Monthly Archives: July 2013

Bird on a Wire

Sometimes I feel like a bird perching on a barbed wire fence in a strong wind, ready to lift into the sky with the merest flap of wings.

Bird on a Wire

My commitmentphobia is as entrenched as ever. Still no car. No house. No job. I can’t bring myself to make appointments or book plane tickets until the last minute, in case everything changes. Because everything can change in a moment.

I had a moment of intense clarity on Friday. To share details would be telling, but I realised in the space of an exchange lasting less than a minute that I needed to change something about my life, no matter how expensive or painful.

I can do that because I have enough saved up not to care too much about money. That is freedom, the kind of freedom that very few of us can claim.

In the end, the one thing I want to hold onto no matter what, is the power to walk away.


Do You Have the Answer to Everythink?

A wallet is an important thing. It isn’t just a convenient receptacle for those items we need to guarantee our place in this world: credit cards, driver’s licence, medical aid card. Money is energy, a proxy for value, a store for it, and an expression of what matters to us.

Until today, I’d been using the wallet my ex-husband gave to me, again. It was beautiful: wine red, leather, Carrol Boyes. A little damaged now, by time and memories and associations.

Carrol Boyes wallet

The newer wallet I’d been using was bright pink, like almost everything else I have, so I don’t lose it in my handbags. I bought it from the Christmas Market at the Bryanston Catholic Church in December, for R120, and it took six months for the zip to break.

So I went back to using the wallet my ex-husband gave to me, and that felt wrong. As though I was holding onto those memories, though all of this is just projection, and I hold onto another of my ex’s gifts, a large wooden chicken as a totem. (So much so that it will feature in my talk at TEDxJohannesburg.)

I’d been looking out for another wallet, and yesterday I found it, in a shop at Oriental City Rivonia, the shopping centre formerly known as Rivonia Square nee The Cloisters, and one which reminds me of Chatswood in Sydney. I have a weakness for Engrish, and this was just perfect:


It was R38. On the other side, it bears this strangely appropriate legend:


I know I don’t have the answers to everythink. Everythink is part of the problem. But it’s possible that I am getting there. I’m not standing in one place. The dream is sweet.

Things I miss about being 8 years old

I miss being 8 years old.


I miss being thrilled by the pictures of Arctic Cove and Sweet Wonder in the Rothman’s Durban July supplement.

I miss waiting for photos to come out, and the way my mother peeled back the cellophane in the albums to stick them down.

I miss Sunday lunch and newspapers and the thwack of tennis balls during the Wimbledon Final on my grandparents’ colour TV.

I miss the murmur of grownups talking about things I didn’t care about.

I miss Sol Kerzner and Annelien Kriel.

I miss the sticky sound of pages in a new set of World Book Encyclopedias, and how enchanted I was by the knowledge inside.

I miss making sand castles on the beach and not knowing about skin cancer.

I miss liking Ronald Reagan and thinking he was a nice sort of uncle.

I miss feeling important when I put on my dark blue cassock and white surplice to sing at the 10 o’clock service at St Michael’s.

I miss licking out the cake batter when my mother made birthday cakes.

I miss the delirious, delicious joy of Smarties and cupcakes.

Me 2

I miss Maya the Bee.

I miss the Marmite ad.

I miss Knight Rider and Kitt’s voice. I loved Kitt’s voice.

I miss loving Black Beauty more than any other book I had read.

I miss thinking farts were the funniest thing ever.

I miss not knowing about the F-word, though I got into trouble at school for using the word “bloody”.

I miss not caring what I looked like.

I miss not knowing whether I was fat or thin.

I miss not knowing that I wasn’t pretty, though that isn’t true because I knew I wasn’t pretty when I was six years old, and I will never forget that.

I miss not having a clue about boobs or boys or sex.

Me 3

I miss wanting to be a ballerina.

I miss practising Bach 2 part inventions and thinking I could be a pianist.

I miss drawing pictures of girls riding horses and wishing that one day, one day that would be me.

I miss my Sindy doll and my First Love and my electric Blue Train set.

I miss Pick Up Sticks and making model planes with Tinker Toy.

I miss thinking 50 cents was a fortune, because you could buy a Lunch Bar and a packet of chips from the tuckshop, with money left over for Chappies.

I miss not knowing about designer clothes and thinking anything from OK Bazaars was fine.

I miss not knowing that a BMW was better than my mother’s blue Ford Escort.

I miss not thinking that my mother’s baby blue Ford Escort was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

I miss not knowing that so much was wrong in the world, that there were 8 year olds who knew nothing of innocence, though I probably shouldn’t admit that.

I miss not knowing the meaning of the word “rape”. For years I thought it meant stabbing a woman with a knife.

I miss knowing about Adam and Eve and being fascinated by dinosaurs and being able to believe both of these things at the same time without any difficulty at all.

I miss myself before I turned nine, and got sad.

I miss believing in God.

I miss Mrs Houghton, the first teacher I loved.

I miss thinking that my grandfather could broadcast his home videos on SABC because that was the way the world worked.

I miss wanting to taste a Wagon Wheel more than anything else in the world.

I miss not knowing that there was music I was supposed to like.

I miss not knowing that bread was bad.

I miss thinking that icecream and jelly was the single most amazing thing in the world, followed closely by peach slices and Ultramel.

I miss getting to eat the Pope’s nose.

I miss thinking my parents knew everything.

I miss believing that everything would just happen, because it always did.