Thursday, July 29, 2021

take the cake

 I read something recently, a meme or motivational quote thingie, which said it takes bravery to be silly and play in times of great upheaval or distress*.

It was so good to read. Too often we let ourselves feel frivolous for taking time out to be silly, and too often we neglect to play.

Among my many blessings is being surrounded by people who don't let me forget this, and last week we had a good game.

It was a darling friend's birthday - 6 years since I wrote that last post about her and still every word 100% true - and she wanted to go for a cycle.

A cycle in pristine and tranquil Cape Point, past fields of bright yellow leucodendrons glowing against moody winter skies, the tinkle of a hundred winter streams all filled with singing froggies, ostrich beady-eying us as we raced past, herds of eland and bontebok, a porcupine in full quill bustling off into the undergrowth - nature brought her A game.

The human company was spectacular too. Our friend Sally is an accomplished cyclist and entertained us all by standing up on her crossbar while whizzing along, another friend joined late and steamed up behind us on his bike shouting 'Comin' in HOT', the kids were great - all old enough to be on their own bikes, full of chat and hilarity.

It was a Thursday and (besides the kids who were still on holiday) we all should probably have been doing more adult things. Some had officially taken leave, but most of us work for ourselves and had signed our own permission slip. It wasn't raining, it was a birthday, it was a chance to get outdoors, a chance to play - why the hell not?

My joy, as I flew along relishing all the endorphins, was compounded by the slight tenderness in my left arm - I'd gotten my first Pfizer jab the day before and it was such a shot of optimism and hope for the future. For a moment all things felt possible again.

Our ride ended with a picnic at the sea. Homemade guacamole and hummus, nacho chips and a (highly illegal - cackle - bottle of wine). And of course - because tradition - a homemade masterpiece of a cake for the birthday girl. Baked before and assembled on site.

How gorgeous?

A bet it tasted amazing.

Sadly we'll never know...

But he seemed to enjoy it a lot.

Raiding baboons are notorious at Cape Point. They have no fear of humans, no shame at chasing you off your picnic, no qualms about taking the cake.

I tried to stand fast for a bit - but as he hurtled towards me, hairy shoulders rolling, teeth bared, snarling and barking, I released that beautiful cake in a slow-mo arc across the grass, even in that moment having a small internal acknowledgement (enjoyment?) that when would I ever again just toss a complete, beautifully iced cake to the ground?

God we laughed and laughed and laughed. We love cake, but even more than that we love a good story. And most of all we love to be playful, to find the funny side, to have adventures together, to seize the day, to take the cake.

Last Thursday we were reminded of all of that - and in the light of the last month, my last post, it was a very well timed nudge.

*Also privilege right? I am aware of this, always.

Thursday, July 01, 2021

in the bleak midwinter

It's day 4 of a 7 day storm, and we're back in lockdown.

The girls just finished school 10 days earlier than planned, booze sales are prohibited again, no gatherings (like, none), no restaurants, no galleries, no museums, 9pm curfew. They kept the beaches open this time, but in this weather this is only really good news for those restaurant owners who can go for a surf to distract themselves from the crippling debt and human cost of having to close their doors. Again.

Ostensibly this lockdown is for 14 days but I mean, we've all heard that one before.

So we're back at home. Except this time I'm also working. Or am I?

I spent yesterday compiling a document which might mean a pause to my current contract, and although it would be pretty shit to lose the distraction, satisfaction and paycheck that comes with actual work - it's also madness to try and put together an in-person event in this ridiculously unpredictable time.

I realised recently that I've possibly reached peak apathy. I just don't really care that much anymore.

I can't think about the future without waves of absolute gloom breaking over me so I just don't. And by future I mean everything from will I ever travel internationally to what options will my children have in this new world to how, with 67% youth unemployment, our country is surely heading down the tubes. See why it's better to just not think of it?

I have never been this apathetic in my life. I'm not even despondent because that would require too much feeling. I just ... have the biggest case of the whatevers ever.

Also an excellent time to have a midlife crisis. I turned 46 in May and it was hard. The actual birthday was lovely - I have the best friends and family - but in the weeks that followed I hit a real wall. But even that is ruined by the fukken pandemic.

As I texted a friend recently: what we've all got is the constant second guessing of all our feelings - do I hate my life or just the pandemic, do I want a divorce or just a vaccine, is this Covid or a normal midlife crisis?

It's all extremely boring actually.

BUT, there are rays of light and my god we need them...

Our big girl turned 14 last month and scored (as she always does) a beaut of a still, warm, winters day to have lunch out with her besties and cupcakes on our deck. After her tiny 13th celebration last year this was a big win, especially in light of our current restrictions.

The sun comes up every day (not much evidence of this the last few days tbh but ja, still she rises) and reminds us that we live in a beautiful place.

We have the most ridiculously lovely and infuriating collection of pets to comfort and entertain us.

In our home there is art, and beauty, and kindness, and love, and delicious food - and this, in the end, is the thing which must be enough for now. 

Just un-wedgie your big girl panties and get on with it girl.