I want to write about my parents, and what they – and we – are going through, but that means I have to think about it. And I don’t want to. I don’t want to think about it because thinking about it makes it real, and it makes me cry. I want to talk about my daddy darling, who is diabetic, diagnosed when I was a little girl, and on a type of dialysis he can do himself at home. This means he doesn’t have to go to hospital every other day to do dialysis, and he has a relatively normal life, even though it is structured around when he has to do dialysis and he hates it. He also has dementia, and it’s progressing really fast. I don’t know what I’m going to do if he no longer knows who I am. Or who my son is. And I want to talk about my mommy darling, who retired sooner than she was planning to, so she and my dad could spend as much time as possible together before… Before. Before. Before it is too late. Before my dad is gone. But if I talk about it I have to think about it. And I don’t want to. If I think about it I cry. And I feel guilty for crying because it feels so selfish. My mom is so tired and stressed, she can’t even sing anymore. She doesn’t want to sing. We’ve always been singers. She doesn’t have the will to sing anymore. And that makes me so sad. When I think about what has already changed I cry. Family events have always been big for us. Christmas. Easter. Birthdays. Mothers Day. Fathers Day. My dad took great joy in hiding Easter eggs in the garden for his children and grandkids to find. That won’t happen again. My dad is so easily confused now, and crowds and noise are so stressful for him and for my mom. My dad has always been smart, with an incredible memory, and that’s gone. He knows who we are, and who his grandchildren are, but he can’t follow a conversation anymore and his hearing is bad so too much conversation stresses him. And it all stresses my mom because she never has a break… She is essentially living with a small child, and he can’t bear to have her out of his sight. When he goes into hospital, which is frequently, he gets so confused because he doesn’t know where he is or how long he’s been there or where my mom is and he gets so angry and irritable… And I can’t make it any easier for my mom and I can’t do anything to fix my dad and he’s not going to get any better… And I hate that they’re so fucking far away from me and everything has changed.
I stopped in PnP today, after spending a few hours at a car repair place, to get eggs, oil, and some other baking ingredients. Not a huge list, but I was already hot and thirsty.
While I’m waiting in the queue, with two people ahead of me, the woman in front of me goes and stands in another queue, so I move forward a bit.
YAY! Shorter queue. This never happens – I am a queue jinx!
While I’m waiting I have a look at some severely battered Cornetto cones in the freezer next to me, choosing the best looking strawberry one I could find in the nearly empty fridge, and as I am about to step forward in the queue – the woman who left my queue comes back – AND GOES AHEAD OF ME TO WHERE SHE WAS!
WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!??!
No apology, no wave of the hand, she doesn’t even look at me!
Now I’m hot, thirsty, and pissed.
So she is nearly done paying, and I am done unpacking, and I accidentally-on-purpose push my trolley – one of the smaller ones with two baskets – just a little too hard, and it bumps into her. Not very hard, but it hit her.
Yes – I know – petty, vindictive, childish. Sue me.
She whips her head around, but I don’t even make eye contact and I flick a “sorry” at her.
Petty, vindictive, childish.
I am a just-barely-under-control short-tempered bitch at the best of time, I work hard to keep it under control.
She leaves, my stuff is processed, and I head out the door.
I stop at the recycling bins, unwrap my ice cream, and the fucking thing is HOLLOW! The cone part is like wet cardboard! It has very clearly melted and been refrozen, and sold anyway.
For R18 a pop.
So I turn around, and in my best possible calm-but-annoyed voice, I ask the woman behind the info desk to get me a new ice cream. She says I can go and get one, and I say no, I don’t want one from the freezer I took this one from – I want a new one. One that hasn’t melted and been refrozen.
She leaves with my ice cream and I wait.
A guy arrives five minutes later with a new one, which also looks a little battered, and as he stands next to me I unwrap it. It certainly looks better than the one I chose for myself, so I say thank you and off I go.
A few bites in and it’s clear this one too, was melted and refrozen. I threw it away.
Payback for being petty…?
Last weekend, my Glugster decided he wasn’t in the mood to stay home and binge on series, so he Googled up a storm to see what was free in Joburg, and decided we must go and see the James Hall Museum of Transport, since it’s free entry. I love museums, with many fond memories of trekking through all kinds of different ones with my family, so I was very keen.
Off we went, only to discover that the place is closed on the third weekend of every month!
Not wanting to waste our drive out there, we did some more Googling and found the Bensusan Museum Of Photography And Library, but it was also closed already.
Then we remembered we had driven past Santarama Miniland on the way to the transport museum, so we decided to stop there. There were a few buses and cars in the parking lot, so it looked busy, and parts of the giant van Riebeeck statue had been repainted. My Glugs has fond memories of visiting the place as a child, and I’d never been, so we were both keen on visiting it.
There was nobody at the gate as we walked in, and there was the racket of happy kids from inside, so when we met up with someone just inside and she said there was a graduation party going on, I asked if we could walk around while they partied on, and we didn’t pay an entry fee.
The first thing we saw as we went through was a run down putt-putt course, and a HUGE statue of Michael Jackson! Huge as in two or three stories tall! Of all things!
We carried on down the path, rather aimlessly as there didn’t seem to be any directions or guide anywhere, it became clear why we hadn’t been asked to pay an entry fee.
Neglected is not the word.
Abandoned. Forgotten. Dilapidated.
Only the party venue in the corner behind the entrance is still maintained.
As we walked around we were horrified by the ruin. It was almost too depressing to take pictures. The harbour is mostly empty. The giant shark – which I don’t get – has had dots and eyelashes drawn on it, and it now lounges in smelly mud. Some of the signs have been re-written by hand, with a permanent marker- the horrendous spelling a testament to disinterest. There are dead birds in various states of decay just lying around.
On the street side of the park, a tree has fallen over and collapsed the fence.
When we got home I took to Google to try and find out what the hell had happened.
The place is 42 years old, opened in September 1973 by SANTA to aid in fundraising for their fight against TB, and whilst they still own it the place was put under new management in about 2010. Perhaps after 42 years a level of neglect is to be expected, but this was quite ridiculous.
The Hop-on Hop-off bus doesn’t even stop there anymore, although it used to!
I found the following on Jozikids amongst a string of negative reviews, but clearly things didn’t get much further after Mr Pillay posted:
Friday, 8th April 2011 at 01:28:34 PM
The Website had been updated on the day that I spoke to you, the price change as well as the fact that Miniland is under new management and ongoing repairs / maintenance. Santarama Miniland is actually owned and operated by the South African National Tuberculous Association.
The place is under new management and ongoing maintenance / upgrade, we apologise for any inconvenience caused during this time of upgrading and assure our client’s that Santarama Miniland’s management team are doing everything in their power to restore Santarama to originality as quick as possible so as to eliminate any future disappointments.
Property & Asset Manager
Strangely enough, SouthAfrica.com still describes Miniland as “…a truly enjoyable and rewarding Johannesburg attraction…” with “…an amazing replica of the Dromedaris… a venue for parties, functions, events and weddings…” even though the ship was destroyed by fire in September 2013! There’s no trace of the ship now, but it used to look like this, and my Glugster remembers walking around on it.
Looking at pictures of the park in its heyday makes me wish it had been maintained… There were little people in and on the models, and the models themselves had lights, music, and moving parts. There was a water feature running from a mini-Howick Falls, into a mini-Wagendrift dam, down a little river into a mini-harbour.
The mini-train doesn’t exist anymore let alone run on its overgrown track, although it’s said to be “in for repairs”, and there are pieces of a little display train now scattered around the park.
Robben Island has moved!
I found this picture of the Maatjiesfontein display from way back when…
And look at it now…
It’s very sad, and really not worth a visit.
I stumbled across The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows on Facebook, and it fascinates me! To quote from the Facebook page, “Each definition is original and handcrafted by John Koenig with his right thumb.”
I’ve chosen a few from the really long list that really rang true for me.
This one practically hit me in the face!
Zielschmerz n. the exhilarating dread of finally pursuing a lifelong dream, which requires you to put your true abilities out there to be tested on the open savannah, no longer protected inside the terrarium of hopes and delusions that you created in kindergarten and kept sealed as long as you could, only to break in case of emergency.
This first one just screams HIGHSCHOOL! 😀
ecstatic shock n. the surge of energy upon catching a glance from someone you like—a thrill that starts in your stomach, arcs up through your lungs and flashes into a spontaneous smile—which scrambles your ungrounded circuits and tempts you to chase that feeling with a kite and a key.
I have felt this feeling before! It almost makes me not want to photograph well known landmarks because I know I’m not going to see it any differently to others, except the most amazing togs!
vemödalen n. the frustration of photographing something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist—the same sunset, the same waterfall, the same curve of a hip, the same closeup of an eye—which can turn a unique subject into something hollow and pulpy and cheap, like a mass-produced piece of furniture you happen to have assembled yourself.
I think I have felt “rückkehrunruhe” after every holiday I have ever taken…
Rückkehrunruhe n. the feeling of returning home after an immersive trip only to find it fading rapidly from your awareness—to the extent you have to keep reminding yourself that it happened at all, even though it felt so vivid just days ago—which makes you wish you could smoothly cross-dissolve back into everyday life, or just hold the shutter open indefinitely and let one scene become superimposed on the next, so all your days would run together and you’d never have to call cut.
The word “silience” really hit home… I feel like it has become more and more applicable with the abundance of ridiculousness on the internet:
silience n. the kind of unnoticed excellence that carries on around you every day, unremarkably—the hidden talents of friends and coworkers, the fleeting solos of subway buskers, the slapdash eloquence of anonymous users, the unseen portfolios of aspiring artists—which would be renowned as masterpieces if only they’d been appraised by the cartel of popular taste, who assume that brilliance is a rare and precious quality, accidentally overlooking buried jewels that may not be flawless but are still somehow perfect.
So many times with this one, “keyframe”. So very many times… When someone didn’t answer their phone, when I decided to go home via a different route, when I decided to stay home rather than go to work.
keyframe n. a moment that seemed innocuous at the time but ended up marking a diversion into a strange new era of your life—set in motion not by a series of jolting epiphanies but by tiny imperceptible differences between one ordinary day and the next, until entire years of your memory can be compressed into a handful of indelible images—which prevents you from rewinding the past, but allows you to move forward without endless buffering.
I think “kuebiko” is something we’ve all felt, in varying degrees of severity…
kuebiko n. a state of exhaustion inspired by acts of senseless violence, which force you to revise your image of what can happen in this world—mending the fences of your expectations, weeding out all unwelcome and invasive truths, cultivating the perennial good that’s buried under the surface, and propping yourself up like an old scarecrow, who’s bursting at the seams but powerless to do anything but stand there and watch.
I think this one is aggravated by spending too much time on social media!
monachopsis n. the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place, as maladapted to your surroundings as a seal on a beach—lumbering, clumsy, easily distracted, huddled in the company of other misfits, unable to recognize the ambient roar of your intended habitat, in which you’d be fluidly, brilliantly, effortlessly at home.
This one… But I think it’s ‘coz I am developing high blood pressure where mine has always been low. 😀
rubatosis n. the unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat, whose tenuous muscular throbbing feels less like a metronome than a nervous ditty your heart is tapping to itself, the kind that people compulsively hum or sing while walking in complete darkness, as if to casually remind the outside world, I’m here, I’m here, I’m here.
I think “sonder” is my favourite. I love to watch people, to imagine their stories, and this explains it so nicely.
sonder n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
I do this ALL the time! With acompanying facial expressions!
jouska n. a hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head—a crisp analysis, a cathartic dialogue, a devastating comeback—which serves as a kind of psychological batting cage where you can connect more deeply with people than in the small ball of everyday life, which is a frustratingly cautious game of change-up pitches, sacrifice bunts, and intentional walks.
And THIS is what happened to my blogging! Tilt shift!
the tilt shift n. a phenomenon in which your lived experience seems oddly inconsequential once you put it down on paper, which turns an epic tragicomedy into a sequence of figures on a model train set, assembled in their tiny classrooms and workplaces, wandering along their own cautious and well-trodden paths—peaceable, generic and out of focus.
I was having a giggle at my Instagram feed, which is all dogs, cats, and #MamaLove selfies with my knucklehead, with the occasional crocheted granny square thrown in!
I thought I’d see what was on my phone that isn’t my dogs or crochet…