Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Yesterday I was a cesspool of stuck energy and unproductivity. Sometimes the freelance lifestyle leaves you feeling cut off from people. All alone at your desk in your thoughts in your head. It wasn't that, though. Sometimes its easy to get too wrapped up in other things and to neglect being at your desk. Sometimes you crave the time alone, just being able to shut the door on the world. We've been doing some light renovations. Turning a grotty outside room into a yoga room/meditation room/gym room, depending on who you are in the house and what you think the space will be perfect for. I've been dealing with builders (well, to be fair, only one very talented easy to be around guy from Natal called Senzo), hardware store visits and the pitfalls of designing by committee. My partner and I share a house with a friend. There's a reason why playwrights favour a cast of three - more chance for triangulation, and draaamaaaa....

Anywaayyy, I needed a walk. One of the things I don't like about Joburg is the fact that its not entirely a good idea for a girl to walk on her own, and I need my walks. I come from a long line of walkers. they say its not safe. Not that I've ever been in trouble. I'm a lert, I've got a nose for danger.

I like my neighbourhood. Only been here a year. Two blocks down is Louis Botha, home to lots of Congolese, Nigerian and Zimbabwean small business owners. I love the vibe. And yes, we do hear gunshots on a Friday night quite regularly. Well, the last two days were Diwali fireworks. Two blocks in the other direction is old money and linksfield ridge, established homes with big trees. It's a neighbourhood in transition. I love it.

I don't know any better mental health maintenance system than walking. Unless maybe writing. I come from a long line of walkers. When the oil runs out we'll be ok, me and mine. We got good legs.

Kallenbach drive takes you up suddenly, a gasping thigh stretch. I have to do this, and alone. its that or eat live boyfriend for dinner. my patience is stretched tighter than a piece of legen* on a charcoal carrier's bicycle. I need to stomp. and swear.

Kallenbach drive takes you past Spanish style villas built on old Joburg mining money. Whitewashed turrets and red tiles next to the steel and glass of the late 70s mansions behind their gliding gates. It lifts you up and out of rush hour traffic faster than a cable car. And my, but Joburg is looking resplendant, the old tart. She's like an old drag queen with a new lease of life. Three soaking rains have cleared the air of pollution and standing on top of the ridge you can see all the way to the double penises of Sandton. Look out over clotted Jacaranda and hot blushes of bouganvillia. Gone is the highveld beige, mauve is in and its all foamy and delicious, puffed sleeves nogal, on the greenlined streets. The air is thick with the mating scents of flowers and birds are delirious.

Needless to say, my mood clears like carbon monoxide on a wiff of jasmine breeze.

I'll not be chatting much here in the next wee while as my computer has been making some alarming distress signals and its going to the doctor.

Thanks all of you for your sweet kind comments and feedback. It really means a lot.


fush and chips said...

You're right. Jo'burg, the rum old slapper, does seem to have had a makeover.

Walking, girl alone- not good. It's a shit state of affairs. Get a big dog maybe?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mind picture of my old home town, Johannesfontein! Sigh.

Athena said...

ah, Jozi in bloom, your post just made my homesickness a little more vivid. woke to a zero degrees grey morning in sweden. what I wouldn't do right now for some glorious mauve and sunlight past 4 o'clock. thanks for the virtual window into that crazy wonderful city. hope your computer gets better soon - don't want to contemplate the cold and dark with added fleeing muses withdrawal symptoms;)

Adrianne said...

I am an avid walker, too, and know just what you mean. Thanks for the images of Joburg, and hope that your computer makes a recovery.

Miranda said...

Tamara you are a word master

(Just checked that before I sent and it said you are a word mater. hahahaha)

Lori ann said...

I think you're right, walking is so good for clearing the head, getting exercise and for the environment, some people around here walk with a golf club or bat to shoo off crazy dogs or mountain lions!

p.s. word veri: wimpical. its me, wimp in california

Marina said...

Surprise! It's your cousin Marina from Freiburg, Germany! I just saw your comment in Mom's blog and wanted to return my love to you. And to Miranda, of course. Man, you two are so gorgeous.

I'm glad to hear you've got a nose for danger. I've never felt uneasy walking around in lonely places either, which I absolutely need from time to time.

Anyway, I hope your computer will get better soon...

Say HI to Miranda and your sweet Mama!
Lotsalove XXX

ArtSparker said...

As far as freelancing, I seem to be vacillate between panic at the amount I'm not getting done to the point where I waste a lot of energy not getting things done, and delaying work mode. then everything (some things) gets done late in the day.

Reya Mellicker said...

I, too, love to walk. Gave up my car almost four years ago - I haven't missed it. We have car sharing in DC, so I can rent a car for an hour or two when I need to get the big bags of dog food or whatever. The rest of the time I walk, ride my bike or take the subway.

Walking is a large component of my Plan to Stay Sane. I agree with you completely that it clears the mind and heart.

Thanks for the portrait of your neighborhood. And for the phrase, "the pitfalls of designing by committee." Oh yeah!

You are so cool.

tam said...

Hi Fush. Dog has been the cards for a while - was never settled enough until now, but it is a plan. Not sure what my cats would think.

Rob, she's sizzling hot at the moment!

Athena dear, come home, come home. We miss you so. And thanks for the comment! :)

Adrianne, thanks for stopping by.

Miranda I like word mater a lot. Might put it on my business card. I run a breeding project!

Lori Ann you certainly don't seem like a wimp, and thanks for all your interest and messages. Its quite fun this cross continental game of finding commonalities! Joburg dangers are a far cry form mountain lions. Animals are predictable, relatively. people are not.

My dear cousin!! You guys put me to shame with your good English and my shocking German. Urgh. When are you coming to visit?

Artsparker - I know all about it. Those last few hours of a friday afternoon! Oh dear.

And dear Reya, I haven't been able to comment much in the last while, but your last few posts have been fantastic! And you certainly have mastered the art of delivering a real compliment. Thanks so much.