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Archive for October, 2006

Slice of life

beer bottlesOne of my friends dragged me off to a bar on Saturday afternoon. This was mostly because he had the hots for one of the waitresses.
Now this was not one of your quaint little designer bars where you drink flavoured bottled water and quirky little drinks with unpronounceable names with grimly nice people who avoid second hand smoke, who dress carefully and have the personalities of potted ficus trees.
This was a real bar. The kind of place substance abuse do-gooders would not like you to go to. They are a curious folk, these substance abuse do-gooders. Most of them will happilly gobble up Prozac and Lithium and other prescription drugs like a bunch of bulimics at an all-you-can-eat buffet, but they never abuse substances. They can’t wipe their arses without a mentor, sponsor and a support group present, but they worry about people in bars, which they suspect of drinking beer.
But I digress…
My first instinct was to hurry him along and get out of there… pronto. This was not one of those yuppy enterprises where you talk about your feelings or clinch a business deal. This was an old-fashioned bar, probably family-owned, and it had humanity. The air smelled of smoke. The women looked like women and the men… well, thy looked like men. There was no fancy schmancy drinks menu. You ordered what you know. It reminded me of the bar, back in Cape Town, my father took me to when he reckoned I was old enough to have my first beer. (Boy, was he wrong on that one!)
While my buddy was chatting to his girl, I had time to look around and watch the people as they came and went and how they relate. (We hung around for over an hour, so I had plenty of time, between pool games). I even struck up a conversation or two of the patrons. I was not hard to spot, since it seemed that most people either knew or were at least familiar with one another.
There was the older gentleman trying to impress the group of younger beauties at the next table, the young couple on a date, the martini-fuelled teary confessions and ensuing argument of the 30 something couple in the corner and the loner who initiated a conversation with anyone who dared to look in his direction. I watched as life’s little dramas, sometimes alcohol induced, yes, but often not, unfolded in front of my eyes. It’s charming. Here people do not hide behind their computers and cell phones and actually talked to each other face-to-face.
Just before we left, I caught the back-end of a conversation a young guy was having with a girl sitting at the bar. (What can I say, I eavesdropped)

“You know what they say about guys with big feet?” he said.
“They wear clown shoes and use tired old pick-up lines?” she shot back.

Ouch! I giggled to myself. I don’t know if I’ll have the opprtunity to go back there, but I certainly had a good time. Life’s like that. You just have be willing to step out of your comfort zone and experience it.

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Lip Service?

[This post comes with a warning. If you are easily offended/embarrassed by things of a remotely sexual nature†, then click on Next Blog]

hemp lip balmThere are certain things you just do not want to know about the colleagues you work with. Like what they do in their spare time, the details of the argument they had with the girl/boyfriend, how cute their kids are and the holiday they had with the wife and the children in London last summer. That is what I have friends and family for.

He: Hey [K], Can I ask you a personal question?
ME (wary): When you say personal question, I assume you mean a personal question about you and not me, right?
He: Ha ha…it’s about me of course. I would not dream of asking you about your personal life.
Me (relieved): Good. ‘Coz, if you did… I am going to have to whip your ass.
He (flushed): That is a joke isn’t it? I mean you wouldn’t…. really… uh…
Me: Erm… [D], focus! You were about to ask me something. (I regret not telling him to leave me alone when I had the chance)
He (looking at the floor): This is kind of embarrassing… and I don’t know where to begin…
Me: Cool… let’s go with that. I’ll just be on my way and forget that we ever had this awkward moment.
He (barely audible): When I go down on my girlfriend, she complains that that I am a bit sloppy and that I over-excite her. What do you think I should I do?
(Holy mother of Zeus! I work in Freakville central)
ME (swallowing hard): Yo, dude… that is nasty. Way too much freaking information! I prefer not to think of you in that way.
Fuck, man… what do you expect me to do? Give you lessons?
(Holding my hands up) No wait! Don’t answer that… we aren’t having this conversation. Not ever!
He (red-faced): Please… I am sorry! I am kinda freaked out about this. I just don’t know what to do and I thought you could… you know… Uh, share….
Me: Dude… you should be asking her and not me. I mean it! How the fuck would I know what she means with “you over-excite her?” Perhaps you drool too much? Aaargh… forget I just said that.
Just fuck off and leave me alone! (I walk away)

This happened yesterday and I am still trying to get the image of him and his girlfriend doing the nasty out of my mind. Why does he have to work in the office next to mine?
Rope… gimme some rope! They really should allow us to drink alcohol at work.

(† Katt’s post still beats mine, don’t you think… he he?)

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eau de toiletteI was entering a department store the other day when I was accosted by one of those girls who promote new perfume launches with sample testers. You know the type… young university student, bright-eyed, beautiful, and perfectly groomed… invariably wearing a distractingly tight sweater. Her perfect smile alone would make a tsunami seem like soft summer rain.
Normally when I am approached, I pick up the pace and put as much distance as possible can between myself and them. On the occasion that they do get hold of me, a blasé “No thanks, I’m allergic to new odours”, usually does the trick. Subtlety has never been one of my good traits.
These girls, much like the door-to-door salesmen of old, remind me of pack of hungry hyenas roaming the Serengeti. Ready the pick your bones clean with single-minded determination.
I recognise the value of an effective below-the-line advertising campaign/in-store promotion. Most shoppers will succumb to an impulse to buy when their olfactive, auditory or visual senses are triggered.
The ingenuity of her sales pitch needed a bit of work. It was about as appealing as sticking a pink wax crayon stuck up your nose.
On this occasion however, two things worked in the assailant’s favour. One, I had seen the advert for this particular fragrance on TV the night before, and was therefore curious, and two… I am guy and it is in my DNA to be enthralled by a beautiful woman… especially when she is a sexy young stranger.
She spritzed some fragrance on a cardboard smelling strip and gave it to me to smell. At least she had the presence of mind not to spray it on me directly. The last thing I wanted was to smell like a 19th century French bordello.
I know that the smell on the card and the smell on your skin are as different as a well cooked meal and a burnt offering. I was ready to employ this tidbit of knowledge as a reason to decline the offer to buy.
However, when I mentioned it to her, she sprayed the perfume on the inside of her wrist and held it up to me as if she had just created a masterpiece. My logical brain told me to decline politely and walk away. Testosterone told me to take her hand and smell her wrist. The second I brought it up to my nose and made eye contact, I lost my head.
15 minutes and a pricey R750.00 later, I walked out of there with a bottle of Eau de toilette small enough to fit into a contact lens cleaning kit.
My penis rulez………… my brain. Whoop-de fucking-do!! All I wanted to buy was a necktie!

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Pet peeve, anyone?

It is so hard keeping up with what is current in this ever-changing world of ours. I always think of myself as being “with it”, but lately I am getting the feeling that my savvy is in serious need of an upgrade.
It seems that almost everyone I talk to these days has a pet peeve. Some people even have more than one, or so I hear. All I hear all day long is “my pet peeve this” and “my pet peeve that”. I hate it when people flaunt their peeves in front of me. What the fuck is up with that?!
Is the pet peeve the new trend? Are pet peeves the status symbols of the 21st century? Is it some sort of ornament or trophy that you display for all to see? I wish I knew.
Perhaps a peeve is an exotic animal or plant and you need to apply for a special permit in order to keep one. Or maybe it is not even alive… it could be a digital pet, like a Tamagotchi and you carry it around with you on a key chain? What if you could carry it around on your shoulder, like a parrot? Whatever a peeve is… people seem very proud of the peeves they have.
Not wanting to seem like a complete idiot. I’ve been making some discreet enquiries around the office about pet peeves. (Hey, I have a reputation to uphold, dammit)! The first thing I noticed is that while people are very passionate about their peeves, they are also very elusive on the subject.
When I asked the secretary if she has a pet peeve, she went on and on about how she hates long queues and traffic jams. Talk about changing the subject! Do I even care that she hates long queues and traffic jams? Do I go on about the fact that I dislike people who pay for their goods with small change? No sirree!! And I don’t get me started on people who want to share their life story with you when they get drunk!
The guy in the office next to mine did the same thing. His eyes rolled to the back of his head and complained loudly about drivers who cut you off at intersections. What the fuck is up with that, dude? I love that you are so passionate about the whole thing, but how about giving me a straight answer? If I wanted to know about how your difficult life is, I would have asked. I dislike people who cannot give you a straight answer when you ask them a simple question.
All this secrecy has only made me more determined to get one. I am obsessed. I don’t care if I have to join a secret society to get one, as much as I despise them.
On the other hand, I already have two dogs at home and I wonder if I am ready to take on the responsibility of yet another pet. Not being able to care of your pets can make you downright miserable and unhappy. Some pets may even turn on you and I reckon a pet peeve will be no different. That’s the thing with pets… you have to nurture them and care of them every day. There aren’t enough hours in the day as it is.
Will it suck the joy out of them too and will it interfere with the quality of my life?
So many unanswered questions and so many decisions to be made. Now I’m not sure I even want one! I detest it that I cannot make up my mind, but not as much as I detest not being kept in the loop.

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I was stopped at a traffic light in Killarney a few nights ago, when I heard someone calling out to me. Now this an area notorious for car-jacking and I quite literally feared for my life, expecting to see a gun pointed at my head.
I turned down the volume on my CD player. A scruffy-looking black man was standing outside my window. He had a toothy grin on his face. He did not look particularly menacing, but I was ready to jump the traffic light at the slightest sign of aggression.
Hey, madoda!” he shouted at me through the closed window. (madoda = Zulu for “man”)
“Yo!” I responded.
“He loves you brother!”
I preferred not to respond. I assumed he was referring to Christ and not a man. I was correct.
“Have you accepted Him as your lord and saviour, young man?” (Despite his scruffiness, he did not seem much older than I am)
“Yes, I have”, I said. “Now please go away”
He was not to be vanquished that easily. The poor sod was filled with the Lord’s divine spirit. In fact, he was so elated that he decided I would make a first-class religious convert.
I prayed for the light to turn green. His god was clearly more powerful than mine, because the light stayed red for a little while longer. (I am terminating my membership and ceasing all and any contributions)
He loves you man. He loves us all. He is our saviour!”
“Right on brother!” I responded sarcastically.
“Take this young sir”, he continued. “Save your immortal soul from eternal damnation!”
Great. A fekken pamphlet. On the front of it was a drawing of a petrified man surrounded by flames. There’s nothing like a fire and brimstone to shock you into submission, is there? Why is the message of salvation always one of eternal damnation and suffering? Why?
I rolled down the window and took it from him. I was hopeful there’d be a good chuckle inside.
“Renounce the devil! Make the Lord your personal saviour! Eternal life is waiting for you”.
Judging by the fervor with which he spat out these words, I had to be a particularly hopeless case. Mind you, he was spitting on my car too.
Then came the punch-line.
“Can you spare some change for a meal?” he asked. I suspected the “meal” he was talking about would most likely come in liquid form. He certainly smelled like he had a particularly good “meal” not too long ago.
My immoral heart turned to ice and every last bit of sympathy and tolerance I had for him, disappeared. I resented his presence outside my car. I wanted him to back away so I could continue my journey.
“Look, pal. Step way from the car! And you can keep your little pamphlet. (I handed it back) If it is money you are after, you should have just said so. Using eternal damnation as a sale’s pitch is not very convincing”.
The light turned green
“Go and molest people at bus stops. They are more likely to listen to you and it is safer. Someone may mistake you for a hijacker and shoot you before you had the chance to explain”.
He backed off, as I accelerated away from him to pursue my merry sinful ways.
Dammit! Nothing comes free these days. Not even salvation.

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(Over)exposed

boobsI’ve been invited to attend attended an informal company gathering at the CEO’s house this weekend.
I am not particularly keen on going, but turning it down seems like career suicide, so I accepted the invitation.
There is something downright sinister about spending a Saturday evening with your work mates. It is not that I have an aversion to socializing with them, but it is kinda like sleeping with the enemy, if you get my drift. Call me peculiar, but I prefer to spend my weekends with people I actually like.
This brings back memories of a soirée I attended three years ago. It was essentially a fully catered up-market BBQ, at the then boss’s house. His entire family was present… wife, son and daughter. They were originally from England and I had expected it to be a dreary affair.
After dinner was served, we all gathered in the lavishly groomed spring garden. Despite my initial misgivings, the event had turned out to be quite pleasant. That’s the beauty of having low expectations… things can only get better.
The boss’s son was engaged to a South African girl. She was an absolute stunner… vibrant and outgoing. I remember she had on designer jeans and strapless red top… the reason for which will become apparent later. The son was the complete opposite… reserved and somewhat somber. I guess an English public school education can do that to you. They could not be more mismatched as a couple.
The poor girl must have had too much to drink over dinner or perhaps she ate too little, because by the end of it, she was positively drunk. I do not understand why the family did not take her inside to lie down and sober up. Instead, the son followed her around like a puppy and kept an eye on her. I could see from the frequent glances exchanged with the son that the boss and his wife were very worried that something untoward might happen.
At around ten the dj started playing dance music. We gathered on the wooden patio next to the pool which doubled as the bar/dance area. The son and gf was there as well and she was having a really good time.
It so happened that my colleague, Alex, ended up talking to the son and the tipsy gf. At some point the girl asked him to dance with her. He seemed unsure about accepting, but the son nodded his approval and gently nudged them in the direction of the dance floor. Perhaps he thought dancing would sober her up.
The girl was a little unsteady on her feet. In order to steady her, Alex allowed her to put both her arms around his neck. Thankfully it was a slow dance. They mostly danced in place, moving around in small circles. She was practically hanging onto him. I was silently giggling to myself. Alex kept looking over her shoulder and smiling at the son, as if apologizing on her behalf. Poor guy.
When the song ended, he loosened her arms from around his neck, stepped away and walked her back to the bar area.
I have no idea what happened next or how it happened, but things suddenly went quiet and everyone looked in their direction with shocked expressions on their faces. This was promptly followed by a salvo of stunned oohs and aahs. The red strapless top she had on had slipped down, exposing her breasts for all to see. Hello Miss Jackson!
My first instinct was to applaud Alex’s brilliance, but I realised soon enough that it would make me look like a pervert. (Can you blame me for getting carried away… the party had just come alive!). So instead I pretended to be horrified… as best I could.
Alex on the other hand, looked as if his whole world had come to an abrupt halt. He was a white as the proverbial driven snow.
Now any guy would relish the thought that a woman’s clothes could literally “fall” off her body merely by being close to him, but not like this… not in public!
Just then Alex did the worst thing he could possibly do. He tried to slide her top back up over her breasts. It looked as if he was trying to fondle her. You could not buy this kind of comedy with all the Master Cards in the universe! Keeping a straight was utterly painful.
A few women rushed to her aid and managed to cover her up. As they ushered her inside, all Alex could muster was an audible, “I had nothing to do with her top coming off. It was an accident.” I practically chocked on the canapé I had in my mouth.
I half expected Alex to run off into the night and cry “leave me alone” like a girl. That truly would have been the cherry on the cake.
An hour after the incident, the party was back in full swing, the incident seemingly forgotten. Of course the guys had a good go at him first. Yeah… jealousy can do that, especially when you have a severe case of I-did-not-get-to-fondle-the-boob envy.
The following Monday at work was a friggin riot. The news of the (un)fortunate incident had spread throughout the company like wild fire. Alex was the butt of every joke boob joke ever told.
I can only pray that the coming Saturday night’s soirée will be half as exciting as the previous one I attended.

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