Thursday, August 28, 2014

The winter, and life, of my content

I've neither ventured from my pyjamas nor my apartment, but will have to later. 

My floor to ceiling glass sliding door on to Woodstock and the world is being smashed and battered by Wind and Rain; despite of which I hear the squeals-screams-laughter of break-time at the primary school below, but out of view.

A cup of coffee. Then another. Two Bakers' chocolate flavoured cream biscuits dunked into the intense Italian blend. Only two because I've struggled to get a pouch of blubber off my gut; at the gym for health and stress relief almost every day... I've no intention of making the task, that's become pleasureable, more difficult. 

Looking over my notebook from the last few days:

From my see-through desk I watch a slim black & white Woodstock cat pace across a rusted-red tin roof below, going where with such pizazz and determination?

Frrom the large and wide bus window I saw a man that looked like his dog, running and huffing and puffing and ginger.

A little boy with elven eyes and pixie breath walking backwards in laughter down the escalator; it fills me to overflowing with the joy of life.

Very early on he decided not to have children. It was the right thing to do, he felt. A moral and environmentally-conscious choice, with which he was satisfied.

Next week Friday I fly to Port Elizabeth and then hire a car to drive the 120 kilometres to Grahamstown, and to my alma mater Rhodes University (that's the old entrance pictured above):

I have a deep-rooted and intricate relationship with Grahamstown and Rhodes; a large part of that - which I repeatedly return to, to attempt to fathom it - is a deep and dark and sexual space that still haunts me, even deliciously.

Arriving at Rhodes in February 1990 signalled the end of my adolescence, as well as the beginning of the grieving process for the loss of my youth. 

At Rhodes and the immediate world surrounding it I grappled with my coming out; with my desire, no my deep, deep need for a 'life partner' that until then had remained unfulfilled; it was also the joyous and giddy leaving behind of an apartheid-era schooling and two-year army stint towards the end of the 13-year old 'border war' that South Africa waged with its neighbours. 

I had been nothing more than  a 'short back and sides' possession (canon fodder) of a conservative and deceitful state that was in its death-throes. Even though it's mostly unthinking conscripts were - because of the nationalist fervour, not unlike Germany's earlier in the century - cluless and being bullshitted into foolishly dying for 'volk en vaderland'. Because on every front 'Suid Afrika' was apparently under attack: from 'die rooi gevaar' (the communist threat), from 'die Roomse gevaar' (the Roman Cathlic threat'), and, of course what defined it as a nation, from 'die swart gevaar' (the black threat). Below is the flower of the coral tree, which in September will set the quaint and relatively ancient botanic gardens ablaze; I took this picture as I strolled the garden last year trying to say goodbye.  

All of this I left behind, breathlessly, passionately, for a world I'd never ever previously experienced in a society 'built' upon mind-control and manipulatioon: for a free and intellectual space at one of the country's four great 'liberal' universities, where I was able to, again breathlessly, get to grips with my own mind... where I was encouraged to take myself to the edge of my own psychology. While studying Journalism, Politics, English and for the hell of it, Speach and Drama (because I could).

It was 1990, the year Nelson Mandela was released from prison, four years prior to South Africa's first and free elections were held. When we heard the news, the university took us students in busses to spend the day basking in the sun and on the soft sand on the edge of the Indian Ocean only 60 km away... which was where I was also to spend many alone moments the rest of my time there contemplating my life's path, and angst. But I was free to do that.

That was the most important year of my life - I was born in 1990.

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