Re(d)patriation: January 2006 Archives

Post-Travelling Blues

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My limbs feel weighted, as if though I’m wading through deep, rough water. I’m lagging.

Even the mythical slow pace of Africa seems too fast for me.

Remember how I’ve been begging you all to send me hate mail so that I too could get a taste of what it would feel like to be a P*O*P*U*L*A*R blogger?

Well, stop the clock! Because at last, someone who apparently didn’t like what I had to say in this last post, took the time especially to not only dream up a pseudonym (the very heart-warming “Yourreader”), but also a fake e-mail address (Yourreader@email.com) AND to – even after going to all that trouble - still leave me a comment! This has made me almost as happy as the day I was Googlewhacked. Okay, okay… even happier!

The tone of the comment wasn’t exactly hateful (so I’m pushing it a bit by pretending that it’s hate mail), but perhaps – and knowing how much I’ve been pining to be a hate mail recipient – you’ll allow me to classify a bit of attempted sarcasm as “hate mail.” Please?

Well, in order to inspire “Yourreader” to write me again, I’ve decided to elaborate a bit further on the previous topic and so I’ve come up with Crime, the Beloved Country Part II. It’s all about how those of us who are unlucky enough to live in South Africa (where the sunsets are so fiery, they hurt your eyes; where the sunshine is so bright and hot and continuous, you run the risk of getting stricken with something terrible called “happiness”) can utilize the high crime rate in South Africa to make us all fit and look extremely fabulous.

Girls (and metrosexual guys with manbags): when out in public, clutch your handbags SO tight that you develop those triceps and biceps and get beautifully cut upper arms.

After a night on the town, linger a bit and then - but only after all your friends had already left - leave the restaurant/club/bar on your own. Walk slowly. Wear high heels (good for the calve muscles) and, just when you’re about to be attacked/murdered (preferably just attacked. When your assailants are already wielding blunt objects or other types of weapons, like guns, it might be a bit too late. But it’s totally up to you to decide), break into a run. For the most effective cardio workout (as recommended by doctors around the world), see to it that your car is parked a good 30 – 45 minute sprint away. Try to do this 3 – 5 nights a week.

If you’re not a night owl (why on earth not? I like sunrises as well as the next person, but you’d have to admit, the timing of it is awfully inconvenient), try to reverse the exercise by going for an early morning stroll. Perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to encounter a rare early-bird criminal.

I’ve heard that most criminals prefer to operate at night, though, so they might be a bit scarce at that time of day. Unless you catch them on their way home from their previous night out, at which time they’ll probably still be drunk, so yes, on second thoughts, this might work. Although you’ll have an unfair advantage of a full night’s sleep over them.

Your criminal might be in a foul mood after a night of no sleeping and from having to walk home with a terrible hangover, so that volatile temper, coupled with the criminal’s normal behavioural issues, might be enough to level the playing (er… running) field again. So go for it, you early-birds!

If auto racing is more your style and you wish to attract car hijackers instead, well, then you’re in luck. I’ve heard that this is very easy to do, especially in the Johannesburg/Pretoria area (known to locals as Gauteng Province). You simply have to obey traffic rules. You know, stop at red lights and stop signs, that sort of thing. Again, this is also very effective when done at night, but apparently it doesn’t really matter.

If you still want to race your car, but don’t really wish to necessarily run the risk of actually LOSING your car to the hijackers, I’m happy to tell you that there are other ways. For instance, instead of attracting hijackers, tempt the snatch-and-grab type criminals. You do this by wearing jewellery when driving around in your car. And we’re not even talking the crown jewels here, although wearing that will almost certainly guarantee that your need for speed will be satisfied. Also make sure that all your valuables (like your handbag, MP3 player, etc.) are arranged on the seat next to you, in full view of anyone looking in from the outside of your car.

You could have your windows rolled down, but this isn’t even necessary. In fact, since most criminals seem to enjoy a little challenge (otherwise they probably would have chosen professions that are a bit more dull, like journalism or psychiatry), do NOT have your windows open.

Buckle up, be vigilant but, above all, enjoy the ride!

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!



















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
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Terra: YES! Wait... you didn't think that I would be this possessed to post for NO REASON, did ya???... [go]
  • Terra.Shield : OH! ... [go]
  • Marco Author Profile Page: Be a bit like serving drinks at AA?... [go]
  • Marco Author Profile Page: I personally think it is a mindset that has been cultivated over the years, and one, if not stemmed,... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Ms. Crazy Cat Lady Pants!!! Squeeeee! Sooo good to see you! (I thought NO ONE was bothering to read ... [go]
  • Ms. Pants : Kitties don't get enough credit sometimes. (All times, if you ask me, but I'm a Crazy Cat Lady.)... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Hey Tamara! I know, right?? That is a tough act to follow indeed. I adored that dentist. He used to ... [go]
  • Tamara Tipton : Well, I am not sure how any dentist could live up to that standard! LOL! I hope your appointment was... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: I'm really really glad that I'm not the only one, Po! Sometimes I drive myself mad with all the what... [go]
  • Po : Those questions run through my heads for various times in my life too, that is for sure!... [go]
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