Not helpful

April 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

The thing about people telling you they are all altruistic and all giving is that they are not. Nobody does something for NOTHING. The fact is, even if people are not admitting to it, is that people are nosy. Or have big egos. Or are lonely. Or whatever. The point is generally you help someone because in some way it makes you feel better about yourself. Or better about the world. Or makes you feel clever. Or popular. Or you know that that person you helped will owe you for the rest of their lives and you are going to make damned sure they know it.

Whatever.

I know that when I help some of my friends out it is probably because I am nosy. And because I know what it is like to stand in their shoes and not be helped. And I keep hoping that if my pompous nosy self gets involved, it will all pay forward when my desperate down at the heels self emerges at some other junction in my life.

Having said that, I am about to throttle one of my friends.

There is no helping someone who won’t tell you the full story to which you are supposed to be assisting in writing a happy ending. It is one thing if someone doesn’t have all the facts, it is another when they hide them away from you to ensure you can’t use them for your own self gain or because it makes them feel superior or something.

There is also no desire to help someone who, you discover, after you have spent almost a year assisting to get them through an exam, thinks that because you have not done that EXACT exam (I did mine in SA) you are now inferior to them. Who, moreover, has always been convinced you are a ‘follower’ not a ‘leader’ because in the original place they met you you were obliged to be second below the actual project runner. Never mind actually asking you what you are capable of.

Who laughs when you point out helpful tips like ‘don’t wear that shirt with holes in to an interview please’.

I know he means well.

But so do I. And although his heart may be in the right place, his mouth certainly isn’t as it’s said a number of things I have reason to take insult to. It’s also left out a number of facts I would have considered important to helping him out.

This is the point you lose the desire to help someone. Because, as I said before, noone does it just for the hell of it. And if you are not getting paid or a warm fuzzy feeling in your navel, well, there are better things to be doing. Like replanting cacti without protective gloves.

The problem with big cities

March 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

Big city living is just not for me.

Yesterday I cooked in a kitchen with no natural ventilation or light. I had the kitchen door open and the expel fan thingie was going. Nevertheless, I admit it, I didn’t keep a very close eye on things and the chilli in the pan started to burn. Potently. I don’t know what is in chilli seeds but the fumes make you cough even if there is not really any other sign you have wrecked your food. I doused the pan in water in an attempt to tone down the burning. Don’t ask me the logic. This is what I would have done if I was eating the chilli. A big cloud of steam rose up. Even with the stove fan on (which doesn’t REALLY do much as it just draws the smoke above the stove through a filter thing and then back into the room) the steam cloud rose up. And the fire alarm went off.

My neighbours above have chosen to have a tiny baby in a tiny flat and they REALLY resent the fire alarm as it is piercingly loud, they keep claiming if it goes off you could deafen the child. Noone else paid attention but, as usual, the upstairs neighbours were knocking on my door and lecturing me about my cooking habits. I can’t really blame them. Most of the fire alarm scares in the building are caused by me. But I am one of the only flats in the building with an internal kitchen along the back wall with no window in a small space. I only do this every 3-6 months – if that - but it scares me every time against using the stove because of the lecture I get.

I should not have to live like this. It is only happening because the building was not designed to be a block of flats but one family house. Some idiot divided the structure to make more money and now you need extra sensitive fire equipment because if the place did have a fire, we’d probably all die in the building so early warning systems are imperative.

This morning I tried to get the train into work. It turned out someone had gone into labour on a train before me. This suspended trains going in the direction I wanted to go. (WHO climbs onto a train in rushhour 9months pregnant?) This did not stop the transport police from trying to arrest people for not buying a ticket. Which, ironically, I had already bought then had to try refund as clearly I was going nowhere slowly.

So I was late for work and had to walk for 25mins to find a bus. I then got mowed down by a billion people doing school run on foot with their mini me’s. I do not understand why all these people were not on their way to work. I thought it was a low to middle class income area. If I had a child, I’d probably have to dump it in daycare and keep a dual income going but these people all looked yummy mummy/daddy with not a care in the world. Also no sense of personal space as they and their offspring basically tried to rugby tackle/block me for going against the flow of pedestrian traffic (which, by the way, was using up the width of a private road).

I then tried to call my office on the bus and discovered my new phone did not work. I looked around me and asked the ‘safe’ looking 20 something girl opposite me if it was possible I could use her phone to call, even if I paid her. Most UK phone contracts offer an excess of minutes that could easily allow a stranger a minute to talk. She managed to get that glazed distant look and turned me down immediately, right as a large Muslim woman parked herself down next to me, crushing me into the window.

The scary looking man at the back of the bus with a beard then flagged my attention. (He could clearly see there was NO way I’d be able to steal his phone the way I was parked in.) He offered to let me use his phone. And, to my surprise, whipped out an iphone and dialed for me. The number still did not dial. It turned out it was the office not my phone that didn’t have a working line.

I learned my lesson. The scary looking man was not actually so scary. Just a man in his fifties with a wild beard. Who had enough money for an iphone even if he looked slightly scruffy and who was willing to help a stranger out, which is unusual here. My faith in humanity and big cities was restored.

Jill of All Knowledge

January 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

The interesting thing about being relatively intelligent but having no short term (or medium term) memory to speak of is that interesting facts (and some pretty dull ones) tend to stick to strange recesses in my brain while all the useful stuff strains out as if it is a sieve.

I still remember my first boss after graduation complaining about where I’d studied. That I appeared to have learned nothing at all in all my years of tertiary education and he couldn’t decide if the institution or my scatterbrained approach to life were to blame.

Consequently I can tell you a collective group of crows is called a ‘murder’. But how you remove red wine stains, I have no idea. (Which fact would be more useful in my life.)

A friend of mine has recently separated from her husband. She is decidely unperturbed by this because she was married in the States. Where she believes divorce will favour a 50/50 split of assets in addition to her being kept in the manner to which she is accustomed. I didn’t feel like pointing out to her I don’t think all states are created equal in the States. I distinctly remember there was some big controversy a few years ago with a film star and how alimony was paid out in the state of New York versus California – the couple having married in one and then lived in the other. The lower earning party was desperately trying to get the case tried in the state that would probably work more in their favour. A bit like ensuring if you are going to commit murder you attempt to get tried in a state that does not have the death penalty.

Apparently though if she was proposed to on a national holiday or a big occasion like Valentine’s Day or Christmas, she will probably be able to keep the ring. Or so says my friend’s gay friend who can’t even technically marry someone of the same sex in his country. THIS piece of information for some strange reason stuck in my head. Something about the fact that such valuable items as expensive jewellery should return to the communal pot to be divided up when the estate is separated. However, ‘gifts’ given for appropriate gift occasions are usually considered exempt from this as they have been given freely away to the other party and are therefore not eligible for the communal pot.

Maybe I should just become a lawyer?

I also know all the ins and outs about filling in immigration forms for the UK. What questions they are likely to ask in interviews. Where you could fall at the last hurdle. I’ve seen too many friends pass these tests and fail them to not have absorbed at least some of the information entailed to get in and stay in. Or get blacklisted out.

I just wish I knew information pertaining more directly to my life. Like how many calories can a person of my height actually eat. (I don’t know if I believe those doctor recommendations and I also can’t work out how you work out the energy content of food anyways.) Or what cream really stops wrinkles in their path. Or how do you find property you can actually afford to buy on a rubbish salary. Or how do you calculate percentages and exchange rates easily in your head…

Cold

January 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

There are people that rant on about the fabulousness of the wintery season. The way you can layer clothing and look cute in gloves and boots and hats.

I hate winter. I hate wearing so much clothing I cannot move properly.

I hate the darkness as the sun rises late and sets early (if only my work times followed suit).

I especially hate being sick.

I’ve been dragging round some slow brewing lurgy for over a week now. It was mostly just a sort of a coughy thing. And a bit of congestion in the morning. I think it is a spin off of the bronchitis that laid up the people from up north where I went for Christmas. (So much for them being a hardier folk.) They were on antibiotics and taking days off work since New Years Eve. I have been dragging myself around although I did cut kickboxing out.

However, I think this thing is starting to get the upperhand. Multivitamins, me lying on my back like a pregnant woman with a slipped disc the whole weekend and copious amounts of lemon and ginger tea are doing nothing.

I woke up in the wee hours this morning with a raging thirst due to the discovery that my nostrils were, in fact, there for decorative purposes only. Waking up set me off coughing like some kind of a chain smoker as well.

I woke up again exhausted when my alarm went off a bit later. I am NOT one of those people who takes at all well to disrupted sleep. After being up for awhile, my body started to try to clear the mucus out it’s system. There is something singularly revolting but also satisfying when the contents of your nose finally clear out enough that you can breathe but that if you are dumb enough to look into the tissue, the contents look like they would bounce or putty up windows. Having said that, coughing pretty much results in the same disgusting stuff where spit asap is the only option.

I am fed up though. It hurts when I breathe in now. I am convinced I am getting worse not better because last week although not 100% at least I was mostly sleeping through the night.

It took four hours (I kid you not) to get through to the doctors. By the time I managed it, I was so surprised - I was in a discussion with one of the guys at work at the time, having explained to him I needed to work but refused to put the phone down while doing so – that I forgot to write down the appointment time. It didn’t really help the receptionist went ‘today’ then went ‘tomorrow’ as an appointment fixing. Oh well, if it is tomorrow they will hopefully send me a text message with the time.

Or maybe I will miraculously cure overnight.

Yeah right.

Food issues

January 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

I went away over Christmas with the new guy to see his family in the north of England. I hate visiting for too long when I don’t know people, it sets my whole digestive system out of order. Visiting South America, South Africa, South East Asia (are we seeing a SOUTH trend here?) is generally not an issue. Warm countries tend to huge amounts of fresh vegetables and produce. Visiting in the northern hemisphere is not that simple.

The boyfriend told his mother I was a ‘difficult eater’, which really I am not. I will eat anything that has legs or, for that matter, that never had legs. Except maybe goggas that should not have been there. I will even eat things I am not particularly partial to without too much fuss like tongue, brussel sprouts and celery. I don’t particularly like my desserts from buffet offerings touching in my bowl and will rather eat less variety to prevent the this but generally noone notices. (Hence my deep suspicion of trifle, a mix up of leftover desserts.)

However, when we were visiting I sort of understood why he told her this. It was one of those families that frustratingly for me dishes up a plate for you. I hate this because I am a grazer. I enjoy small portions in many helpings. I find large plates of food I feel compelled to finish intimidating. I also tend, if left to my own devices, to try to eat more than my fair portion of the vegetables over, say, the potatoes. So the plates they were dishing up for me were way too gravy laden, meat loaded and carb infested while the vegetables, which were limper than I like, were lacking.

They made two small containers of ‘salad’ after he told her how much I liked it (I don’t really, I prefer lightly cooked veg but I will take salad over no or dead veg) for the boxing day buffet. When everyone’s backs were turned I gobbled them both up, along with a number of satsuma naartjie things. (And, if I’m honest, a quantity of chocolate things left unguarded.)

Nevertheless I was not particularly happy. I still felt like my body thought it was storing food for the great famine as everything just wasn’tmoving.(Too much information?)

But at least I did not complain or make a fuss. I even ate all my brussel sprouts.

Which is more than I can say for some people. I know someone who went holidaying with a friend and her parents. In front of the parents when offered Austrian salami, she proceeded to take it apart meticulously to separate the little white fat globules from the processed ‘meat’ part. And anyone who knows salami knows this is like separating sand granules. She is only lucky the parents were amused and not insulted by the lengthly eating process involved.

ps It has literally taken me months to figure out how to get back to this blog, which is why I posted on libraschild at letterdash only to discover I’ve locked myself out that one by forgetting the password, how I miss the old days.

New Bloglink

October 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Please also go to the link below in order to read my work.

http://libraschild.wordpress.com/

I’m not sure if anyone else is finding this, but wordpress seems to operate faster off it’s home server than when running through 24 blogs to operate?

 

Test driving

July 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

This site seems to operate really slowly during work hours, phenomenally so.

In parallel with it therefore I will be testing a blog on the usual WordPress site at this address:

http://libraschild.wordpress.com/

If I fnd that it does in fact operate faster than here, I will migrate onto it full time. Currently I can’t seem to comment on my friends’ posts in 24 Blogs WP so maybe it will be possible the other way around on the usual WP.

And into the endless night…

July 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

A lot of the news I’ve been getting from SA lately seems to be about death. Natural deaths essentially. When people reach a certain ripe old age, life becomes a tedious affair of pain and endurance. And after that, well, when it is your time, it is your time. And quite frankly, if you hadn’t done enough when you were younger, it is always going to be a catch up game in the winter of your life.

The thought of mortality frightens me. Not so much death. The uncertainity of death yes. But in the end, it is peace or a new beginning. It is what precedes it that scares me. I don’t know which concerns me more. Having my life cut short before I’ve done all that I need to do. Or having it drag out and being alone and frightened and enfeebled in old age. The idea that a fast quick incident would leave all sorts of ends untied, questions unanswered. Or the drudgery of a world of pain and loneliness if I hadn’t managed to ensure I was surrounded by people, things, life, youth…

The news from home simply emphasised this point. One lifetime celebrated in fanfare. I have no doubt a huge memorial service with a massive congregation of people from all across Gauteng, honouring a man who gave his life to his community. Who, even when frail and in ill health, was seen as a leader and a  shoulder to cry on. Another lifetime spend attaining all the material signs of success. A big house, a prosperous family, status, the domineering position of patriach. A funeral attending only by family, a hurried affair, hushed and expedited as if his descendents feared the price of the burial or that noone would turn up.

Either way, it doesn’t really matter which transpires at the end. Your earthly body is but a husk and no matter how many people cry over the corpse, you cannot feel the tears. It’s the living that counts. Telling people here and now while they are with us is what counts. Making a difference today.

Endless winter

July 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

I was listening to talk radio the other day. This is very unusual for me because generally if I want anybody to be talking, it is me. I am quite happy listening to ME. I have long conversations with ME and usually we agree. I cannot stand it when people drag out what they want to say when it can be said eruditely and concisely.

Anyways. They were saying because of a gulf wind or something the weather was basically stuck on repeat. This means on the one side of the ocean (America) they have been sweltering in a heat wave. On the other, (mud island) we are stuck in rain and cold. Charming. I chose the wrong country to temporarily emigrate to.

There was a fleeting day last week (Thursday to be exact) when all was sunny and beautiful. It was so hot the aircon, which permanently sounds like I am trapped in a plane’s turbine, couldn’t figure out what was happening. Windows open or shut we were melting in the office. So much so, the manager bought everyone icecream. It is a sign how rarely this happens that this treat was so easily dispensed.

That was one day. It seems unlikely to happen again.

Next time I move, it is definitely back to more temperate climes.

I want to wear less clothing.

And shorter skirts.

And sandals where my toes can wiggle.

And damnit, I want to do all of this before gravity gets too much of a hold and while I have less wrinkles than a shar pei.

Patriotism

June 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

Some people need to invest in better cameras. If you squint your eyes sideways you will see the little specs above the red are, in fact, the royal family.

Prince Harry was looking suspiciously cosy with Katie M while his older brother was being a dutiful grandson and attempting to engage the Queen and the public.

A soft rain fell the entire time and I think Camilla and the Queen were very glad for their wide brimmed hats unlike the foolishness of the younger more stylish Royal.

So strange seeing real royalists out for the day. I had a seat. Some of them however just stormed the gates – literally – with the police controlling the crowds stampeding to see their Queen.

I’ve even learned the first verse of the anthem now. I wonder what atheists sing when it plays? Then again, N’kosi Sikele means God Bless Africa so hmmm…

ps A shout out to Dizzy and Footie for finding me on here. I would go searching for them but it is LATE and this stupid website runs very very slowly. Or maybe it’s my internet?