Tuesday, June 15, 2010

World Cup Mania - Shmeld Cup Bore!

Predictably and comfortingly unsurprisingly I am not enamored with the Soccer World Cup. I’m dully unchanging in my sarcastic, cynical outlook about anything everyone goes gaga over. I find it gives me something to mull over while I go about my hum-drum sort of life.

I also suspect my detractors1 find some cold comfort in thinking me miserable and negative. But they should really know by now that I take great joy in my misery and negativity. And so it is for them that I sit and indulge myself in a spot of Soccer World Cup bashing.

Perhaps the most irritating factor of this World Cup is that South Africa’s worth is now judged by the Twitter Trending Topic. I should point out that my angst with soccer is vastly fueled by what I read on Twitter and Facebook and by watching eTV’s increasingly preposterous news bulletins.

“Oooh, Vuvuzela is trending!”

“5 of Twitter’s Top 10 Trending topics are about South Africa!!!!!!”

“Let’s get Phillip trending! Phillip you beauty!!!”

*excuse me while I roll my eyes and make a puking face*

Then what happens? What exactly happens when vuvuzela starts to “trend” on Twitter? What does it mean for the average Joe strolling down the meandering pathways of shanty towns in search of this evening’s meal? What does it mean for the politician pulling his pants up after a mid-afternoon shaggathon with a woman who is not his wife in a seedy hotel just around the corner from 90 Plein Street? What does it mean to me, a Tweep, voraciously addicted to chronicling my daily routine for anyone who cares? What? Bugger all that’s what.

And yet we all must use World Cup hashtags and get extremely excited when we chuck “Cala Boca Galvao” and Justin Beiber out of the now obviously oh-so-important number one spot on the trending topic list.

And then comes in the fake camaraderie among the races! Am I being too sensitive when I think suspect even as they jump on the “Phillip! It is Here!” wave most of the Twitterverse is secretly embarrassed for and laughing at the poor daily UKhozi FM caller who spawned Phillip? I mean, who did he THINK Philip was? Hahaha. Perhaps I am the only one embarrassed and laughing.

Anyway the tweets come in all shapes and sizes:

“Oooh! Rainbow Nation!!”

“Madiba! o========<() PAAAAAAARP!!!”

“Oh My God I love my country!! SOUTH AFRICA *hoarse voice*”

“Wave your flag! Wave your flag! I’m so EMOTIONAL!”

“Sandton is ONE colour today! Not blacks and whites and Indians but South Africans!”

“My blood is YELLOW!”

Among these irritatingly uncharacteristic tweets and Facebook status updates by my various pals and those retweeted into my stream (as well as Debra Patta saying with a deadpan face, “I’ve got the fevah, how about you?”) a small voice of truth emerges”

“Why the F&*^ did they have to build the biggest Stadium in Soweto? Isn’t that like Murderville?”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! I love this Tweep! Whoever he is, he remains among the few who don’t forget the intrinsic distrust and dislike among the races in South Africa, #WC2010 notwithstanding.

When Nelson Mandela walked in public for the first time after his 27 years of incarceration South Africans of all races were hugging in the streets (except the white people furtively packing for Europe/Australia and anywhere else the swart gevaar didn’t threaten). And yet two weeks before the World Cup the races were firmly aware of the differences in their skin color and took great pleasure in disliking each other. Other incidents in which the races have set aside their differences for a period to come together as a nation include: the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the famous Bafana Bafana Afcon win in 1996 (well maybe that united the blacks, a couple of colourdes on account of Benni, Mark Williams and Shaun Bartlett and Clive Barker’s friends and family represented the white crew), the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the shock at Xenophobic violence and the Zuma rape trial to name but a few.

BUT! … After these incidents everyone goes back to hating each other in peace, thinly veiled hostility or openly depending on which camp you belong to. With the few that aren’t racist going back to normal as well.

The lines were drawn when Eugene Terre’Blanche was killed, some white people remain incensed at Affirmative Action, emigration remains the cherished dream of many young white people, moaning about apartheid is still the favoured pastime of those blacks who feel hard done by, and I remain ignorant of the Indian and Coloured take on the racial issues in our country.

But HEY, it’s the Soccer World Cup so let’s all band together against Patrice Evra, to keep the vuvuzela blowing in stadiums. Who cares if we don’t like it as one Tweep artlessly asks, we’re still going to band against the foreign element to keep it blowing!? To borrow from Juju, they mustn’t come here with their foreigner tendencies!

Is Fifa now going to station noise decibel testers (whatever they may be called) outside the stadiums and vuvuzelas will be tested for the lowered 20 decibel stipulation? It doesn’t matter that not too long ago there were those who were fighting to have the annoying horns banned from rugby games, IN this country. We can justify that easily enough; the vuvuzela is for soccer, not rugby! Yeah right Saffas!

Amidst all of this merry-making our president is not doubt praying fervently that by the time we all put our heads back on, the furore about a bodyguard, a first lady and a cuckolded husband will have long died down. The Cape Party quietly colludes (hyperbole) to secede the Western Cape from the Republic. Julius Malema is keeping uncharacteristically mum (which I dub cause for worry) and the Cope circus continues its run about town.

When are South Africans going to come together FOR the country? Not as some fuck-off hug fest for foreigners to watch and think, “Boy were we WRONG about them or what?” When are they going to truly set aside their differences to work towards a better South Africa together? Why is it better for some to sit back and proclaim, “Are you surprised? I TOLD you the blacks were going to f&*! this country up!” instead of looking around doing something? What is the point of me pontificating in this space if I am not going to vote “right” the next election? The power of the ANC and the magnitude of its fuck-ups are handed to them on a golden plate by those who continue to do nothing but bask in the glory of the “I told you so” spotlight. And Tweet about it till in trends of course.

#SouthAfricaSucks! <--future trending topic

So forgive me if I don’t join in the merry-making about the World Cup, I am too lazy to go back and reclaim my sarcastic, jaded-about-this-country thread when the foreigners are all gone and we all realize the Gautrain costs too bloody much to be a feasible commuter train for the average South African and that building a giant calabash in the middle of Soweto might not have been such a smart idea after all.

I’ll see all of your real selves on July 12!

1 I don’t actually have these, but I like to fancy myself important in my daydreams.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Relationships - Stepping off the edge.


There are many twists and turns in a relationship. Often, the corridors leading to different doors are not the wide straight aisles like a grocery stores’, they’re not smooth like marble tiled floors of luxurious hotels, they’re not lined with trees that provide shade from the elements and add aesthetic value.

Instead they are steep paths descending from the highest waterfall, nearly vertical, descendible on faith and wit, the paths narrow and widen with so much frequency those who travel them cannot for one second take anything for granted. Some bridges that connect two areas of relationships are rickety and have to be crossed by looking straight ahead, forget the maelstrom below.

And then there are the doors; the hidden destinations, places to rest briefly when one finishes an ascent up a steep slope of broken trust, when the door provides respite from the constant need to prove your affection and one is merely receiving it. There are doors that hide the tastelessness of fear wrought by an impending end of a chapter, when you both do not know if a door leading on will open; whether or not you will have a chance to leave this terrible room with its suffocating fears and many unknowns. When you find the door it opens up to a room of pillows, a room of abounding love when you both feel insulated from the hurts of the world. When everything is light and pillow fights are like puffs of clouds gently caressing you as you both laugh. In this room you are rewarded for walking with faith through the rickety bridge, for taking that leap of faith, for ignoring the maelstrom.

But eventually, this room of pillows is delivers its ultimate deceit, while it kept the hurt from the outside, it forgot to protect you from each other. A forgotten clothes pin, found in the lining of the cushion snakes out to jab one of you in the eye. You don’t want to believe it, but your better half is suddenly your bad cop.

Blinded, you fumble through the room of pillows, your blood flowering in pretty patternes on the whites of the clouds and claw along the wall, in search of a door leading on. You are praying this door will lead to another rickety bridge, you hope over that bridge there is another room of pillows. But often, as you step out the door, your eyes unseeing and the pin still in your eye, you know there is no bridge.

You’ve stepped over the edge.

What you find as you hit the bottom is your choice.

Is it a rock?

Or is it a cushion?

Relationships, how they begin and how they end is often the same. And when you stepped over the first edge, you fell on a cushion, and began your walk through the rickety bridges and the steep paths. You walked with determination because you knew someone was with you, ready to give you a leg up. When you walk out the edge this time, will you be able to face the walk, even if it to have a relationship with yourself?

Monday, June 7, 2010


 The name Patchwork came to me while I was shelling peas for a Jamie Oliver recipe. If you have shelled peas you will know that it is task that allows for much wondering of the mind. So my mind touched upon Patchwork. Immediately after Patchwork came “quilt” in my mind. Of course, patchwork quilts, nothing so extraordinary about the word association.

But for me the significance of cognitive word association was a sign that I was ready to live again. For two years I had hidden from everyone. I literally saw only ONE person from my previous life and after a lunch in which she intimated that my not drinking was boring, I steered clear of meeting up with her as well.

I chatted to people online and updated mostly my Facebook status just to keep myself in touch with a world I no longer belonged to. Some might say this is a trifle hyperbole but those were my feelings and I welcome few judgments on them.

For nearly a year my mind had been a mess. It seemed that I couldn’t marshal my mind to focus on anything beyond my misery. I hid it well, I guess the one thing I was more intent upon than wallowing in my own misery was making sure nobody knew. The mask of my super-efficient, strong and “OUT THERE” self would remain intact.

Last year, as I shelled the peas I realized that the previous year of my life had been like a badly frayed quilt. There were holes that needed darning and there were whole pieces missing, which needed replacing. I started Patchwork as a way to work towards my new chapter in life. I have written for others, but I have never finished my own book and this blog is my journey towards something.

For the first time I’m not afraid to admit “I don’t know” and I am perfectly content to be left alone to figure it out. When I began to actively participate in life again I knew I could not expect many of those I had left behind to understand or even accept that I am simply no longer that same person they knew.

I was fragile, sad, uncertain, hopeful, scared, vulnerable, softer, and loving, mostly, I was no longer available. I wasn’t available to help, to listen, to talk to, and to cry with. I had retreated into myself and only two people were allowed behind my NO ENTRY line. Those people have struggled with me in the past two years and they have triumphed over my loss of faith in love, friendship and bonds that defy many human tests.

In the time I have stopped being angry and confused I have been writing this blog and for the first time I am writing just for me. And because I am writing just for myself I think this is one of the most honest places you will find me. Where I shed my Drama Queen persona and just open up in varying forms; sometimes it will make sense and other times it won’t. And I am just fine with that.

When you read, and when you take the time to comment, you’re giving me a piece of cloth for my quilt. I feel it in my hands and gently place it on a hole. While I sew, each stitch is a balm and for that I am grateful.