Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quarts, Sambuca & A Twenty Year Old.

It's always a bit of a gamble when you've spent a good three months building up the reputation of a place to your friends, when you actually decide to take them to said place.  I've spent hours of break time explaining the ins and outs of the infamous Pan and Kettle to my colleagues.  I wasn't sure whether they believed the truth about its Madam, but I am no liar, and so was sticking to my guns.

It just so happened, however, that on Friday night I had the opportunity to share its glory with some of my friends.  Boy oh boy - do they believe me now.  And further, if there were any cobwebs cluttering our brains, they're well and truly blown away.

Girls' Night, we called it.  And 8 of the most mismatched women huddled around The Incubator's dining room table, fervently drinking red wine (the sole purpose of which was to stave away the cold) and eating homemade pies (my mother is, by all accounts, the most gifted chef in the world).  The plan was to move on to the dodgy pub with its toilet in a tent on the side of the road and a madam who thinks that the world 'class' refers to a room in which teaching takes place.

The wine lubricated quickly and within an hour of gathering, the word fuck was being bandied around with such ease that The Father - who hadn't cracked the nod but was rather required to mind The Daughter - was walking around with eyes like those of a deer caught in headlights.

And then we descended.

The women of Durban immediately began laughing.  Out loud.  A lot.  At everything.  Its decor (red and yellow balloons in the shape of little heads with ears), its clientelle (particularly the raggamuffin dressed in bona fida cargo trousers and a fawn checked shirt with... I think they were once sneakers), its musical accompaniment (a tone deaf stoner called Neil with a real Red Indian from Red India on the harmonica) and its owner-cum-barlady-cum-security-company.

This woman is to be admired, really.  I mean she built the bar herself (including the semi-permanent tent structure that houses the toilet on the side of the road), she lives inside the bar to protect it from criminals.  She hires noone to assist her.  Should a patron require a meal, she is more than prepared to duck out back to the garden, fire up a camping stove, and cook on the fire.

But her dress!  Good God, it felt like Back To The Future Into a Rick Ashley Music Video.  Short dress, (no bra - because bikini tops are far more supportive), fuck me boots, and wind swept hair.  Big time 80's style.  Like it stood out at least fifteen centimetres on the side.  Kind of like this:

but not as neat.  Ah she was a treat indeed.

Upon arrival, the one colleague insisted on standing outdoors for a cigarette.

The Pant:  Why are you standing out here in the freezing cold?

The Colleague:  Oh Pant, I'm just dying for a ciggie.  I'll be in in a sec.

TP:  Come on in, girlfriend.

TC:  But I'm smoking.

TP:  And you're expected to smoke indoors.

After our eyes had grown accustomed to all that surrounded us, The Girls and I took to the "dancefloor" - there was a floor, and the moves we made may have looked like dancing if you yourself had a sight impediment - to attempt to gyrate to hip current songs by The Doors and Eagle Eye Cherry (Oh, were we "save(ing) tonight" and "fight(ing) the break of dawn" like it was nobody's business) and whilst doing so, I happened to trip over a young boy child - all of twenty years old - attempting to rhytmically pound on a pair of bongo drums.  He was cute - I thought, although I cannot be held responsible for my thoughts after those icy quarts and delicious sambuca shots.

The Pant:  Why hello, little boy (I said this while bending down with hands on knees as though speaking to the dog of someone who is really into dogs)

Young Boy Child:  Hi!

Young Boy Child and I hit it off immediately.  I enquired about his general education (limited) and work prospects (none), but he was cute - in a Patrick Lambie kind of way - and he thought that he'd hit the jackpot for having found an older woman in possession of a car and more than R30 to her name.

And I've got to tell you, the attention did not go amiss.

Young Boy Child and I had a whale of a time, until some of the other patrons decided to kick in a panel of the neighbouring shop and jump on top of the basin in the ladies', causing The Madam to lose her sense of cool and threaten to destroy us each individually with blunt teaspoons and arsenic.  When that happened, The (sober) Incubator fished me out of the pub by the ear and promptly deposited me in the back of my car.  And drove me home.

But Young Boy Child had found love.  True love.  And so continued his quest to actualise said love per telephone.

Young Boy Child:  Hey babe.

(If you know me at all, you'll know that 'babe' aka 'pig in the city' is my least favourite term of endearment)

The Pant: It's Pant.

YBC:  I forgot your name (extended stoned laughter)

TP:  Well, it's Pant.  Same as it was at the pub.

YBC:  (extended stoned laughter)  So am I going to see you again?

TP:  I'm kind of busy for the next three to six months.

YBC:  Cool.  So can I see you then?

TP:  Did I say three to six months?  I meant years, Pet.

YBC:  And when you're free, are we gonna like, actually like hook up like?

TP:  Like what does hook up mean?

YBC:  Like you know like like like kiss and stuff?

TP:  Like, I'm not like sure that we're you know like destined to be together.  But we'll see.  In three to six years, of course.

YBC:  Uh...(stoner's tone) Where?

TP:  I'm not really sure.  It's still a while away.

YBC:  No like ahwe.

TP:  Huh?

YBC:  It means like I'm really happy like.  But you wouldn't know that because you're old.

TP:  Pardon?

YBC:  No.  You're not like old and wrinkly old you're like old and not young old.

TP:  I've got to go.

YBC:  My airtime's going to run out anyway.  But I'll call you this we----

Old?  Ahwe indeed.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Morning Mania.

I did not manage to sleep my full required 8 hours 45 minutes (plus 3 x 5 minutes snoozes) last night because a while back, in a fleeting moment of madness, I bought The Daughter a birthday present in shape, form and appetite of Cat.  And so while I was in the throes of having to choose between Ewan McGregor on the back of a motorcycle in deepest Africa or Jake Gyllenhall in a steamy tent in Antarctica (Discovery Channel has no idea what its new advert is doing to my blood pressure), Cat began rhythmically clawing at my face and meowing at a decibel above the music that plays inside nightclubs.  Of course, given my world-renowned penchant for sleep (so keenly developed that it has influenced The Daughter to rouse no earlier than a cool 8.45 on weekends), I attempted to swat Cat while simultaneously chastising him as though I were a sailor (Fuck off you stupid spawn of satan, were the words I used, if I remember correctly).

But Cat has an appetite that if mimicked by yours truly would require a full eight of exercise to dispel.  He needed food.  In a big way.  And so I was implored upon by his bordering-on-downright-violent behaviour that, if left too long, could have resulted in a genuine need for facial reconstructive surgery, to roll my body out of bed, land on hands and knees, spend a good three minutes attempting to straighten out and then totter through to the kitchen.

I'm a bit of a robot in the mornings.  Usually, after having hit snooze forty-seven times, I open my eyes, realise the time, say, "Oh fuck," roll out of bed, make for kitchen, trip over Cat, land head first on floor/bathroom door/cupboard door/dressing table (yelp, "Fuck,") stumble into kitchen, lift kettle, replace kettle, switch kettle on, prepare tea, sip tea, open eyes.  I do all of that without actually realising I'm awake.  So, when I found myself in kitchen at ungodly hour this morning, I can honestly admit to not having been in complete control of my body.

With the first sip of tea down, I was far more mentally able to assist Cat in desired consumption of food.  I also, found, however, that after having first sip of said tea, I was in no position to attempt re-enter arousing dream with Jake Gyllenhall and would rather make hay while the sun shone (or rain poured, as it was) and capitalise on some quiet Pant time.

I inserted Regina Spektor into the CD player, drew a dreamily deep hot bath.  I even shaved my legs (God alone knows what for - I'd grown quite attached to the winter coat and felt more naked than I've felt in ages as I emerged from bath).  And then I attempted to dress.

Good God.

Rain has stopped.  Must dress in outfit suitable for slightly warm but damp but may get warm but oh God what the sam hell am I going to wear?  Put black pants and white vest on.  Stand sideways.  Stomach protuding as though pregnant.  Derobe.  Dress in brown summery Grecian dress.  Have vest underneath.  Boobs look saggy (when did they get like this?).  Stomach looks a millimetre bigger.  Take off vest.  Put on bra.  Boobs look too big.  Take off bra and dress.  Redress in vest.  Put on white skinnys.  Arse looks enormous.  Take off white skinnys.  Decide will wear boots.  Dress in tights and boots and dress.  Arse sticks out like shelf and feet are so warm feel onset of menopausal flush.  Undress entirely.  Stand naked in front of cupboard and whinge aloud about not owning any clothes.  Attempt creativity and pull out vast array of dresses from three seasons ago.  Look fat/ugly/too thin (in the preggie one)/totally uncool/too teacherly in all.  Find black pants and white vest.  Think look fabulous.  Although stomach is protuding.  Don't care.  Check time.  Scream, 'Fuck.' 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Carlos Does Some Pimping.

My friends are in a state of frothy at the imminent date between (well, what I want to call him for the sake of continuity is 'Biggest Cocksucker' but given that Date Boy has apologised whole-heartedly for misdemeanours committed during first meeting, I think he should be aptly named Mr Saturday) myself and Mr Saturday.

They're all but rubbing themselves down in oil and chocolate and hitting very large pits designed for female wrestling such is their excitement at fact that I have actual date with a man who is not coasting dangerously close to decripitude.  I'm slightly more reserved in the whole shebang, but I have come to learn, of late, I am some kind of vicarious vessel through whom the majority of my friends live.

Carlos has always been a touch protective of me, you see.  I think this is mainly because he spent far too much valuable time making cups of tea and pouring gins and wines and little shots and buying chocolates and bringing tissues and allowing me to wipe my snotty nose on his sleeve, that he had kind of committed to not wanting to have anything to do with a possible suitor for fear of having to go through the whole motion again.

But then I think something snapped inside Carlos, a while back, at 40th of New Friend.  I haven't heard the full story but I am led to believe by Carlos's guilty looks that the interaction between Carlos and Mr Saturday went something like this:

Carlos:  Hey my guy/pal/tjom/buddy (I have no idea what men actually call each other when they're talking amongst themselves).

Mr Saturday:  Howzit.

Chat chat in manner most mundane probably about rugby and Patrick Lambie (but not how I would talk about Patrick Lambie as I don't imagine either of them actually admitted to "having deep desire to be motorboated by Lambie" - although am not really sure.)

Carlos:  So you see that chick over there?

Mr Saturday:  The one with massive boobs?

Carlos:  Those are totally fake.

Mr Saturday:  I don't mind.

Carlos:  No, like they're an illusion.  Good bra.  Small tits.

Mr Saturday:  Ya?

Carlos:  What do you think of her?

Mr Saturday:  She's alright, I suppose (You suppose???  Watch your mouth, chum...)

Carlos: The thing is, she's been on the shelf for the longest time... and I'm worried that she's approaching her sell-by date.  I mean the dust is starting to settle and I don't see anybody with a damp cloth approaching her, if yer know what I mean.

Mr Saturday:  Huh?

Carlos:  Listen buddy.  The wife and I are not safe.  She sits between us on the couch.  She has keys to the front door and if it's not her daughter, then it's her, barging in.  She's everywhere.  We need to get her off our hands.

Mr Saturday:  I'm kind of busy at the moment.

Carlos:  She used to be a lesbian!!

(I did not.  It's just Carlos's little pimping technique).

And so, friends, I have a date on Saturday.  My friends are so damn excited they've all but hacked my facebook messages and cellphone records and will probably arrive at date venue having booked the table next to ours, and also having ordered a crooning violinist to watch me blush.

They're a stellar bunch, are my friends.  Really effing wonderful.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Eighteen Nineteen Twenty Twenty Twenty.

I lie about my age.  The Daughter thinks I'm 20 and therefore I have taken to telling everyone that I simply am, just that: 20.

Something slightly untoward happened today, and I didn't really have a retort.

I was in the process of teaching a poem to some youths:

The Pant:  So youths, listen up... I've got to get through this poem and we've only got three quarters of an hour.

A Youth In Sea of Youthful Faces:  Miss Liner?

TP:  Yes, Youth?

AYISOYF:  We have 55 minutes.

TP:  Thank you, Youth.  I am well aware of that.  (Now attempting to be stern) If you had just opened your ears you would have heard me say, "We've only got three quarters of an hour".  (Slight eye roll and tut tut Youth over fact that Youth has not, in fact, paid any attention.)

AYISOYF:  But Miss Liner?

TP:  Yes Youth?  (Now raising eyebrows - a technique I have realised has actually caused wrinkles... MUST stop doing it.)

AYISOYF:  We have 55 minutes.

TP:  Oh don't get me started.  We've got three quarters of an hour and now... now... now that you've been interrupting me I bet we've only got ... like not as much as that!  You're trying to distract me, aren't you?  Well, here's the lowdown kids:  you may not use calculators during English.  You may not use English-to-Afrikaans dictionaries.  And no, I have never used a dictaphone-

Another Youth In Sea of Youthful Faces:  Don't worry, Miss Liner.  We know you can't count beyond twenty!

TP:  I beg your pardon.  I took Ad Maths, I'll have you know!  All the way until Finals!  I can so count past twenty...  I even took quants at University.

AYISOYF:  Then how come you've been 20 for the past three years?


Youths: Far too lippy for my liking.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chastising The Armpit

After night two of irritating in-ear whinge, I decided to get my big girl panties on and have a word with The Armpit re the breeding of mosquitoes for what seems like commercial reasons.

The Pant: (on phone)  Armpit??!!??

The Armpit:  Yebo (far too sing-song for 06h50).

TP:  Where are you?  I'm waiting for you and I'm going to be late for work.

TA:  In the taxi!  I'm coooooooooooming.

TP:  You're coming?  In a taxi?  Good God.

TA:  I woke up late.  Sorrrrrryyyyyyyy.

Why she has to drawl her words out, I will never know.  This speech impediment of hers, I must say, does have an irritatingly passifying effect on me and I have thus, to date, not been able to chastise her.

TP:  Well, okay.  Just get here as quickly as you can.

When she pulled in a good twenty-five minutes late sipping on a piping take-away cappucino from Vida-e, without one for me, I was less than charmed.

The Pant: (Right.  Tell her what you think.  Don't let her take advantage of you.  And - whatever you do -DO NOT let her compliment you.  You know how that makes you weak.  Should not have worn this top... you know she likes it.  Dammit.) Armpit, I need to-

The Armpit:  Oooooh!  I love your top.  Makes you look so thin!

TP:  Thanks.  (Do not get taken in by her charm.  She is wily.  You know that.  But.... Does it really make me look that thin?)  Do you really think so?

TA:  Yes, Pant.  You look lovely.

TP:  (Right.  Now you've got to tell her.  Say to her, "Armpit, you cannot use my plant pots to breed mosquitoes.  I surely will get malaria and very sick and possibly end up in hospital and then what?  Say it say it.)  Would you like some tea?

TA:  No thanks.  I've got this cappucino.  Mmmmm hmmmm .  Except I'm going to put some more sugar in it.  They only had six sachets left at Vida and it's still bitter.

TP:  (So that's where all my sugar is going???  Get angry.  Tell her no.)  Oh, shame.  I hate bitter coffee.

TA:  Do you want some tea?

TP:  (Say, "No thanks I would like to talk to you about something very serious and it involves the health of yourself and The Daughter)  No thank-

TA:  You going to be late, ne?  Well, you better hurry.

TP:  (She's right.  I am going to be late.  Perhaps ask her to wait until later to talk.  Or can get one of Zulu teachers to draft sms.  Better idea.  No chance that she'll misunderstand.)  You're right.  See you later, okay?

TA:  No.  I won't be here when you get home.  I've got to go the ... um ... um ... clinic?

TP:  Oh.  (Yeah right.  Whatever!)  Alright.  I'll see you on Friday then?

TA:  Yes.  And don't forget to buy Tabard.  Your mozzies in your pot plants are driving me nuts.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Getting Bikini Ready.

Spring has hit Durban in such a huge way that I'm peeing myself with glee almost hourly.  I love this weather.  I love my city.  I love the beach.  And I love those nubile men that frequent the beach such that I'm welcoming lust-induced hot flushes like you cannot believe.

Only one small problem: the Winter covering.  Seriously.  I hit the beach last Sunday and spent so much time focusing on sucking my stomach in and taunting all muscles to prevent wobble that I almost didn't have enough brain capacity left to ogle the hottie-hot pantses with which Durban seems to find itself awash.  Almost.

You see, I love the beach.  So much. I love that a big pair of sunglasses can easily hide my lecherous eyes.  I love that the sun and the sweat can  mask the flushed cheeks that are often a result of imagined couplings with the fine pickings who taunt me by running their surfboard abs around in hot pursuit of rugby balls right in front of my very own eyes.  I love that I can make use of The Daughter to get a little closer to said specimens by nonchalantly kicking her ball in their direction, and then playing dutiful mother by running Baywatch-style into their games.  "So sorry guys," I say.

But at the moment, I'm deprived of said tactic because me, running would not look dissimilar to Ruby Wax on one of those vibrating machines.  (On the subject of those vibrating machines, I've been told they've got them in gyms and that women actually go on them.  Now, forgive me from being crude, but I've been on one of these machines.  I was accompanied by Cape Town Hairdresser and his then-boyfriend.  And after a few minutes of all over vibration, I had to ask the guys to give me a spot of privacy.  And people do this in public?  The mind boggles.)

So, this week I've embarked on some damage control.  I've purchased a skipping rope and dumbells (what I'm going to do with those I don't know) and I've started eating healthy.  I'm not sure it's going all that well.

Sunday Evening:  Go for cycle on promenade with Sil.  Am chuffed with self for exercising on Sunday evening.  Reward self with fried fish.

Monday:  Have planned ahead of time.  Reward self with large slice of cake at tea time.  Dress at work into running attire, collect Daughter from school, drive directly to beachfront and attempt to run beside cycling child.  Get the shits that child's ability to cycle at speed is diminished by what is essentially the thinnest pair of legs known to mankind.  Go to Mozart's order self two scoops of ice-cream.

Tuesday:  Wake up early to prepare self healthy lunch.  Cut up bits of cucumber, carrot, celery, pack baby tomatoes.  Make self guacomole with abundance of avos found in fridge.  Season with juice of half a lemon.  Decide that will be thrifty with lemon and reserve it for much needed gin and dry lemons when I return from work.  Make good on promise to self.

Wednesday:  Decide that the welcoming of period deserves to be celebrated with both food and wine.  Eat about 60 000 calories but remind self that Period endured without refined sugars and unhealthy fats may result in someone's murder.  Convince self that eating in abundance is an act of charity towards greater mankind.

Thursday:  Wake up feeling revolting.  Consider taking up anorexia to deal with guilt of previous day's overindulgence whilst munching on delicious muesli no doubt made with corn syrup.  Decide will continue to eat in gluttonous fashion but will make use of skipping rope.  Attempt to skip in work attire but find self splayed across bedroom floor one too many times.  Change into gym attire but feel slightly embarrassed that may be somewhat like 80's women who did aerobics in lounge.  Am thankful that am single and that all sets of keys to my house are in my possession.  Set alarm clock for 10 minutes.  Begin skipping.  Worry that may lose lung.  Continue skipping.  Wonder if boobs will droop.  Stop skipping.  Dress in sports' bra.  Continue skipping.  Realise that will not survive full ten minutes.  Begin drafting final letter to my loved ones in my head.  Finish 10 minutes.  Lie on floor panting like have just had session with Jake Gyllenhall.  Decide that only way to deal with post-exercise nausea is to do sit-ups.  Do twenty.  Realise have lost mind and must find it by drinking ice-cold beer.

Friday:  Eat healthy food in anticipation of large glass of wine that must be drunk with The Incubator as the world has problems and these need to be solved.  Get into world problem solving.  Forget to stop drinking wine.

Saturday:  Wake up feeling as though brain is swollen and that skull no longer fits.  Wonder if skull transplant is option.  Decide best way to deal with hangover is to immerse self entirely in bacon and egg fat.  Feel worse.  Realise have lunch plans with Uncle whose primary focus in life is cooking and liquor.  Eat fish in every form and drain many glasses of wine.  Leave glad at having worn flat shoes but with mammoth desire for Oreo McFlurry at 10pm.

Sunday:  Wake up and realise that brain has in fact put on weight and skull, like multitude of last season's clothes, is fitting a touch snugly.  Realise, also, that is Bok Day and thus throw self again headfirst into breakfast and team said breakfast with Castle Lite.  Sun is shining but make no attempt to go to beach.

Bikini body: easier said than done.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Birthday Party Blues

Just as one cannot walk past a Kauai without slipping in for a quick Lemon Breeze and then slurping it with such determined alacrity that one develops a brain freeze so intense that one wonders if one has not dislodged a massive growth in one's brain leaving one frantically googling 'brain surgeons in Durban with very short waiting lists'; one cannot celebrate one's ageing without throwing a mammoth birthday party.  I, for one, am a firm believer in this.

Birthday parties are special for those of non-drinking age and downright painful for everyone else.

And so it was that I threw myself into the meticulous planning of The Daughter's Birthday Party, and by 'meticulous planning', read 'sending out a few invitations, bolding my request for people to RSVP, and then forgetting when people did'.

As the day approached, I realised I was a little under prepared.

Sure I'd booked the 'walk on water balls' months before, but by the day before I hadn't actually received a) an email requesting immediate electronic funds transfer of half of hire cost to confirm booking; or b) telephone call advising me of the company's knowledge of my existence. 

As evening approached, so did the fact that I did not actually have telephone number of said company in possession to try and garner information about their commitment to my plight dawn on me.

I poured an extra-large glass of wine and sat down with The Incubator and The Sister-In-Law (henceforth simply referred to as 'Sil' since that is what I actually call her) to do a wee spot of damage control.

The Pant:  I'm screwed.

The Sil: You're not, my sil.  We'll just set them out on the grass and play all those traditional games.

TP:  Which traditional games?

Sil:  Like "pass the parcel" and "pin the tail on the donkey" and "musical statues".

TP:  Right.  Those games that one needs to have bought prizes for?

Sil:  You've got no prizes?

TP:  Nope.

We sat for a few minutes, me drinking with focus, The Incubator and The Sil quietly puzzling in their brains.

The Incubator:  I know!  Let's just use the party packs as prizes!

A solid idea, really.

TP:  I haven't organised party packs.

TI:  Right. (Think think). Well, how many children are coming?  Maybe we can load them up and take them to uShaka?

TP:  I forgot to keep a list.

TI and Sil (in unison):  You what?

TP:  I forgot, okay?  I thought I would remember but then I didn't because I was too busy remembering other things.

TI:  Like what?

TP:  Like... Like... Like my name for one!  It has two syllables.  And my ID number!  And...

TI:  You're screwed.

Sil:  I'm going to have to agree with The Incubator on this one.

I cannot tell you the sheer relief I felt when the doorbell rang and a slight Indian man with weathered skin advised that he was on site to set up the pool and balls.  I was so excited that I was almost tempted to open mouth kiss him but was prevented from doing so by the strongest scent of stale cigarette that seemed to have permeated right to the very core of his humanness.  His skin was thick.  You know the kind that would most certainly not be affected by the paper cut.  In fact, were said man in need of, say, surgery, I fear that the scalpel would need to be replaced by one with rotating blades, powered by electricity.  A jigsaw, perhaps.

With pool and balls erected betwixt bush (I just cannot avoid the sexual innuendo) I was more than happy to celebrate my fine event planning skills by draining the rest of my bottle of wine.  Seriously, I was so damn good, I'd all but resigned from my job and set up my own events company.  I thought I'd call it 'Party in my Pant(s)'.

I'd like to say that when the start time of the party came, I was as cool as a cucumber, sipping on a gin & dry lemon (excellent party day drink), welcoming guests with warmth, dressed in flowing whites with perfectly applied make-up and reeking of expensive perfume.  But I'm afraid I can't.  The first guests pulled in a good hour and seven minutes prior to the function's commencement - even before The Daughter had arrived from her morning engagement (The German Boyfriend's birthday party to which she went dressed as a vampire).  By the time she arrived - EARLY! - there were already six children scuttling around the show.

And, by Jove, did they not stop arriving.  By mid-afternoon I'd found two boys brushing their willies with The Daughter's toothbrush, one was found relieving himself in the corner of my kitchen, two had taken to playing the piano using suckers to pummel the keyboard.  They were in cupboards, under tables, crawling out of drainpipes.  They were in the balls, under the balls, diving headfirst into the sweets table.

And the parents!  My personal favourite is one whom we'll simply refer to ask Dark Haired One.  She was the one who spent the majority of last year's party angling to corner Larry - who, at the time, was faking it as my boyfriend - to stick her tongue so far down his throat that she'd end up licking his arse simultaneously.

Our initial greeting went something like this:

The Pant: (oh crap, her again) Hi Doll!  So glad you could make it.  Air kiss.  Air kiss.

The Dark Haired One:  Where's that h-h-h-hot man of yours?

TP:  You met Christmas?!?  And oh Lord, tell me about it, sister.  That beefy beef sticks... All. Over. My-  Hi, Dad.  This is The Dark Haired One.  Dark Haired One, this is my dad.

Chat chat.

TDHO:  No, wasn't his name Larry?

TP:  Who?  My dad?  No, no-

TDHO:  No, your boyfriend.

TP:  Oh, him?  No, he's long gone.

TDHO: (with feigned concern)  Why?

Oh shit.  I'd really not wanted to get into that.

TP:  (with the seriousness of priesthood) No, darling.  I've been emancipated!

TDHO:  Pardon?

TP: Sweetie darling!  Can't you tell?  I'm smiling again!  That ship has sailed.  And thank the good Lord too.  Couldn't imagine any more days of tirelessly working at a deflated self-esteem any more than I did.  Not to mention my own.

TDHO:  Well, do you have his number?

TP:  If I did Sweetie (I said as I stared at her teeth smeared in lipstick of an orange hue) you'd be the first person I'd give it to.

The Dark Haired One decided to dull her obvious pain by diving head first into the drinks and found by glass three, that she'd simply carry on.  My Sil, bless her soul, took The Dark Haired One for one of my dear friends and struck up an instant friendship.  Sadly, I didn't find the time to corner the sil and explain that this woman had about as much class as the back end of Belair and that if we encouraged her, we'd be in for some serious trouble.

However, by the time My Sil realised that The Dark Haired One was unable to converse in the socially accepted manner of you-speak-I-speak-you-speak, it was too late. (She prefers the I-speak-and-when-you-think-it's-your-turn-to-speak-I-shall-just-interrupt-you way of interacting.)  She'd already announced to the entire party that she now had another reason to come and live in Durban: The Budding Friendship between herself and The Dark Haired One. 

A good two and a half hours after the party, when my energy levels were so depleted I was on the verge of giving up my will to live, Dark Haired One removed herself from our company for a momentary bathroom break.

Sil: (with pronounced worry in her voice) She's nice.

The Pant:  What!?!

Sil:  Isn't she?

TP:  No!

Sil:  Have I got the whole thing wrong?

TP:  Yes.

I spent the next couple of hours trying to surgically remove The Dark Haired One from the Sil, with little satisfaction until The Husband of The Dark Haired One rang to insist that she'd perhaps overstayed her welcome.  I wanted to place the man on a pedastal and begin a mini-worship session.  But my elation was short-lived.  Because when she returned to her own home, with the express desire not to miss out on any fun had by those "new friends" she'd just acquired at the boozy birthday party of the 5 year old, she rang tirelessly to try and find an in into the inner-circle.

So, yes, my sil.  You did get that one wrong.  Big time.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Ballet Mom.

I've been fulfilling the role of Mother in a big way since last I wrote. I don't know how it happened - well, I do know how it happened - but some huge change occurred the moment The Daughter turned five. The expectations! The demands! I haven't even had my obligatory afternoon nap since.

It started with The Ballet Show. I should have heeded when Precious Jo'burg Friend warned, "Dissuade her from ballet at all costs," but since I know - knew - everything, I soldiered forth, like a teenager learning to smoke, who continues to do so in spite of the vomitous taste and the disorientating head rushes.

I did not, in my hung over youth, dream of a time when I would be slave-driven and impoverished (oh the shoes that have gone unpurchased) by a ballet teacher (who, by the way, insists that children refer to her as 'The Ballet Queen' - talk about self-righteous). Especially not one who, at present, is about 160 in the shade, with acute halitosis to boot, a slight voice and a scant disregard for personal space. Honestly, the best thing about the woman having the gall to phone me at 6.45 am on a sleepy Sunday is the fact that I was not forced to have to endure the 27 minutes of wafting poo-breath in person. Seriously. It's a marvel that my interactions with her have not resulted in a solid six month bout of bulimia.

It started with the rehearsals - twelve freaking hours a week (for a FIVE YEAR OLD) - during which I had to busy myself with other ballet moms. There's only so much tea a person can drink! I've found myself so bonded with the inside of the local shopping centre that I could share, if I wanted, the gynaecological difficulties of the lady at the party shop particularly her difficulty in managing her post-partem hormonal imbalances; or the fact that the mechanic boyfriend of the CNA teller is a little too fond of the local pub and its regular good time girls.

Honestly, at twelve hours a week, I expected The Daughter to star as prima ballerina, wowing the audience with point work to rival Natalie Portman in Black Swan.

And let me not forget the costume fiasco. Fittings and measuring tapes and countless visits to the ballet outfitters for the right width and length and colour of elastics. I was raised by a woman (bless The Incubator) whom, I imagine, would have faced a dilemma as grave as attaching elastics to character (not ballet, mind you) shoes in a more practical though far less aesthetically pleasing manner. Something along the lines of winding duck tape securely around shoe and foot to ensure the shoe remains on foot for at least three-quarters of the required time. And colouring said duck tape in in the required colour. With a half-melted wax crayon.

But don't get me started on the shoes. Given, of course, that the original ballet shoes were not suitable for said show (because, in spite of the fact that I pay monthly through my nose for The Daughter's schooling in the finesse that is ballet, my expectation to see The Child of My Loins doing actual ballet in elusive Ballet Show was a far cry from reality. Because she would be dancing The Swiss National Dance and so needed character shoes.). Nothing charms a mother quite like bearing witness to her innocent five-year-old daughter clomping around the show in black high-heels. And not just one pair. (Oh no! That would have been almost affordable.). Two. Because at 12 hours of rehearsal a week, it's no wonder The Daughter danced two neat little holes the size of my face into each shoe not two days before Ballet Show. Honestly, I could have recycled those bags dogs into slightly too starched g-strings for the self. That is, of course, if I wanted a miniature heel popping out of crack. You never know, some people may fancy that look.

But I've done it all. I paid and paid and paid and took up a second job selling vital organs of which each person has two on the black market. And then I paid some more.

And then show day came. After weathering panicked phone calls and hushed breathy whispers from The Prima Donna one of which eluded to my general incompetency in the art that is tying The Daughter's hair in the bun, I found myself nervously chomping on fingernails and surrounding finger skin (a habit I kicked along with the dummy) in anxious anticipation for the grand entrance.

And then it happened: a few strained piano chords played over a loud speaker and The Daughter escaped from the curtains dressed like a garish Voortrekker wearing lipstick the colour of which would cause a coke can to appear pastel.

She tippy-toed on. She curtseyed. She looked left and pointed. Right and pointed. Left and pointed. And then she ran off.

Now don't get me wrong, she did the left-point-right-point-left-point-run with such aplomb that a fist-sized stone of emotion wedged itself quite neatly mid-throat causing an opening of the tear valves of pride. Really, she was the best little Swiss/1920 Settler you ever did see.

But at 12 hours a week! Twelve seconds on stage?

It was at that particular moment I had to have a stern word with self. You see, The Leopard Mum in me escaped. I was all but suing the woman for thwarting the chances of my uber-talented child genius ballerina from her rightful exposure in the realm of pre-school ballet concerts.

But the thing is, you see, my girl was the best little garish Voortrekker on that stage. And managed to steal the show in all four of her seconds of performance. Fact.