Friday, January 28, 2005

An excellent day.

It’s started off so well. The day, I mean. My daughter had to be at basketball practice at 7 am. Can do this, I think. No problem. Just have to be organized very early. Off we go. Just a few minutes late. But all sorted. Come home. See her lunchbox still on the table. Alrighty then. Just another quick trip back to the school, stopping to buy a cooldrink on the way. She’ll be really thirsty after basketball and then there’s choir in the afternoon. Drop it off. No problem. Younger son is taken to school by dad. Excellent. Hours of time to self stretch ahead. Should easily get those two articles written today.

But first a quick bath. Hair fully soaked, and there’s a heavy beeping at the gate. A giant truck is awaiting instructions. Oh goody! It’s the potash due a week ago, arriving right now. Okay. No problem. Throw clothes over thoroughly wet self. Ask truck not to take gate off hinges as it reverses towards mud-pit laughingly known as the car port. But this is good. Gardener is here today. Wonderful. Gardener and potash on same day. Couldn’t get better. Gardener stands underneath truck as truck begins to tip backwards. Gardener removes a few errant stones from under truck as truck threatens to download ten tonnes of potash on him. I shout. Just a little hysterically. Gardener moves away just in time. Okay. All sorted. Still a good day. Gardener alive. Potash delivered. Gardener raking potash into shape. Excellent.

Second son wakes up. Needs to go to friend for urgent cricket playing. Having just finished school he is making huge effort to do nothing for a living. Will just run him to friend. No problem. Then will come back in time to write two brilliant articles before I go to pick up other two. On way to son’s friend, I remember I have to book son’s learner’s license. Alrighty. Can do this. Friend lives near license place. Easy. Drop off son two. Go to licence place. See suspiciously large queue wending its way around the building. Am not put off. Make way inside. Find green form. Stand in queue. Long one. This is good. I can think about articles while I wait. This is a good thing. Get to end of long queue. Am told I can’t book learner’s license unless son is with me to test his eyes first. For a booking? Yes. Okay. Alright. No problem. I can do this. Decide to leave this mission for today. Will go home and start those articles instead.

Cell phone rings while driving. University calls to say that son’s late application for BSc has been approved. Must go in immediately to fetch forms. Alright. Can do this. This is a good day. Caller caught me in my car on the way past university. Things are working out well. Get to university. Don’t stand in arbitrary queue. Ask first. Am learning! Find woman who phoned. Get form. But now have to go to bank to do immediate deposit. And then come back again with form and deposit slip. Alrighty. Can do this. This is a good thing. Things are working out well. This means I can go to the ID card place and clear my university card for this year. Have had two letters written by the faculty, paid my fees and have been trying to update card for two months. All should finally be sorted now. Right. Arrive at the window prepared for swift successful interaction. Am told it can’t be done. Something snaps in head. It’s not okay. It’s not alright. It’s not a good day. Loose it completely. Shout about how it’s so hard to get a card updated that it makes getting the degree look like a picnic! Perform. Throw toys out of cot. The woman behind the window performs back. And then I just stop. It’s not going to help. It can’t be done. And that’s when it happens. The tears. They start rolling and nothing will stop them. Have lost this battle today. The bureaucratic world has won. The woman behind the counter softens. She tries all avenues but her hands are tied by red tape. I apologise for shouting. Say it has been an awful day. Leave quietly.

Just as I go I see a sky blue egg shell under the nearby tree. I’ll rescue that I think. It’ll make everything worthwhile. Such a beautiful blue. Carry vacated shell home in my car. Place it on my desk as a reminder of beauty in the midst of crises. Older son comes home and crushes it with one twist of his fingers. I thought it was a marshmallow, he says. Try not to think about metaphors.

798 words.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

A Matter of Time: Sc 31


SARAH:So back to the game, people! Now, you have to swear that you will do whatever is asked of you as a consequence.

FRANS:I’m ready for anything. But maybe some more brandy first ... to get into the SPIRIT of the game, hey?

LEONARD:I think I’ll just watch.

SARAH:No watchers allowed.

FRANS:I’ve heard Leonard likes to watch, isn’t that right boet?

MARTINUS:Come on Leonard. It’ll be fun.

LEONARD:Okay. But I still think it’s stupid.

KOBUS:I like games.

SARAH:Oh goody!

CADDIE:(To Sarah)I’m not sure I trust you tonight.

SARAH:What do they say: ‘Trust no one but yourself.’

CADDIE:(Jokingly).And even then, think twice!

MARTINUS:So how do we start?

SARAH:Who wants to go first?

MARTINUS:You start. Then we can see how the game’s played.

SARAH:An excellent idea.

FRANS:Oh hel, nou gaan ons kak!

SARAH:Okay then. Let me see. Oh I love this delicious sense of power! Right then. Let’s start with ... I don’t know ... Kobus!


CADDIE:Is that fair, Sarah?

SARAH:Hey, all’s fair in love and war, honey.

KOBUS:(Very keen)Okay, what do I have to do?

SARAH:Just answer the question - as truthfully as possible. Now, what shall I ask dear old Kobus ...?

KOBUS:Ask me anything!

SARAH:(Thinks for a moment)I know. Would you like to kiss my friend Caddie over here?

CADDIE:(Shocked, but quite amused).Sarah!

SARAH:No-one’s allowed to play the Pope, please. Just answer the question, Kobus. Would you like to kiss Caddie?

FRANS:(Excited at the prospect)Hell, who wouldn’t?

KOBUS:(Very embarrassed)I don’t know.

SARAH:You have to answer.

KOBUS:(Very quietly)Maybe.

SARAH:(Pouncing on his answer)What was that?

KOBUS:(Defensively now)No. Not really.

SARAH:And is that your final answer?Kobus refuses to say anymore.

FRANS:Come on Kobusie. You can tell us.

LEONARD:Ja, Kobus. Now we learn the truth, hey?

KOBUS:Shut up.


SARAH:Now do we believe Kobus’ answer?


MARTINUS:Hell, man, give the poor chap a break.

SARAH:This is just the way the game works, Martinus. Get used to it. Now you have to pay the consequence for not telling the truth, Kobus. Ummm. What shall I make you do? And remember, you HAVE to do it.

CADDIE:Come on Sarah. I agree with Martinus. Cut Kobus some slack.

SARAH:(Relentless and mocking Caddie’s attitude)‘Oooh. I agree with Martinus.’ Well, sorry for you. Now then, let’s see. Well because you lied, Kobus, you have to ... have to ... I know: kiss Caddie!Frans and Leonard laugh delightedly.

KOBUS:No man. I can’t do that.

SARAH:Oh but you have to, my friend. Come on.(Subtly wicked)You know you want to.