..let's talk of other things.
Monday, January 31, 2011
..let's talk of other things.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Another day at the hospital: the queue to get files is always the most curious. It’s a seated queue, and every now and then, you shuffle along a few seats. It’s like a very slow game of musical chairs: it takes about two hours.
In a ‘line’ of fifty souls, there were just four books in evidence (counting mine). A woman with a ‘phuza’ face (booze face) pored over the popular tabloid, ‘Die Son’. An old lady crocheted something frilly in lilac and a young man messed about with his cell phone. The rest just waited.
The man next to me was wearing short pants, sandals, T-shirt and a woolly balaclava hat pulled down over his face so that only his eyes showed. There were burns on his arms, some quite nasty. A bad smell emanated from him. I don’t want to know what he was hiding under that hat.
On my other side was a neat, young makhoti (Xhosa married woman) who smelled of soap. I leaned towards her to breathe in the clean scent in an attempt to banish the odour of putrification.
Once I had my file, I recklessly blew R20 on a toasted sandwich and a cool drink (not beer, worst luck) at the hospital cafeteria with its stainless steel, operating-theatre-like tables and hospital-green plastic chairs. Thus fortified (it’s amazing what courage one can draw from a cheese and tom sannie) I proceeded to the outpatients’ consulting rooms.
There was another long wait, and then the nurse called me in for my test results. It was the Cuban doctor again. We have lots of them in our hospitals.
Our South African doctors love to emigrate, so we get Cubans to take their places. I don’t know whom the Cubans get to replace them in turn. He was brisk and professional, he didn’t smell of coconuts or have a cigar. I didn’t have to have any bits looked into, which was nice for a change.
Upshot is, they’re pretty sure they’ve got me in good time - just a routine hysterectomy in March and everything will be beer and skittles again. I’m very happy with this. I suppose I will be less happy with it on the day and for some days thereafter, and especially when I get my bill, but that’s okay too.
Todays pic: clear horizons and time for reflection (Phew, that was imaginative)
Sunday, January 23, 2011
So my dad phones this morning to wish me luck and encourage me prior to my next hospital date - it's tomorrow, but he thought it was today.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
That title is pure plagiarism - it was the title of a book that I decided not to buy. I still regret not having it. Oh, my aim's pretty good and my boots stay dry, but it's the sort of thing I like having on my bookshelf if only for the quirky title.
Monday, January 17, 2011
I spend a fair amount of time in the sun fully clothed, so I have a brown face and arms and white legs. When I go to town, I see a great many women with white faces and brown legs (arms optional colouring).
Saturday, January 15, 2011
I’ve been working my ever so delightful arse off for the last week or so: but I’m not going to complain (much), it’s just my reason for not blogging. Actually, I have been blogging: let me explain.
Some time ago, I was put in charge of the business e-communications and marketing. This is a typical horticultural phenomenon. You think I grow plants? Oh dearie me no. I’m a good grower of plants, mind, but someone has to do marketing, HR, etc, so I’ve got supervisors who grow the plants and chase the labour around while I focus on what I know least about.
Occasionally we get in a consultant, and then I end up writing policy, Key Performance Area based job descriptions (Hate, hate, hate) and suchlike until the cows come home, and sometimes for some time after the cows have gone to sleep.
I’m the ace writer at work. Even my boss gets confused between ‘Kudus’ (large antelopes) and ‘Kudos’ (credit) – so I get all the writing jobs: magazine articles, letters to clients and e-marketing and my boss occasionally gives me large antelope (But no extra money - my overtime is 'voluntary') in return.
We market wholesale country wide, and some months ago our ‘sample van’ which is supposed to travel the country showing people our plants, got pinched. That was when I started up the blog. All we have to do is mail out the link and then the sales people follow up with calls.
My boss found out that getting pics taken, editing them, posting them and so on can take as much as six hours and forbade me to spend much time on it. Then the web stats came back, and the blog gets more hits than the website. Need I say more?
Last week was a humdinger: I had three articles to write, the blog to work on, the strategic plan (hate) and a whole bunch of KPA Job Descriptions (hate, hate, hate) that I’ve been putting off for yonks as well as all the things I was initially hired to do.
I’m sure my underlings like it. I’m far too busy to dream up jobs for them to do, and I’m so thankful to them for keeping their ends up (in horticulture, this is a literal statement – there’s a lot of bending work) that there’s going to be a Coke fest (the drink, not the powder) on Monday at my expense. Oh the extravagance of it!
Anyway, on Friday while I was working late yet again, the boss came to tell me that my colleague, who never puts in a minute more than she has to, deserves an increase for ‘all her effort’.
Oh well, I might get some antelope in the future - that has to be worth something!
Today's pic: work stuff.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Someone asked how I came to be a South African – well, it’s not really my fault. It all started because my ancestors had itchy feet or toothache or lice or something else that prevented them from sitting still.
Actually, I know that for the French Hugenots it was religion that gave them ants in their pants, but they were the second wave of immigrants. The first lot were the Dutch, and my first ancestor in SA arrived in 1680-something. I suppose the promise of land promoted the pedal itchiness – we all know that Holland lacks land – why else all the land reclamation?
The Dutch, on finding themselves with a continent spread out before them, immediately got agoraphobia or something and set about reclaiming some land from the sea. That’s Hollanders for you: land on a continent, build a dyke and reclaim some land.
The next lot started arriving in the 1820’s: they were British and were doing it for the sake of empire and land which are probably the same things. Then there was the Boer war, which was about empire and land with the added incentives of gold and diamonds. Nothing like a bit of gold and diamonds to get a few people into the country and a war started.
There were probably a few Indonesian slaves and maybe a few Khoi (the only indigenous inhabitants of this country, sadly dying out in the face of competition from black and white settlers) in the family-tree, but you’ll have to shake it hard to make them emerge.
Back in Apartheid days, families went to great lengths to conceal any ‘touch of the tar brush’ in order to prevent race reclassification, forced removals, loss of civil liberties and all the things that went with being of mixed race.
My own paternal grandmother was 'dark' and had to show her ID in order to ride on the bus. Ironically, she was a massive racist – perhaps on a ‘Methinks the lady doth protest too much’ basis.
Anyway, that’s how I came to be a South African: itchy feet, huge nuts (Hugenots), land and empire. I’m ‘white’ only by default, but then, race classification was more than a bit arbitrary and I’m not complaining even though it’s not the advantage it used to be.
Today's pic: lost in Africa - semi-desert area
Friday, January 7, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
I gazed out of the window, biting my lip for inspiration. It didn't help. An article on insect repelling plants, of all things... and I was pretty sure they wouldn’t settle for the truth either. I brushed away a fly and wrote: ‘Although flies are ubiquitous, they are said to be repelled by mint.’
‘Said to’ was the right phrase, I decided, sourly eying the fly, which had settled on a leaf of the potted mint plant on my desk and was busily and mock-obsequiously washing its hands. ‘Bastard’ I thought, without much malice and then turned back to my computer screen to re-read what I had written so far.
Deciding that it was good enough despite containing a number of careful statements comparable to the fly fallacy, and that all it needed now was a bit of padding and a closing paragraph, I sighed and decided to leave it as it was for the moment. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but all I do is to churn out mendacious thousand-worders on gardening, heavy on the adjectives and without a vestige of art or humor.
I’d like to write something that contained both. Something artful, but funny, something amusing that was nevertheless full of flowing and expressive language, something meaningful that, at the same time, didn’t take itself too seriously. I’d like to write something that I actually finished. It’d be even better if I actually liked what I’d written. It’d be best of all if I had the faintest idea what to write about.
If only I had a muse: an idle thought. Besides being mythical and metaphorical, I have a notion that muses are personified by willowy girls who would have a natural preference for men, and if willowy girls started to take an interest in me, I'd run a mile - if muses existed, which they don’t.
The truth is: I’m mediocre. Never tell anyone I said so, for I’ll deny it forcefully. There are no absolutes about me. I’m clever, but far from brilliant, a little eccentric, but not properly mad (perhaps I should be glad of that one), creative, but not particularly talented, attractive, but not gorgeous… the list could go on and on.
I’d like to be a writer, but I’m probably not ‘absolute’ enough to get it right. I couldn’t write absolute trash, it would annoy me, but I also can’t write anything particularly good. I've a suspicion I’d never have the tenacity to write a whole book. I’ve tried before, but I hate the thing before I’ve hit chapter three and then its recycle bin time.
Sigh. Perhaps someday…
Today's pic: Dierama pulcherrima - nuff said
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I know loads of people have fun with Facebook, but I have a strong urge to vent, and vent I certainly will! Stand back! Fasten your safety-belts! Put on your asbestos suits! MM is breathing fire, I tell you!
Facebook is as plastic as bubblegum, and why? Because it’s a public persona, and most people don’t really want other people to know what they’re up to and who they really are. Well, I don’t! Especially not the ones who think they know me.
If one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, one sure as anything shouldn’t judge a person by their facebook. There’s very little of them in there when all’s said.
Facebook personalities are about as bland as a bowl of oats porridge without sprinkles – you don’t even get the occasional nut. Everything is hunky-dory, and life is so wonderful, and I have so many friends!
And that brings me to ‘friends’ of the facebook sort. Someone you barely know but have met, or think you might have met, asks to be a friend. What do you do? You don’t want to offend, so you accept and end up with eleventymillion ‘friends’ who you don’t really give a stuff about and who don’t really give a stuff about you. (Pardonnez vous ma francais, and all that)
Then there are the ones that you do care about, at least sort-of, and whom you joined Facebook to find. A lot of water has been passed under the bridge (being as bridges are good places to pass water under if the need arises) since you last saw them, and even if you do still have something in common, you probably won’t find out because of the nature of Facebook communication: The Public Announcement.
At first, I just lost interest and abandoned the thing, but then my mum found it together with the public profile that said: ‘Religion: Eeeek!’ and I had to tell all sorts of lies in order to get her to trust me enough to look after her during her illness without her having to worry about my supposed-to-be immortal soul whilst departing from this vale of tears.
The next step was to suspend the profile, so I did that. The thing after that was a re-activation notification. ‘I’ve been hacked!’ thought I, but no, apart from a re-activation I hadn’t requested, all was in order with my account.
So I had a go at changing the password and deleting the Facebook thingy. This led to a message that said it’d be suspended for a time in case I changed my mind about consigning it to the oblivion it deserves.
Well, there wasn’t much I could do about that, but before the two weeks were over, I got another re-activation notification. So I went through the whole process again. I am the opposite of pleased.
Facebook: You can check out any time you like, but you can NEVER leave!
Today’s pic. A face: mine. Does it tell you anything worth knowing? Thought not.