Thursday, November 25, 2010

inappropriately fine, er, thanks...

There really are loads things that irk me about being a parent, but seriously, one of my pet hates has to be when people get preachy. And one of my pet preachy words that I love to hate is the word “inappropriate”.  Preachy parents in particular over-use it like a Navy man’s wanking hand.  They seem to forget that the word “appropriate”, by it’s very nature, has an elastic quality to it.

For instance, I think it’s wildly inappropriate to wear stilettos in a nightclub.  Why?  Because if I did I would wipeout within about 10 seconds.  However, for someone more accustomed to these high hells, it would be deemed essential. Depending, of course on their urgency to look hot and bag some fresh meat. (Apropos stilettos: made more for lying down then for walking around and dare I say dancing, if you feel me.)

Here’s another example.  In South Africa, it’s considered “inappropriate” (aaargh, even writing the word just bores me to tears) to greet your dinner guests in your slippers, and even more inappropriate to ask them to remove their shoes. However, in some parts of Europe (maybe all parts, who the hell knows) and in places like Japan, it’s not only appropriate to receive guests in your “house shoes” (a.k.a. slippers), but you are also perfectly within your rights to ask them to take off their “outside” shoes before you’ll allow them in.  See what I mean?

I’m hoping (for your sake) that you’re not closely acquainted with anyone who uses the word “inappropriate”.  But if a friend of yours does let is slip (for real, out in the open, not under their breath) here’s how you might handle it. Pretend  you didn’t hear them or sniff loudly and look away.  Letting out an exasperated sounding sigh or mumbling something under your breath (“eejit” normally works well) can sometimes stop their preachy train of thought. Watch out for the “lemon lips” look though.  Preachy people are very, very good at pulling sour faces. Apparently flipping the middle finger is considered excessive so save this for when you really need it (e.g. shopping centers, road rage, parking lots).

In a nutshell, unless you find me or my offspring doing something truly, universally inappropriate (batting off in public, reading porn on the train, eating boogers) then save your energy.  If you don’t, you’re just going to come across as poncy.  Trust me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Oy, Mary...

It’s that time of year when nativity plays abound.  I don’t often get schmoozy and schmaltzy about how cute kids are, but honestly, little kids plays just do it for me.  Laughing and crying at the same time I tell ya.
Anyhow, it got me thinking about how inaccurate the plays are.  I mean for starters, I don’t know who wrote “The Little Drummer Boy” but I’ll tell you  one thing, the ox and lamb definitely do NOT keep time.  And, although I’m a big fan of percussion, if I’d just given birth, there’s no way in hell I’d want a noisy drummer boy around. How selfish, can’t he see there’s a newborn trying to sleep? 
Back to the inaccuracies. I propose it’s time someone wrote a more accurate script because I have a feeling this is how it really rolled…
Mary:  Whaaaat the…. Who are you? Or should I say, what are you?
Gabriel: (Loudly and very formally) I am Archangel Gabriel and I would have thought my wings would have given you a clue.
Mary:  Right. No need to speak so loudly, I’m right here next to you. Um, sorry, but if it’s not too much trouble, could you stop waving those wings around.  You’re dangerously close to the new urn I just bought.  It’s not just decorative you know. I actually have to fetch water in it.
Gabriel:  Oh hel…um, oh shoot. Sorry, I get a bit carried away.
Mary:  What can I do for you today?
Gabriel: (under his breath…As if!  Did she not just hear me say I am an ANGEL?)  Well, Mary (condescending tone), I am actually here to do something for you today. Soon, you will have a baby. Well not soon, in about 9 months time. And you will call him Jesus and he will be our Saviour.
Mary:  There must be some mistake. I don’t know how to say this, but, I can’t be pregnant. I’m, um…. a virgin. (softly)
Gabriel:  Sorry, I didn’t get that.  You’re a what?
Mary: A virgin alright, a virgin (much louder)
Gabriel: Oh! Oh, how foolish of me. I left out the important part. You’ve got an immaculate contraption.
Mary: A what?
Gabriel: Dang, I think I said that wrong… what’s it called again.  Oh yes, you’ve had an Immaculate Conception. You are able to bear a child without first having to….
Mary:  OK, OK, I get the idea.  Lucky me.  How do you expect me to explain this to Joseph?  I am married you know, this isn’t just about me.
Gabriel: Shoot, yes.  Well, you look like a bright girl, I’m sure you’ll think of something. Um, perhaps I could leave you a feather from my wing.  You know, as proof that I’ve been here and all.
Mary: Looks very similar to a pigeon feather but whatever.
Gabriel:  Righto then, my work here is done for now.  Good luck with the whole pregnancy thing and don’t worry about the puffy ankles. They eventually go down.
Mary:  (under her breath) How would you know, eejit. 
(Louder) One question  though.  Do I really have to name him Jesus?  It’s just that Joseph was at school with a guy called Jesus and I tell you, he was a real arseho… um, sorry, not a cool guy.  He’s not going to like naming our son that one bit.
Gabriel: (sighing)  Mary.  I’m the messenger and I think you have a fair idea of who sent me.  He gave clear instructions and I wouldn’t suggest messing with him.  Know what I mean?
Mary: You know what? Whatever.  Its not like I’ve had any say thus far so thanks for the awesome news but I’d like to finish my scroll before my ankles start to swell. 
Levi: Ish! Hey Ishmael, check out that star dude.  It’s moving closer and getting bigger.
Ishmael: Dude, you been smoking that pipe of yours again?  You’ve got to stay off the strong stuff; it’s starting to mess with your head.
Levi:  Ish, don’t be an arsehole, just listen to me. I swear, that star is moving and getting bigger and closer.
Ishmael:  By Jove!  Whaaat the?
Gabriel (under his breath) Always the same blinking response! Uneducated Philistines, don’t they know an angel when they see one?  
Jove:  (sounding sleepy) Did someone call me?  Whaaaat the?
Gabriel: (under his breath) Again with the “whaaat the!”  
(Loudly) Um, as you can see, gentlemen (as if). I am an angel.  Archangel Gabriel to be exact, and I’m here to tell you that your Saviour that has been born this very night in Bethlehem.  You will find him in a stable…
Levi and Ishmael: Dude, no need to be so loud.  The sheep are sleeping man. Who was born in a what?
Gabriel: A Saviour. Sa vior.  In a stable. Sta ble. You know, where they keep livestock.
Jove:  What the heck is our Saviour doing in a stable?
Gabriel:  All the inns were full.  I know you types don’t pay much attention to current affairs but its there’s that whole tax and be counted thing going on right now, so they had to make do.
Ishmael: (under his breath to the others) Poor woman who had to give birth in a stable. 
Jove: (under his breath) No shit dude.  That’s barbaric!
Gabriel:  Righto then, if you’re all clear on this then I’ll be off.  Think you can find your way there? 
Levi:  With all due respect dude, I know you’re like an angel and we’re just mere mortals but we’re like shepherds. We know how to mission.
Gaspar:  Good move Balty.  Now I’m going to kick your derriere!
Bathasar:  You havn’t beaten me in backgammon since the last plague old chap.  Don’t see it happening today.
Melchior: Childish banter. Can’t you two just play like civilized adults? We’re wise men, godammit. Magi, not schoolboys!
Gaspar: Mel, don’t be such an old fart.  I’m over this whole being wise the whole dang time.  When we’re alone it’s cool just to shoot the breeze.  You know, decompress a little.
Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior:  Whaaaat the….?
Gabriel: (under his breath) I’d have thought this lot would have inkling. But nooooo.  (Sighs loudly and speaks in a bored voice) I am angel Gabriel and I bring you good news.
Bathasar: My horse won the race? Powerpocket boys, told you that horse is headed for big things.
Gabriel: No no NO!  This is bigger than winning the races.  This is about your Saviour, who has been born this very night in Bethlehem.  
Melchior: Bethlehem?  Isn’t that were that whole tax and be counted thing is happening?  Bit of an inconvenient  time and place don’t you think?
Gabriel: (condescending) Some people are above inconvenient times and places. Did you not hear me say the word “Saviour”?
Bathasar:  Alright, alright.  No need to be snippy about it. What would you have us do?
Gabriel: (getting impatient) Go and see him of course.  Saviour, Saviour, I said Saviour.  What’s wrong with you people?  Don’t you want to be the first people to meet your Saviour?
Melchior:  Alright, alright.  I suppose you have a point old chap.  Well leave shortly.  
Gabriel: See that you do.  And be sure to bring some pressies.  I can’t imagine the shepherds thought to take anything for the family. A home cooked meal might be nice.
Gaspar:  Not really our thing you know, we’re wise men, not chefs. 
Gabriel:  What e ver.  Just make it count ok.  It’s unlikely you’re going to get another shot at this whole being saved thing in a hurry.
Gaspar:  Jolly good show.  I wonder old chap, don’t suppose you know what your wingspan is?  Might be useful to know that.
Gabriel: (very condescending) I’d have thought, old chap, that the size of my wingspan pales in comparison to the news I’ve just brought you. Good day to you all. (DEPARTS)
Melchior:  Bit of a scratchy fellow, don’t you think? Not really what I imagined. He’s obviously chosen the austere formal approach over kind, cute and lovable.
Gaspar: Mel, you’re such an idiot! The kind, cute and lovable ones are the cherubs.
Melchior: (under his breath) Wise arse.
Gabriel: (whilst flying back to heaven) Pfffft! Barbaric Philistines, the whole lot of them. 
(IN CHORUS) And so concludes our real rendition, we hope you’ve enjoyed our play.  We saved you the birthing scene for sure, but at Easter we’ll have our say.  

Friday, November 12, 2010

if leggings could talk...

Today’s tale is a cautionary one.  Now I’m not proud to say this, but it’s a habit of mine to go grocery shopping directly from the gym.  It’s about saving time and also let’s face it, I’m unlikely to bump into Ryk Neethling or Gerard Pique at the mall, so I really don’t see the need to primp and preen too much. A recent(ish) set of circumstances, however, has made me reconsider my policy on appropriate shopping attire.

Around a year ago, I was mooching round the condiment section in Pick ‘n Pay, when a youngish chap in a wheelchair approached me. He was maybe in his mid 20’s, seemed friendly and his big blue eyes were like the ones belonging to that cute cat in Shrek. You know… kind of sad, kind of beautiful, kind of you-can’t-ignore me eyes.

He told me how he not only worked at Pick ‘n Pay, but also ran five of his own (yes five) businesses simultaneously, and was managing to squeeze in some studying. 

What are you studying, I ask? Fashion Design. For obvious reasons, most people would have smelt a rat, but I was so busy berating myself for being such a slacker compared to this bewheeled chap that I was completely taken off guard when he made his request.  He asked if I perhaps knew of anyone - perhaps even someone like me - who would be willing to donate a second-hand pair of Lycra leggings to him. He was insistent that they be secondhand. His fashion project challenge, you see, was to create something new out of something old.  The project was due right away, no time to spare, need them this week, sure to flunk without them. 

"Of course" I say, I definitely have an old pair and if he could give me his name I’d leave them at the courtesy desk the following day. NO, he says (a little too loudly, I thought).  Don’t leave them at the desk.  It’s happened before and another thieving staff member has stolen them. 

This, of course, was a second opportunity for me to smell a rat.  "It’s happened before?" Should have been my first question, if only to myself. "Why would another person want a smelly old pair of leggings?"  Should have been my second question, if only to myself.  I turned down his offer of personally fetching them at my home. I didn’t want to seem cruel but had to point out that we have 70 stairs up to our front door. I kept them in my car for a couple of weeks, thinking I’d be sure to bump into him again.

Fast forward to just before Christmas. I’m back at Pick ‘n Pay.  Again, directly from the gym, again in my leggings.  Before I know it, wheelchair-boy is alongside me.  He’s looking unshaven and disheveled and says that he tried to top himself on the weekend.  Oh no! Why? I cry. (Again, I didn’t want to seem heartless by saying; Dude, I totally understand. I mean you’re in a bloody wheelchair, right?) Well, he says, not only is he working at Pick ‘n Pay, but he also is running five (yes, five) of his own businesses simultaneously, and to make matters worse, he has a fashion project due the very next day that he has been unable to complete due to not having the right materials and do I by any chance know someone who would be willing to give him a second-hand pair of leggings?  OK, now I smell the rat and realize the rat is uncomfortably at crotch level. I am seriously un-nerved.  What kind of warped MOFO would want my smelly old leggings???!!!  I mumble some excuse about recently having given all my second-hand leggings to the shelter and shift off as quickly as possible.

Nine blinking months later, I’m cruising the mall (again, I confess, the gym leggings feature) when I hear a squeaky, wheely noise following me.  Oh crap, I think to myself and quicken my pace.  Squeaky, wheely noise speeds up aswell (how can I compete with wheels, I mean really) and before I know it wheelchair-boy is alongside me. He dives right in.  '"You know what I hate", he says.  People who won’t give you their leggings, I think to myself.  "School", he says (obviously, cueing me to ask "which school and why").  I manage to mumble something like “yes, you and many other scholars feel the same”. I’m now quite breathless from trying to get him off my tail and can't come up with anything more punchy to deter him.

Then begins our game of cat and mouse, with me stopping at random shops, jumping from aisle to aisle like Mrs. Smith and in general trying to get wheelchair-boy off my tail.  The wylie bugger catches up with me in the fresh produce section and tells me EXACTLY THE SAME BLOODY STORY!!!!    By now I’m equally creeped out and peeved because he doesn’t even recognize that I’m THE SAME CHICK HE KEEPS HARASSING!!!!  Dude, I eventually say.  You’re in such luck.  Leggings are seriously in fashion, I’ve just seen loads at Woolies for like 80 bux a pair and your lecturers will never know the difference.  NO, he says. They’ll know. His voice is very throaty and his eyes are glinting, as he adds (a little too loudly, I thought) NO, THEY HAVE TO BE SECOND-HAND.

Now, everyone I’ve told this story to has their own theory as to why wheelchair-boy wants my smelly old leggings but I’ll tell you this much.  I’ll wear them till I see him again, then I’m gonna say to him, “You. Me. Coffee. And you’re going to tell me what in God's name you’re doing with all these leggings.”  And when I find out, I’ll tell you. But for now, any theories are welcome.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

pass the smack...

There comes a time in every person’s life when you consider drugs.  Now I’m not talking hardcore shit; like smack, tik, crack or any other monosyllabic substance that could cause irreversible brain damage– just maybe a little something to enhance your 3D and, er... 4D experience.

Though I wish I could indulge you with some wild gossip about the concoction of Prozac, Paxil and Valium that I’m on, I must be honest. Other than my brief foray with an anticonvulsant - which I’ve been assured I actually needed - the only other drug I think I could have a successful long lasting relationship with, is sports stimulants.

A few months ago, a couple of friends of mine consulted with a woman who used to be a body builder and is now just your regular perfectly sculpted pain in the arse.  Including her advice on eating portions that are not larger than a thimble, she handed over a bottle (each) of “natural stimulants” which, supposedly, was to enhance their training. The next day, I read on facebook (the oracle of all personal revelations) how one of the girls in question had lost her mind after taking the “natural stimulant” and was still (24hrs later) crawling round on the floor trying to find it. The other reported that post dosage; her heart had actually popped out her chest and had offered to brew a cup of chamomile.  To this day I often find her mumbling the words to "pump up the jam".  Of course, she offered the rest of the offending bottle of drugs to me and I was keen to try it. Mostly because I’m curious, but also because I’m known to err on the side of recklessness.

I don’t take painkillers often, but when I do I like it to be a sure thing and pretty much triple the recommended dose. I also never bother with naff stuff like Panado and always reach for the drug with the biggest possible kick.  Pain isn’t one of those things I’m prepared to cock around with.  I had my doubts as to whether these “natural stimulants” would do anything for me at all. 30 min before my training routine, I popped one and waited 10 minutes.  Nothing.  Of course it doesn’t bloody work, I thought to myself. Was I actually expecting to morph into Jane Fonda immediately?  I chased the administered drug with my normal cup of coffee, thinking this might chivvy things along. Nope. Still nothing.

Having accepting that no transformation was imminent – I trudged off to the gym. Holy crap, then it happened. 10 minutes into my workout, the drug finally kicked in.  Before I knew it, I was snorting like a racehorse and was able to perform feats that havn’t yet been invented.  I think people around me were making the circle bigger for fear of me karate kicking the living daylights out of them.  Who knows what I sounded like; my heart was now firmly lodged in my eardrums so I had to turn my iPod up super-loud. I was focused, fierce, subtle and meant business. If I’d been brave enough to look in the mirror, I’m sure I would have seen my skin turn that extreme blotchy red that is not only fetching, but also wickedly sexy. I felt exceptionally light and then realized, there’s nothing natural about these drugs.  No siree. 

They must have had some vicious chemical in them, like a bad boyfriend who makes you feel horribly good for a while, then horribly bad for a longer while.  When I finally finished teaching those medicine balls a lesson, I floated to my car and took a look at my eyes in the rear-view mirror.  Pinpricks. Consider yourself warned. Beware of thermogenics, they’re not what they say they are…but boy they can make you dance.