Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category

Grilled BBQ SteaksYesterday, the 24th of September 2007 was a public holiday. Heritage Day. Heritage Day is a day on which South Africans across the spectrum are encouraged to celebrate their cultural heritage and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions, in the wider context of a nation that belongs to all its people. Sounds good doesn’t it?
In 2005, a media campaign sought to “re-brand” the holiday as “National Braai Day” (translated National BBQ Day), and encouraged all South Africans to get friends and family together and to cook up a storm in true South African style and celebrate. How wonderfully patriotic we are!
Our company decided to get in on the festivities and we were all invited to attend a BBQ at an outdoor venue in Johannesburg. My scepticism aside about how much CO2 we’d be sending into the atmosphere and how many animals we’d be consuming, I was surprised at how well organised the event was.
As a rule I shy away from socialising with my colleagues on what I deem as my time, but [S] reckoned it was better than spending the day by ourselves. Who am I to disagree and stand up a chance to play with the other kids?
I had been forewarned about what NOT to say, or mention, etc. It’s a thorny issue as I tend to make weird statements that have no bearing on what is being discussed, but the better half resided over my behaviour (and she was sitting right next to me).
So I told the odd joke, ate food in the appropriate fashion (small bites and chewing with my mouth closed), listened to jazz, talked about sports, the state of affairs in Africa, laughed and smiled at comments, flirted politely and made appropriate statements like “cool” and “wow”. I even called my boss dude.
I was trapped in a Jane Austin set novel in the 21st century, eating the gorgeously cooked food, drinking the carefully chosen wine and making sure that my underwear did not show above waistband of my fashionably distressed jeans.
I was so charming and fitted in so well, I wanted to have sex with myself, in a non-sleazy kind of way.
I did however slip up at one point when I got asked a particular question about my food. “So, how would you like your meat?”
“I’ve not touched the vodka, so for now I’d like it to stay in my pants”
At which point, red wine flew out of my boss’s nostrils and [S] gave me a look that was so dirty, the white T-shirt I had on turned decidedly gray.
“Just kidding”, I said laughingly, “dead and well cooked with a generous helping of soot”.
Everyone giggled. The jury is till out on whether they laughed with me or at me.
Old habits are so hard to break… and so apparently is my ability to stay in line! Bugger.


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Measuring tapeIt was pretty much a given that my nephew Keenan would do something during our holiday trip that would embarrass me and put me on the spot.
He‘d been milking the whole “Dad” thing for days. Even though I found it endearing in a funny sort of way, I just knew that he was going to use it at some point to drive me to distraction.
At around the third day of the trip, we were at a local supermarket buying provisions for an overnight stay at one of the many self- catering lodges in the area.
I had planned the trip at short notice and had difficulty finding accommodation that catered for both bed and breakfast. It was no big deal. Cooking up a breakfast before we headed out for the day and was the least of my worries. Self-catering accommodation was relatively cheap in comparison and it pretty much allowed us the freedom to do our own thing. (The cooking classes finally paid off)
So we are in the supermarket (superette), and he is standing in the queue (holding our place in the line) while [S] and I are rummaging around for dairy and meat products. (Bacon, eggs, sausages, milk, tomatoes, mushrooms, fruit juice, corn flakes, etc.)
He is almost at the front of the queue, when he turns around and calls out to me.

He (loudly): Hey, dad?!
Me (I cringe immediately, but decide to play along): Yes, son.
He (clears throat): I am a little short on money. If I throw in a box of condoms, would you mind paying for it?

[Curse the seven gods of the Roman pantheon!]
Everyone I the shop goes silent and looks in my direction. This is rural South Africa. We are not in the city. People out here are conservative and live by different values. I nearly pee’d myself.
I curse under my breath and make mental note to poison his food that night. I also know that the is basically testing me (judging by the large innocent grin on his face) and merely trying to rev me up. I needed to stay calm and answer very carefully.

Me: I don’t know, son. Do you really think that’s necessary?
He (devilish grin): Well, you’ve always told me to be prepared and I just want to make sure I am.
Me: Uh… ok… but I doubt you’ll find anything that will suit your purpose in here.
He: Why not?
Me (matter of fact): Well, last time I checked, they don’t make condoms for the EXTRA SMALL.

A few people, including the cashier behind the till, started giggling. Keenan’s face was the colour of an overcooked lobster. He was beat. If he tried to argue the point by saying that he is not small, he would only come across as being defensive.
I felt sorry for him, but when you open the door you should expect that a truck to come driving trough it.
[S] dumped whatever groceries she had on her into my arms and left the shop. “You two are going to be the death of me yet”, she said as she walked outside. I knew she was dying to laugh out loud.
I may have won this round, but I knew he was not going to rest until he gets his revenge.

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