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Off the radar

My little flight screen tells me I am at 35001 feet above sea level and over the exact place in Africa where my geography fails me. Malawi, Kenya or is that Tanzania? Although I can see Mount Kilamanjaro over there on the left, my internal radar tells me that I am in a submarine, heading for very deep water, with the waters closing in over my head.

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There was an important rugby match on today. I think. Maybe it was yesterday. Either way I have something far more refined to talk about at work tomorrow. When someone mentions the Springboks I can sneer at them poshly and say, “well, if Gillespie had followed through on that long pass during the fourth chukka I am sure we could have won.” You see, I spent the afternoon at the Polo.

I don’t usually spend my time in such rarified company, but occasionally I am called upon to be a good wife and mingle with the bank’s clients and their skinny blonde wives.  I am quite good at making natural shyness and social dysfunction look like aloofness and disdain, so I usually fit right in.  Staring off into the middle distance while holding a glass of champagne and wearing a hat is also something I am quite good at and since no-one was crass enough to mention the rugby I would have had a chance at conversation, except I know even less about Polo. Continue Reading »

An Education

All the good child raising books, (and there are a lot of bad ones out there), suggest that you tackle the tricky sex talk when it comes up in conversation, rather than sitting the poor unsuspecting tots down and regaling them with a birds and bees lecture. However, sex is not an everyday topic for two small girls, the opportunities, between hair, shoe and mealtime crises,are few and far between, so when the subject does come up, one has to jump in quickly before the prescribed opportunity passes. Continue Reading »

Running Scared

I was told by someone at work the other day, that I can not consider myself a true South African until I have run the Comrade’s Marathon at least once. We have an office member who was heading off for this patriotic event, hence the conversation. Now I consider myself reasonably patriotic, but I have never thought that dying for one’s country was noble or necessary. I vote, I own a vuvuzela and south african flag wing mirror covers, I encourage my children and my co-workers to embrace multiculturalism in a peaceful and productive way, I buy South African and I haven’t emigrated. But run the Comrade’s Marathon, no – I’d rather move to Perth. The premise upon which this argument was presented to me is, “You have to try everything once!” but since my own motto is, “don’t run anywhere unless doing so will save your life,” I put up a bit of an argument. Apparently, according to my new moral source, anyone can run the marathon, with about 6 months of training and a strong will to survive, even I could do it.The marathon is apparently run by a handful of serious athletes and an immense field of amateur dabblers whose only ambition is to make it in before cut off time. (I know several serious runners who haven’t done the Comrades and have no intention of doing so, claiming that the damage done to the body over 89km (56 miles) would put an end to their everyday running careers.) Continue Reading »

Packed Off

I have a dread of packing. I have googled this at length but haven’t been able to find an official name or term for it. This makes me feel very alone. Unlike some of my other little issues, I cannot simply avoid it, like my aversion to worms, which I cope with by avoiding unnecessary burrowing around in the garden, or my early fear of swimming which I overcame by taking lessons with a kind and nurturing teacher. Several times a year I have to face those yawning empty suitcases and confront the fact that I have to fit everything I need from a large and untidy house into a compact and controlled space. Continue Reading »

Wounded Bufallo

I love getting things delivered to my house while I am not there. If I arrive home from work and there is not a package waiting for me on the dining room table, it is a bit of a disappointment. Two supermarkets make regular visits, various forms of media from magazines to CD’s drop by and wine collects in the entrance hall faster than my husband can put it away.  I even have a lady who will come by and groom the dog, ensuring that I will be greeted in the driveway by an unrecognisable fragrant golden creature and two disgruntled daughters who claim that “they don’t get a massage when they have their hair cut.” My favourite, by far, is Yuppiechef.co.za. Whenever I am feeling a little depressed or alienated at work I go online and order myself a little pick me up, like a cup cake corer or a heated ice cream scoop (or any other completely necessary kitchen gadget), to make myself feel more in control. I console myself that even an addiction to expensive kitchen gadgetry is still cheaper than one to cocaine. Continue Reading »

On Being Naked

In the past week I have appeared naked in front of two sets of strangers, which for a self conscious and rather shy person such as myself is a bit of a record. The second time was fairly unremarkable, being for a routine mammogram, done at a clinic run by a bunch of old bats and frequented exclusively by women over 40. Although they are all very respectful of your privacy, ensuring you are covered at all non essential moments, their matter of fact manner means you could quite comfortably swan around  without your top on and cause no embarrassment to yourself or others. Continue Reading »