Just get out there

30 11 10

I went to a so-called ‘singles’ party’ on Saturday night and it was lousy.

Now, I could end this post right here. You pretty much know that I did not meet anyone interesting. The very purpose of this soiree was a dismal failure.

Instead of shutting up, however, I will bemoan precisely why it was so crap because when one is left feeling as despondent as I felt after this event, I’m told it helps to write it all down.

No-one with an ounce of insight or a somewhat firm grip on reality could argue that a singles’ party might be fun. They never, ever, ever, ever are. Let me clarify for all you happily coupled, unhappily coupled, deluded single people and newly single people who perhaps did not understand what I meant by that: events designed solely to hook singles up are *always* just festivals of self-loathing. They are feeble and depressing, and if you suspect beforehand that you would have a better time staying home alone to watch ‘30 Rock’ episodes while eating chocolate, you are right. If you suspect beforehand that you’d have a better time undergoing root canal with juuuuuuust a smidgen too little anaesthetic, you’d be correct again.

This event on Saturday night was actually a birthday party in the guise of a singles’ party. The birthday person, a woman in her mid-30s who wore a pink sash screaming ‘birthday girl’ and a plastic tiara for the duration of the bash, is an individual whom I could really classify very loosely as an acquaintance. About 11 years ago, we were varsity friends. We went clubbing together; spoke about the boys who liked her; attended lectures together; spoke more about the boys who liked her; spoke about the potential boys who might possibly like her then or in the future…. sigh. On occasion, I’d have to laugh off a couple of my other friends’ baffled questions about why she flirted with their boyfriends so brazenly.

Varsity ended and so did my interactions with this individual, fortunately, and yet two years ago, a mutual friend told me that this woman had asked after me and to get in touch. I am nothing if not a curious creature, so I did just that. All of this led to my being invited to her party this year as one of her “nearest, dearest, oldest [or] newest friends” and being told to bring two single friends with, as well.

My first thought was that I would not attend. In fact, after reading the following sentence and choking down some bile, I had all but emailed ‘the princess’ back saying that I would, in fact, be washing my cat and would thus be otherwise engaged on the night of her party: “So yes, my aim is to make this a CLASSY ‘mingling’ party of note!”

However, my sister’s voice began trilling annoyingly in my brain, urging me to ‘get out there’ and meet people. Apparently one does not meet a potential partner when one is not ‘out there’, wherever ‘out there’ may be. So, I got out there…and I made her and my dear buddy get out there with me so that they, too, could experience the joy of events designed to make you feel like there’s something wrong with you for not being presently coupled with a suitable person.

The usual happened at this party: people sat with the people with whom they arrived and who they knew, nervously sussing out who was there and who was worth looking at for longer than a passing glance. Some men and women made brave little overtures toward one another but still remained firmly planted on their safe pieces of turf. The envisaged classy mingling turned out to be the usual game of observation and awkwardness. The expressions on the faces of people as they left at an acceptable hour varied between panicked relief at being set free from the torture of such evenings, and wry confirmation of their fear that they’d just wasted four hours of their lives. Well, that’s what their faces looked like to me… perhaps they’d just met the loves of their lives and their joy looked hideous to me.


To reiterate, I went to a so-called ‘singles’ party’ on Saturday night and it was lousy. I am sure, however, this won’t be the end of the tale… I’m told it’s not good to wash a cat too often.


Why my cat is better than I am

26 11 10

At 23.00 last night, my cat Morty alerted me to the presence of (another) giant spider lurking on my wall just above the entrance to my bathroom. How she made the announcement was by crying like a child, and stretching herself up the wall to try get nearer to it  – conflicting responses, I concede, but the brain of a cat is not for me to know.

I thus decided to move sleeping quarters for the night. I gathered up my duvet, pillow, laptop, phone and book, and attempted to tip-toe past the spider with all this gear in order to get to the other bedroom.

The spider then fell directly onto my head, causing me to scream, drop and smash the laptop and phone, jump around and crush Morty to death.

Ok, ya, the truth is that latter series of events did not take place in reality … just in my frozen mind as I sat contemplating for a full 10 minutes, how I would move past the arachnid and what I would do to avoid getting spider hair.

After installing myself in my second bedroom and finally getting comfortable, I switched off the light and was promptly jolted away from delicious semi-consciousness upon hearing my cat furiously launching herself down the passage and against my door. She’d managed to bring the spider to my door and sat poking it with her left paw for her/my enjoyment.

Once I was fairly sure it was dead, I retreated back to my regular sleep quarters, as Morty purred and congratulated herself heartily for disposing of this eight-legged creature that is about a 100th of my size.

That’s why cats are better than I am.

A short post about a small tomato and big birds

25 11 10

After trying to grow tomatoes unsuccessfully on three or more prior occasions, you’d have thought I’d give up by now, but noooooooooo. SO!! This is a tiny tomato that is making a valiant attempt at growing into an adult, champagne-coloured version of itself. I suspect it will pop its clogs way before that, however…my fruit growing track record is about as good as my dieting one.

Anyway, let’s see.

In a decidedly less animal-friendly vein, a family of Hadedas (kind of Ibis) has camped out in a tree outside my window. They squawk at one another between 4am and 5am. It’s been suggested I shoot the MoFos down and sell them to The Red Chamber as pretend-ducks. I am becoming increasingly fond of that idea, I must say.

The lesser-known rules of the road

22 11 10

So, like, the other day, like, I was writing a, like, totally boring and brain-haemorrhagey article on the fines one might receive when doing stupid things on the road in South Africa. Why I say ‘might’ receive is because if you are driving with two flat tyres, a spanner in place of a steering wheel and have overloaded your vehicle by a factor of five, your infringements might just escape unnoticed while a Metro Police officer instead stops the roadworthy vehicle whose driver’s only office is that his/her licence disc has slipped.

Anyway, here’s a short list of punishable traffic violations which I found funny. They might very well not be funny, but it’s late, I am fucking exhausted and am feeling a little mental.

  • Reversing too far or dangerously R1000 – Betcha I could reverse to Cape Town!
  • Permitting a person to interfere with the steering or operating mechanism R1000 – I fail to see why allowing your four-year-old to steer the car while you accelerate is problematic. What nursery school kid can’t ride and steer one of those yellow BP bikes? Do they still make those yellow BP bikes?
  • Leaving vehicle unattended and unbraked R 250 – If the car is left ‘unbraked’, it will become unattended whether you intended to leave it unattended or not. I like all the “ended”s in that sentence.
  • Part of driver’s body (elbow) protruding from moving vehicle R 250 – Come on! Who hasn’t driven at one point or another with one’s elbow (or both elbows, in the case of a Smart car) peeping out the window? Or one’s bum? One’s right leg while the left one controls the accelerator, clutch and brake?
  • Allowing person on roof or step while in motion R 250 – Again, I fail to see the problem if one has fitted a nice, comfy roof rack which has cup holders and a little bit of a wind shield built in.
  • Leaving engine running unattended R 250 – Yep, this is South Africa. Any engine left running unattended will not be around long enough for its rightful owner to receive such a fine.
  • Running engine while filling up R 250 – I’d love to see the look of horror on the faces of my fellow filler-uppers and petrol attendants as I rev that 1800cc engine as lovely, flammable liquid is poured into the gut of my car.
  • Jumping on or off moving vehicle, endangering others R 100 – I’d gladly pay the R100 to watch someone try jump on or off my car while it’s travelling at 120km/h on the N1.
  • Excessive noise R 250 – I trust Harley Davidson drivers are fined everyday, yes?
  • Hooter used illegally R 250 – So, pumping that horn to say HOESIT to my tjommies is not considered a legal use of my hooter?
  • Pedestrian moving into path of vehicle suddenly at crossing R 100 – Errrrr, quite. Both the idea of a person leaping out at a vehicle and the driver being responsible for whatever happens to that person, as well as the idea that R100 will deter drivers from not using their psychic powers to anticipate a suicidal pedestrian, are amusing…kinda. Oh wait, is it the pedestrian who would be fined, here? 😉
  • Driving in convoy during weekend R 500 – But it’s ok to drive in convoy during the week? Well, is it?
  • Trading illegally on public road – Like a tuck shop operated from the boot of your car?

Seriously, what is this?

19 11 10

That dark little corner on the nail of this woman’s big toe. Is it ‘nail art’? Because it appears on exactly the same spot on her other big toe, on the nail polish, I’m disinclined to believe it’s a most foul fungus, but I suppose it’s possible. Shudder!!

Hello? Can you hear me?

18 11 10

Today I am going to spend the afternoon phoning 90-year-old people in a foreign land. I’ve spoken to about half of them before but I suspect that I no longer feature in their memories. Thus, I suspect, this afternoon might be extremely trying.

Admin is not my favourite part of a job, especially in instances where I was unaware that the client, a man with what I suspect is a fairly uncontrolled case of ADD/ADHD, would assume that I would do the admin because an employee of his won’t get off his arse and do it.

On another note, I remember one of the main reasons for my decision to stop listening to 94.7 Highveld Stereo years ago… hearing the same song four times between the hours of 9.00 and 16.00, particularly if it is that wrist-slitting-ly awful “Just the way you are” by Bruno Mars, can cause one to pray for an aneurysm to end the pain.

Finally, let’s all have a collective gasp of excitement at the news that Roxette will be gracing SA’s shores sometime soon. YES FOLKS!!!! A band last popular in 1990, is coming to SA. If we’re really lucky, Michael Learns to Rock will come back for it’s 4000th tour of this fine land. Hold thumbs.

Good and Bad

16 11 10

The good:

Mumford and Sons. Thanks to some urging to give them a listen by Orange Rottweiler, I finally did so on Sunday night and could not believe what I was hearing. Not since 2005 ("All these things that I’ve done" – The Killers)have I listened to a song on repeat, and "Little Lion Man" was just the tune to break the trend. Who’d have suspected that a piano, guitar, banjo and double bass would sound so captivating when played together like these four London lads do so? Mumford and Son’s album is the best music I have heard in years and has made me so happy and excited about sound again after a lo-o-o-o-o-o-ong period of music death. Cherry on top – the drummer from ‘The Killers’ is going to team up the Mumford and Sons on their next album, I’ve read. Can’t wait.

Complicite’s A Disappearing Number. This play was broadcast under the auspices of NT Live in the UK, and was screened at Rosebank’s Cinema Nouveau recently. I loved it, mostly for the innovate way the actors used the set and their voices and their bodies to tell the story about the beauty of maths, love and loss. The only aspect that was lost on me was the alleged strong friendship between two mathematicians, which formed one of the two primary focusses of the play. The implied strength of this bond didn’t work for me. Still, the rest was quite lovely.

The bad

The Pirates of Penzance, a concert version of the Gilbert & Sullivan show, performed by the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra and the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg.

The performance felt like it was the first continuous run-through of the show. Most of the soloists really could NOT sing, which is utterly bizarre in a country in which there are truly wonderful singers. The choir was indistinct and too quiet. The narrator, Harry Sideropoulos, was vaguely irritating, though perhaps that was a result of the script, written by Alan Swerdlow, which was predictable and actually a little embarrassing in its reliance on simplified (simplistic, actually) SA politics, in order to get laughs. It felt like a pantomime. We left at interval to eat cake, instead.

Ray White. He continues to lazily slur his way through radio news bulletin after news bulletin. I actively change stations when I hear him, and very soon will not be returning to it at all.