Not quite

The rest of the weekend didn’t quite go according to plan!

First of all, the fish lady at the Biscuit Mill actually had a) fish and b) swordfish which is one of my favourite fishes (yes I know it’s both overfished and high in mercury so I eat it rarely). But I hadn’t had grilled swordfish in … longer than I can remember. So I bought it, and my goodness … probably about a pound for about $8. Beat that, Whole Foods!

Secondly, I went out to my co-worker’s place in Khayelitsha for what was basically a party, with the homebrewed African sorghum beer. Now let me tell you, that stuff is good! It’s a little bit sour and I could probably drink that stuff all day … but I didn’t because I had to drive, and because it was most definitely not on my diet!

What I was also not expecting was to get to go do some primary market research for one of our businesses halfway through the afternoon but that was cool too. I was completely unprepared but I suppose that’s half the fun … thinking on your feet! “What’s wrong with this house that you want to replace it?” “Would you be willing to live in a smaller house if it was higher quality?” “What does quality mean to you, anyway?” Oh and did I mention that our houses literally cannot catch on fire?

Fun stuff, though. It was great fun, though – my co-worker can really cook, and the beer was good, and I got to see some old friends again and make some new ones. Shame, though, it’s weird to go there because I am quite literally a freak. You can see the pictures of the guys taking pictures of me, there, in the township on their cameras. But I really like it because yes, it’s a bit different (ok a lot different!) culturally but a) you must get out of your comfort zone from time to time … and b) I love having conversations with people from very different backgrounds, especially when we start talking stereotypes. In a lot of ways I think it is much easier for me as a foreigner because I can both proclaim ignorance and yet also have an outsider’s somewhat unbiased view.

Ya so anyway afterwards I went to a braai in Gardens. That was great fun: we talked about the weightlifting competition some people had been to earlier in the day, and other cultish things. I also started going off about how excited I was to have done market research by accident. Sometimes I just have to laugh at myself in retrospect; I must sound so silly but I guess loving what you do beats the alternative. I was happy with the arrangement overall; I got to trade my swordfish for some other tasty things including melt-in-your-mouth t-bone.

Some people were going hiking Sunday morning but I decided to rest for Diane, sleep in, and get in some yoga, the better to prepare myself for the coming rest of the day and week. Of course, I encountered someone at yoga that I had to give some somewhat bad news to. Luck of the draw I suppose, but shame it’s always hard to be the bearer of reality. Ignorance may be bliss but full information helps you prepare better once the sting wears off.

Then, I picked up my friend and I had brought him A New Earth (and a potato from Masikhanye Food Garden) as a gift and when he saw I had it he said he had just seen it in a bookstore, after I had told him he should read it. So I asked if he had bought it, and he said no. I asked why not and he said he was resisting the idea that the universe was trying to tell him something. Well, guess what … he needs that book more than I do right now. This of course led to the interesting conversation of how the universe tells us a lot if we are open to it but it can also be quite scary the amount of data, but at the same time your human brain can’t quite handle it and you start to see meaning where meaning doesn’t exist. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

I had really wanted to have lunch in Kalk Bay, and happily when I suggested the peninsula it worked out. I had forgotten about the work works though so we parked a bit out of town and walked in. Funny we were walking on the beach then the beach ended so we moved to the train tracks (why not, right?). It was only when I was about 2 inches over what was probably an extremely high-voltage live wire that we had a bit of a laugh about it. Oops. Well, the arrogance of “I’m not meant to die walking along a live train track in Kalk Bay.” “Nope, neither am I.” Then at lunch later we realised that the trains were actually moving quite quickly. Well, hey if it’s not a little bit dangerous it’s not South Africa. What was not so dangerous? Grilled Cajun calamari with some great Sauvignon Blanc. More dangerous? Talking about brain scans, trust, and jumping off of the proverbial cliff. Well, and stopping being such a fucking pussy. Talk about jumping off a proverbial cliff!

Geez, it is actually really awful because first of all to find someone so interesting to talk to is rare, and secondly someone who can give such pointed insight into me and what I am doing … more rare. Just my luck I suppose, some of the people I have become closest to in the last year or so have wound up either moving away or being from far away. But perhaps this is part of the appeal; familiarity breeds contempt. Funny, now that he’s gone back “home” I’m again regretting how selfish I’ve been, always talking, talking about myself and my issues. Well, there’s always next time. Dunno, I was in a very, VERY strange head space on this particular day for a huge number of reasons. Stuff going down at work, stuff going down a bit closer to home, a rest week combined with more drinking than I’ve been used to, Diane stress, lying to my friends, figuring out that one of my friends is trying to manipulate me (why and for what aim I haven’t figured out yet but two can play this game, because now that I’m wise to it, it’s a game, and if you’re reading this game on. Never mind that I’ve been two steps behind for ages now; when I apply my mind to something, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t get in my way).

Following this I went to my boss’ house quickly for a check-in, and some tea. I truly believe I’m in the right place at the right time, and that’s all that I have to say on this topic right now.

I didn’t stay more than maybe 2 hours because I had to go home and start to read the business case he had put together. How much fun is it, really, to read through someone else’s (yes, let’s face it, very impressive) work and find all the holes in it? Until your brain gets fried, that is!

Monday morning was the much-anticipated Diane Challenge finals. As you probably don’t remember , when I did this workout last I was not able to get anywhere near the full range of motion after like the first 10 or so handstand pushups. The last … large number … were maybe only half the proper range of motion. So, today’s workout I had been dreading because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it. And, in actual fact, I didn’t quite make it all the way, I missed a couple reps where I was like 1-2cm shy and probably if left to my own devices I would have taken the 20+ minutes to repeat the reps but the coaches probably smartly didn’t let me do that. Next time, though I have absolutely no doubt. And this time was very, very close. Actually on the last round (the workout is 21-15-9 deadlifts and handstand pushups and actually the deadlifts were *way* easier this time around too!!) my hands kept slipping so I went to get some chalk and then cranked out three in a row (prior to that I had been doing singles and doubles).

So again, not quite. Not good enough for me, anyway, 95% is not 100%. Well anyway afterwards while waiting for the shower I went into a handstand and then practiced moving my feet out from the wall to balance and damned if I didn’t manage to get a freestanding handstand for a couple of seconds before I kind of freaked out and came down. Cool, though!

What was also cool was getting my bodyfat re-measured. Not sure if the two glasses of wine the day before at lunch helped or hurt but I came in at an unofficial 14% which exceeded my goal of 15%. Actually my new goal is 12%, we’ll see if I can get there in another two months, given that December is going to be a heavy drinking month and this period will involve a lengthy trip to the States where the food just makes me bloated for some reason!

One inspiring morning meeting aside, I got a bit into the guts of FoodTents but this was mainly a day when I did a whole bunch of little things rather than any big things. To make things worse I only got 13/21 items on my to-do list for the day done, so there is more to do! I did get a couple of bears off my list though; always a positive.

Monday evening was the Diane finals part at the gym, so I went to that. I am thinking this is turning into a bit of a pattern that I get some of the most meaningful work calls when I am at the gym. Good stuff, though, met some cool new people and I won fastest time (by virtue not of being fast, trust me, but because I was the only one doing advanced!). Well, there’s always next time, and next up: practicing negative handstand pushups!

Also, I really need a vacation. A do-nothing vacation. My brain needs it, and my ego (as in Eckhart Tolle ego) needs it. Soon, soon ….

Quotes from the last few days:
• “The future is not really our business.” – random guy at yoga [to someone else, that I overheard]
• “The universe is always talking to you, if you are paying attention.” – Ellie
• “What are you afraid of?” – Kevin
• “Just because a tiger is wounded, it’s still a tiger.” – Peter
• “Seeing the problem is half … no, wait, it’s actually way less than half the battle, huh?” – Ellie
• “Damn, I’m gonna die now.” – Ian
• “Even a dead tiger is still a tiger!” – Ian
• “Hectic!” – Phumzile
• “I don’t go around saying I can do things I can’t.” – Ellie
• “It’s like olive biltong!” – Amy


One comment

  1. Ah Sorghum beer brings back such vivid memories even now. I can almost taste it. In Botswana it was called Chabuka (sp?) and was only available in special shops, one of which I discovered….

    (quoting from my diary)

    I hurried home with my purchases. The cartons are not very sturdy and already one of them had started to open. Back at Janets I poured some Chabuka into a glass. It smelt OK – sort of hoppy. It looked like iced coffee with cream. I poured some into a glass and dank it. Lets see.. “Last years egg nog (discovered at the back of the fridge in November).. Sour porridge.. Pond water.. Pre-digested beer.. Biology experiment..” Yuck! Janet was on the floor laughing. “I told you you wouldn't like it!” Janet tried some just to make sure that there was nothing wrong with it. It tasted OK.

    I have to bring some back.. What a great joke it would be. “This is African beer/iced coffee/milk and Kahlua.. try some.” I'm sure that if the HongKong or the Sunset made people drink Chabuka as part of the “beers around the world” contests, there would be a lot fewer gold plaques on the walls. It would be the ultimate down-down beer, but then again the victim would probably require that I drink some as well. Maybe I shouldn't bring it back. The stuff is probably illegal in England and the US and I'd get in a lot of trouble. What if the carton split open in my luggage. I'd have fun explaining that to the airport staff, fellow passengers, and Customs. “No.. it's not toxic.. Just wash it off!” I left the two cartons with Janet. Perhaps the cat will drink it.

    Incidently I discovered something that tastes almost like Chabuka and is available in the US. It's DeMoulas house brand canned Ice Tea (“with genuine lemon flavoring”). Unfortunately I brought a case of the stuff ($2.50). I like to keep a case of soft drinks in my car – even in the winter. I'll stick with Demoulas house brand orange soda.. at least it tastes vaguely like orange.

    … years later I discovered a beer called RedBridge which is made from sorghum and is actually quite good.

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