Crime, the beloved Country

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Had the security at Johannesburg International Airport been halfway as sophisticated as the security get-up here at my sister’s house in Stellenbosch, no one would ever have managed to steal even a luggage tag, let alone my entire laptop.

Electrified fences that serve as a fantastic insect repellent fortify the farmhouse. Every once in a while tiny sparks fly in the night as yet another spider or mosquito meets a shocking, spectacular demise. We witness those mini-executions in live broadcasts beamed onto the computer and television screens via several strategically placed close-circuit cameras.

If one of the unlucky victims happens to be on the bigger side of the entomological spectrum, it sets off a deafening and intricate domino effect: first the alarm wails throughout the house, which in turn throws everyone into a panicked frenzy. This leads to a security van rumbling up the farm road to inspect the cause of the alarm-trigger.

I know all of this, because on New Year’s Eve, shortly after sneaking into the house in the middle of the night, I was shocked into sobriety when the alarms began sounding. According to the security guard who showed up in the van some time later, the intruders appeared to have been an entire family of arachnids, who had tried and failed to make the fence their new neighbourhood for 2006. All that remained of their foolish move was a scorched, torn cobweb; its tattered remains tragically stirring in the breeze… At least the other insects in the vicinity had some fireworks to ring in the New Year and the barbecued carcasses of their former neighbours to snack on!

There are also gates that work with remote controls. Twenty years ago, I served as both the television and farm gate remote control in our household! See how technological advances are robbing today’s children of working for their room and board?

But if you think the outside security is impressive, you’ll think the indoor security resemble something hitherto only seen in James Bond movies. Once the gate IN the house (a necessity in most South African farmhouses, where it goes by the comforting name of “rape gate”) is locked at night, it separates the bedrooms and bathrooms from the living areas in the house.

Those living areas unfortunately include the kitchen. I say ‘unfortunately,’ because this means that, unless I dramatically improve my cat burglary skills – not very likely, since that will mean that I’ll have to become somewhat flexible, and in case you don’t remember, I’m so stiff, I can hardly lift a finger – I’ll be unable to get to the kitchen and a midnight snack. But I have to say, thanks to the rape gate and those high and low and crisscrossed laser beams separating me from the food, I have already lost about ten pounds since coming back from the States.

Perhaps we can turn it into the next diet and exercise craze? Security companies could make infomercials (because infomercials can now unfortunately be seen on South African television as well): “Allow us to install a rape gate between you and your kitchen! Eventually you’ll be so skinny, you’ll be able to make it out between the bars!”

And: “Are you a security AND fitness conscious South African? Then allow us to install our state of the art, high tech laser beam alarm system in your home, a STEAL at just half a million Rand per square centimeter AND we’ll throw in our new exercise DVD, “The Laser Beam Limbo” FOR FREE! Our hunky fitness trainer/security guard will show you how to limbo your way to a lithe and limber frame in a few complicated maneuvers! Trip up, and you’ll trip the alarm and risk waking the whole neighbourhood!”

The more adventurous can sign up for the Scale a Security Fence course. For a few extra thousand Rand, and to help you improve your climbing speed, they’ll even electrify the fence for you.

I just figure that since we have to live behind bars in this country anyway, we might as well look fantastic doing it!

15 Comments

kim said:

man that sounds wild with all the security and stuff. maybe you should work on your uploading-pics-to-my-blog-skills and show us some of what you've described in colour some time? i'd love to see how and where you live now.

hope you're doing good. sending a smooch. :)

Annika said:

I am in tears at the thought of being tortured like that. I NEED MY FOOD! I will have to mount a rescue effort. Just as soon as I have a snack.

Autumn said:

Ok, I'm dreadful out of it - but is rape in people's home really happening that often? Wow. just wow.

TimT said:

Hi Red,

I'm just one of your screaming fans popping in to see how things are going. You have hi-tech security gates protecting the kitchen? Does this mean you have to get dressed up in a cat suit every time you want a midnight snack?

pylorns said:

sounds quite daunting, I'm gonna have to come visit if i know i can drop 10lbs... lol

Wendy said:

As funny as you make it sound, I've lived it and I know it's not actually that funny. My thoughts are with you. Sterkte.

deeleea said:

I'm with Kim on the photo thing!!!

The pictures could double as promo shots for the ad campaign you'll be mounting to sell this new fitness regime...

Red Dahling,
It's wonderful to hear from you. MISS YOU MUCH, I've lost about 10lbs too since you've left me here. But I had the flu. I was to sick to to even drink. Damn those pesky dieases. I can't believe they lock the food up at night, it sounds like living in Fort Knox. I guess you will have to raid the kitchen before they set the alarms. The Thirsty Crew sends their love.

joey d said:

Hey wife #2
HON!!!!!
glad U made it home and miss U already

Joey/Chill

yourreader said:

Hi Red

I'm sorry you have to live in a place like South Africa which seems to give you no pleasure whatsoever. I hope someday you'll get to live in a country of your choice.

Keely said:

Wow - I am on my way, ten pounds in ten short days, thats what I need. Sounds like you are having quite the adventure so far, never a dull moment. Looking forward to coming to check that security system out for myself some day soon.
Keep well...miss you much.
Keely

martha said:

Red - that sounds a bit more advanced than the system in a house I frequented once - where there were two gates seperating the two bedrooms/bathrooms from the rest of the living area. No laser security there but scary to consider the need to lock the gates every night. Hope that you are doing alright in all ways.

Mike W. said:

Hey You!

Love your site. Hope all is going well (or, at least, better!).

Thought I'd send something to put a smile on your face (I hope):

Why We Love Children!!

--A kindergarten pupil told his teacher he’d found a cat, but it was dead. “How do you know that the cat was dead?” she asked him. “Because

I pissed in its ear and it didn’t move,” answered the child innocently. “You did WHAT??!!” the teacher exclaimed in surprise.

“You know,” explained the boy, “I leaned over and went ‘Psst!’ and it didn’t move.”

--A little girl goes to the barber shop with her father. She stands next to the barber chair, while her dad gets his hair cut, eating a snake cake. The barber says to her, “Sweetheart, you’re gonna get hair on your Twinkie.” She says, “Yes. I know. And I’m gonna get boobs, too.”

--A small boy is sent to bed by his father. Five minutes later:

“Da-aad…”

“What?”

“I’m thirsty. Can you bring a drink of water?”

“No. You had your chance. Lights out.”

Five minutes later:

“Da-aad…”

“WHAT?”

“I’m THIRSTY. Can I have a drink of water?”

“I told you NO! If you ask again, I’ll have to spank you!”

Five minutes later:

“Daaaa-aaaad…When you come in to spank me, can you brink a drink of water?”

--An exasperated mother, whose son was always getting into mischief, finally asked him, “How do you expect to get into Heaven?” The boy thought it over and said, “Well, I’ll run in and out and in and out and keep slamming the door until St. Peter says, ‘For Heaven’s sake, Dylan, come in or stay out!’”

--One summer evening during a violent thunderstorm a mother was tucking her son into bed. She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, “Mommy, will you sleep with me tonight?” The mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug. “I can’t dear,” she said. “I have to sleep in Daddy’s room.” A long silence was broken at last by his shaky little voice: “The big sissy.”

--It was that time, during Sunday morning service, for the children’s sermon. All the children were invited to come forward. One little girl was wearing a particularly pretty dress and, as she sat down, the pastor leaned over and said, “That is a very pretty dress. Is it your Easter Dress?” The little girl replied, directly into the pastor’s clip-on microphone, “Yes, and my Mom says it’s a b*tch to iron.”

--When I was six months pregnant with my third child, my three-year-old came into the room as I was preparing to get into the shower. She said, “Mommy, you are getting fat!” I replied, “Yes, honey, remember Mommy has a baby growing in her tummy.” “I know,” she replied, “but what’s growing in your butt?”

--One day the first grade teacher was reading the story of Chicken Little to her class. She came to the part where Chicken Little warns the farmer. She read, “…and Chicken Little went up to the farmer and said,’The sky is falling!’” The teacher then asked the class, “And what do you think the farmer said?” One little girl raised her hand and said, “I think he said: ‘Holy Sh*t! A talking chicken!’” The teacher was unable to teach for the next 10 minutes.

Wishing you all the best with hugs & Kisses!

Mike (that naked Sean guy)

Lusharazzo said:

Oi, yourreader- you're a sarky little blighter, ne? Pull your sense of humour out of your bottom and play nicely.

POSTIE said:

You needed a vacation. see you soon sis.Tell bookstore to call me.

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about
is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)

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comments
  • POSTIE : You needed a vacation. see you soon sis.Tell bookstore to call me.... [go]
  • Lusharazzo : Oi, yourreader- you're a sarky little blighter, ne? Pull your sense of humour out of your bottom and... [go]
  • Mike W. : Hey You! Love your site. Hope all is going well (or, at least, better!). Thought I'd send somethi... [go]
  • martha : Red - that sounds a bit more advanced than the system in a house I frequented once - where there wer... [go]
  • Keely : Wow - I am on my way, ten pounds in ten short days, thats what I need. Sounds like you are having q... [go]
  • yourreader : Hi Red I'm sorry you have to live in a place like South Africa which seems to give you no pleasure ... [go]
  • joey d : Hey wife #2 HON!!!!! glad U made it home and miss U already Joey/Chill... [go]
  • bookstorediva : Red Dahling, It's wonderful to hear from you. MISS YOU MUCH, I've lost about 10lbs too since you've ... [go]
  • deeleea : I'm with Kim on the photo thing!!! The pictures could double as promo shots for the ad campaign you... [go]
  • Wendy : As funny as you make it sound, I've lived it and I know it's not actually that funny. My thoughts ar... [go]
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