I could write a whole spiel in the style of Star Wars, drawing an analogy between the Handytards fighting the evil empire of DIY, but I’ve got the reference to Star Wars all backwards. I also can’t be bothered today. Instead, the photos must tell the story.
Back in the mists of time, I petitioned the loyal waffle group readers to assist me in my quest to choose a project, selected photography, and then ignored my choice.
From somewhere, momentum grabbed Quinn and me and dragged us back to a Camera Club Johannesburg. It then beat us around the head and made us give membership fees to the camera club. Having paid for something, we felt an incentive to participate.
Below are the photos I submitted to get me promoted up a notch from 1 star rating to 2 star rating. Camera Club Johannesburg are more forgiving in their assessments. They are not the photo-nazis. This is good.
I rather like ducks, and because of this I’ve never wanted to invade their space by latching on to their beaks. I have, however, always wondered what the fluid contained therein would be like. With Shit-Faced Shiraz, I need wonder no longer.
The South African National Elections are swiftly approaching, and election posters are littering the streets.
There are plentiful examples of everyone’s favourite ANC leader, Jacob Zuma, and his cheesy it-wasn’t-me grin. Or is it more of a Alfred E. Newman “What, Me Worry?” kind of look?
Regardless of the visage of JayZee, there are also a number of posters that try to instill in us, the electorate, a passion to vote for a particular party. I’ve already made fun of the ANC’s poster, but on hindsight I’ve decided I’ve been a little discriminatory. We wouldn’t want that in the 15-year-old New South Africa.
Everyone has an election slogan, and generally these can all be improved by adding the phrase “in your pants” to the end of whatever our political overlords have told us.
If you like, you could choose your political party based on which one sounded the least (or most) ridiculous with in your pants tagged on to the end of the slogan.
I should probably write something biographical about Sheila Reynard, Angie’s grandmother. That would be the appropriate content for this entry in my on-line journal. It’s more going to be my impressions of the funeral itself, rather than an account of the woman Sheila was. Perhaps I can persuade Angie to give a more sentimental account.
The trouble is that I never knew Sheila as a vibrant, energetic person. I certainly could tell she possessed a fiery personality and a cutting wit, but it was always within the context of the old age home where she stayed in Pretoria. Not a wide, sprawling old-age home with little cottages lined up neatly with walkways and lawns. It was a five storey concrete-block institution. That’s how I felt about it, at any rate.
I would have loved to have known her during her time in Kenya.
Angie and I have also realised that we don’t really have any photographs of Sheila. These ones I do have only serve to reinforce my experience of her — frail. I know that can’t be accurate.
We need pictures of her youth. I’m told the photo albums will be scanned and posted up on Flickr in the near future. I hope so. I want to see the vitality in Sheila that I’ve missed.
The funeral was a little strange. Sheila had requested that all of her great-grandchildren attend the ceremony. She has five now, with Jethro weighing in as second youngest. The other four sat quietly during the service in a most dignified manner.
Jethro wasn’t in a sombre mood though. He gah-gah-gah’ed and wha-wha-wha’ed and bashed things against the pew and other members of the congregation. He stared with great interest, and temporary silence, at the clergy as they advanced down the aisle, swinging incense and swirling smoke about them.
As a result, it was difficult to focus on remembrance. It was difficult to draw water from the well of grief, because you couldn’t crank the handles to bring the bucket up and tend to the garrulous baby.
Then to top it off, we closed off the service with a rendition of the hymn “Joy to the World” as the pall bearers carried the coffin out of the chapel to the hearse.
Perhaps this aptly sums up who Sheila was — her wicked wit shining through to the very end.
Pall bearers — I was one of those. It was a strangely detached kind of experience, but distributed between myself and five other people. I’m not sure about the others, but it allowed me to think that I wasn’t really carrying Angie’s dead grandmother, but rather her uncles and cousins and father were.
We placed the coffin in its position above the grave, suspended on nylon straps, and stood back. I’ve never been to a burial. Funerals yes, but they’ve usually involved cremation, and I didn’t travel to the grave itself. This time I was at the grave. A short service was carried out. It reminded me vaguely of the funerals depicted in the movies, but without the rain and black umbrellas. And with some of the people carrying babies.
After getting home from the funeral, neither of us felt like we’d really grieved at all — especially Angie. We rectified this after Jethro had gone to bed. We stood out in the garden and Angie spoke about her Granny. I can’t remember clearly what she said, but it struck the right chord, and without the distractions of Jethro’s antics, Angie cried about her Granny’s passing for the first time that day.
It felt right to cry, even if Sheila didn’t seem to want any one to.
While pregnant with Jethro, Angie developed a weird growth in her wrist. Officially it is known as a ganglion cyst, but I took to calling Angie “The Hunchwrist of Randpark Ridge.”
So far, we’re still married.
She was admitted to Linksfield Park Clinic on Thurday to have the cyst removed. They insisted we get to the hospital at 6am, but only wheeled Angie into surgery at 2pm. She was out of surgery at 4pm. By the time Angie had eaten something and was dressed (more difficult with only one functioning arm) it was rush-hour. Almost two hours driving to get home. Bah!
The whole day was used up waiting for a 2 hour procedure. Surely the hospital knew which operations it would be undertaking during the day, and the approximate time each procedure takes? Surely such a schedule gives an indication of when a particular patient will go under the knife? Surely it is unreasonable to tell everyone to get to the hospital by 6am, especially if you know you’ll only deal with some of them in the afternoon?
We could try complaining, but one worries that they will spitefully remove the entire hand, instead of just the hunchwrist. The medical industry really is the most peculiar service industry out there. I think it has something to do with them referring to their clients as “patients,” and assuming patients are patient and don’t mind waiting.
Although I wasn’t the patient, I still had to do a lot of waiting around at the hospital. To pass the time I watched people enter the foyer and I drank a little too much coffee. Combined, these elements inspired me to write about these people on my cellphone in real-time. The transcript of what I wrote is reproduced below, edited only for spelling and grammar.
It comes across a little scathing, I think. I blame the coffee.
We really are just glorified hairless monkeys with technology.
The guy who just walked in, with the yellow writing on his T-shirt and the tattered jeans, walks with a funny gait. He thrusts his chest out too far, making him seem over-balanced and top-heavy. Or is he overbalanced because his stomach reaches out as far as his chest? He holds his hands up at the level of his chest, and flaps them around limply, bending at the wrists. Obviously he’s strutting, but what’s with the wrists? That doesn’t seem too macho.
Then there are these Eastern European types sitting across the table from me, incessantly talking too loud in a guttural language I can’t understand. The balding man wears a striped T-shirt and shorts, but I wish he’d worn trousers. It is a hospital, so perhaps I shouldn’t be so squeamish, but something terrible has happened to this man’s legs recently. He’s obviously had those metal pins embedded in his tibia. You know the ones. Those things that stick out of your leg, instead of having a cast. They say the leg heals faster, but it makes you look more like a cyborg.
The wounds are obvious, and he seems to display the bloody gory bits proudly. One leg bandaged, the other not. Just round, dried-blood circles, with a red line joining the dots. A fleshy dot-2-dot puzzle. Join them up in order and you get a zombie!
He talks to his mother, but she doesn’t have any ghoulish markings on display. They quiet down when another couple sits down next to them. The old man of the couple cranes his neck around to the TV mounted on the wall. But’s it’s almost obliquely above him. Not a great angle to watch the cricket.
I wanted to go on about the cricket a little more, and how strange the behaviour of men wanting to watch it is. But my cellphone battery died. This also explains the abrupt ending.