31 Oct 2011

Working On Your People Skills...I Have None



‘Have we met?’


‘No I don’t think so.’

‘Are you sure? Because...’

‘I’m sure...’ with this I dart off.

Except wait, I do remember. You sat next to me in high school; you gave me a lift last week. You were the drunken guy sitting next to me in the kombi. You gave me a lift last week. 

And although I had so hoped to never see you again. It’s a small world and I find myself desperately trying to get away from you.

I never want to remember the people I meet. I am much more inclined to stick my nose in the air and scurry off. It is not because I don’t like people.
I don’t.

But that’s beside the point.

I seem to suffer from stage fright.

The thought of putting up an I-know-you-good-to-meet-you performance is daunting. Smiling, flattering and pretending to be remotely interested in what other people have to say.

Frightful.

Although I am quite paradoxical about it. If I met you and I knew you and you pretended not be interested then I would be offended. I want you to smile at me, to say hello. To remember my face. And then I want to have the pleasure of saying.
‘No sorry I do not know you.’

26 Oct 2011

GUEST BLOG SERIES ARTICLE 2

I managed to convince Allan over at Reality's Dream to Blog for me this week! and I must say he is awesome!!


1. for blogging & 
2. because this heat is melting my brain I am a hazard to the blogosphere

25 Oct 2011

If You Drink Paraffin You Will Get Bad Advice


 
Two weeks I wasn’t feeling well, exhausted, emotional, wiped out, I felt for sure death was knocking on my door. I never thought to blame it on the heat or affairs at home. A part of my brain still believes in pending doom, that African part of me that I cannot wipe out.

I took Kombi rides and found myself sweaty and clammy. Not normally a sweater, I was horrified to see pit stains as I emerged. Much like those barbaric men I have for so long turned my nose up on. I held my arms against my body and hoped for my sake that my oh so hygienic reputation had not debilitated into a hot sticky wet mess.
I blamed it on the manufacturers of Shield.

Sydney won, but sleep took over. That’s when it hit me.

 The reason for my wet calamity was not because My Shield deodorant had stopped working, it was because I forgotten to use any.

Enclosed in my blanket cocoon I had initially caught a whiff of my armpits, it had started as a teasing stale whiff, and then it had grown into a full bodied assault on my sinuses all this I registered through the mists of sleep.
That smell of stale deodorant barely covering up the much headier scent of fresh summer sweat. I literally embarrassed myself to a state of full consciousness.

Blinking and wishing the smell away weren’t going to make the smell go away, and so I sat there debating why it was necessary for me to take a mid day shower.

20 minutes later.

I was standing in the kitchen glaring at the fridge for having failed to produce so much as a mug full of water.  Glaring wasn’t working so I dropped my pointless rage and stood there trying to think where I could get some water.

Before you ask, no, water doesn’t come from our taps anymore.

No. Don’t feel sorry for me, at any time if you walk into our house, we have at least 200ltrs of that precious liquid. Some of which is stored in a cupboard below the sink. It is to this cupboard that I turned, to appease my thirst.
What followed is a sequence of events that I choose not to recall precisely.

1.   I did not pour the water into a mug, I took a hearty swig.
It was paraffin, not water.
2.   It took me exactly 3 seconds to realise what I had drunk.

I stood there spluttering and gasping. My lips were on fire and my tummy was behaving like I had a bad case of IBS which I have had, and believe me it is bad. Not knowing what to do, I stood riveted to the spot until a little voice whispered,

“Facebook,”

And so I whipped out my phone, and asked my friends, “what is to become of me?”

Within minutes I had reached 20 comments, all of them except for the one or the two were just plain stupid.

you will become more intelligent” Said Doug
“Yipee you are going to become Mai Bhobha” what Alex meant by this I wasn’t sure
Charles confirmed my suspicions of a runny stomach, midway through my posts it began.
Each bowl movement was punctuated by a status post“you will wake up drunk”“you are going to fly”“pregnancy finally!”“you will develop more antibodies and spit fire”

As I slid to home base I got this comment that cleared my bowls outright.


“oh shit here is wat u can do. Around th 7th hour from th time you drank it, make sure u get a free toilet that no one intends to use for the next 2 hours, and make sure you hv running water coz that paraffin will be coming out hot. So get comfortable in that toilet

The guy who said this was our rugby captain, and school prefect. The very sight of him inspired fear and when he so much as glanced at you, you felt your life flash by.

21 Oct 2011

Why I Still Text Dead People

                                        

Morn after morn dispels the dark,
Bearing our lives away;
Absorbed in cares we fail to mark
How swift our years decay;
Some maddening draught hath drugged our souls,
In love with vital breath,
Which still the same sad chart unrolls,
Birth, eld, disease, and death.
                                                                                                             BHARTRHARI


And if we remember this with each breath and blink then death wouldn't be such a cruel mistress. It would beckon and we with a smile and relief would fold gladly in it's embrace. And we would remember as time echoes in our wake that as soon  as one is born, one begins the process of dying (sic), and then the tears on our cheeks would fade away, with a smile an embrace and a not so sad farewell.


We would look at death and whisper,

  "Come, for I have long waited, 
    I have toiled and I have suffered. 
   And now that my curtain falls,
    And the slivers of life grow thinner.
    I am comforted by your siren song."


This is to my darling Dudley, from whose loss I will never recover.

20 Oct 2011

GUEST BLOG SERIES ARTICLE 1

This post begins the  first of my Guest Blogger series... thanks to Doug from World's View for this entry!

Excerpt From My Maybe Maybe Not Book


Something like this happened somewhere I'm sure


I was jolted out of my reverie by the bus going over a hump. That Old Geyser never bothered to show down. Instead, he seemed to increase his speed every time we approached a speed hump. This made the seniors sitting in the back seat shriek in delight. Lucky them, it made my hand jerk so hard I was convinced that one of these days it would pop out if its socket. This seemed to be a family thing. Yemu’s shoulder had dislocated one time as she had been scrubbing the walls.

She had wailed like a banshee and I had been so convinced that she was about to die.

“Mama! Mama!”

Mama, had come running from outside, feet covered in mud for she had been in the garden and her waist wrap almost down to her feet.

She had looked so panicked that anyone looking at the two of them would have wondered who was hurting.

“What, what is it?”

“Mama, my, my...mama It hurts, it’s broken” Yemu had cried clutching her arm, trying I suppose to pop it back in.

“Her arm, her arm is out,” our lodger had chimed in from beside my mum.

A little crowd had gathered, even the woman from next door was standing behind my mother in that little corridor. That woman from next door.

“Yemu, tell me what is wrong with you, what is wrong with your arm?”

“Please, its out,” snort and tears had gathered around her eyes, and her eyes as round as saucers as she had looked up at mama imploring.

She said other things, but I could not make out a word of what I is she was trying to say. Mama did though, and before I could blink twice or say “Mwari wangu,” she had seized Yemu’s arm by the elbow and with seemingly no effort had popped it back in place.

‘There, now go and wash your face,” Yemu had walked away meekly crying softly and hand clutching that dislocated shoulder.

“Shupi,” she said, turning to look at me, “get a cloth and wipe this mud off the floor.”

That woman, my neighbour Mai Chipo turned to my aunt, who had also come,

“I came running thinking she was dying”

“You came because you thought we were killing her.”

“no, you never know with these kids and their games,’

“hoh? so you had come to save her?’

“Ah, let me go back home Mai Danny, I left my baby sleeping on the sofa”

“Yes go, before she starts wailing and making noise for us your next door neighbours,”

Giggling, she had waved and let herself out. I did not get why she did not see that my aunt did not like her. Nobody really liked her. She was always asking for things, at all hours of the day. Nobody would be surprised if ever we found her at our doorstep at midnight, with her baby strapped to her back and a bowl of sugar in her hands.

She would, I mused ask for sugar, a loaf of bread, tea and margarine to go on her bread. Sometimes I wondered why mama smiled at her; I suppose she felt sorry for her because of her husband. I had overheard mama and my aunt Mai Danny discussing him the other day.

“She called him on his cell phone and he answered panting and wheezing,” mama had whispered.

“Ah,”

“Then he hung up after he heard it was her,”

“For shame, that poor woman,”

“He called her back thirty minutes later and told her that he had been running to the bank because it was almost closing time,”

“Ah, ah, ah, what?” Mai Danny had stood with her arms akimbo, shock etched on her face, “I am sure she shouted at him.”

“ah, Mai Danny don’t pretend like you don’t know these men, what could she possibly do? It’s not like she actually saw them.”

“Mmmmm but Mai Shupi, it’s not right. It’s not right at all.”

I had crept away quietly, adults were so strange. What was wrong with running to the bank and why did that warrant any pity for that woman.

18 Oct 2011

If It Wasn't For That Indian, I Would Have Cholera


                                       
My City By Night (Harare)
This is Harare. I live there, about 4 weeks ago the city council cut off water supply in my area. 
So the local residence went to dig a hole in the ground. with pick axes and hoes, they located the underground water pipes and broke them. 
Now the water gushes from a hole in the ground and forms little rainbows in the sun and puddles on the ground.

Everyone goes to that watering hole now.

Little children with yellow bottles.

Mothers with babies strapped to their backs and laundry buckets on their heads.
Adolescent girls, with unconfined breasts jingling with each step.

Local hooligans, with their trousers to their knees and a street wise gait.

And that dirty old man who lives in the little hut by the beer hall.

The local MP knows about it. He does nothing.
The council workers know about it, they do nothing. they sit in the shade of their office verandas with straws poking from their mouths and their hands shading their eyes as they watch us.

"Why won't you fix this?" a matronly woman asks

"Madam you did it yourselves, fix it for yourselves."

That matronly woman purses her lips, and folds her hands over her ample bosom  Sensing a fight, the man from the council gets up and goes into the safe haven of his office.

"Oi get your children down from the fence!" a guard yells as little children bored with watching their mothers collect water from that hole in the ground, climb all over the council fence.

"Mazvi! Taku! get down from there." 

"what did I tell you kids? now look how dirty you have made yourselves."
The Man That Helps Me

 That is the man that gives me water, or at least he looks like that. He is Indian, and believes in karma. Because helps me he says his karma is good.
Every weekend I go to his with hundreds of 2ltr containers and 3 50ltr cans.
And every weekend I go past little girls, boys, men and women heading towards that hole in the ground with their pails, and tins, bottles and buckets . 
And I ask myself,

"When did we sink into this societal recession?"


                                    

17 Oct 2011

Conversations In A Bar And Little Princesses



I Want My Mum (Little Princess)


Neola (6) got her first book today. Typical subject, a princess. Not so typical plot, our little princess goes around the castle, asking people what she should be. So in my mind she is a bit dependANT, not so the things I want Neola to learn. I don’t want her to ask me, I want her to TELL me.

Oh well, so much for the emancipation of women.

Mother shouldnot have bought a book written by a man, (Tony Ross), man  for women. There’s only so much these men want us to do for ourselves.

Now take Ms X, who I met in a pub the other day. she was all for freedom. happily married with two kids, she had two college degrees and sneered at me when i told her that i only had one under my belt,

"At your age? what a shame."

I had not realised that at 23 more were expected of me but i smiled and reminded her that she was 36.

"Still darling, you need to have a good degree if you want to get more cheddar, where is your degree from by the way?"

I told her.

At this, I am sure she almost guffawed, instead she said.

"Oh." 

"Any chance of you going back to school then?"

"Yes next year. I was thinking..."

"Oh, that's fantastic then, I myself got my MBA from Nottingham Trent."
She whipped out a nifty little phone and showed me pictures of a horsy woman in a pink blouse and bright red lips.


I oooood and aaaaahd appropriately.


"What a lovely building," I said hoping to avoid having to say anything about her glaringly apparent wardrobe malfunction.


"It is, isnt it? The fees were simply atrocious but see, I run my own business and so I didn't quite feel the pinch."

"Mmmm." I encouraged casting my eye around the room, looking to catch someone else's eye.

"Oh, yes. It takes me all over the world, why just last week I was in Norway,  a bit cold but really lovely and so clean, one of the reasons i didn't want to come back."

"Why did you then?" 

At this moment I quite wished she would hop off the bar stool and announce that she had to leave for some faraway place. Instead she said,

"I have to prep for China next week, I am so hoping to mix business with pleasure and go shopping. You can get in a great bargain, or two, or three."

she giggled a look of wistfulness on her face.

"Would you like another drink?"

"No thank you?"

"Oh, you driving?"

"No."

"I am, but I've had three shots of tequila. but it doesn't matter, my car knows the way home."

I rubbed my temples. Somewhere in my brain I felt the echo of a migraine starting. I frowned a little, trying to hear an end to her monologue.

"Excuse me, I need to use the bathroom." I said, getting up to leave.

"Of course darling, I'll come with you."

10 Oct 2011

The Man Who Made Me Stop Listening To The News


                                    
The news came on just as I was leaving home. Not in my car, I do not have one. I was on foot and I was listening on my phone. Now normally it is a woman reporter that comes on. Not so this time. It was a very male reporter... Oscar.

 I have nothing against this guy really and truly, but h has a way of reading the news that riles me. He comes on and I change channels. Either that or I change channels. Each time he starts a headlining story it is in the same way.

He says “meanwhile,”

Not meanwhile like you and I say it.

Really fast, and move on to the next word.

His sentences are constructed around the word.

The first time I heard Oscar say “meanwhile” was as he read the evening news on television. It seemed to me he caressed the word, played with it, gave it new meaning.

He said to the world.

“Hey I am not good looking, no not by a long shot, I probably have a stinking personality but you are goine pj rem`mb`p ha `dr`p$vinidnp( Yhq qhdhh uem`mbbume&for the word meanwhile.”

And I did.

He said it every time he started a sentence,

“Meanwhile his Excellency...”

“Meanwhile the ruling party...”

“Meanwhile the MDC...”

I mean the guy said it every time *puts middle finger in mouth*


He would bare his teeth on the MEAN... and really say “meaaan...” teeth out lips curled, and then move on slowly to WHILE.

His lips rounded on the W taking his sweet time to move on to pronounce the syllable WHI... and then slowly, whilst we waited with bated breath the LE would come. His little pink tongue would pop out of his mouth and linger on his lips as he seemed to linger on the LE.

By the fifth MEANWHILE I was disgusted. I had determined to like this dark little fellow, but he ruined the whole news experience. Now every time I hear him say,

“Meanwhile,”

I see that tongue, and those teeth bared in the manner of a displeased donkey.

"mean...WHILE"
One word should not have so much ceremony attached to it. Leave it alone!

I am much too patriotic to go on about the way he says

“Go Warriors,” wait three seconds.

“Go Warriors,” wait three seconds.

“Go Warriors.”

4 Oct 2011

The Teeth, The Nose And Those Eyes *shivers*








I had the most unusual visitor today. Not so much because of anything he said, but his face. He had a really wide gap tooth, which I had a hard time trying not to look at. To look or not to look, was the great debate.



"Don’t look," i said to myself.


I would look.
Kinda hard to look away from eh?


"Look."


I would still look.


(I trust you have figured out that this was a debate between the left and right part of my brain)


To understand why, I have to explain to you what this peculiar visitor looked like.


He had asymmetrical lips Yes I noticed those two. One slightly crooked thin upper lip attached to  a very full-quite sensual- lower lip. These I had to notice first before I saw those teeth I mentioned earlier.


So yes, in between those lips which seemed a hybrid of Sylvester Stallone and somebody else who lies tauntingly at the edge of memory- was that gap. Now, I have to point out that from the moment he walked into my office this man began talking.


About workers, unions and non-payment of fees. lawyers, disputes  and non-payment of fees, you get the picture.


I listened.


I nodded; this way and that way up and down.. I crossed and uncrossed my hands, took out my pen scribbled a little. Looked this way and that way, through him and at him. Glanced at my computer screen, fidgeted with my mouse. On and on he talked, and still I listened.


Now because I was listening and nodding, it was hard to get my brain to really focus on instructing my eyes not to stare. So I looked and looked away, looked and looked away at those teeth, much like a thief eying something in your hand. Or to bring it closer to home, like a hwindi (bus conductor) trying to decide if you have paid your fare or not.


It was hard not to look. His gap tooth was that 'gappy'. So much so, you could see his tongue flashing in the pits of his mouth, and if you looked carefully you could seed saliva balling up and being ejected in a salvo of well placed vowels.


“I.” Spit


“Need.” Spit


“The.” Spit


“Money.” Spit


On and on he went. Spitting and talking.


Now the tongue, now the spit.
I daresay the the whole process was quite mesmerising. I just couldn’t look away, his face seemed to have so much going on. His awfully large nose,(i hope you are picturing it) flaring out in punctuation of every sentence, now what you need to understand is that most people punctuate statements with and gestures, and foot stamps.
wooooow, easy does it!
                                                       
 His eyes too had an eerie quality. They peered at me from a high gleaming birdlike in his overlarge head. for the life of me I couldn't tell whether he was looking at me or through me.

When thirty minutes later he got up to leave I was glad.


He did it with quite a flourish too, ceremoniously picking up his attaché case, he made as if to lean back. Then he continued, with a heavy sigh he hiked his overly large trouser, straightened his tie and stood up to leave.


 He wasn’t pleased.


I know this because he was scowling when we shook his hands. I didn’t care though. Those hands of his were cold and clammy. Reminding me how very hot it was out, and how the little fan perched on the edge of my desk was doing a good job of keeping me cool, without my body needing to resort to sweating like his was doing.


With that, he turned and left, I was glad to see the back of him, much, I didn’t care when he slammed my door shut. Instead my attention had shifted to the little flecks of saliva he had left on my desk.


“Please Lord, don’t let him come back,” I implored, and with that I reached for the phone to summon the cleaning lady.

3 Oct 2011

The Girl Who Forgot To Write


A friend of mine asked me, the other day, to blog in Shona.

Easy, I thought to myself, no problem.

So I started with the basics. And by basics I mean poetry. Because, unlike prose I didn't deed to follow a set plot or formula.



What I came up with was a hostile selection of sentences. I couldn't come up with a single synonym, simile or verb, let alone idioms and verbs.

Shocker, I thought, Shona is my native tongue. I mean yes I dream in English and drop my Shona for choice English curses, but Shona is who I am. How then is it that I, the scion of those who never run out of things to say developed verbal amnesia?



I have resolved to look into this; even if it means cracking my brain open and poring through it layer by layer, I shan't be defeated by the language that is home!



Bodo ndaramba.