Thursday, October 21, 2010

I realize I'm not often perceived as a lady by others so I'm left with no other choice but to do it to myself

(Although, when I really am doing it to myself I refer to myself in the third person. Leaves a better taste in my own mouth at least. Also, as a side note: I'm so not trying to sound dirty. I swear.)

I am such a nice lady. I really am. I was totally afraid that because of the countless South African maids who I ended up having weird disagreements with regarding grease and feces and other assorted wonders of the modern household and then had to fire or watch them theatrically quit on me my chemistry was at odds with, it would turn out that it wasn't them being duds and bad specimens of the cleaner corps here in the Joburg highveld, but that I had turned into one of these horrible white women, with snakes for hair who can freeze you if you accidentally look at them while you're actually trying to flee their cold grip.

But I hadn't.

Turns out my hair doesn't hiss or ingest mice, it's just quietly trying to bid farewell to the mohawk and my very questionable attempts at dyeing it solo (in my own bathtub, without permanently blinding myself or the already fairly sad bathtub), and as much as I'd like to I have no freezing action, just this sorry trick of finding out my stress level by the number of chipped teeth in my mouth after a night of some serious teeth grinding, and, hmm, my grip is not really cold, more lukewarm and sometimes a little clammy.

Because I really am a nice lady at heart.

El Grande Vikingo (the husband, a.k.a. the Viking, is going back to the original name, since it's very likely that we're going back to Mexico, but I'm not saying anything yet, because he still hasn't definitely put pen to paper and although I'm already thinking about selling the cars and having the insides of the house put into a container, I haven't actually even ironed anything in a while, let alone folded and packed) says I can be all warm and fuzzy as long as someone remembers to pick up coffee regularly at the store, and, well, it's been ages since my last 'ohmizeus-and-other-as-valid-deities-I've-run-out-of-the-sweet-manna-that-keeps-my-soul-going-someone-fucking-do-something-quick' (this might also apply if one were to imagine 'sweet manna' to refer to wine), which leads me to believe that I've been downright pleasant lately.

A nice lady!

But don't just take my word for it, I have proof.

Which is still technically my word, and I could totally be lying about everything and be a middle aged man who sits around in his underwear all day long in his mother's basement and convinces himself that he's conducting an exciting social experiment by pretending to be a past her prime trophy wife in South Africa who is married to a bearded Viking.

And who is also a nice lady (Not the Viking. He has all his bits.).

But I'm really real, and so's my proof.

Picture this:

A cluster of military-colored and yet eerily mock-Tuscan houses nestles in the suffocating embrace of slightly larger military-colored yet even more eerily mock-Tuscan houses in a valley far, far away, technically in the northern suburbs of Joburg, but in reality way behind the boerewors-curtain in the Afrikaner-territory of Pretoria.

In one of the houses in the cluster, a woman in her (very early) thirties (that's me!) sits in her living room reading a book and occasionally surfing the world wide web and sorts out donations for various charities. Every once in a while she glances outside to her backyard and at its one forever-dying tree and brown grass. It has been weeks since she's been able to do that. A crew of painters has been employed to paint all of the houses in the cluster a deeper and darker mix between military grey and green (so really, kind of melted together camouflage which is still a very kind description), and she's had to close all the curtains to avoid someone seeing her absentmindedly picking her nose or attempting to find out where exactly that weird smell is coming from (Is it the trash? Is it the armpits? Is it the breath? Wait! Is it actually something stuck in the latest chipped tooth? Yes. So Gross.). But it finally seems that everything has been painted and the painters have moved on to the last house in the cluster, on the other side of the street.

The weather's so nice and that breeze, oh that breeze, it brings with it the smell of margaritas and suntan lotion. She feels compelled to open the door out to the patio. To let in some of that lovely, lovely breeze. She makes some more coffee and drapes herself with the book on the cushy chair once again goes on with her charitable endeavors some more.

Then she hears a sound. Talk, actually. A whole discussion. In a language she doesn't understand.

She doesn't panic. She quietly walks back towards the patio door and once she reaches it, she sneakily peeks out.

Four men turn to look at her. Two of them are sitting on her loungers and another two have their lunches laid out on the patio table. They have lighted two of the citronella candles she's left on the table. The men all smile at her.

"Hello, ma'am," one of them says cheerily and smiles some more. They all wave. She waves back awkwardly, blushes a little, and slinks away. Suddenly things start clicking for her - she remembers that extra trash in the trash can her husband was asking her about, she recalls the muffled voices she has been hearing for the past week around noon, she thinks of the amazingly dustless patio table, and the patio furniture that hasn't quite known how exactly to position itself in the last few days.

She deems it too impolite to close the curtains, and even as she slides the door closed again, she tries to do it quietly. She leaves it unlocked.

She feels an odd sense of pride that the painters should have picked her backyard and patio as their lunch room regardless of which house they have been working on. They had 12 houses to choose from. 12 more or less identical backyards and patios to choose from. 12 houses with roughly the same view. 12 houses without other differences to them than the people who live in the houses and their perceived reactions to four paint-spattered guys making use of what they consider as their 'property'.

It must be because she is such a nice lady.

Such a nice lady.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Change of scenery

While I'm sitting here at my (the original since I'm still not quite feeling the new one but which is slowly being coaxed out of its boxy hibernation by the Viking who I seem to have promised the current [although antsy] one to should he be inclined to buy me a new one... dammit) MacBook Pro, smelling what can only be the death stench of burnt ants emanating from the innards of this here silver (it has to be silver, the black just looks so scary. Apple designers take note!) keyboard, I'm looking at apartments.

In Mexico City.

Yes, my dear people, it's again that time of the decade. The ants in my pants (and not just the 'puter) part of the living that I do daily. The looming end of the Viking's contract. The should we stay or go or take a long vacation hitchhiking through some obscure countryside somewheres in the world point in time. The let's ditch the turquoise couch once and for all but still find it in the container upon arrival to the new country (the same goes for the forever-temporary television-stand. Sapient pearwood?). The let's find some new adventures and leave friends (sadness abounds) and routines (fokken A) behind. The let's call it a day and then some and MOVE.

Houses. Towns. Countries. Continents.

Let's shake it up a bit. Let's learn a new language, discover some new foods, wines, and find some new neighbors (Could be you. Scared?) to impose our by now extremely quirky 'Scandinavian' on (that's a nice way of saying I will always belt out the chorus to Yƶ's Ihmisen Poika [best song ever and perhaps the best band too] loudly in the shower when you least expect it [I take showers at odd hours apparently], and the Viking will look at you funny when you ask him to ask his wife to stop singing in the apartment before inviting you in to taste the world's best mustard [which is of Finnish origin, naturally!]).

So Mexico City would sort of be cheating, since we already left it behind after a wonderful and memorable two years there, only two and a half years ago. But I miss Mexico. And Mexico seems to miss the Viking and wants him back very badly (good thing he's so lovable. No one would ever want me back, I know it). It seems however, that South Africa wouldn't mind us staying another year, but lately, all talk of ants in my pants and various crevices (those bastards get everywhere, they do) aside, we've began to think that perhaps a change of scenery would be an appropriate move.

Don't get me wrong, I've had an awesome time here in South Africa. It has been cool to get behind all of the nasty reporting on the 'dangerous Johannesburg' and see the real city, the land, and its people, experience the beat of Soweto, get in touch with the reality of life in Diepsloot, hear a lion roar in Pilanesberg (and then see it try to avoid a puddle at all costs like the true kitten a lion still is underneath all that mane), hurtle down a barely-there dirt road at a breakneck speed in a rattling 4x4 in a red cloud of dust (this is, in fact, my new off-road route home from boot camp), be head-butted by a 'tiny' rhino, discover that I've actually contributed to a couple of kids learning how to read and then cry a little bit in the car because, seriously, how fokken great is that?, but maybe it's time.

There have been moments, you know. Those times that tell you, loud and clear, that a change of scenery/ mate/ hobby/ spending habits/ internet provider/ vehicle/ deodorant/ job/ trainers is in order. I've found myself automatically locking my car doors without anyone having to ask me "Um, are we locked in?". I seem to have internalized the lay-out of my neighborhood Woolworths and can thus do my grocery shopping with my eyes closed (not that I do. mostly). I realize that I lock the door behind me while I open the gardener's lunch can of beans for him. I bought Jack Parow on iTunes and was excited about it. I've stopped hyperventilating every time someone is surprised I'm not Afrikaans. I say things like 'Ag ja', 'shame', and 'eish' without even registering what's exiting my mouth.

I've told people that I'm fine instead of good, for fuck's sake!

In other words, I've started to feel at home.

And we all know what that spells, don't we?

Goodbye South Africa it must be. It's not you sweet SA, it's me. I just need some time alone, you know, to figure out where I'm going in life and whatnot. You deserve someone better, you do! I would just make you unhappy in the end. We could never grow old together. You'll be so much happier without me and you'll find happiness with that special someone. I'm only leaving you open for that person.

I'm not breaking up with you, I'm doing you a favor. Trust me. And besides, it's been a nice ride, neh?

So now all that's left is a great break-up fuck. Unless that fuck involves us staying the year longer, in which case I'm not sure I feel horny at all. Nuh huh.

Until then.

I'll always cherish our time together though. I will! Oh the scenery...