Friday, March 27, 2009

You know you're getting married when...

You trap your own arm in the electric window of your car when reaching for a parking ticket (Just one step ahead of yourself)

No matter how hard you try to be in the present moment you keep popping out of your body and floating over an imaginary table arrangement sometime in the not too distant future

Your bed time reading is Rumi

You keep filling up with tears for inexplicable reasons like how beautiful the peaches are that the street fruit seller offers you

Your boyfriend and you have never ever had such quick turnarounds between disagreement and make-up

You wake up in the night sweating about all the people you wish you could have invited but didn't coz you had to draw the line somewhere.

Your handbag is a clutch of receipts.

Your bank account is gasping

You stop at green traffic lights and don't realise it til people behind you hoot

You walk past florist shops and give them the same eye that hawks give when they spy mice in the grass

Your family members suddenly think you're a travel agent

You are immersed in 'life admin' documents but don't know what to sign your name as

You don't know if its too late to invite the people you wanted to invite now that two people have cancelled and you could theoretically make up the numbers but isnt that kind of rude.

You cannot, simply cannot think about anything else

You are trying not to behave like a diva, but....

You have any to add, those of you that have been through this particular little rite of passage?

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Revolution is for sale

Its kind of a dusty taste, like eating cornflakes that fell in the driveway and then you had to scoop them back in your bowl coz you didn't have a choice. The realisation that the South African government is not going to issue the Dalai Lama a visa.




Its "in the best interests of the country" if he doesn't come. Says the same government.


It best serves us, if a world renowned leader of peace love tolerance compassion et al stays away? is treated as an undesirable alien? Hangonaminite. We are South Africa. We are a country that by definition should be in favour of love tolerance compassion respect, the constitutional right to freedom of movement... er..
wot? you gonna ask his holiness to show his dompas?

Ok, try not to emotional about it, says my love. Just do a discourse analysis of the press release. Just look at it coolly. Even if you do that, its kinda shocking. I mean, on what basis do you normally deny someone a visa? If they are a suspected terrorist? A convicted drug dealer? This is the same country that gave refuge to Aristide of Haiti when no-one else would have him. (try to look at it unemotionally, he says).

The press release says, no, we're not aware of any pressure from China. We just think it would be in the best interests of the country, Because its a conference about Soccer. (bow low now, bow low) and the link between Soccer and Peace. and so what contribution would the Dalai Lama be making? (to this great moment) The press release seems to be saying his Holiness will just detract from the whole soccer thing by drawing attention away from the 2010 World Cup (bow down low, bow down) and putting it onto the whole Tibet thing. And therefore its not in the best interests... etc etc.

Um, hang on, let me pick that logic apart once more... you DON'T want him to draw attention away from the conference... and so you're going to refuse him entry? Because that will keep the newspapers focused on the issue at hand. Which is... um, what was it again? Soccer, peace, tolerance, anti-racism, human rights... oh yes. Ok. Funny, I didn't know a thing about it til this.

Oh bollox.

Its not a bit funny. I wish it was. The worst thing about it is that the only active outraged voices are the octagenarians. The dear Archbishop and his ageing peacekeepers.

It does, it makes me feel like like I swallowed sawdust.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Might as well face it.

Most of us have been disappointed by love at some time in our lives.

But this is not a post about that.

This is a random and a rambling post. Its about gloves.

A dear friend and I have a game we play from time to time - replacing the word 'love' in popular songs, with 'glove'. Its fun.

"What've gloves got to do with it?"
"All you need are gloves! Gloves are all you need"
"Might as well face it, you're addicted to gloves"
"Gloves are in the air"
"Oooohhh, I need your gloving..."
"A glove is in the air..."

Well, we think its fun.

This post is an antidote.

I got two awards, you see. I've been awarded for being a blog thinker. A think blogger. A Cognisense Blognosense foggisense blogger. Val should know, I was always a thoughtful child. (and a vomitous one, but that's another story)

I distinctly remember someone saying to me once "Stop staring at me like that!" I had no idea. I was playing my favourite game - stare at someone and see their face as a baby, and then warp your vision to see them as an old person. I loved that game. I guess it must have been kind of freaky to be on the receiving end.

At school I was always told by my sage friends, "you think too much."

So, dear Val, and Karen, who awarded it again (some time ago I admit).

Thank you. I humbly accept, and I'm afraid you are probably right. I'm a bit of a thoughtful lass. Thanks for the nudge. Time I got back on the old cushion and emptied my head a little. Too many thoughts - eish, not a comfortable place. As Louis van Loon once said - if your thoughts are like the spaghetti, try to be in the spaces in between. Don't be the spaghetti.

I am not my thoughts. They just borrow me.

But thanks anyway, dear Val and Karen, whose blogs are not devoid of thoughtfulness either.

If you could appropriate one invention or device from Harry Potter's world, what would it be? Me - the Pensieve. That marvelous tool that Dumbledore used to empty his head for a while so that he could think properly. Oh yeah. I need that one. Especially now.

In other news - I am trying to avoid being Her.

You know Her.

I'd only ever heard of her. The Zilla. Not that virulent lioness of Western Cape politics.

I mean.

Shhh. [Bridezilla]. She who must not be given space.

She who tears menus with her teeth and flosses with rose thorns afterwards.

She who rants at the shrinking groom, as she towers and totters and crashes and-

She who must not come here. No.

Its not true.

We don't all have a tiny bridezilla lurking in us, waiting to come out.


Who said that?

I'll zap you with the registry gun and put you on my list.

I'll Seating Plan you out of existence.

Of course I remember why I'm doing this. Shattap!

In other thoughts -

You know how in many traditions there is a taboo around women preparing food when they are menstruating? Because they are thought to be Unclean? And then some feminist thought says that this is a patriarchal invention, that men associate female 'hotness' with impurity because they are trying to otherise femininity or some suchness?

Don't you think just maybe its a Cunning Plan invented by women, so that women can have a bloody week off? Pun bloody well intended.


That's better.


By the way....

Have you ever been in a glove?

P.S. I will award the thoughtfulness blog to 5 others, as prescribed. I'm just not sure who yet. I have to think about it.

*Bridezilla (a portmanteau of bride and Godzilla) is a generic term used to describe a difficult, unpleasant, perfectionist bride who leaves aggravated family, friends and bridal vendors in her wake. A bridezilla is obsessed with her wedding as her perfect day and will disregard the feelings of the family, bridesmaids and even her groom in her quest for the perfect wedding. -Wikipedia

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Father, you'll do

"Garsfontein, I don't trust Garsfontein. Ghastlyfontein, that's what it is. Klinkerbrick and vicious dogs, that's Ghastlyfontein for you. I don't want to get married by someone who lives in Garsfontein."

In spite of his grumbling, my love is being good natured about the Saturday morning drive to meet an unknown pastor that we found on the internet.

We wanted an old family friend of B's to do the ceremony. Someone he knew well as a teenager. Unfortunately, with two adopted autistic children to look after, the old man is not able to make the journey.

The ad, if there was an ad, should've read: Wanted: Lutheran marriage officer with strong Buddhist leanings, must possess own 4x4.

We were starting to get a little jumpy about the fact that this was still a big blank on the excel sheet. (yes, we have an excel sheet. we do not have a wedding planner. We are the wedding planner). The kind faced man who could have done some of it in German - not available. The Irish fellow who seemed to have a twinkly sense of humour - not available. My tentative attempts to enlist a certain pagan ritualist - not meeting much humour.

It's a tricky one. B chose this date because it is the anniversary of his father's death. His father was a minister. (the only man, who could ever teach me, was the son of preacher man...) B wants his mother, who is still stolidly faithful to her husband's memory after 20 years, to have a joyous association with this date. To freshen it with love and renewal. I'm so aware of the presence of this man I have never met, in the silences, the things that are unsaid. I feel the sway of his invisible influence. How would Papa have done the ceremony? is thick in the air, unspoken. Oh, on the surface, we know we want to make it our own, and we know that all weddings will ultimately represent a meeting point between two family's value systems, but... I was starting to feel that the date was lending the event all this extra significance.

One night I dreamed we were on the water, on a boat. One of the Seka actors, Simon Banda, fished up a head from the water. He thought it was a large mango or coconut but it turned out to be a head - I didn't get a look at it, but they told me it was my beloved's father. Still intact - not gruesome at all. My dreams have had base notes of kindness, with twists of anxiety and sudden flames of rage, but this one was ponderous and matter of fact

So a late night fever of filling out internet request forms and the only one who calls me back is the strong-voiced man from Garsfontein. He spams me with forms and glowing testimonials from brides and mothers of brides. Why am I suspicious of glowing praise? Where does that come from in my biography? Er, you don't have to answer that.

So we head out on the N1 to Pretoria early on Saturday, the green Merc crammed with expectations and doubts and jokes and family pressures and also just the gentle reminders to each other of what we want (and what we don't want) and what's the secret sign that we will use to communicate to one another that this one Won't Do.
B will touch his mala beads. I will flick my sunglasses on my head a couple of times. Ok.

Garsfontein is indeed klinkerbrick followed by facebrick followed by more klinkerbrick, and the roads are named after breeds of dog. Seriously. Mastiff, Borzoi, Boerbull. We are relieved the minister does not live in Pitbull drive. We are relieved to see that he has three very cute daschunds. We are relieved to see the twinkle in eyes framed by deep smile lines.

B does his thing - explains the intricacies of what we want and don't want, the traditional Lutheran order of service, the additional vows we want in there, and our anxieties, and our wish to know what he is comfortable with, or not. The oddness of sitting on a beige couch in a stranger's house, awkwardly trying to articulate the complexity of syncretic traditions, symbols and beliefs that have accrued to us over our years together. Trying to pin down an order of service that won't make his mother clutch her crucifix in bafflement, but will leave room for us to express ourselves. I think we did a good job.

"I am an inter-denominational marriage officer," he explains. "I have married Pagans, I have married Christians, I married a Jew and a Muslim last week. I have married Buddhists. I will include whatever vows you like. I won't do Pagan practice. I won't chant." He shares a story about two "nature worshippers" who chose to marry outdoors, "in nature". "Nature was kind to them," he smiled. "It poured with rain. The bride's mascara ran down her face, the guests were soaked...Oh, it always rains in April," he cautions me.

He has a big strong voice, he has a sense of humour. He is relatively open-minded. We hope he won't be sexist. He is prepared to travel. He can do all the legal stuff, so its an all in one go affair. He has spirit. Or, I suppose he would say, he is guided by Spirit. B says he will be sparing with details to his Ma about the man's Pentecostal leanings. He is obviously a tad theatrical and can work a crowd, so at least it won't be boring. There is no need to stroke the mala beads or fiddle with sunglasses. He'll do.

He won't chant, but he'll do. I wonder if he'll wear an Elvis suit?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

This one is not about a wedding

I promise. I won't mention it once.

I'm just feeling a sudden rush and swell of goodwill towards the beautiful city I live in.

This happened prior to reading this hilarious article by Jeremy Clarkson about our lavender lined streets. Ok, so Jeremy hasn't been to Alex in winter near midnight, and obviously hasn't had the experience of being young sexy poor female and Zimbabwean on the streets of Hillbrow, or rich and driving a verrrry desirable car on the Malboro offramp, but still - he's right, to a certain extent. Joburg is piss-easy and safe, if you play it right.

I'm busy working on a little something with a dear friend, for the Grahamstown festival. A piece about Jozi. A love poem to Jozi. An exploration into - what is it that makes you love and survive this place? One of my favourite things in this city is listening to people give directions. It literally makes me gas up with giggles, I can't quite say why. Its a certain goodwill promise we have to each other as citizens - we help you get where you need to be. You take the Riviera offramp, ok, then turn left but get into the right lane immediately...then right and second left into, I think its second avenue Houghton...
Oh, I could write a whole play with people giving directions. Or a dance piece. lost people, giving each other directions and missing. Wrong turns and dead ends, cordoned off streets "for security reasons" and negotiating the space between the rising panic of being lost and the delight of discovering a new road or two in a part of town you've never been.

I love this mad city, all of a sudden. When I was 17 my dad owned a flat in Hillbrow - its now a derelict part of town, but (perhaps) on the rise again. Oh, I remember walking up the rise of the 'brow, to the bookshop, to Look n Listen. I remember buying James Dean posters in the poster shop, feeding a sweet teenage obsession. I remember getting flashed by a Twist street vagrant - a foreshadowing of the days when one wasn't allowed to walk those streets alone. Again.

Aah, but this city gets her grip around you, and I'd never have said that five years ago when I was trying to be faithful to The Mountain (of Cape Town. yes, Shiny, I'm talking to you).

I love her history - the gangs, the fever of goldrush, the sudden streets, the dustbowl politics and the hastily erected rules and regulations and streets and forest plantations.

I love the way whole streets and buildings have their identities erased and pasted over and erased again. Joburg has been built and rebuilt and erased and built again several times over.

I dunno, I reckon the city she has a certain something, bouganvillia and koi pond outlets aside.

Since the Georges first hit paydirt here, and the whole fabric of lies and hustle and bluff started to gather momentum, I reckon its a space where you can spin your own hustle and bluff and blunder and people might just actually pay you for it. The tricky part is, she can just just as easily eat you alive as pay you out for your chutzpah. What's it gonna be?

Ah, Jozi, my city. You wanna visit? Text me, I'll give you directions.