Sunday, August 30, 2009

Trust? How do you spell that?

There is this thing that I have been meaning to write about for quite a while now (this time I mean it!), and since apparently I have completely stopped answering any and all comments (again) that you still keep leaving (thank goodness, since they truly make my day, every day), I must have been heavily thinking (doesn't that just sound like it should say heavily drinking, since it is, after all, my blog?) about something very, very big and heavy.

Sound credible?

I hope so. Because thinking big is all I have right now.

Every single time anywhere outside of South Africa I tell anyone that I live in Johannesburg I either get the 'oh wow, where's the bullet hole/ contours of the bulletproof vest/ the holster' or the 'You are too cool for living in a war zone' look. And while I love being thought of as seriously hardcore (like a ninja, or Toni Morrison) and utterly cool, the reality is quite different.

Don't get me wrong, I am, like, totally cool, if not even a tad rad, but the truth is that South Africa is not a place where one absolutely needs a gun, a handbag-size rocket launcher, or even a bulletproof vest.

Not really. Not even in Downtown Jo'burg.

However, sometimes it is very hard not to be swept up by the general atmosphere of fear and danger that often permeates this country and especially our city of residence. I know, I know that there is a lot of crime in this country and a lot of it is concentrated in our hood of Jozi. Believe me, I've heard and read all about it. It is a favored ice breaker, after all.


There's a lot more to the situation than rape, murder, and other kinds of horrendous terror.

There's also distrust, and fear for fear's sake. And panic and hysteria. Unfortunately.

When there really should be trust, compassion, and togetherness.

(What is this? Is she fokken trying to be all sweet and cuddly? No way! Creepy is all I'm getting.)

All nice colorful rainbow-like. Like that guy Mandela said. I'm now calling him 'that guy' to throw off the scent of stalk that I may have previously been too vocal about, although I now think it is the US government for a change who is after me, since I keep getting all those blog-visits from various USDA departments. (Yes, being sarcastic, very sarcastic. Don't shoot.)

I think the paranoia stayed when the fever left. Let's hope it's not permanent, eh?

But obviously the Hubby doesn't suffer from any sort of paranoia, since today, because we hate feeling unsafe where ever we are and often feel the urge to demonstrate to ourselves how safe and sound (not really mentally, but in all other ways that I or you can think of) we indeed are, and that we just might be completely certifiable (but at least we have no offspring), we picked up a couple of guys in need of a ride (asking for a ride at traffic lights, sometimes with intricate hand signals, is a common practice in SA) to their respective places of work. One to a gas station and one to a shop, in our hood.

"Do you know them," I ask the hubby. "Nope, but that guy is wearing the gas station jacket," he says.

They guys get in. We have our shopping, my handbag, and assorted items (I did say I would drown in filth, if other people didn't clean for me and the maid refuses to clean the car) in the back seat. The guys make like there's only one of them until we remember it and tell them they can shift some of the stuff.

They are really grateful for the ride. They were going to be late for work, because the taxi (the lethal van packed with peeps that in theory functions as 'public transportation') hadn't shown up. Although, I think the one without the jacket would have been eventually able to buy a Merc to get to work just by trading in his gold teeth. But alas, we, the people not looking to trade in a vehicle of any sort, were his only chance of making his shift.

And we're not into gold teeth. Or at least I'm not. You can never tell with the Hubby. The guy has kept his cast from when he was injured in his teen years. And there are those old Norse/ swearing Copenhagener genes... Also, I think he would sell the car for some 'gold' teeth just to help someone out, if I wasn't there to, you know, keep him from being all saintly and neighborly and such.

Sheesh, I'm married to a friendly person.

A taxi-stand kiosk in Orlando, the township of Soweto. You know, Mandela's neck of the woods. 
As far as what she will use the drum for... I have no idea. I don't.

But sometimes, even I have to trust. To make our world livable. To put something out there that is purely good. That will make someone's day, that will make someone's week, or sometimes even someone's year. I don't want to think people want me harm just because they look at me. That is not the kind of world I want to do my wine drinking in. I mean it.

Now go out there and trust. It's pretty easy once you just go ahead and stop being afraid.

Although, I must add: Don't trust anyone who will want to rob, rape, maim, or murder you or anyone else.

Just saying.


molly said...

trust is a funny thing. i'm super trusting of people, too and my hubby usually has to pull me away from danger cuz i'm so oblivious. but, i just always think the best of people, if you give them a chance to be good..its what they ultimately want to be, so i think i'm giving them that avenue...but, i guess, it's not always true.
still, i'm with you!

An Open Heart said...

Not creepy at all... I concur, breed trust.....and trust will florish!

And, yes, that first sentence where you mentioned it seemed like it should say heavily drinking, my mind played a little trick on me and I actaully 'read' "heavily drinking"........


Pattern and Perspective said...

It never came across my mind that Johannesburg or SA would be a place entrenched in so much war and violence that I'd never travel there (which I haven't yet but someday) I'm sure it's like any other financial and economic capital city. No matter where I am in the world, I try to keep safe without distrusting people. As a general rule, I don't walk down dark alleys alone, hang out at bars alone, stay out too late at night, etc...-- this is probably due to the fact that I grew up a military brat. I wouldn't call it distrust to just be plain aware, right?

iasa said...

Ha, i'll hitchhike all over belize and pick up people in the states, but i'll never hitchhike in the states. guess i have to work on my trust issues.

Anonymous said...

Trust...mmmm thats a tricky one. When we trust we open ourselves up for all sorts of emotione. I must confess, trust is something Im still working on...thanx for sharing this piece, wonderful.

Angelina said...

You made me laugh when you wrote " I must have been heavily thinking (doesn't that just sound like it should say heavily drinking...) because I was totally thinking that. : ) Ahhh, but I digress.

For me Trust is one of the most valuable traits necessary in any relationship. Without it, what do you have?

Trust is not the same as acting blindly or being stupid you still have to Trust your intuition. If a situation feels bad, it probably is bad.

Tippyrich said...

I just have to say that I 'heard' "heavily drinking", but you do know...heavily drinking and heavily drinking happen simultaneously, sometimes.

On Trust; I can't tell you the number of times I am so torn between stoppin to give a 'hiker' a ride and drivin right past. I want to stop and help so badly, but something stops me. I feel really awful that i feel mistrust for people; I know that most members of the human family are innately good and that there are only a few axe murderers among us. I really do. But still, something stops me. I vow to do better. I do.

Thanks for teaching me. and ... cheers!

lyndseywiley said...

I trust you to bring a smile to my face every time I read your blog. So far, I have not been disappointed. :o)

Disclaimer: My husband says I'm a used car salesman's dream... I trust fully, indiscriminately, and unapologetically until proven wrong.

Dave Keeble said...

Ah yes, trust. I have to say, I'm quite the cynic, which perhaps may be a little unfounded at my age.

However, these days I'm trying to give people the benefit of the doubt and let my guard down a bit...

At the very least, it's far more exciting. :p

omchelsea said...

SO about three months back I picked up a woman who was walking along the side of the road. It was three a.m., and she was walking in a straight line, so I figured she'd probably be sober and (a) tell me her address (b) not vomit in my car and (c) appreciate the lift. Ticks to all.
When I told my husband he freaked out... until I pointed out that if I were stuck in the same situation (wallet and phone left in custody of friends, friends separated, yada yad yada)he'd damn well want some nice lady to pick me up too.
I respect danger and all, but by trusting sometimes you can do good stuff (not jut on the simplistic level of "Give me a lift")

Not So Glamorous Housewife said...

I think you trust more in SA than I do here in the good ol US. The daily news has jaded me, I admit it. I may call and pay for a cab for a stranded woman but in no way am I taking her into my own car. I know this is a terrible attitude to have and fear breads fear but it's the way it is as far as I can see. Perhaps a little less news and a little more flowers and poetry should come my way.

Miss Footloose said...

I agree, being afraid and distrustful is no way to go through life, and if I'd been that way I'd have never left small. safe, comfortable Holland. But I did leave,and boy it's been a ride.

It is difficult to find the right balance between common sense and fear, especially if you move from place to place. Environment, cultural issues, customs are different in different countries and what is perfectly fine in one place might get you killed or thrown in jail in another. Again, you gotta use your head.

Which reminds me of a news story years ago of a Danish couple visiting in New York who left their sleeping baby in its stroller outside a coffee shop (I think it was) while they kept an eye on it through the window. They were arrested for child endangerment and the baby was taken into child protective services. A nightmare, as you can imagine.

Again, trust is good, but only in the right place, and apparently not in New York.

Miss Footloose
Tales of the Globetrotting Life

Middle Aged Woman Blogging said...

Trust can make you or break you! Trust your intuition, it does not lie to you!

Erin P said...

I know just what you're saying. I just can't live in a world where I can't walk down the street or feel comfortable doing what I need to do. If I were afraid to take a walk in my city, when and where I do, (I am careful and aware, not oblivious) then I think that life would be just too unpleasant. Sure, there are random rapes and murders, but I simply cannot be fearful of what's normal in my life. My husband can't seem to quite grasp that level of trust--but if I lose that, I'd be miserable.

Amandalyze said...

As always, you make me laugh out loud and read random sentences to my husband. This practice, of course, makes him want to thump me in the head with a pillow for making him hit pause on the DVR for something he didn't solicit to hear pieces of. But I digress. You're still a hoot!

Trust is be easy for me - but only if I am by myself. I fear that I am the LEAST trustful person when I am with my kids. I just can't take any chances. The media doesn't help this, nor does a situation I had when I was 8 months pregnant with my son on a mommy-daughter date with my 13 month old daughter. Details not necessary, but it was SCARY!! But your post made me feel all warm and fuzzy, nonetheless. Cheers for your hubby!


Isabella said...

You're so funny and eloquent, you make me jealous. :P

Ekanthapadhikan said...

Trust, I suppose, is the most difficult thing in life. When you trust you're cheated and when you don't, you miss the chance of a better life!

ellen abbott said...

I'm a big believer in creating your own reality, putting out there what you want to get. How can the world ever get better if no one trusts, if no one ever acts like things are better. So bravo.

ivycats said...

This has been a question for me for a long time -- even though I do not live in a war zone. At this point I've come to "trust has to be earned". If it is true that 4 in 100 people are sociopaths, then this is prudent. I've been hurt, sometimes devastated, because of trusting. There is only one me, and if I don't care for me then that one will be used up or destroyed pretty fast. So, giving where I can and conserving for another day.