A View From My Point

Posts tagged ‘Other People’

A Silly Poem about The Luxury Of Being Horrified

You know the feeling when you just can’t look away

how you know you should open your mouth and just say

‘I can’t believe your drive around with your kid on the front seat’

‘How do you live in a house that isn’t neat’

‘What were you thinking when you chopped down that tree’

‘How could you not even think about me?’

‘Didn’t you care when your toddler tore up that book?’

Some things deserve a second look

Maybe the people who drive around with their kids on the dash

don’t have a decent car, they simply don’t have the cash

Or the woman who doesn’t get to tidy her house

is working double shift and her husband is a louse

The people that don’t follow the green house effect

Maybe they’re not in the income group and have to call collect

If a kid destroyed something valuable to you

take a step back before you pooh pooh

That parent could be exhausted from shouting

maybe the only way the offspring get attention is through pouting

It’s not for us to say

or to comment on the way

other people live their lives

so what if they wanna mix it up and have 8 wives

It’s just another story that someone has to tell

drop me a line when you decide who goes to hell

because that makes you the one with all the power

but sure doesn’t do anything for you looks, quite frankly it makes you look sour

So lets build a bridge and actually give a shit

it’ll make it easier for us all to Get Over It.

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Dwarfism Intrigues Me

I’m abrasive and rude. I say things I don’t necessarily mean because I like  to get a reaction – I’m still an immature attention whore that way. I’m working on it, sort of – because life is short and one should try all aspects of it while one has the chance.  For a while and certainly as a first impression people find this intriguing because it looks like honesty and people do admire honesty in friendships don’t they? So they think that this would make for good friendship material. Unfortunately this wears off after about 2 years. It’s gotten so bad that I’ve actually just come out and told people that this is the case. They laugh. They think it’s not true. But I know – I’ve lived in this personality for 37 years and that’s just the pattern of things.

That’s not to say that there are no ‘pots’ that suit my ‘lid’ – I have long standing friendships well only two that have stretched over 2 decades and they still do but I suspect it’s because we don’t see each other too often. Oh and I’ve been married for 10 years and I’ve made him be my Best Friend for 18 years – that’s longer than I lived with my parents!

And so here’s my point, there is a person who lives around the corner that I’d really like to befriend – not because of anything that I’ve heard about her or that I need anymore friends. But there is one type of friend I’ve never had and it’s my own fault, it’s because I am in absolute awe and wonder at the very idea of a Dwarf! A little person – or whatever they want their demographic to be called these days. Just think about it – all the magical and mystical creatures from Fantasy Tales, Giants, Pixies, Fairies, Gnomes, Goblins, Mermaids – they all no longer exist or never did (let’s not get into Mythology here) but Dwarves DO and they are REAL and they feed my imagination like fire! There is just something magical about these people – for me. And so as the people who know me really well will testify – I go like a teenager around celebrity when I encounter short people.

I must admit there is more to it than that, it has to do with my ‘job’ – dealing with the physical postural challenges of being short also fascinates me – I’d want to see and x-ray and see if I could help with managing any pain or discomfort – that’s kind of nice of me – I think.  And now I’m thinking I think too much and I should DO more. From waving and giving her a big smile and a thumbs up in the mornings on the way to school I will now stop the car and get out and go and shake her hand and be straight up honest with her and say that I’d really like to get to know her, just because of the way that she looks. If that makes her cry herself to sleep that night then I’ll be sad but at least I would have spoken to and touched A DWARF -eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!

In Defense Of The Crazies Who Name Babies

There have been a number of references between two of the bloggers I avidly read, mj monaghan and sportsjim – The Wordslinger they’ve  covered the ground of ‘Crazy and Terrible  Baby Names’. People around the blogosphere are quite hung up  about what parents are pinning on their offspring as nom de plumes. All of us, myself included have climbed on the band wagon and bemoaned the fate of these poor little mites that are forced to wear these monikers. And it got me thinking – I’ll have no facetious retorts to that previous statement – and this is what I’ve come up with from experiences as a Person Who Was Named and as a Person Who Has Named Other People:

Firstly, I was named after one of my fathers’ ex-girlfriends, my mom must have been Out Of It on that natural high you can get after your first born is delivered and while we were staring into each others eyes I’m sure he must have nipped off to the registry with the name of his previous love in mind for his new little daughter for whom he had just bought a cricket bat.

Secondly, my own childrens names are odd  different because I can’t imagine being the parent of yet another Nicky, Sophia, Isabella or Ben, Max or Tyler – I mean have you seen how many of them there are these days? In fact there are so many that I’ve got a gift drawer with presents already labelled with the above 6 names, every weekend we are good to go, no need to write a card! Well there might be an issue now because just the other day we  had a Nikki, Sofiya and Izabelle problem, along with the Benn, Macks and  Tighler – people are slowly getting the hang of breaking the mold. And besides that they’re going to be teased no matter what – come on throw a name at me, I’m a natural bully, I’ll find something to rip you off about.

Thirdly, if you don’t like your name enough you can change it. My mother in law did, in fact her own mother changed it for her, one day while she was down at the Name Changing Office on some other errand, I forget the details….

Sometimes the only thing that you have to give your kid is a Name. Proof of this is from my father’s experience as a clergy man. Baptising infants has it’s own share of fun and he’s observed that the poorer and from more humble origins the parents the more elaborate and spectacular the name, for example: Chantelise Shineqwa Enchante or for the boys Jaden Prince Stronginthearm. I know babies that have been named after their attendant doctors and midwives and even one thats mother liked the way the sound “Fully Dilated” rolled off her tongue and so pronounced her loin fruit just that.

Just because you’re not used to something as a name doesn’t mean that somewhere in the world that name isn’t a very normal everyday name.  In this diverse land of ours the names are from the impossible to spell let alone pronounce; Maholwana-Sangqu to a month of the year June, February, September and October being genuine examples of our surnames. Closer to some of your homes over the waters I’ve heard your women described as having ‘peaches and cream’ complexions – it’s no wonder Peaches Geldof happened. As for the America’s in a country where the broad strokes of generilasation must drive you people crazy why are we suprised that there are people called Neveah (heaven backwards – I hope she’s a good girl) and even your president is a chap who sounds like he was conceived in an army building. Let’s not talk about our president who seems to have had some other pop stars kid named after him *sigh* there is NO accounting for taste but who are we to judge?

Living with such a cross section of cultures the lines tend to get a little blurred. Most of the black people that I know have a Western name simply because it’s so much easier for our white mouths to get around and our white brains to remember. In fact I heard a conversation like this once for a job interview for a hand in the garden of a landlord of ours:

Landlord: “So,” – imagine a good plummy, cheap dry white wine shaped ‘o’ for this ‘so’ – “what’s your name?”

Gardener dude: ” Kudyauku.” he says clearly enough.

Landlord: “What? Oh no, that’s too difficult for me to remember, we’ll just call you Simon ok? You can start on Tuesday? Be here at 07h30? Good.”

Kudyauku/Simon followed a  fellow called Forest – hmmmm? Who’s got the funny name now?

I like the idea that here in South Africa we get to choose our names these days, unlike Simon and tons of other previously marginalized individuals who just got handed theirs, a lot of black people are choosing their own Western names now, going for stuff like Gloria, Beauty and Wisdom. I chose my own Xhosa name, Nomhle or Nombies if you know me well enough, it means ‘Beautiful One’ – nice hey? My kids have got Xhosa names too that I chose for them The Eldest is Nomvula, we call her Vuvu, – ‘When It is Raining’ – because it was when she was born and The Youngest is Vuyani or Vuyo, for short, – ‘Happiness’ – because he has one but that’s a story for another time.

Ok, so gripes aside, can we agree that even if someones name isn’t exactly mainstream that perhaps there’s a reason they were called that? Imagine you grew up with a name like Gwyneth, I’m sure her little Apple is just a backlash at a lifetime of having to correct the spelling on movie posters. The woman who swipes my card at the local grocer, her name is Virginy – she says it’s because she is one and that’s what her mother wanted for her when she was born. Then there’s the hippy type swishy hair lady  that drives a  daisy encrusted brown Volkswagen Beatle and her name is Sunshine, her parents name her that – I don’t know if they gave her the car but it suits her nonetheless, the car and the name.

Not to mention all the hybrid names out there like Hendrik, the father, and Johanna, the mother,  that had a little baby girl and called her Hendrianna – good plan, it’s different and it’s a combination of the two of you just like she is. On that note, there’s a little girl in school with The Eldest who’s name is also a combo and when you pronounce it it sounds like Dee En Ay – cool – yes, that’s what she’s made up of – DNA!

And aren’t we all, after all, just what our parents named us?

What’s the Goss?/ Rumour Has It!

People talk. It’s sometimes called communication. Other times it’s called Gossip or Rumour Mongering (which I prefer, it sounds like a job for which one can get paid –  like Fish Monger).

It's a dirty business selling fish.

I read an article the other day saying  Gossip Might Be Good For You – I agreed with the post. Then I read the comments and understood the article better and the comments less so. Everyone is on about how ‘Gossip is Poison’. I don’t believe that’s what the writer had in mind – in fact they had made it quite clear that it’s a good thing if someone gives you a ‘heads up’ on another person – if they’re dodgy or scaly etc. I think the problem comes in when the observations aren’t based in fact. It’s no secret, I’m not a fan of ‘facts’ – scientific or not – they often get in the way of a good story, just ask Steven King.

I’ve been a unfair mongerer of rumours over the years – costing me a lot in ‘friends’ who didn’t bother to clear up a situation that might have arisen due to my irreverence of ‘facts’ . I’m not discrete, I should wear a  disclaimer badge: ‘The opinions expressed by this individual might not be the views it will hold for the rest of it’s life and tends to make things up as it goes along.

Adele, has a song that strikes many chords with me, Rumour Has It – just ‘coz’ I said it, don’t mean that I meant it, just ‘coz’ you heard it don’t mean that I said it.’ And therein lies the rub – we’re such subjective emotional little creatures, often the cause of a rumour is miscommunication – kind of like the article about Gossip, that wasn’t really about Gossip but actually about passing along important information that might prevent someone from falling into the same trap that one might have previously fallen into. The comments section was testimony to it – I feel the commentors were people who were a little oversensitive and quite possibly recent victims of true gossip themselves. That in turn brings me to my meme:

As I might have mentioned before, we’ve just relocated. From a town that got used to me over 18 years. A place that I called home since I first started to commute to it. A University town with transient life forms. In this town I had already run the gauntlet of the rumour mill. Perpetuating some of my own, sometimes just for fun (despicable me) and sometimes out of spite (petty human me) and sometimes the stories would be about me – not always good but hey, no publicity is bad publicity.

That's just how I roll.

So here we are in this little hamlet (that might have almost 6 000 souls in it – give or take) – it’s been 9 months now, thank goodness I didn’t arrive fat and lose weight and not have a baby – the fiction would have been scientific if people were to maliciously talk amongst themselves. No, the gossip revolved around my professionalism (which is thankfully almost non-existent), my personality (which bears some attacking since it’s larger than life) and on my parenting (not the first time round and it always stings).

I heard these rumours from a reliable source, who in turn would swear to the validity of their source and that person heard it from the horses mouth – so to speak. This fellow professional, until recently, was also renting the studio space that I approached to house my little Moms and Toddlers group along with my own clients that I’d slowly gathered along the way through word of mouth, being loathe to advertise since I’d be too busy to continue with my core business (Parenting) . I love my job – I really do, it’s not important what it is and how much money I make (all though that is a lovely side effect) – I believe and have been told too many times to count that I’m also really good at it. I get positive results and positive feedback.

This poor woman apparently felt so threatened by me sharing her space that she saw fit to up and leave – without any word of warning, quite the contrary in fact, she told me that she’d only be gone for 3 weeks and then she’d be back in the saddle.  So I offered to see her clients (the ones that would require care over the Season – and I was working anyway – no skin lost)  while she was gone, paying her rent and of course giving her the money that she would have made, taking R10 to cover the wear and tear on my bicycle since I try to bike it to work, easier during the Season since there are no kids to drop off at their education centers. She, allegedly has accused me of wanting her to pay me to teach her clients.  What a mean hearted and shitty thing to do – you might say or as one of my favoured clients now calls me, ‘You Dreadful Woman’ – yes, how could  I?

Ag anyway – it’s not good. She only taught in the afternoons, I only teach in the mornings – our relationship would have been symbiotic. We could have taught all 4 000 people (the rest are kids who should be in school ALL day) because we could have had a studio which operated almost 12 hours a day. But No. Some people are like dogs that have been kicked one too many times and they can’t see the tummy rub for the boot. Which brings me to her next little gem of crap – ‘I only work to get away from my kid’s. It’s true (maybe it’s because she’s been overheard as passing it off as ‘fact’ and not as witty repartee that it stings), – otherwise I’d have to clone myself and split my heart and my brain to sit with a Grade One in a tiny little desk (I hope they could clone me into a size 2) and the other clone would have to go and hang out in the Caterpillar Class and learn ‘Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes” all over again. Yes. I work to get away from my kids. I might have said it – sarcastically – I know it’s the lowest form of wit but at least it is a bloody form of wit.

this dog could take your arm OFF!

Lastly, my source informs me that  her source said that this woman said that I told her that ‘she was doing it wrong’ – yeah because I like to break people down like that. Apparently this was said the first time I met her. Ah, to have a recording of all my conversations so that I might defend myself in court one day. Who does that? “Hi, I’m Melanie, you’re doing it wrong.” Actually I think I might do that from now on and if you survive my First Impression Of Fire you can come back for a second interview and maybe I’ll include you in my clique; which I established last week Thursday – if I don’t give you the nod to come and stand under the tree with me at the school gate tomorrow – then you’ll know – it’s over.

*The opinions expressed in the above post are not necessarily those of the person who wrote it. Facts might have been changed to make it more interesting and no animals were injured in the blogging of this rubbish.

People are People

I shudder each time one of my children (who are still little) climbs into a cupboard – apart from the usual dangers; getting their fingers slammed in the hinges or doors, the latch slipping closed and them being locked in and me wandering off to go and pour myself some wine. I can’t bear to hear them say, “Look, Mom, I’m in the cupboard” – my symbolic mind translating it into that good old American slang term ‘closet’, “Look, Mom, I’m in the closet.” ‘Oh, no my poor child,’ I think, ‘you don’t want to be in the closet – you want to be free and unjudged about your lifestyle choices, has Mommy not done a good enough job on building your confidence and pride on who you are?’ ‘Oh,’ I wail in my mind voice and gnash my teeth, ‘I have failed you my precious charges! Failed You and Failed Myself!’

It’s going around, this intolerance of  People, that are just People. For time immemorial, we’ve all been different from each other. Some cultures have celebrated it, some have denied it and some have even had the ‘odd ones’  persecuted for it. Now that our earthly population is 7 billion strong and it’s more obvious that each of us is unique – isn’t there a way that we can all get along?

A widow friend of mine  has a little boy who is growing up with just her and his older sister, little fellow is 2 years old. He likes to wear some beads around his neck and a handbag on his arm. He is a fan of  a long flowy dress and will plaster his face with any cosmetic in reach, nailpolish included, with pink high heels to boot. He’s a usually a quiet guy but when he comes out of his shell he can jump on a trampoline like he’s possessed. Leap into the swimming pool into any arms that will have him. Race his bike up and down the driveway, chase the dog around the yard and suck down water and chocolates like there’s no tomorrow. His behaviour is general knowledge among her friends but if he goes out into the general public he’s sure to be wearing Spiderman t shirts and khaki shorts. He’s just little guy but already he’s leading this strange double life.

I know a few sons who were raised by their mothers to be appreciative of the finer things in life. These boys that become men have impeccable manners and know how to treat a fellow human as if they had a tertiary education in it. If they bring you a bunch of blooms they could quite possibly name the flowers – that’s a rare trait for any human but so special in a Gentle Man. They appreciate the good workmanship on a well cut suit and are absoulute fonts of information when it comes to what suits a certain body shape. These guys can sew, knit and mend if they have to.  They know a good haircut from a bad one. Spend time on their own appearance, perhaps to the point of vanity but nothing that hurts anyone else.  Often they are well groomed too – perhaps with a penchant for an expensive aftershave. Or as the case may be not expensive but they have a higher level of cleanliness than some of their brethren who might have an aversion to soap. Bear in mind that these Soap Wary guys are not the dirty, gross kind but are just not on the level of Hygeine Appreciation that the guys I’m referring to are.  These men enjoy ‘chick flicks’ – and are not ashamed to shed a little tear at the heart string pulling parts, instead of sniffing or wiping the snot on their sleeves will even ask for a tissue or (as if from they’re from the previous century) actually use their own hanky (none disposable tissue in the form of washable cotton, for one’s own personal use – one should also wash one’s own hanky and not make ones mother or significant other do it). At the same time they watch their favourite sports, not necessarily ice skating and gymnastics, but the more acceptable, cricket and rugby. One or two of them even have local soccer team that they support.

These guys get put into a box, get sensed out by something that’s been dubbed ‘Gadar’ and they get labelled accordingly. Whether it’s as a new Metrosexual or an old Homosexual it doesn’t matter that these men might married (to whatever gender they prefer), some of them have children (their biological or otherwise, human or furry children and are just the most Fantastic Fathers!). Isn’t it time that we stopped the negativity that judges these chaps and start applauding their effort at evolution?

This is not about sexuality, not by any means, this is about Peoplality (new word, use it, don’t use it) – it’s trying to find that middle ground that we find it so difficult to determine in our judgemental black and white minds. Who cares anymore if someone is ‘gay’ or ‘straight’? Ok – a lot of people and I suppose, from amongst other places, this is where this post has sprung from.

As a Mother, I really wouldn’t mind one of these men as my sons – who wouldn’t like someone who is sensitive and knowledgable enough to let you know that you can’t wear teal if you’re a ‘Winter’? Imagine the partner this person would bring home, be they male or female more than likely they would be someone that you would get along with because your son is The Nice Guy.

Perhaps not all of us are sick of The Bad Boy,  I’d like to raise a son, not necessarily for the homosexual market – but if that’s his choice, gay schmay he’s still going to grow up into a Man. I would like my son to be comfortable in his own skin, confident in his choices and happy. I’d like him to grow up like some of my ultra cool and hip family and friends. These guys with a good eye for the quality and quantity in life.

I don’t know if society will let me get this right but I believe and pray that we’re evolving into a level of tolerance that won’t have our children judged and ostracised just because of their Peoplality.

After all these generations of fighting over race, colour and creed and more recently the uncloseted Sensitive Man – haven’t we learnt anything?

Question: Why is it difficult to find men who are sensitive, caring and goodlooking?

Answer: They already have boyfriends.        

 OR as I like to read it:

Question: Why is it difficult to find people who are sensitive, caring and goodlooking?

Answer: They already have partners (because they evolved into people that other people wouldn’t mind spending a lot of time with, they did this molded and shaped by a tolerant society that allowed them to make the right decisions that they wanted to on their own work in progress as a human being)

Stupid Questions

I know, I know, there’s no such thing as a Stupid Question but I’m getting the feeling that there might just be a category for Unnecessary Questions. Even more so now that we have Google, I fear I might never have to ask a good question ever again, that the Q & A sections of seminars and talks on ‘How To’ and “What For” might forever become redundant as a result.

Since spending time with lots of people from all walks of life I get to interact and converse with a broad range of humans and have developed a high level of tolerance for many things, having to share a home with what I refer to as my uninterviewed housemates (my own children) they have come up with a few real gems of their own. I love me a good chinwag as much as the next garrulous  person but there are some questions that tend to make me want to climb the walls, here are few – feel free to add your own, if you have any.

  • What are you doing? This from someone who is watching me brush my teeth. Okay the someone is 6 years old and has only been brushing her own teeth for about 5 years but STILL it doesn’t look that much different 30 odd years down the line! I get asked this while I’m driving, eating breakfast, stuffing the washing machine, loading the tumble drier, swimming, walking, reading, doing downward facing dog etc.
  • Did you call me? As I hoarsely croak out a ‘yes’ after having yelled for an hour and then gone and stood next to the person and said their name 20 times in a normal voice.
  • Is that for me? A cup of coffee, one cup, that I feel I might deserve after a morning of working (earning money working), tending children and managed some kind of housework. Or a sandwich, slapped together, just like I like it and am about to take a bite or a sip. Clearly, ‘No, it’s mine’.
  • Really? I’m not going to pull my punches on this one – it’s a pet Hate! If I’ve introduced myself (which I’ve had to do a lot lately since we have relocated to a new town) and you’ve asked what I do (as small talk would dictate) and I answer you honestly with my career choice of the last 12 years and you ask me, “Really?” – the look in my eyes is murderous, it makes me want to answer, “No, not really, I lie about my job, I’m actually a serial killer – and you’re next.” Or, we don’t have any pets and you ask, “Do you have any pets?” and I say, “No, we don’t” and you say, “Really?” “Except for the pachyderm and the marsupial, no, none, none whatsoever!” – there’s a special place in hell for this way that people think is a way to continue a small talking conversation.
  • Did you come here? I have arrived at my destination, I am standing before you – are you being rude and alluding to the fact that I might have just had an orgasm on this spot?
  • Is that it? I say, “this is the sandwich I made for you” (yes I do sometimes cater for other people apart from my selfish self), ‘Is that it?” as you point to the only sandwich on the plate. “No, that is Winnie the Pooh that I had the 2 year old crap out for you”.
  • What do you call that stuff? This is usually accompanied with a gesticulation and a face. It is just you and I in an empty room and your gesticulation looks like you might be making candy floss in a sugar spinning machine but your face is saying that the stuff to which you are referring might be gross – so it’s not candy floss. What could it be? I don’t know what ‘stuff’ is so I would not know what to call it. Perhaps if you described it in words we could try and work it out.
  • Have you seen my dingus? No thank you and I don’t want to. Usually, I must admit, it’s my filthy mind and you might be referring to your cellular telephone but then gesticulate the universal language for telephonic handset not ask me if I’ve seen your thingie.
  • What’s for supper? Who cares, not you, since I made it and that’s what you’ll be having or not having since you’re a nasty bunch of fuss pots who live on cheese and crackers anyway. I hope one day that my children will write their own blogs on the spectacular culinary failure that their mother is – I’m not really, it’s just 2 underaged peoples opinion. According to them I haven’t made anything awesome for them to eat since they quit breast feeding.
  • Are you sleeping? Surely if there is no response to this question then it is in the affirmative. Repeatedly asking it louder while poking the ‘sleeper’ will prove that that person is awake – “Mom, you are such a liar” – I get that a lot, but I think they’re meaning that I like to to lie down making me more of a lie-er than a person prone to untruths. Attached to this question is usually it’s little brother asking, ‘Are you awake?’ – they have all their bases covered in the Stupid Question section.
  • Do you know where my (insert name of misplaced item here) is? My bog standard answer usually includes a cartoon character, I like to make it fun for the person who thinks I know where their stuff is. For example: “It’s swinging from my left eyelash playing Tarzan.” or “Why don’t you check down that hole in the garden, I think Bugs Bunny took it.” or a personal favourite, as I close my eyes and put my fingers to my temples, “Ooooooooommmmmmm, please Casper, if you can hear me, please tell us where the dingus is.”

These Questions will no doubt continue and I will get older and more crotchety about them, I wonder if Medical Aid will cover my high blood pressure medication for this obviously chronic condition? Really? What am I doing? I think I’ll go and have a nap, not sleep or be  awake and wait for the feeling to pass.

I’m Good With Names

I’m not boasting it’s simply a fact. Maybe it’s from having a gigantic extended family. Perhaps it has to do with growing up in large communities in small towns or perhaps I’ve just lived in places for too long a time. My collection of jobs has also put me in the position to learn a lot of names – clown, waitress, student, receptionist, teacher etc. Having lived in 4 ‘towns’ growing up and then staying put in a larger town for 18 years I suppose one learns neat little tricks to seem at least slightly socially adept, after all it’s quite flattering if someone remembers your name after only having met you once. Who doesn’t want to be liked or at least make a good first impression.

Things get awkward, though, when you don’t remember  mine.

And don’t think I can’t tell – you know I can and that’s a toughie when it comes to keeping conversation going. It’s not that I’m not memorable, you would remember me if we had ever spoken more than a couple of sentences to each other but it’s not in everyone’s repoir to care about someone elses moniker  – it’s when I remember having HEARD of you or seen you in passing’ so more than likely you’ve heard of me and know my face about town  – hey, I said they were small towns! So I know of you, your name and surname usually and then I also know the name of your significant other. I could probably name your kids and at least 2 of your pets. It’s sad really.

It’s because I’m genuinely interested in the human condition, in people, in what they do and who they are and the easiest way to observe and categorize this species, I suppose, would be to remember their names. It does get a little ridiculous, I mean, I know the names of all the cashiers in our local shops and banks, because they wear name tags. The guys and girls at the petrol station have eventually asked me mine because I greet them every time.  It’s not fair on them since I don’t wear one but I can’t help myself, it’s like a photographic memory of useless things.

So over the years I’ve developed some associations – some mnemonic magic to remembering names but I’m slowly un-learning them – on purpose. It’s just gotten too much, say from 10 years ago, I bump into. let’s call him *Kingsley (and having to change is his name is not easy because I’ve had to make a new association now if someone asks me about *Kingsley) it’s goes something like this, I say;

“Hi, how are you?”

and he says, “Um, fine thanks, how’s it going?” (at this point I have to admit, I try to tune out a little because he’s not really asking how it’s going – it just one of those insipid niceties) , so instead I’d pause and reply –

“Well, well thanks, actually very well. And with you Kingsley? Barbara well too?”

He tries not to look too abashed now since he’s just realized he can’t quite place me and here I am asking him about his second wife.

I try to subtly remind him where I know him from, “Little Tim’s collar bone heal up nicely?” – I was his Doctors receptionist for 6 years. This has got to help him a little, I know Tim is busy with his Tertiary Education and him and Barbara have only been married for 5 years (c’mon dude, I’m spoon feeding you here!) I didn’t have to speak to the patients but I got to learn ALL their names. Now he’s really confused and I’m starting to look like an ambulance chasing stalker.

“Ya, healed up great, he’s playing first team rugby for the Varsity now” – he manages to recover fast but doesn’t come up with a question of his own. I fall in with a little titbit  just because I can;

“Him and Carl were such good friends through High School, did they manage to get into the same Res – oh and did Tim and Bianca ever go any further, they wanted to get married straight out of Matric,’ I’m a total gossip.

Bless Kingsley, he doesn’t start with the, “Hey, do I know you?” – obviously I’m no threat, behaving so familiarly,  such a sweet, friendly, open face (I’ve been told and have since made it work for me). No instead he stammers along about how Carl is a freelance plumber after doing a trade and is making a great success of it (this gets filed away, because Carl, now a member of the plumbing fraternity must know Rick and Rick is an ex boyfriend of a very good friend of mine, Helia – she’ll know how it’s really going down with Carl). Apparently Bianca is still single, (good information, she’s a lovely lass and I can think of  Tjaart, Eduard and Jacob – at least three guys that would be a good match) this makes Tim single too – I’m sure Kingsley would have mentioned if he was married.

By now my drink is getting low, my conversation has run out because Kingsley doesn’t know and can’t recall exactly where he knows me from and I’m talking to him like a twice removed  niece (not as painful as it sounds) – and that’s where I start to feel guilty. Wasted emotion an all, here I am, inquiring – by name – about his nearest and dearest and I haven’t thought to reintroduce myself, that’s just bad manners eh? Oh how could I? Here’s this poor chap, casting about for a clue, floundering for a fact that will jog his memory as to what my name is! It’s just horribly awkward – and according to some smart ass Philosopher or Yoda, ‘a wise man never get’s himself into an uncomfortable situation’ – and here I am having us both look ‘not wise’!

And now, to avoid these situations I have conversations that go more like this, after studiously avoiding eye contact and not laughing too loudly in the group environment, the encounter becomes unavoidable because I’m standing in the direct line towards the food/drink/outside door/loo;

Kingsley: ” Hi.” – nodding and smiling.

Me: “Hi” – nodding and smiling. Looking away and moving in the same direction my eyes have went.

The End

*names have been changed to protect the innocent

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