It may get hairy…

Posts tagged ‘true love’

Short teensy review on King’s Mile 81

Mile 81Mile 81 by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Right, seeing as I’m sharing this on my blog, I thought I’d best do a full(ish) review.

Spoiler Alert for those who need it:

King’s depth of characters and understanding of human nature and people always astounds me. I love how he understands children and remembers what it’s like to be a child. His books are often a portal to forgotten memories of my childhood. He brings us back with simple things, such as the misspelling of ‘swastika’ in Mile 81 (“Notzi swat-sticker”), much like mentioning that as a child, he thought that a ‘bitch’ was an ‘extremely tall woman’ in On Writing.

Along these lines, I have one negative with the story: I can’t imagine a 6 year old thinking the world ‘asshole,’ even if she didn’t say it. It seemed out of character, but perhaps that’s my rose-tinted view of children. Apart from that, he was dead on his description of the characters.

It was short, so there’s not much to say. Although, the obvious similarities to Christine aside, it’s a unique short story for him. It’s definitely not his best (not on par with something like ‘The Raft’), but it’s thoroughly enjoyable.

I picked it up, assuming that I wouldn’t be able to finish anything that wasn’t in normal paperback/hardcover format, and ended up being disappointed that it had finished so quickly.

All in all, worth a read and a whole $15.00 🙂 Now I move on to UR.

Want to get the book? Click here.

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It’s not a case of black vs. white

I’m not sure why I woke up thinking about this, but I am sure that this will probably result in negative feedback, that being said, this is something I’ve been meaning to write for a while. I have no intention of offending anyone and if I have, I hope you’ll understand that it wasn’t meant.

I grew up in this wonderful country and I was raised to treat everyone as equals, regardless of religion, culture, sexuality or race. Colour has never been an issue for me and it took me a long time to realise what an issue it was for everyone else. South Africa has come an incredibly long way and I, for one, am proud of us as a nation. We’ve kicked anarchy in the head and so what if we’re stuck with cretins running our country – push ’em out and move on. We’ve dealt with a lot worse.

However*, there is one thing that I’m struggling to deal with – how we as South Africans have started to deal with race. I was once taught that it’s not politically correct to refer to ‘blacks’ and ‘whites,’ but rather black or white people. We are not a colour nor an adjective. We are all people, we just happen to come in different shades. Having said that, I’ve always believed that talking about issues helps us solve them. I remember an interesting comment from a colleague in the UK who visited SA: “I have never heard a nation talk about race quite as much as in South Africa.” It was an interesting observation, but I think it’s healthy. Our history is based on race issues. We (I use that term loosely) fought apartheid and won, as much as the Germans have the Holocaust to deal with, our cross to bear is race-related. Talking about it, joking about it and bitching about it is our nation’s form of therapy.

However, what was once an open platform now seems to have one of those terrible signs that we used to see everywhere, with one change: “Geen Blankes.** It seems as though white people are no longer allowed to voice our opinions on race-related issues and/or South Africa’s political state. I’ve always spoken openly about political issues and race (and sexuality and religion…etc.) and while I’m well aware that I’m not black and that I haven’t suffered, I am African and I live here too. Don’t take away my right to speak.

While in University, I had a wonderful ‘diverse’ group of friends and we all felt free to say whatever we wanted and joke about everything. Just as someone will tease me for being ginger, I was teased about being white and alternatively, I teased my friends about being black. It was an open, honest environment – we made light of our history. When I started at Uni, there was one person who made a drastic change in my life, without even knowing. My friend Nonny rocked up and my door and decided to introduce me to everyone. Long story short, I got to know a lot of people in a very short time and found they actually liked me. I went from an insecure, shy and moody post-adolescent to a confident woman…and a lot of it is thanks to a girl I used to mission around arm-in-arm with, calling her my fashion-accessory, making light of a current fad of preppy white students, making ‘friends’ with a black student (it was strange, but it was definitely a thing for a while). My friends were my friends not in spite of our differences, but because we could make light of them.

Before you go off at me, I’m not advocating that everyone goes around slinging racial slurs, but I do think we’ve taken a little step backwards. I would like to be able to have an open discussion that mentions race.  For Pete’s sake, I was chatting about my cat and actually stopped myself from saying ‘black,’ in fear of offending someone. I know this is my problem, but it’s something that I think a lot of white South Africans feel these days. We even fall short when describing a person. Imagine this: A man forgets his change at Checkers. The cashier is a white woman, about my age (still under 30, thank you!), she asks her friend to run after him and give him the change, but I can almost guarantee you that when she describes him, she’ll say he’s tall, with a small nose and brown eyes. The poor sod would have disappeared changeless before she mentions that he’s a black guy wearing a checkered shirt. I want to be able to mention race without people assuming I mean anything negative towards that race. I am not racist. I have never been and I never will. By mentioning someone’s race, I am not showing that I have ill-will towards them, I’m mentioning it because it helps me get whatever point I need to across, even if it’s something as simple as returning change.

If we write a political statement, say on Facebook, we’re swamped with angry, sometimes violent, comments about how we don’t have a right to say these things. Yet, we live in this country too. I’ve never felt as separate from my black friends, even those I consider family, as I do lately. I don’t believe I have the right talk about politics or race anymore.

I generally don’t do politics… it’s not my thing and I couldn’t be arsed. This kind of post is definitely a first for me, but it’s my way of saying I love my country. I love my country so much so that it hurts. Unlike others, I have a British passport, I can bugger off to another continent if I so please. I don’t. I’m a first generation South African. My family chose to live here. My parents loved this country so much so that they moved back to SA right in the middle of what they thought was about to be a civil war. My grandfather was taken to that terrible seventh floor, where they used to make you bungee jump sans cable (obviously, as he turns 84 on Sunday, they couldn’t prove that he was helping out a Chinese couple, as they suspected and which he was). My folks were at every ‘Free Mandela’ thing in the UK that they could get to, wearing hats and sunglasses, as they knew that the SA government was watching and recording faces, so they could stop them coming back into the country. I was born here, 10kms from where Shaka was, out of love for this country.

I have the ability to drop everything today and move. I could go live on the dol and stare at people’s shoes on the tube in a second. But*** I don’t want to. I chose this country. If that doesn’t make me African, what does?

All I’m saying, is that it should no longer be a case of black vs white, but Africans vs our pathetic government.

*Those that heard my rampage on sentences starting with a conjunction, this is my poetic license. It applies to *** too. 

**After much Googling, I still can’t find the spelling, so I hope this is right. 

 

The bottom of the bottle

I’ve not been around lately, mainly because I have little to get off my chest (except the increasing pounds).

[Note to self: do not spend your adolescence wishing for bigger boobs*, Murphy brings you bigger thighs, bigger stomach, and much bigger arms to match].

Not that I’m not constantly dwelling on my made-up, over-thought, miniscule problems, but I’ve had my very own psychotherapist living down the road (emphasis on psycho ;)) This therapist falls under the category of ‘friend’ and brings fags and vodka to every consult. Thus, my problems are drowned out by the vodka and the gyre my house becomes once it’s imbibed.

London, Bounds Green. My cousin and I finished 3 bottles of those bad boys and...I won't tell you what happened next. Hey, maybe this isn't a new solution?

I once had an empty fridge, now it is filled with half-empty tonic bottles, the remnants of lemon and about three half-full bottles of Smirnoff at any given time.

I have to say, although I’ve never been one to advocate drinking ones problems away, I’m quite keen on this solution for me. The answer lying at the bottom of the bottle doesn’t cause me much panic, I’m lucky enough to know it’s temporary and only social, so the only problem lies in the pit of my stomach. Well, duodenum to be exact – this is where my lovely ulcer lies.

So, in short, and to not bother you with my problems, as they’ve ceased to be the centre of my universe, every time someone pisses me off, I’m in pass-my-shotgun mode, I have an argument, I want to kill a client, or I’m quite ready to throw myself off a bridge, I call my therapist. She runs down with voddie in one hand, a pack of smokes in the other (okay, to be fair, we take turns in getting the voddie & smokes) and we talk it out…then we sing it out and occasionally we cry it out. It’s all good.

A few concerned citizens have expressed their worry that I’ll fall apart at the seams once she leaves….next week, but I have no fear of this. I’ll miss the chats, but there’ll always be my good friend, Smirnoff**

 

 

*I do love a good footnote, but just reading a book by Karen Rose – ok, a bit Mills & Boonsy, but a great plot, lots of twists- and a cosmetic surgeon is given an engraved watch by his wife saying ‘Thanks for the mammories.’ It gave me a good giggle… I do hope I don’t have to explain the pun.

**If anyone even thinks about reading this in a serious tone and offers me help for alcoholism which isn’t present, I’ll be forced to ram the humor down your narrow-minded throat (mixed metaphor allowed). Let’s read this in the way it was intended, okay? ***

*** Taking the footnote to the extreme, this therapist has also gotten me into healthy eating and, god forbid, exercising, so, well, blah.

“It’s beginning to look a lot like”….a lot of bloody work

Last night, I donned my Christmas hat, got out my wine and unpacked all the Christmas decorations.

I’d like to place an emphasis on ‘all.’ Let’s remember that I’ve been away for nigh on two years and have had no decorations throughout that time, so I looked forward to coming back, calmly putting up the lights and decorations and moving on.

So I put up my tree and unpacked my decorations. The result was this:

In case you were wondering, all those things around the lamp are lights. All the things on the coffee table are lights. I have, I think, 12 sets of working lights.

Can someone please tell me what the fuck I’m supposed to do with them?

I’m not good when given choices. Set me on my way with one route and I’ll go that way (as long as I have the illusion of freedom). Don’t give me 12 sets of lights! It took me roughly 45 minutes just to decide which ones to put on the tree.

I put them all on. Checked them. Moved them. Nudged them into symmetry (OCD). And then decided they sucked. So replaced the coloured lights with another set. Then added the original set. Then realised it was too crowded and took the new set off.

Last night, I started at about 7pm and ended at 11pm. Not drunk, because I was too busy faffing with bloody lights to drink. I managed to put up a wreath (very pretty, I must say, even if done over the monkey/kitten mesh), put up my tree and put the lights on said tree. That’s it. There are no baubles. There are two pieces of tinsel on the tree. Nothing else.

And this morning I woke up, looked at the tree and thought ‘Fuck it, we’ll have to start again.’

Does anyone else have this kind of OCD or is it just little ol’ me?

On that note, the baubles come next.

“Rest ye merry gentlemen” my arse…

Side note: Four stockings. There is one person in this house. My folks have their own. What was I thinking? About 10 random wall hanging things. Seriously? Old Sez, what the hell were you thinking? Tacky much? A packet of Reindeer Food…with, dear lord, two-year old chocolates in. Three or four decorative mini trees (wire and bead ones). 9 hats…although those are cool, if they survive the kittens. GARDEN decorations and outside lights that no longer work.

A special kind of hell

Friday looms. Most look forward to Fridays, more so as they start to mark the end of the year and the coming of vacation.

Cat + little redhead that looks just like I did = perfect picture for me.

I have no life, I work throughout the weekends and I don’t have a vacation – therefore, Fridays loom. But more so this one, as Friday marks the day I turn a whole 28.

I’m not all that fussed about age. The older I get, the further I seem to get from my small goals, but the closer I get to my big ones, so technically, I’m sort of balanced. However, birthdays for me hold a special kind of horror.

Firstly, a day that’s all about me is likely to send me cowering under the desks and holding back remotely telling anyone about said day (which, due to my terror, I always seem to do – earning myself my very own high-five to the forehead). Don’t get me wrong, I’m plenty selfish and self-centred on any given day, but a day that forces you down on your knees to beg for attention isn’t my idea of fun.

I don’t want everyone looking at me. As a redhead, that comes part of the package and it’s the part I despise. I need no more attention please. I don’t want the world to see my fly’s undone, or I’ve, yet again, spilt coffee down my front. I don’t want hugs from smelly strangers or lovely smiles that, regardless of who they’re from, I feel the need to smack off the holder’s face. And I don’t want presents 😥

Don’t laugh, this is where I quiver in fear. The present giving. Yes, we all like to get shit that we’ve wanted to for ages and the shit I get is good…great even, but the process of getting it? Let’s just say I’m not sure it’s worth the sacrifice.

Days before the big day looms I start to practice my expressions. A one-size-fits-all expression doesn’t work. Present givers know me too well and would know that one present is by far superior than the other, and therefore determines a superior expression. But what if I don’t like said present?

If I’m ecstatic, am I showing my appreciation enough? Do they know that inside I’m yelling for joy and offering them my first-born child? If I hate the present, is it showing? Can they see me plotting revenge behind my tightly stitched on ‘thank you smile?’

The idea that someone would know that I’m not happy with something they went out of their way to get me, sends me off into a stressed, panic-driven spin. The idea that they haven’t the foggiest that I’m happier than I’ve been in years, does the equivalent.

A short example: My parents call me to the nearby mall the other day, as they struggled to find the speakers that I had hinted I wanted (the hint itself took much effort). I rush off there, in dread, but pasted a solider-face on, only to find they’d organised for me to ‘test’ the various speakers. I was in Hell. I tried to look at prices (choose the cheapest), but the folks know me too well and hid the prices. I tried to choose the first one, but they insisted I try them. They know me horribly well.

By the time I arrived home, my ulcer had actually started bleeding again.* This is how much stress birthdays are.

Do any of you suffer the same? Would any of you truly (now let’s be honest) prefer to cancel birthdays and have absolutely no money spent on you?

*On the plus side, the speaker I chose was awesome.

Just one stocking

After a moderately stressful day, I popped by my grandfather’s for a glass of box vino and a chat.

My grandfather’s one of those lovely elderly folk who doesn’t dwell on ‘the ol’ days.’ We can have a pretty good chat about current events, family stuff and the likes, never having to enter into the world of the old that the youth so readily condescend without ever having understood.

Yesterday, however, we got onto the topic of how he met my grandmother. A touchy, but touching, subject, as she passed over two years ago and he is still very much in love with her…as are we all. After chatting to him, I got to wondering whether true love, or at least true romance is now antiquated.

We’ve all watched movies like The Notebook and other parodies of history and romance – it makes us weep (or, if you’re a ceiling watcher like I am, bawl shamelessly) and makes us wish for a such a time, whilst realising the fiction and the sensationalism that makes those movies so damned profitable.

*But listening to my grandfather, I realised that, perhaps, movies such as these aren’t sensationalised at all.

He lived that life of trust, honesty, fidelity and romance. He spent years apart from his girlfriend, not yet wife, writing her letters, with which he posted only one stocking a time, to ensure she replied. Stockings weren’t readily available in England at the time and my grandfather had returned to Scotland to dig trenches for electricity lines, whilst my gran completed her nursing studies in Plymouth. So he would only send the second stocking after she replied, thus ensuring their correspondence continued.

They spent months and years apart and somehow retained passion, love and trust. Coincidence had it that they were both transferred to London and one year later they were married. This may seem slightly tame in comparison to the love-birds in The Notebook, but when you look deeper, you find the sensationalism, you find the struggles and the difficulty that they faced just to be together.

My grandfather is a Scot, a damned proud one. My gran was as Irish as can be and came from a…um…rather traditional family. My grandfather was not well off, whereas my gran’s family was wealthy. My grandfather was a Protestant, whilst (and here’s the clincher) my gran was an Irish Catholic.**

When they were wed, no parents attended the wedding.

Whilst apart, they wrote and they knew the other would reply. They had oceans between them and yet they trusted fully. In today’s day and age, we look down on what we term ‘long-distance relationships.’ I’m a loud and proud advocator of not having a long-distance relationship and have accused friends of ‘playing it safe’,  by having a partner so far away that you have a hassle-free relationship without the implied shame of singledom.

After chatting to my grandfather, I now find myself ashamed. I’m a firm believer in true love and have always been, regardless of logic, and yet I felt free and obligated to condescend those that fought for love, regardless of distance.

I am ashamed that I should so readily give up the values of past generations, so am now determined to support those who fight for love, no matter how far apart they may be.

I only hope that someday I shall find someone who will love me enough to send me just one stocking.

 

*please ignore the bad grammar – poetic license.

**allow me some flexibility on the facts, I may have one or two mixed up, but the gist remains the same.


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