Wednesday, February 21, 2018


(Original Image via Pintrest UK)

GeYoShiTo: The ancient Japanese art of “Get Your Shit Together”. 

During the December holidays I decided that 2018 was going to be my year of GeYoShiTo. Our house has been looking rather like a student digs with kak* lying everywhere. I don’t know about your house, but there are certain areas in our house that I refer to as “purgatory” – the place where things like half-worn t-shirts, used coffee mugs, refills for pens and stray pegs gather to decide where their final resting place will be.

One of BK’s absolute WORST purgatory areas is the desk where I do my sewing. See the thing about sewing is that you never want to pack your sewing shit away, because you just have to unpack it again. It’s much easier to have the sewing machines out and “ready for action” – as though knocking up a Zac Posen red-carpet gown is imminent. I’m not really prepared to comment on the scraps of cotton and offcuts of fabric that lie alongside the “sewing studio”, except to say that us Arteeests thrive on a certain degree of clutter. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Nevertheless, after an unnaturally prolonged staycation, I noticed BK’s left eye twitching whenever he would saunter past sewing studio purgatory, as (I for got to mention this part) the sewing studio also doubles up as his work-from-home space. Accordingly, I decided it was time for me to make a NEW sewing studio for myself.

And so it was that I found myself gleaning Gumtree for “wooden desk with chair, adult sized”. After a bit of deliberating (there seem to be an abundance of desks and chairs to be found – lots of ugly ones, I might add) I decided on one that was housed in a suburb a little distance from my own.

Unperturbed by the distant location, I decided that I would indeed take the desk and chair because a) the price was right (in other words, cheap) and b) a bit of a drive would get me out-and-about a bit. You know, like a little mini daytrip of sorts – to break the routine of the school run journey if you like.

Before leaving home, I thought I’d do a quick Google Earth search on the address. What I found left me feeling a bit confused. As far as I could see, the house that I was to visit looked rather like a well-fortified warehouse. From the outside, you could only see a vibacrete wall (painted in that very 80’s peach colour) and tons (like, really tons) of razor wire. On scanning the surrounding houses, I couldn’t help but notice that none were fortified in the same way. I found this to be very, very odd. Could my destination be an old photo? Was this house once a warehouse for gold bars? Was the house situated in some kind of war zone?

After looking up “How to enable Find My Phone” (in case I went missing and BK needed to find me), I headed off. Before I tell you about the peach house, there’s something I need to clear up. Has anyone else noticed how people on Gumtree lie about their location? The “desk and chair, adult sized” that was going to collect was said to be housed in Goodwood. But, as set my navigation thingy, I discovered that the address was in fact Parow. I’m not really sure why this was an issue for me, except to say that Goodwood is closer and more familiar to me (yup, I too spent time ice-skating with the kids when they were little at Grand West) and Parow, is, well, Parow. Like you wouldn’t go there if you didn’t have to go there, if you know what I mean.

As I drove down the Street I saw cute little houses painted in bright colours with low vibacrete walls that were also painted in bright colours. Then, I found number 24. Faded. Peach. HIGH vibacrete walls. Razor wire. 

As I parked my car, I spotted a life sized statue of a monkey on the other side of the wall. Someone had carefully placed a bunch of bananas that were fashioned out of black-and-white fabric on its head. I could see the top of a thatched lapa kind of thing, but other than that, just walls and wire.

Now. When it comes to houses that are overly fortified, I have a contrasting view to many other people. My immediate assumption isn’t “Who do they want to keep out”, but instead “Who do they want to keep in”.  And of course, once you start thinking shit like that, your mind goes on a total tangent. I can’t tell a lie. I cursed the fact that I was still in my stinky gym clothes because if I did, in fact get abducted, this would be the smelly old outfit I’d have to spend my confinement in. And then, when I was finally rescued, my photo would be in the newspaper and it would be of me and my fat arse in leggings. Fuck.

I rang the doorbell and heard the sound of small dogs barking (or maybe big dogs who had had their bark removed). I was greeted by a man and a woman. As I walked in, I lunged as I stuck my hand out to shake their hands, to show them that I’m the kind that won’t be trifled with and would therefore be a difficult- to-catch, irritating captive.

The man looked like a young 70 year old or an old 40 year old. It was hard to tell. The woman had a severe case of tooth drift and had a very agitated disposition; as though she might be ready for her next hit of tik.  And though the entire driveway was empty, they had chosen to stand the “desk with chair, adult sized” on the faaaaaar end of the driveway. Close to the house. Close to the garage. Far from my car.

While taking big, unnaturally strong looking strides, I closed the gap between me and the desk, all the while talking in a very nervous, laughy, chatty voice. I was not walking so fast, however, that I did not notice their garden “décor”. Stumps of wood lined the driveway and peach wall. On these stumps lay a collection of: chipped garden gnomes, fake snakes, more fake snakes, and something weird that may have been another bunch of fabric bananas.

“I’ll take it”, I said, barely looking at the table but eager to get the transaction over with. (Indeed, they could have upped the price to 7 million rand and I would have agreed just so that I could get the fuck out of there.) I handed over the money and said “Shall we carry it out to my car”.

“Oh no”, said young 70/old 40 year old. “Please bring your car inside so that we can load it up.” (I shit you not, he said it in the same voice as the witch on Hansel and Gretel when she says “Come in dears. Try my candy”.)

“Ah”, I heard myself say, somewhat weakly. “Are you sure we can’t just carry it out? It’s only a few metres and it looks quite light.”

“No”, says tooth-drift-tik woman. “Bring it in”.

And then she adds, rather cryptically, “There are strange people walking around outside”.

All that I could think to myself was: Faaaaak. Really? Stranger than you two?

I walked to my car, being sure to engage my ample calves as I walked, all the while eyeing out the mechanics of the gate to see whether it would be possible to drive into it and push it out if, well, they didn’t want me to “leave”.

By this stage my heart was hammering in my chest and despite my beefy swagger, I was starting to feel a little shaky. I not only regretted wearing my gym clothes but was also starting to lament the fact that I’d not eaten breakfast yet. After all, it looked like the last time these two ate was the late 90’s and I’m sure mealtimes aren’t a priority for abductors.

I reversed in, got out the car, and with super-human, adrenalin infused strength, I single-handedly loaded the desk and chair into my car. If you’d been watching, I would have looked like one of those time-lapse videos.

With screeching tyres, I tore out their driveway before they could close the gate and trap me inside.

And all I could think of as I drove away was caveat emptor. Buyer beware.


1 comment: