Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Party Bus

Teen1 is the saddest young adult on Planet Earth. She is the only matric student in the whole wide world who is not allowed to come home from her Matric Dance after-party in The Party Bus.
For this she blames her unreasonable mother. That’s me.
The Matric Dance is a big thing. I’ve said this before. The dress is the biggest thing – as previously noted. The after-party is bigger-er than the dress. And coming home at dawn in The Party Bus with ten other young party animals is the biggest bigger-er of them all. And it’s huge for me too.
I have fears for The Party Bus. I have sadnesses. I have horrors. That Party Bus cannot be trusted to deliver my first born home from the ball.
Teen1 says you're irrational and mean. Why can't you be like the rest of the world’s moms who let their young adult children come home in The Party Bus? This is what Teen1 says.
The rest of the world’s moms except for the moms of TeenFriend1 and TeenFriend2. They have also said No to The Party Bus,  I say.
Yes, except for them. They are also illogical and horrible like you. Yes, they are, Teen1 says.
And so too is Frank’s mom  in Confessions of a Virgin Loser, the m-story story that I will write for all the cellphone crazy young adults who have moms who allow them to come home in The Party Bus. Frank’s mom is also unreasonable and says no Frank, you cannot travel in The Party Bus.

I say good on you, Frank's mom.
And so it is in the chilly month of April that Teen1’s mom (that’s me) and her dad (that’s him) get up at three and a half hours past midnight to go and fetch Teen1 and her two friends from the after-party at the other end of the world.
We would have fetched Frank as well if we had known about him then. But we don't. Because I only get to write Confessions of a Virgin Loser for Mr Steve Vosloo and the Shuttleworth Foundation three months later.
Half way between Home and the other end of the world we get lost so we ask Aunty Garmin for help. She gets lost too so we ask three drunks at the petrol station. They point us towards the lights. We travel forever towards the lights. Then the lights go out as Eskom plunges the other end of the world into darkness.
An hour before dawn, we find Teen1 and her two friends on the pavement outside the after-party venue. And we take them home. In the pitch darkness. And nearly get wiped out by a truck at a set of robots that aren't working. Because of the black-out.

We drive like snails. Slowly and carefully. In the pitch darkness. The Party Bus passes us on the way home. And we wave.
Drive safe, Party Bus

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Perfect Dress

Matric dances mean different things to different people.

For many teens it is the night to get drunk or take drugs. Some chops do both. For Frank and his mates Silas and Mondli in Confessions of a Virgin Loser, it's the night you get to pop your cherry.
But for Teen1, her matric dance is all about The Perfect Dress.
And so it is, that on a fine summer’s day, months before I've been approached by Mr Steve Vosloo of the Shuttleworth Foundation about writing a cellphone story for technology crazed young adults, Teen1 and me go looking for The Perfect Dress.
We find lots of dresses. Hundreds of dresses. In dozens of boutiques in countless malls. But they don’t fit right. They don’t look right. And they don’t agree with the limit on my credit card.
I tell Teen1 you can wear one of my dresses. Just like I wore your granny's best church dress to my matric dance thirty years ago.
Teen1 says you must be mental.
And so we find Louisa the Portuguese dressmaker in Bez Valley and ask her to make The Perfect Dress. She has nimble fingers and ruined eyes and says a girl who wants to wear The Perfect Dress must have coo-rage. And Teen1 says she has it. Coo-rage.
So Louisa sends us to Chamdors in Edenvale for red taffeta and we come back with red taffeta. And Louisa sews.
Then Louisa sends us to the Oriental Plaza in Mayfair for black lace and we come back with black lace.
But we also come back with a furry thing which is not black or lacy from the petshop next to the place where we buy the lace.
Hello Raisin you cute Oriental Plaza petshop kitten

And we come back with her sister.

Hello Otis who we couldn't leave behind at the pet shop

So Louisa makes The Perfect Dress. And I buy Teen1 a hairdo, ear-rings, bracelet, ring, underwears, dancing shoes, make-up and an after-party-dress to match The Perfect Dress. But no matching bag. I put my foot down.

Teen1 wears the The Perfect Dress with coo-rage.

What a perfect dress

And goes to her matric dance with a boy who meets her on the pavement outside the house and wears shorts with a dinner jacket. Weird.
She stumbles home in her skimpy after-party-dress with The Perfect Dress stuffed in a garbage bag with the shoes that give her blisters.

Next year I'm getting The Perfect Dress dry cleaned and flogging it on Gumtree. Along with some ornate French pillars I didn't use on my stoep, and some old textbooks I have no further use for. And the dancing shoes which look good standing still. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

A few guilty pleasures

I have many passions.

My top nine are: drinking tea, hardware shops, trees, Old People clothes, rude notes from teachers, a well tossed salad, a compost heap (well tossed), Gregory House and flannel pyjamas.
The tenth delight, and possibly topping my list of obsessions, is smoking. And since the age of seventeen, when I learn the art of blowing smoke rings from my bedroom window in Port Elizabeth, I am the most committed smoker on Planet Earth.
I have many joyful memories of smoking. I smoke while breast feeding. I smoke floating on the Dead Sea. I smoke the contents of a rooibos teabag one night when the Bennies and Hennies run dry and the shops are closed. My all time favourite is smoking while driving to work on those cold winter mornings with the heater going and the car windows tightly shut. Bliss.
But at the end of March 2010, I quit smoking. Finally. For Good. Really. And in that cold week in July, when I sit down to write Confessions of a Virgin Loser for Mr Steve Vosloo and his bunch of cellphone crazed young adults, I am still no longer a smoker.
I put my hands on the keyboard and the five fingers on my right hand feel lonely and unappreciated. And my mouth feels slack and my lungs feel under-used and in need of exercise. But I cannot smoke. I mustn’t.
So instead of smoking, I eat.
I eat and I eat and I eat and I eat. Mostly I eat a lot of bread. I dismiss my mother’s caution that a young girl should not get fat on bread. Because bread is my favourite food, along with butter. And I am not a young girl.
My housekeeper Zama says you are always eating. Eat, eat, eat. Whenever I look you are eating. Hawu, you are looking worse these days. I tell Zama not to talk so much. I am trying to write Confessions of a Virgin Loser for the cellphone addicts. And stop hiding the bread and butter.
At the end of writing Confessions of a Virgin Loser I get on the scale and I am worse. I am fat. I can no longer fit into my wardrobe, or into any of my clothes.
Today I am writing the sequel to Melly, Mrs Ho and Me. My deadline is at the end of November. I am still doggy-paddling around Chapter Three because I can’t smoke – and I can’t eat.
I can’t stuff my face with bread and butter because in five weeks time I have to put on a bathing costume and lie on Hermanus Beach. And watch the skinny people lying on the beach smoking - watching the fat people - watching them.