High school

When I was in high school, I was only really good at two things. Track & field and oil painting.
I think this is because there are only a few things I chose to focus on. I probably could have tried harder in my classes, but it took maturity to figure out how to both learn from classes and get good grades. Hell, I haven’t mastered that now. I sure didn’t graduate Babson summa cum laude but I absorbed what I needed to know.
So there’s this Alice in Chains song called Heaven Beside You that we used to play in the art studio my Sixth Form (aka senior) year. Still gives me goosebumps (kind of like Your Decision but for different reasons).
Like the coldest winter chill / Heaven beside you… Hell within
When you’re that age, the world is your oyster, but you are so naïve. The same was the case in my 20s. And now. Wonder if it ever stops being true. That’s probably all in the mind.
Someone used to play that song over and over, and in winter term. Hargate, before the flood & subsequent renovation, used to overlook this stream with some unkempt bushes that would turn all colours of red, orange, and yellow in the fall and then would be this mass of sticks in the winter; seemingly dead but obviously not. I should have done a charcoal drawing of them. But, like so many things, they live on in my mind, just as they used to be, not as they are now.
When you’re a teenager, wow you feel things. Things that nowadays would affect me but wouldn’t particularly phase me, like an unkind word, or something not going according to plan, an unwanted advance; whatever, they throw you for a loop. The highs are high: I can still feel that time I anchored our 4x400m team to victory against a girl I shouldn’t have beat, and a team we shouldn’t have beat. Part of me still loves that high school sweetheart in a way that I just haven’t experienced since. That feeling of your heart being ripped out by the INJUSTICE of it all (yes, actually, there was in fact some injustice in that particular situation, but that’s neither here nor there at this point, it wouldn’t have worked anyway).
But I digress.
Ever feel like everything, good and bad, just hits you at once? Or when it rains, it pours?
Not unlike the weather. Saturday was warm, and since I had been busy working like a crazy person for months and hadn’t been to the beach since December I took the opportunity to join two of the girls from my gym for a beach session at Camps Bay. Lying in the sun is always draining so my energy levels for a friend’s birthday dinner that evening weren’t what they could have been, but c’est la vie as they say.
Mental rest day was good; I was back at it Sunday. We were having some new staff members start so Monday & Tuesday were essentially training days, and I had to plan my training. I also ‘had’ to go out for lunch at a wine farm with a friend of mine to eat pork belly & talk about Wi-Fi. As one does. It was 30 degrees in the winelands, then I drove back to Cape Town and right into a wall of cloud and rain, almost like a different day, but only a few km from where I had been. Sunny and 30 to 15 and raining.
Then Monday was a nice day and on Tuesday a cold front came in, like properly came in. I was out in Stellenbosch for a meeting and you could feel the change in the air from when I entered the building to when I left. That was actually quite a strange meeting, in retrospect. It ended with a name and number being written on the back of a card and a message to call this guy in one week, and a specific message to pass on. I felt like I was playing a real life version of a video game. I beat the boss and got a passcode. Nice, but transient and ultimately meaningless.
I’ve felt that way before, of course. But life isn’t a video game. Brothers go to hospital. Staff get sick (or sick again). Bombs go off in cities you used to live in. Major world leaders die.
But hey the world keeps turning. Much as we like to think we’re the centre of things we are not. Also, I am not sure there is any such thing as a sure thing.
Funny week; initial meetings exploring relationships that could either be big or go nowhere. As they do. Vendors making me laugh with jokes about bacon or issues with other customers. No stock in the country for the next few weeks. Servers going down. Some inbound leads. Adam closing like three deals in one day.
I am now puzzling into what makes people get stressed. I haven’t been sleeping well this week. I keep waking up and my mind is racing. It’s normally when you’re busy with the fifteen things that you know you need to deal with that you see what you want to see and miss something that might be obvious if you were paying more attention to it.
I’ve often thought that if we spent all our time worrying about what people were saying about us we’d probably never get out of bed in the morning. Some of the feedback I hear about myself is very positive. Some is not. That’s the nature of the beast. The interesting thing is to take our own little fragile egos and take all this as information. It’s actually easier for me to disregard the negative when I should actually pay more attention to it. Is it, in fact, them, or it is me? It’s both, right?
Oh, Boston. I do sometimes miss that snow, the colours of the winter sky and the barren landscape with the silhouettes of trees. The cityscape reflected on the Charles. Autumn in every town square, and I miss that autumn now, when I know it’s spring time but it’s not because it’s autumn. It’s autumn here. I remember the wind whipping the branches of the willow tree against the panes of glass in the Muddy Charles as I said two words that I didn’t even realise the implications of at the time: ‘Cape Town.’
I suppose it’s part of growing out of that naiveté of inexperience. You just don’t know what you don’t know. It’s the unconscious incompetence that gets you, that blindsides you, and what you don’t know sometimes can hurt you. Sometimes it pays to be a little bit paranoid.
Just because you’re not paying attention doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.
Of course, you should also watch your cynicism.
It actually upsets me more than I like to admit, this bombing in Boston. It’s something between outrage and wanting to be there; the same ‘we are all New Yorkers’ that one felt after 9/11, and it was hard living your life on the opposite coast and everyone just goes about their daily business as though everything is normal. Because everything is normal, after all.
In other news, I had a particularly epic PR-smashing day on Tuesday. I got a new snatch, clean, clean & jerk (aka clean & push press), and 500m row. That annoyed me though; I didn’t go hard enough as evidenced by the fact that I didn’t fall off the rower wanting to die afterwards. Just didn’t have that metcon feeling in me on that day. Sometimes happens. I may or may not have been distracted with other things.
In other, OTHER news, I’ve made a joint decision with our coaching staff that I’ll be competing this year as an Individual at Regionals. It’s honestly the best decision for everyone involved. What I was saying a few blog posts ago about getting out of my comfort zone?
Welcome to the jungle.
  • “You want a cheerleader, not a coach.” – Roland (actually, I want a coach who listens)
  • “Do you really get that much sleep?” – Ravi
  • “And they will be loyal.” – Carla
  • “He’s so hot I can’t even look at him.” – Amber (seems to me that defeats the entire purpose, and for the record, I don’t have this problem)
  • “If you look at a calorie it doesn’t metamorphosise into your thigh.” – Steiny
  • “You’re probably like a Joburg person. Maybe you should be in Joburg.” – Dumi
  • “The niche we’re concentrating on, which is still quite broad …” – Ellie
  • “Usually in South Africa it’s a lot more reliable than the Wi-Fi.” – Jeff
  • “I like free stuff, but not if it’s broken!” – Jade
  • “Is two Billions as good as a Ruckus?” – Jeff
  • “Yeah but Laurie’s crazy.” “So is Ellie!” – Riaan & Kora
  • “And seriously, we need to buy more of that cake!” – Rudolph
  • “Great clean. Lousy jerk.” – Chris
  • “So, should we adopt him?” “Who is we?” “You and me.” “I haven’t even met him yet!!” – Doug & Ellie
  • “Don’t tell him that.” – Doug
  • “I don’t have time to be vindictive.” – Ellie
  • “How was your day at the office?” “I can’t remember.” – James & Ellie
  • “It’s sort of like an upside-down handstand pushup.” – Grant 


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