Friday, May 30, 2008

The Fast and the Furious

I have just had the most horribly nerve-wracking experience of my entire life!

It started innocently enough. I was at Wits today when Luke and I realised that we both needed to go shopping. I wanted to buy a gift for my friend's baby shower and Luke needed tyres for his bicycle, highlighters and a black shirt. We decided to go to Eastgate, since it was fairly close to his house and somewhat close to mine. We agreed to take the highway, and we would meet at his house.

Now, I have only had my licence for a little over a year and I only ever drive on 2 highways - the M1 and the N3. And, I only ever drive certain parts of these highways. So, Luke agreed to let me follow him and promised that he would not lose me. I should have got him to write this in blood...

I followed him out of Wits and through town to get to the M1 South onramp. So far, so good. Right up until the traffic light before the onramp, because Luke drove onto the onramp, while I was stuck at the traffic light, waiting for on-coming traffic to pass. I watched him drive off as slowly as he could, and then I gunned it up the onramp and onto the highway. I was nervous from the instant I got onto the highway - for some reason, traffic was incredibly heavy. But, I could see Luke just 3 cars ahead of me, so I felt okay. This didn't last long though, because traffic sped up and Luke and I were separated by more cars. I thought that I would be okay though, since I was sure that the road stayed straight. Except that it didn't. I suddenly realised that the highway forked, and that while I was on the left, Luke had gone right. So, I panicked. And slowed down and tried to speed across the painted lines which separated the 2 diverging highways. Why I did this, I have NO idea! It is SUCH a stupid thing to do. My brain and all reason had shut down by this stage. I now realise that I should have just gone right and not risked a gigantic accident. Except that I was so worried about getting lost that I pulled to a stop in the middle of a highway.

Luke was no nowhere to be seen (in fact, he may have actually gone right, for all I know). I managed to pull off and then heard my phone ringing. I never, ever answer my phone while driving, but figured that these were exceptional circumstances. I answered Luke's call - just as I happened to drive past a Metro cop! I really hope that they were preoccupied... Luke gave me some directions, which I forgot instantly, due to my panic and the fact that I was shaking like a leaf. I told him that I would meet him back at his house. Yes, I still thought that I would somehow make it to Bedfordview. Still panicked, I carried on driving (all while watching my petrol indicator drop lower and lower), and eventually took an off-ramp which looked somewhat familiar, since it was labelled "Joe Slovo Drive". I followed it, thinking that it would soon lead me somewhere, except that it didn't. There was another familiar-looking road which apparently lead to Bruma (near Bedfordview), but I misread the sign and went straight instead of left. And so I ended up in some dodgy part of the CBD, took a couple more wrong turns trying to get back to the Bruma road, and eventually just gave up and continued down Joe Slovo Drive until I found Louis Botha. The irony of this is that I am normally terrified of Louis Botha, but by this stage I was so relieved to have found it that I even drove home along it!

So, needless to say, I never made it to Bedfordview and Luke went shopping by himself. I arrived home and had a very sweet cup of tea and tried to calm down.

I realise that no one will ever come driving with me in my car ever again. But Luke, maybe next time we should just go to Killarney, or in one car? Please?

Monday, May 26, 2008

James Blunt (and the blue-horned lesbian)

As sad as this may sound, I not only went to the James Blunt concert on Saturday night, I also paid money to go to the James Blunt concert and I even like James Blunt! There! I said it! I am a fan...
I've actually been a fan for a couple of years (I own the CD's, know all the words to the songs and have watched the interview on "Oprah" a couple of times). So, I was ecstatic when I heard that he was coming to South Africa. I admittedly procrastinated about buying tickets, wondering if R500 for golden circle was a good idea and subtly trying to find out if anyone I knew was also going, because I had no idea who to go with! I eventually managed to convince Duncan to come with me - although that makes it sound like there was begging and pleading involved. Really, I just asked and he said yes. In his version of events though, I paid him to accompany me and I'll be making him breakfast for the next 4 months...
In any case, we set off to the Dome on Saturday afternoon. The reason for this early departure was because the Dome is a) notoriously difficult to find - at least for a gigantic white, circular structure and b) the parking at the Dome is awful! Leaving events there takes at least as long as the actual show, so we planned to park near an exit to at least minimize this problem.
So, armed with ice-cream (a necessary part of any excursion), we set off in Duncan's Batmobile. We only got slightly lost, and I was forced to read a map (*panic*), but we got there, found parking close to an exit and set off in search of supper. Northgate proved to be strangely confusing, but we eventually found a Fontana, and after much negotiation with a very confused cashier (who didn't know that they sold toasted sandwiches, and didn't understand the concept of change), we managed to get something to eat.
It being 19:00, we decided that heading into the Dome would be a good idea, because the queues are usually really bad. I must explain that between Duncan and I we had both had our fair share of traumatic Dome experiences (2 of which were at Westlife concerts, which is probably not a coincidence), so we were expecting the worst in terms of crowds, queues and abuse from security guards. But, we got to the doors, had our tickets checked and just walked in. No queues, no questions. It got stranger... We walked into the Dome, expecting to see crowds of people, and were greeted by 80 confused looking stragglers and CHAIRS!!! Rows and rows of chairs! This was very strange, as most concerts (i.e. all concerts) that I've been to have involved standing ankle-deep in beer, staring around a very tall, very drunk rugby player. But for some reason, the concert organizers had decided to forgo this tradition in favour of comfortable seating. It was then that I decided that I needed the bathroom, which is always a mistake at the Dome, because the queue goes on forever and then forever again and there is never toilet paper. But, lo and behold, this time there was no queue and toilet paper! James Blunt fans, we concluded, are definitely a different breed!
We then set out to find our seats. I was firmly convinced that we were at the back, but the young, pimply (and broken-armed) usher pointed us towards the front. The venue slowly started filling up and Duncan and I spent our time counting the number of very chuffed girlfriends with very miserable boyfriends - I believe the final score was 579. We obliging listened to the support act, Josie Field (who was wearing a very nice dress, and had an even nicer drummer) and then waited in anticipation for the man of the moment, Mr James Blunt. And he was worth it! I am completely aware that I sound like an obsessed groupie, but he was awesome! He played almost all his songs and between his band, the lighting, the cool graphics and his promise to participate in a giant orgy with the fans, he rocked my world! My personal highlights were the opening song "Give me some love", "No Bravery" (I'm still smug - I have my reasons), "1973" and "Out of my mind". And pretty much all the other songs! He even jumped off the stage and went running through the crowd - you could almost hear the security guards having heart attacks! And, let's not forget the blue-horned lesbian... There was a lesbian couple sitting about 5 rows in front of us, and the one lady was wearing a pair of glow-in-the-dark blue horns (another Dome tradition). For some bizarre reason (probably alcohol-induced), they insisted on dancing through all the slow songs. And not just any dancing - slow sokkie dancing. It was partially annoying (as they kept waltzing across my line of vision) and somewhat amusing. Besides, the term "blue-horned lesbian" has such a nice ring to it...
Having done the obligatory encore (and screamed my little groupie heart out) and been decidedly disappointed that no fan orgy ensued, we made our way to the exit, tired, but content, and awaiting the traditional hour-long exodus from the parking spot to the exit gate. But, as with everything else, we were pleasantly surprised, and made it out in 2 minutes (including my bad directions) and I was home before midnight! I'm still confused by how pain-free the whole experience was, and really have to conclude that James Blunt fans (and the blue-horned lesbians... ) are definitely a different breed! I hope my next concert experience is just as exciting!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The English Patient (a.k.a. Patience)

This week has been one of triumph and torment at the hands of a treacherous adversary - the English literature essay. I now realize that this description is somewhat flawed, since my essay doesn't actually have hands - or limbs of any sort - but you get the general idea...
The torment began a few weeks ago, when I read D.H. Lawrence's "Sons and Lovers". It's a Modernist novel, which basically means that it's the type of literature which likes asking thought-provoking questions and then leaving them unanswered. Nihilism is the order of the day - in 400 pages, nothing really happens, and the novel prides itself on this emptiness. That might be a bit of an exaggeration though - "stuff" does happen in the book. The main character's parents meet and get married. They live happily for 6 months. Then, he starts drinking and wasting money and she starts trying to make him a better person. They argue for 20 years, but manage to have 4 children during this time (so they can't dislike each other that much). One of these children is the delightful Paul - possibly the first book character that I've ever wanted to slap. Lawrence's claim to fame with this novel is that it was considered rather outrageous at the time, because he explored the concepts of sex and sexuality. There's nothing particularly graphic in the novel, but the fact that Paul sleeps with not 1, but 2 women, was deemed particularly transgressive when Lawrence wrote the novel at the start of the 1900's. Not only does he sleep with these 2 women - Miriam, who is an extremely chaste religious girl, and Clara, a divorcee (even more scandal...) - but (horror of horrors!) he doesn't marry either of them! *gasp* Paul's approach to sexual relations isn't what gets to me. I have no problem with him deflowering the local maidens. What did drive me nuts though was the fact that he is a girl. Not in the biological sense, but in the way he complains about everything to his mother! Basically, when his mom asks him why he refuses to marry, he complains about how he loves the girl in some ways but not others, how he doesn't love the girl, how the girl loves him too much, how he loves the girl too much.... You get the idea. He's really whiny and annoying, and the fact that he complains to his mom about these women drives me mad.
In any case, I read the novel, and received my essay topics from my delightful lecturer, Tim Trengrove-Jones. He is convinced that it is the greatest novel ever written. No comment. So, this week, I started pondering what to write, and picked a topic which looked at gender relations in the novel. I wasn't looking forward to the essay, but it needed to be written. And lo and behold, it went really well. I found tons of stuff to write about - and good stuff too (not "Paul is a whiny mommy's boy" type stuff) - and lots of journal articles to back up what I'd written. I wrote 3000 words and I'm quite chuffed, although it turned into a battle, because I had TOO much to say! Serious editing was required, because I ran out of time! I also discovered that, having avoided the "Paul's sexual confusion" narrative, the story of his parents' relationship wasn't half bad, and I have become quite intrigued by it. The essay has been handed in, and I'm now waiting in anticipation for Tim's judgment...
That essay was a bit of a battle, but not nearly as much as the one I wrote for "The Picture of Dorian Gray". I had very little time to write it, finished it the night before and really doubted that I had said anything of value in 2000 words. Oscar Wilde is very difficult - I couldn't tell if he was revelling in intellectualism and decadence and being over the top, or making a statement about how silly people who are intellectual and decadent are. The whole book goes around and around and comes out... nowhere. And I was pretty sure that my essay was much the same. Until I got it back this week. And this is where the triumph part comes in - I got a first! *gasp* I am a little confused, because the essay was very confused, but Tim seemed to like it. My only other conclusion is that he was just as confused, but felt that I must have said something deep and meaningful somewhere and just gave me the mark. I'm not sure... Either way, I'm relieved. It just makes me wonder what my mark on the second essay will be, considering that I thought that it was well-written and researched. I will laugh if I get a better mark on the Oscar Wilde essay than on the Lawrence one. I will then know that my mark is directly proportional to whether or not my marker ate yoghurt for breakfast, which is how I've always suspected Tim marks... I guess I'll wait and see...

Friday, May 9, 2008


Before formally beginning this post, I must apologise to Duncan, who will be most disappointed that I have actually written something that has nothing to do with my reasons for blogging. Sorry Duncs, but I had to start somewhere...

The topic of this entry concerns my trip to the dentist today. Despite the fact that my dad is a dentist, I have not been to see a dentist in almost 3 years. I have made multiple visits to the maxillo-facial surgeon, but I haven't had my teeth checked since I was in first year. I think this is because my family don't tend to do "annual checkups". My dad likes to wait until something is really, seriously wrong and then consider having it looked at. It would appear that the Schneider's like to suffer. Either that or my father has some sort of professional pride which deters him from making dental appointments...

In any case, my teeth have been feeling a little weird of recent. Not toothache, but definite sensitivity which seemed to be indicative of something (and probably not a good something). Add to this the enormous gap since I last saw a dentist, and you can understand why I walked into the surgery with very little optimism today. I was about 80% sure that something was going to be drilled and filled. I had accepted that I would be painfully prodded and poked, injected, filled, sanded and then sent on my way. I wasn't looking forward to it, but I was fairly sure it was on the cards. So, I waited in trepidation as I prepared for my consultation.

I was a little thrown by my new dentist (he is about the 8th dentist that I have had. No one is good enough for my dad's standards in dental hygiene) - he looked like a comic character: tall, skinny, greying curly hair and glasses. Very strange, in a mad scientist kind of way. Nonetheless, I was seated, and he took a look. And found.... NOTHING! There is nothing wrong with my teeth! They are fine (as my dad smiles proudly in the background). All the dentist could do was to polish them, which was somewhat traumatic (because my jaw was a little tense after the stress of this week) and involved water and horrid fake strawberry flavour gunk on my teeth. And that was it! The weird sensations are apparently inexplicable...

Truth be told, I'm relieved. I doubt that anyone looks forward to fillings or any dental procedure in any case. But my visit was rather anticlimactic, although my teeth do look nice and shiny now... *smile*

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Notebook (the sequel?)

I have spent a few days further contemplating my motivations for blogging, and have to admit that I have come to some more conclusions about my reasons for blogging:

  1. I am writing exams in a couple of weeks, and I need new ways of procrastinating and avoiding studying. Sad, but true...
  2. I have been inspired by my favorite blog: A Beautiful Revolution by Andre Jordan. It is possibly the most depressing, insane, amusing emo site that always makes me laugh (occasionally from discomfort, but mostly because of the sheer insight which he provides).
  3. My stalker has not yet learned nearly enough about me. While they know where I live and work, I'm pretty sure that they have yet to discover my favourite colour, food, song and where I spend time on the weekends. So much potential awkwardness and so little time...

I think that these are probably all the reasons that I have started blogging. And speaking of starting blogging, I should probably write something of real significance soon...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Notebook

I suppose that, as this is my first blog entry, it might be a good idea to explain why I've decided to start blogging in the first place. It has not been motivated by some of the more common reasons for blogging, such as using it as a way to meet other people (since I have recently discovered that I know pretty much everyone, due to what I have renamed "1.2 degrees of separation) or to rant about Eskom and taxis (which seem to be very common topics in blog ranting) or to express my worldly opinions on life, the universe and chocolate cake.

No, the existence of my blog has been motivated by far more subtle reasons:
  1. Luke told me that I should start a blog. I think that this is partly because Luke has a blog and wishes to share the joyous experience of blogging with me, or because he's tired of me wandering into his office and telling him random stories about helping to deliver puppies at work. I find myself unable to disagree with Luke, and thus the blogging has begun.
  2. I have recently remembered that I do actually enjoy what the Wits English Department refer to as "Creative Writing", and that I am rather good at it, as my matric English marks and English Olympiad results prove. I had completely forgotten about this until a conversation with Joe reminded me that I had won "stuff" for my creative writing and I realized that maybe I wasn't so bad at it after all...
  3. I have promised myself that I will write a book. This has always seemed very scary to me, and yet something which I have always wanted to do. So, perhaps blogging will help me along my journey to become the next Dan Brown/Virginia Woolf/JK Rowling (genre seems to be a bit of a problem when it comes to writing "the book").
  4. Occasionally, random amazing things happen to me, and I think that they are cool enough to be shared with whoever happens to be trawling the Internet at 02:43 in the morning.

And that is why I have started a blog!