that little baby, who develops this passion through his/her child, teen and young adult years becomes a doctor in his/her adult years. That is what I like to call implementation of the ‘big plan’.

I have never had a big plan.

Of course, along the way through the developing years, this person will expand on the big plan with what I like to call ‘additional future plans’ such as where to study, maximum time allowed to study for, whom to meet and then eventually marry, the exact number of children to have and when, where to live, where to work, when best to travel, how to live, when to die.

I don’t have any additional future plans either.

I am a wanderer.

Yet I have had a wonderful childhood, great teen years and even better young adult years. I wanted to be a game ranger (courtesy of a little boy I once new who, had he said he wanted to shovel snow for the rest of his life I probably would have followed suit – he had the cutest step haircut), a hairdresser, a beautician (sadly, every little girl wants to be this at some stage...working all day at a day spa with trickling fountains and mud packs...mental), a chef, an explorer (serious Indiana Jones type-stuff).

I have met the most amazing people, have been challenged in almost every way and have met a wonderful guy. I have worked in remarkable (and sometimes completely shiz) places. I have selected something to study at random (I literally saw an advert for CPUT’s PR course in the paper and applied the next day - I wasn’t even sure what PR was but I liked the sound of it) and with a bit of serious pot-luck, have discovered an industry that I adore.

I don’t know exactly where I want to be in my career, life, relationship and when. I don’t know when I will travel and with who, I don’t know if I would like to study further or where I would one day like to live. I only have an idea.

My ideas give my wandering style.

I do what I like, what I am interested in, when I think it is a good idea. I am fortunate enough to be able to do this. It’s okay to do things differently, to not always have a plan. A long-term plan bores me although sometimes I find myself breaking into a cold sweat at the realisation that I don’t have one. I feel lost.

And I am, when compared to others and their life charts all neatly plotted out and admired by all...lost...but I am comforted by the knowledge that at least I am in wondering in style.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The calm are also the crazy

Marshmallows...mmm...delicious little things. Roasted marshmallows are by far the best. Any takers? Of course there are! Crispy delectable golden bits of goodness almost too good to eat up in one bite...the time it takes to slowly roast a marshmallow so that it is soft and gooey oozy-yum in the centre with the crunchy outer just-just holding it all together...

My emotions are a marshmallow. In fact, they are that exact marshmallow (soft and gooey oozy-yum in the centre with the crunchy outer just-just holding it all together). Perhaps it may be deduced then that I am in fact the marshmallow skin, maybe a little bit scorched, singed at the edges (come on now, nobody’s perfect) trying to contain my syrupy emotional mess, with an almost ‘tough’ exterior.

My ‘tough’ exterior is about as effective as a honeycomb cage is to a bear.

You know how you have to be so careful when roasting your marshmallow so as to correctly contain the liquid gummy centre so that it doesn’t leak out? I swear that that is what it is like with my emotions. I feel so ardently about almost everything that I speak and act out of, I’m not sure where but it usually isn’t out of my sound mind...nope, definitely not.

Most of the time I don’t even hear the words coming out of my mouth, they just ARE.

Sshlurarbralartjar...jerk...jerk...shlurbatermer...jerk...jerk... *voice breaking* ...shlurbator... *warning bells – red alert, tears on their way*...sdhfljgjptfff...blah which usually results in a gooey mess breaking through calm exterior. It’s not as though I cry for effect (I intensely dislike people who do this), or cry because I am feeling hurt, like a poor injured fawn. I just cry because I get unbelievably choked up about everything!

Crying is something I do very well and almost very regularly. Most of the time, I cry because I am so overwhelmed by my emotions. It’s as though my tears march to their own drum and I would madly appreciate it if the drummer would just hold back a wee-bit (psyche, are you listening???).

I have a serious case of emotional intensity. I sense tears coming on when feeling the need to protect others, to explain myself, to speak words of affection about the ones (and there are a lot of them) that I love, to speak to an audience (I once completed an English oral in grade 10 on no jokes, ‘Food is the way to a man’s heart’, with tears streaming down the sides of my face). I don’t quite understand the last one though. I love people, I usually know what I am going to say, if it is a formal presentation I am always prepared, there is no doubt that I love to talk so...hmmm.

Stumped. Totally baffled.

When I am frustrated, when I am super angry, when people irritate me beyond comprehendible belief, when I am at peace, when I am feeling unbelievably happy around my friends, when I am laughing too hard, when I am hanging out with my family members (there are a lot of those too), when watching documentaries/movies/, to, to, when, when, when.

I have decided that this does not make me a weak person. I am not easily influenced nor easily bullied. My tears are simply a display of my feelings (so I wear my heart on my sleeve – voice box, more like – everyone is different). I am without a doubt over-emotional; blubbering left, right and ALL OVER THE PLACE, but if you care to venture past this river of sticky icky marshmallow syrup of my caring nature, you will be in for a treat (not the sweet kind).

I burn with the same intense heat of a marshmallow left out to roast too long...bright orange flames with a blue heart, thickened black exterior protecting my own emotions and just waiting to burn yours; fingertips (or whole hand, or whole arm, or whole body). It doesn’t happen often but please know where the fire exits are at all times when venturing close to burning point. I believe (fingers crossed) that alot of other people are like this.

I guess that what I am saying is that the calm are also the crazy, the lamb also the leader, the soft also the strong; an important aspect of human nature to consider and not be forgotten.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I Spy...



'Young at Heart'

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lukewarm water anyone?

Given the increase in ocean temperature, inhabitants are sensing a 'time of scuttle-ment' to be upon them.

As South Africans we have a lot to be proud of. We also have a lot to be sorry for. Yet the past is the past and the future, the future, but where are we now? I have one brilliant lecturer who referred to us as the frogs who got into the pot when the water was lukewarm. It is currently at boiling point and we have yet to notice. Correction; we have yet to notice enough to encourage change.

This topic of debate was brought up when considering the light in which South Africa is being portrayed to the world with regards to visitors’ safety, given our current (FIFA) fame. We are depicted as a country with enormous crime statistics, crimes of the worst kind. There are arguments stating that the way in which the information is presented is gray, concealing the truth of the statistics – ‘these crimes only occur in certain areas of the cities of Southern Africa’ – my question is, is that okay? Does that make our ever-increasing crime rate excusable?

My intention is not to encourage a heated political debate, but to instil a small amount of personal motivation. I had never noticed the truth in our being desensitized to our countries extreme crime rate before. When you think about it, everyone in this country knows someone who has been a victim of crime. Some of us know more than one person and some of the crimes are more than horrific.

We have adapted, we have moved with the lukewarm waters into the almost-boiling, changing our minds and our approaches. We have altered our defences, evolving with the change. We are no longer able to feel free in our own homes. Instead we are suspicious of everyone; everyone is a possible attacker. We are wary of everyone that approaches us. We travel with the thought of safety in numbers. We leave valuables at home, tucked away in safe boxes. We live our lives according to a new clock; the safest hours to travel, to take lunch, to go to the bank. We park in well-lit areas, go out where police are present, we find comfort in bars of steel and break-proof glass.

We do all of this – are all of this – naturally.

People coming from around the world, from areas with the lowest crime rates in the world, have every right to look upon our country with distrust and concern. We are asking them to jump into a pot of boiling water, in which we find ourselves ever comfortable. Perhaps it is about time that we look towards something better and rise to the expectations of what is considered ‘safety’ by others. Time to have the temperature of the water readjusted a few degrees lower.

In the mean time we are suspicious, thus we are prisoners and I for one am no longer okay with that. I vote to taking a stand against crime in our country.

How do you step from a 100ft pole?

"There is a fine line between life and death... truth and deceit... dreams and reality. Magic blurs that line. This is Vertigo." - David Blaine: Vertigo Opening

How do you step from a 100ft pole? Well, in David Blaine’s case you don’t step – you leap. David Blaine, Americas very own Brooklyn born illusionist, treading over the well-anchored steps of Houdini, leapt.

Teetering on the edge of a tree trunk 100ft above the forest floor, the owl butterfly was significantly pleased that there would be no stepping involved, only flying.

On May 22nd, 2002, David Blaine performed ‘Vertigo’. He was lifted by crane to rest on the top of a 100ft (or 30m) high, 22inch (or 56cm) wide pillar in the middle of Bryant Park in New York City. Blaine remained standing in this small area for a total of thirty four hours and twenty three minutes with nothing but two small retractable handles to hold on to in the case of bad weather. Thus thirty five hours later with his legs weak from standing, he proceeded to lean forward and subsequently leap from the top of the pillar to land on a 12ft (or 3.7m) platform constructed of cardboard boxes. Leap.

David Blaine suffered a mild concussion.

Perhaps a better way to step from any one area into another would be to consider where it is you want to go, what you intend to achieve and then, proceed having thought of the safest way to get there.

B*O*R*I*N*G! Why not leap? I have leapt on many occasions – and often am left with a bump on my head – but all have been worth the adventure of the unknown. Cheers to mild concussions.