Monday, June 25, 2012

meet me...

I bumped into Lewis Pugh last week. Yup, he was practically on my doorstep.  I’d gone for a walk, which is something you do instead of running when you are incredibly crap at running.  He was surfacing from one of the subways that leads up from the tidal pool at Kalk Bay.  Just, you know, walking his dog and not wearing his Speedo.

It was bad timing for me as he caught me mid rapper-move. I was busy doing the one where you pretend to swat away the snout of an invisible dog that’s at your crotch. Gold-digger was playing loudly on my iPod and I don’t know why but I can’t listen to Gold digger without doing rapper moves, especially when it gets to the We want prenup, we want prenup, yeah! part.  I know it doesn’t really suit a white chick like me to get all gangsta but I can’t help it. It’s like hearing country music and not busting out a box-step.

Even worse than being caught mid rapper-move was that I didn’t have time to suck in my gut.  This is something that’s almost become a knee-jerk reaction when I’m in the company of athletic, sporty people.  I learned a long time ago, however, not to pinch in my butt.  For someone with a round, sticky-outy bum like me it just makes it worse.  So, I normally smile a shitload, hold my breath and keep the conversation short so that I don’t hyperventilate.  Sometimes, if I’ve already had my morning Joe, I speak really quickly, like that bloke on Trainspotting who dropped some Speed before his interview.  I find it rather effective as it takes the focus off everything visual and the exchange will only be recalled as an auditory one.

Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen a celebrity.  I don’t like to brag or anything but I’ve totally met Ryk Neethling, like, two whole times - though strangely he’s never mentioned it in interviews. The first meeting was at his book signing and I had to stand in line twice. Once to get a book signed for me, and once to get a book signed for ‘my friend’. He and I were both very nervous and we had sweaty armpits, which made us feel slightly shy. Also, I’d been a bit heavy handed with the lip-gloss and my hair was uncomfortably glued to my lips.

The second time we met, it went a whole lot better. Hoo-farking-ray for us being on the same flight from Joburg to Cape Town as I got to stand next to him on the bus that takes you to the aeroplane.  His hand was resting on the handle of his wheelie-case and as his wheelie-case was on the floor and my foot was touching his weelie-case, we were practically holding hands. It was so romantic.

Anyway, I was really excited about seeing Lewis and was even considering concocting an elaborate story for the blog, like the one I did about Cirque de Soleil (sorry about the lie, but it was wicked fun.) But then it dawned on me that if I did talk to Lewis Pugh (even if only in my imagination) the conversation would be horribly short because other than the fact that we both have a body, head and some appendages, we have absolutely nothing in common.

Let’s see, for starters he’s trained SAS.  The most stupid thing about the SAS is that it’s SECRET.  What a waste. If I was to put myself through all that hoo-ha the first thing I’d want to do is tell everyone all about it. I’d go so far as to develop SAS swagger and cunningly drop SAS jargon into every conversation.

Secondly, he swims in arctic waters. Arctic waters I say! They call him The Human Polar Bear. The only time I’ve been mistaken for a polar bear was the time I fell asleep under a flokati rug at a party. I can’t see the point of swimming in cold water if you can swim in warm water.  It’s just not reasonable.

Thirdly, he’s one of those non-quitter types. I have a deep envy for people like that which boarders on obscene-mistrust. How people can stick with something, even when they hate it, just because they told themselves they’d see it through is beyond me. Well it’s not really beyond me, it just makes me feel like I need a stint in a South Korean self-denial camp.

Initially I was upset that I hadn’t tried to catch up with him but in retrospect I’m bloody relieved.  It would have been an awful encounter and he’d be blogging about how awkward it was instead of me blogging about how awkward it wasn’t. Besides, it might have made Ryk jealous.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

tweet it, tweet it, tweet it, tweet it .. no-one wants to be defeated...

A little while ago I signed up with Twitter.  Beeeg farking mistake. For someone as flighty as me, Tweeting is a horrible idea. Dangerous even.

One of the problems with Twitter is that it doesn’t come with a manual or a ‘Rules of the Game’ or even a ‘Tweet Etiquette for Dummies Guide.’ There seems to be an online help section where it covers all that stuff but I don’t want to read it, I just want someone to tell me about it in 140 characters or less.

Anyway, I signed up for this blasted thing having no idea how to use it, no idea who to follow or how I get people to follow me. It ‘helps’ you by suggesting you narrow down whom you’d like to follow by searching through categories. Even bigger farking mistake.

I thought that if I followed people like copywriters, we’d have something in common.  We don’t.  I’ve even reconsidered my line of work so as not to be associated with them.  Tossing hipsters, the whole bloody lot of them.

Even worse, I chose to follow people in the ‘digital’ field but quickly realised that this would only serve as a cruel daily reminder of my digital ineptness.  Those digi-geeks are .

What I understand about Twitter (after a bout on Wikipedia) is that it’s used on different levels for different things.  For some people it’s a self-promotion tool whereby you can:

1)    Show how smart, accomplished, funny, witty, sexy etc. you are
2)    Show off your depth of knowledge or how well read you are (here’s where you get all the links to interesting and not so interesting stuff)
3)    Show off how aware you are – of news, of politics, of sports, of issues and more issues of issues

By far the biggest slice of the Twitter pie chart however, goes to pointless babble and conversational content at 40% and 38% respectively. Well wadya know.

‘Course, that just tells you what Twitter is used for, it doesn’t tell you how Twitter feels. So here’s my analogy. 

Imagine that the Twitter platform is a really, really big cocktail party.  Imagine that a large portion of the people there are hipsters. Imagine that it’s bloody noisy because everyone is talking over everyone else in a very hipster kind of way.  Imagine that you don’t know why everyone is there and that you don’t even know why you yourself are there.

Imagine that it’s compulsory for everybody to take part in a cocktail-party-game of verbal one-upmsanship where you have to try to sound smarter and wittier and sexier and funnier than the person next to you. Also, many of the hipsters there have an avatar, so you think you’re talking to Jenny, a writer from Sussex, but it’s actually Clive, a serial killer from Calgary.

Now imagine yourself easing through the crowd. You approach maybe ten people and comment on the conversation that they’re not having with anyone in particular. Yup, they’re just standing there shouting up into the space above their heads. Occasionally, someone that knows them on the other side of the room picks up one of their messages. This person then acknowledges the other person and affirms how fabulous they are.  You don’t know that they know each other and you’re not allowed to butt in on the VERY LOUD conversation they’re having with one another or you will appear extremely uncool.

If you agree with what someone says, you’re not allowed to say things like: ‘right on’, ‘haha, classic’, ‘good one’, or ‘very funny.’ You just have to repeat what they have said and say ‘@cleverpants said this’. This part of the party game is called retweeting. Some people might really like what you have to say and will award you a gold star. This is called favouriting. If you get enough tweets favourited you get something but I don’t know what it is.  Possibly a big fluffy blue bird or a trophy of sorts.

Imagine that two out of ten people at the party ignore you, two out of ten reply to you, three out of ten listen to you but don’t reply and the rest either listen to you and roll their eyes or listen to you and simply can’t be sodded. Then imagine that some of those that reply to you, will volley-respond twice, after which time they just abandon the conversation mid sentence and move on to another next person.

Finally, imagine that you start feeling a crushing pressure to come up with equally witty, funny, sexy, smart things to say (which of course you can’t, because you’re just you). Imagine this pressure building up so much inside you that the only solution is to find a quiet corner where you can rock to and fro in the foetal position whilst sipping on *witblits.

That is how Twitter feels.

*Moonshine; 190-proof-could-kill-you-type-alcohol

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

short, dark and frisky...

My mamma always said that air travel is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.  The best you can hope for is someone clean-smelling, not too big in the shoulder area and friendly enough so that if you accidentally nod off on them they won’t shove you away.

This brings me to my NBF and slightly-good-looking-from-a-profile-angle traveling companion on the journey between Rome and Dubai.
I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean to be funny but he spoke funny and chose funny things to talk about. Perhaps the non-verbal cues of when to politely bow out of a conversation got lost in translation, which is why I listened on for five whole hours. Also, I simply couldn’t cut him off because when an Italian speaks English, you get a little swoony from the lyrical inflection.  Besides, he was wearing a big diamond earring and it was the first time I’d ever met a man with such outstanding bling.

‘So,’ I say after hellos have been exchanged, ‘What do you make of this case involving the Vatican and the remains of a girl found buried near Piazza Navona?’

(Note to reader: there’s no way I’m going be able to keep up the whole Italian accent thing throughout so  you please-a to-a imagin-a all-a da time-a, huh?)

‘Those priest. They strange. They pay all kind of people to bring them all kind of people to do all kind of thing they not supposed to do and then they find the trouble. Why they make such a stupid a promise to no have – scusi for the rude - sex?’

‘Umm, no idea,’ I say, trying to look unfazed. (Fact: Sometimes when you show people that you’re shocked it just encourages them. You know, if they’re that kind of a person.)

‘They no even supposed to – scusi for the rude - wank’ he says. ‘But they wank. Why people lie about the wank?’

 I couldn’t decide whether I should play it prudish and say ‘What is this wank of which you speak?’, or if I should act all casual and reply, ‘Me. I never lie about wanking.’

Instead, I blurt out in a strained voice ‘I don’t know. I don’t know why they lie,’ all the while shaking my head slowly and wondering how I’m going to re-divert this conversation.

Despite my discomfort (and I confess, amusement) an academic sounding wank chat ensues involving phrases like ‘perfectly normal’ and ‘nothing to be ashamed of’ to which he adds, ‘I no time to wank. My wife, she Thai. She like the – scusi for the rude – blow job.’

My eyeballs battle to say anchored in their sockets but I blink hard and swallow. I then try to un-swallow, just incase it gave him fancy ideas.

‘Is too much,’ he proclaims and then adds (so as not to seem un-manly I assume) ‘is nice this, but sometime I just tired. Then I don’t want, but my wife, she spoil me’.

‘Mmm,’ I nod sagely, working hard on the image of a man saying to his wife ‘No really honey, no more BJ’s today.’

After we’d resolved what constitutes a reasonable amount of sexy-time with your spouse, both oral and otherwise, we moved onto clothes. I won’t lie, I was kind of relieved.

‘So,’ I say, ‘What’s up with the diamond earring?’

‘Is too much?’ he says.

‘No, no,’ I lie.

‘I do for my stepdaughter,’ he explains.

‘She scared to have hole in her ear so I say OK, I do first.’‘But,’ he clarifies, ‘earring in a right ear mean you gay and earring in both ear also mean you gay, but earring in left ear is OK.’

I can’t face getting into a discussion about how I’d be perfectly fine with him even if he was gay. I don’t want to find myself in any more uncomfortable conversations.

‘Cool necklace’ I say. It looks a bit surfer-ish and I want to talk about surfing now, even though I know nothing about it. Anything other than all this other skanky business. ‘What’s the G for?’

And then, thinking to be-a funny-a myself-a, I add ‘Giuseppe? Guido? Geraldo?’

He looks over at me slyly and says ‘Is for Gucci but aaah, you know this boys?’ 

‘No. No!’ I exclaim, mortified that he thinks I’ve been doing the hokey-pokey while away in Italy.  ‘No, no. I’m married. One man is just fine for me. I’m good with one.’ And then the penny drops.

‘Why?’ I ask, ‘do you hanky-panky on the side???’ to which he doesn’t so much as answer as makes a series of pained noises. At one point I think he may either cry or burst into song.

I found his revelation a little un-nerving because if Mr.-Bling-on-his-ear is getting jiggy outside the marital bed despite receiving – scusi for the rude - a daily BJ then what hope do the rest of our marriages have where we errr, maybe not-a spoil-a so much our spouse-a? (Moment of truth: he actually, he said he gets it more than once a day but I couldn’t bring myself to say it before now.)

It was a bizarrely surreal exchange. I felt like I was watching a cinema nouveau movie instead of having a real conversation with a real person.

Next time I fly I’m hooking up my iPod before I board the plane and not taking it off till I land. Still, he did make me laugh.