Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Attention all bad drivers!

Yes, you know exactly who you are...When you are hooted at, chastised and tailgated often, you are it.

1. When you see a car rapidly approaching do not turn in front of it causing it to brake hard to accommodate your slow moving vehicle. This is considered rude and in very bad taste. Should you find yourself in that situation, politely wave saying sorry and speed up hastily so as not to delay the traffic behind you any longer.

2. When the traffic speed limit is 60kmph please drive at 55-60 km’s per hour. Its the unwritten rule of the road that you do not drive slower than that. Should you incur the wrath of the drivers behind you for refusing to obey this law, you are in line for a stern hooting and at least one obscene gesture. Do not act surprised as you have been warned.

3. When choosing to utilise the highway, please remain in the left lane at all times. The right lane belongs to sports car drivers with the letter “i” in the model name of their vehicles. Eg, Gsi, Gti etc. Basically anything smooth, shiny and fast moving has more right to the right lane than you do. Should you find yourself in the right lane trying to overtake, do so rapidly. Do not dawdle or attempt to partake in the bounties the right lane offers. You will be hooted at and flashed. When this happens, move aside with urgency and haste.

4. Driving badly and then pretending to be angrier than the offended driver is really ill mannered. Pretending to note down the license plate number is really not the proper manner in which to conduct yourself. Politely wave apologetically and carry on your way. Do not follow the other person and humiliate yourself with confrontations. At this stage the other driver may have lost all sense of humanity and may beat you rapidly with a stick.

5. All women drivers please learn the dimensions of your car. We do not have all day to watch you trying to park. Please learn the speed with which you may drive your car safely and practise it often. Do not be afraid. The car will not explode, veer off the road or become a crazy maniac because you are accelerating!

6. Learner drivers, no driving in the congested, heavy traffic in the morning or the afternoon. We will drive over you and you will cry and feel threatened. Drive in your suburb to the shop and back until you are confident enough. See number 5 please if you are a woman. And do not use the big red L, it infuriates us to know who you are.

Please note, this blog post does not apply to old men drivers in beat up old cars from the yesteryear that barely dent when driven into a solid tree trunk we all know that you’re arrogant and pissed off from years of torment from your wife and kids. So now you take it out on the rest of us by pretending not to hear our hooters or see our flashing lights behind you.

Happy driving!!

Great love

All of us in our lives at some stage witness something very profound. It baffles us, astounds us and amazes us at the same time. Takes our breath away with its sheer beauty and strength. It’s called great love. Not many of us are ever prepared when it is our chance to experience it. But when you do, it shows on your heart and face and body. You cannot hide the effect of it on your soul.

Great love manifests itself in many forms. For me, it was the love my grandparents had for each other. The kind of love that spans decades. I wonder though, was it great when they parted after a few years of marriage? After bringing my mother into this world, they split but never remarried. Despite the number of offers on both sides. Neither of them were willing to settle down with another. They spent the best part of 50 years watching each other age. Filled perhaps with anger and hurt from arguments both of them could not even remember. Does that make love great? The fact that they could never give up on it or get over it. They just never let go of each because they never moved on. Each person waiting for the other to remarry, neither doing it and both passing on never having been with anyone else. Yes, to me that is great love. It is unrequited and fiery with its passion. Its old school great love. The kind of love that goes with gloves and pantyhose and bryl cremed hair and hats. Dignified and proud.

Great love does not always have a happy ending. Sometimes its sadness is its beauty. I cannot speak of the love of a parent, as I am not one as yet. I can well imagine that it involves the same bittersweetness. Pouring yourself into a little person and watching them evolve. Only to be sidelined like bicycle training wheels and shelved when they are eager to cycle faster and further. And you have to watch them in the distance and hope they get where they are going. Some parents have a hard time letting go. Being a parent becomes such an integral part of you that you forget yourself in the process. And when that part of you is torn away and becomes independent you are left with a shell you used to know quite well but now barely recognise it. No parent can ever escape the effect of great love i suppose. Who would want to when you think about? What a life changing experience it must be.

If this is the height of love we can experience for one another, what must be extent of the love the Creator must have for us? There are so many of us. Everyone so different. Imagine for a moment you had to love everyone in the world. Imagine you had to watch them decide who they wanted to be. The Created never have the capacity to understand its Creator. We are but a product of His thought. If great love feels so great from Creation to Creation... it can only be magnificent from Creator to Creation.

In our limited capacity we can only surmise the extent of love. But sometimes even we are astounded at the lengths we go to as humans because of the innate love we have for one another. For just one moment when a man lifts a car off a trapped kid, when a fireman rushes into a building, when a lifeguard swims to save someone from drowning... we witness the intensity and passion with which we could love each other. That’s great love right there.

Monday, August 8, 2011

When the travel bug hits you...

Whenever I would hear people talking about the travel bug I’d roll my eyes and think to myself oh please, there’s no way so many people can become afflicted in the same way about travelling. It simply cannot be true. This must be one of those ridiculously mundane things people say all the time, simply because we like the sound of it being said rather than liking what it actually means.

Then like the typical cliché, I’m almost embarrassed to admit, it bloody hit me. Once you’re bitten it takes a good man, a pregnancy, a new house and helluva lot of effort to finally let it wash over you and leave you unscathed. All you can think about is the rush of waiting at the airport with your backpack on the checkin scale waiting to be zipped away to the aircraft luggage hold. Ticket and passport in hand. Walking to the plane and finding your seat, waiting to see who your date for the flight will be. Quietly praying its not a chitty chatty older lady, a mom with kids or a flatulent old man. And then the take off! I still get little rushes thinking about taking off and the world of possibilities and new experiences waiting for me on the other side!!

Nothing can compare to that reeling sensation of being bombarded with everything brand new and different. All senses are on high alert. Adrenaline rushing through your body helping you acclimatise to the unfamiliar territory. I don’t think its ever possible to let go of the travel bug. For just a little while you set it aside to tend to more important, urgent things in your life. More accurately, they are financially sapping things that wouldn’t allow you to travel even if you wanted to. But the memory of the travels you managed to squeeze in before that carries you through the years until you are able travel again. Until then, local family holidays self-driving to beautiful destinations close by provides you with all the relaxation you need.

I glance longingly at my passport gathering dust and wink at it occasionally letting it know that we are not done yet. Not by a long shot.

Are we losing our creativity?

I always think to myself, I should write more. I should take more pictures. If I really loved it as much as I think I do then surely I should do it more often. Sometimes an idea would pop into my head about an article I’d like to write for my blog and I’d feel super passionately about it and then somehow like water slowly filtering away through a blocked drain the thought escapes me.

Is this what life has become? Brief sparks of ideas falling on damp, old kindling. Nothing lit, nothing remembered, nothing done about it. I look around and see very few inspired people. Its like we’ve smothered each other with our cynicism and self doubt and perhaps sheer laziness. In the days of the Bronté’s we would have learnt to play an instrument, embroidered something exquisite and written lengthy declarations of undying love. Where is the modern version of that creative outlet?

Perhaps it’s the environment, people around me, work timing and pressures... perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. There is always a perhaps when there should be a sacrifice. There is an excuse when there should be a definitive action. Make time for your passions in life. Make time for the beautiful things. Its easy to put it aside until tomorrow or when you have a free moment. Years down the line you realise that the free moment and many other free moments have long passed you by. Leaving you filled with a sense of having dreamed many dreams but never seeing them realised.

So start small. Dont watch tv. Pickup a book. Go outside. Start a compost heap. Write in your journal. Take pictures of your feet. Eat something new and unfamiliar. Be silly. Be fun. Giggle. Waken your senses. Be alive. Appreciate living. All it takes to breakdown a dam wall is to remove one little stone. We are meant to be creative. We are meant to be resourceful. We are hunters. We were never meant to be tv watching, computer obsessed, smart phone addicted junkies.

Embrace your humanity and explore all the avenues it presents. No excuses. Guns blazing. Go big or lay down and wait to die.