Not sure why we’re surprised

Once upon a time a lot of really bad stuff happened to homo sapiens on Tuesdays. They, sorry, we, got eaten by saber-tooth tigers, were trampled by woolly mammoths, bitten and stung by the worst imaginable insects, and without flouride toothpaste, suffered serious tooth decay and major dental inconvenience and pain. And don’t get me started on prehistoric childbirth…
These earlier, smellier versions of us broke their limbs and had appendix problems just like we do now, but they had no anaesthetic, antiseptics or antibiotics, which I’m sure we can easily agree is a bad state of affairs, and so life for them was a much shorter and somewhat brutal affair. The “art” of surgery does fortunately go back a few thousand years for these early us-oids, but was carried out with the kind of tools that cause us to scream when we see them being used in horror movies today, albeit for slightly more altruistic purposes. It’s exactly things like this that cause me to view with suspicion any person who sanguinely states that he wishes for the “good old days”…

Anyway, to roll even further back, there was a time when dinosaurs walked on, swam under and flew above, the earth. Back then, there existed a variety of huge, lumbering, land-bound beasts that scientists now believe were adorned with feathers rather than the reptilian scales made popular by Hollywood, and boy, did they have it bad. The popular saying, “it’s a dog eat dog world” hadn’t been invented yet, and so, since no one had explained the rules of engagement to them, everything pretty much ate everything else. And if a dinosaur or really big insectoid thing wasn’t being eaten, or doing the eating, it was being spat on by super-massive volcanos that were impolitely and inconveniently coughing up new lands everywhere, or it was being rained on by bits of space rock that were fairly commonplace leftovers from the lego pieces that make up what is now our (relatively) stable and peaceful solar system, and which hadn’t yet coagulated properly together to form a Haiwaii beach on a balmy Friday evening.

And before that, well, things were even wilder and weirder.

But let’s fast forward a bit to somewhere after Mrs Pless, but not too close to Jacob Zuma. For calibration purposes, there was a time historians refer to as the Dark Ages, and a time after it known as the Enlightenment, which we are allegedly still experiencing, although a perfunctory glance at a newspaper on any given day would probably supply enough grounds to successfully refute that. And before the Dark Ages there was a time that has different names in different cultures because those different cultures pretty much believed they were the sum total of the known world, so they didn’t have to be “inclusive”, and before all of that is a time we call pre-history.

Throughout the piece of history that includes us, whether in pre-historic or modern guise, the rule about dogs eating dogs was known, and some took this to be the desired state of affairs, like it was an objective to achieve. Which is important to state because, in light of that, farm murders are nothing new, for example.
Vikings conquered, raped and pillaged.
Visigoths burnt down and looted.
Ottomans were not pulled up for a quiet sit down and a cup of tea with somewhere soft to put your feet. They were vicious brutes who rode on horses and chariots and made subjects of peasants on conquered land, while doing things that their version of Mark Zuckerberg wouldn’t have let them post on FacePapyrus.
Before the new world was discovered, and violently oppressed, the old world had known and suffered violence and oppression, and people had experienced waves of being subjects, followed by waves of dominating their neighbours, as kingdoms and empires successively grew and waned.

You see, there is a funny rule of nature.

States of chaos and order are opposing points of a pendulum, and reality, which fancies a bit of swinging about, likes to cycle between those states as it orders and then tears itself down again. No one knows why, or knows how it all started, except for some of those sanguine fuckers who like to quote camel-rapists from old books, but whatever the cause, and whatever the reason, this pendulum swinging nature is clearly how the game goes. Right now, we are experiencing a strange kind of cycling where we are enlightened enough to know that we shouldn’t be stupid and tear it all down, but stupid enough to do it anyway even while realising that the consequences of our stupidity are going to be of a global scale. In addition to that, as the dominant life form in our neck of the woods, we appear to have split into 2 distinct branches. One branch appears to be orderly, conscientious and conscious, and the other, dull and ignorant and ever-so-slightly chaos-inducing. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem if the conscious lot had superior weapons, were better organised and were less hamstrung by a new thing called “rights”, which kind of interfere with the dog eat dog rule, or if the ignorant lot would start watching more television and stop producing dull and chaotic offspring. In the old days, the dull and ignorant lot weren’t as prodigious in number as they now are, but they behaved pretty much just as they do today, and back then the orderly lot could get permits to hunt them and instil a bit of righteous fear in order to stop them from fucking up the royal pumpkin patch. Mind you, when I say the “orderly lot” could get permits, you had to be a very connected part of the orderly lot in order to do so. Of course, nowadays that sort of thing is frowned upon and for good reason. A lot of innocent, orderly people have suffered through the centuries under the hands of these permit holders and despots, who are typically of a kind that are bent on enriching themselves – despots with somewhat of a god-complex about their intelligence and ability, while oftentimes spouting nonsense about divinely appointed bloodlines and families – and able to do pretty much as they pleased with no oversight to rein them in. We as a species just don’t seem to learn.

And all of this, to make this point…

I’m frankly surprised that we as a species and what is now called, a society, are individually or collectively surprised that life and existence is in such a sorry state and seems to be headed for a wall. I hear people complaining about one faction of their society or another, or about how we collectively and globally seem to be shitting in our bed, and polluting and killing everything, as if we ever had a decent, inclusive, actionable plan or the ability to control this cosmic game, and I shake my head in wonder. You see, reality is and always will be a swinging pendulum, and any time reality is experiencing a period of calm and collective orderliness, it, and by extension, we, should be aware that chaos is waiting just around the corner to have a go at the wheel, and that chaos isn’t too picky about what the agent of disaster will be.

It’s nothing personal.
It’s always been that way and it just always will. The fact that some information within this cyclical mucking about has gathered itself together and become self-aware as expressed in the shape of a sentient, albeit somewhat anxious ape, doesn’t suddenly stop the cycling or change the rules or the nature of the cosmic game. One way or the other, order follows chaos follows order follows chaos, and one way or the other, chaos will follow order which will follow chaos which will follow order and so on. Even, and especially on Thursdays.

The Chicken Coup

I have been reading a lot of news lately.
This is bad for the constitution, it seems, and for my stomach.
This news has recently, mostly included reports and revelations about a company called Bosasa, as told by a member of staff known as Angelo who I suspect decided to break ranks with his former boss (Gavin Watson), and probably did so because he got jealous that he wasn’t being given a bigger share of the Bosasa “chickens” to farm with himself, of those he was being ordered by his boss to dispense, to a steady and colourful procession of some of our most glorious revolutionary overlords – all of whom have been shown to have been standing in an unusually orderly row with open hands – and, who it seems, have suddenly turned all agricultural, if all this clucking about “chickens” by Angelo, is to be believed.
What boggles my mind is how Angelo could fancy himself as a farmer amongst them. I mean sure, he’s not a lover of darkies, apparently, so there’s that, and he’s fat and he’s white but I honestly doubt he knows three words of Afrikaans, and besides, it’s Lamborghini that builds tractors and not Ferrari. Any self-respecting farmer would know this.
Shame.

Come to think of it, with all the “chickens” they have being given I think I just figured out why our glorious revolutionary leaders are so obsessed with land nowadays. Where else must they keep all their new-found fowl? Mind you, the (not-so-)honourable revolutionary keepers-behind-bars-of-our-country’s-criminals, Linda Mti, Zach Modise, Khulekani Sithole and Patrick Gillingham should sommer just pass go and let their share of “chickens” come home to their correctional farms and roost there, since amongst themselves they have both the state land and free incarcerated labour with which to do their farming already. And who knows, if the NPA’s new boss Shamila Batohi is to be taken seriously, perhaps these glorious revolutionary avian agricultarians of the Correctional Services department, all of whom have been so colourfully fingered by Angelo, will yet have their day to don green overalls and farm their own fowl right there on Correctional Services grounds, by their glorious revolutionary selves. One can only hope…

But of course one can’t be too careful, you know. They will need to beef up their security. My aunty Susan from Zeerust says that life on farms is very dangerous nowadays and she would know. Especially when you consider all the security upgrades Angelo and his Bosasa cronies paid for and installed for more of our illustrious revolutionary leaders such as Mantashe, Mokonyane and Myeni, and they live in the cities, where it’s safe! Sheesh.
Ah well.
All this talk of fowl farming has made me hungry now.
Think I’ll take a look in my fridge and see if I can find myself some chicken of my own…

Never miss out on a mrofnoctonod post. You owe it to humanity and to that half-digested hotdog.

Its your fault

Jabu Mabuza says it’s YOUR fault. (Jabu Mabuza is the new chairman of South Africa’s power generating and distribution, State-Owned-Enterprise, ESKOM, and he says that we’re all to blame for the energy crisis the country is now in)
Yes, you, aunty doing your makeup in the rearview mirror in your car at the robots on Oxford street while the light turns orange again. And for non, glorious-revolutionary-post-1994-south-africa residents, a robot is not what you think it is, which is probably generally a true statement in any case, but more so in South Africa. In South Africa we call a traffic light a robot. No one knows why. And for all us glorious-revolutionary-post-1994-south-africa inmates, a “light” is a thing that magically shines when you supply it with a rare thing called “electricity”, for which you have already paid, but like an Apple TV, doesn’t come with remote, cables, or an actual TV. But I digress. Yes aunty. While you were there sitting wasting the green light, you caused the current electricity crisis.

And you, single father in Mitchells plain, with your Fetal Alcohol Syndrome child and a SASSA card that used to be your only lifeline in this fucked up life situation that neither you nor your child asked for. It’s your fault. But don’t worry, Bathabile Dlamini who looks alarmingly like a crash test dummy with makeup, only with less intelligence than an actual dummy, will pay back 20% of your grant. Oh hang on, she can’t. She can’t even afford 20% of her legal costs, and besides which she doesn’t actually remember screwing you over, and somehow, for our glorious revolutionary overlords that’s good enough to deploy her elsewhere in government where she’ll surely leave another trail of incompetence and wrecked lives. But I digress. Because both you, your child, and Bathabile are to blame.

Yes, you, little girl getting dressed for school in the dark again in Secunda with no hot water for 2 days. While Jabu’s 18 year old daughter drives to school in the Porsche her daddy bought her, you’ll be pleased to know that together with millions of other “normal” South Africans, you are responsible for the fact that Eskom can’t supply you with the electricity that your parents faithfully paid for. But then again, your politicized municipality hasn’t paid its ESKOM bill for years, so maybe it is actually your fault. But again, I digress.

Don’t worry, it only took Jabu 9 years to wake up and realise that showerhead Jacob Zuma was a crook and then say something about it, so we won’t have to wait long for something tangible and positive to happen, I’m sure. In the meantime, please, dear South Africans, stop doing whatever it was that caused Eskom to become the looted shell of a utility that it now is, so I can switch on my non-revolutionary wifi and post this.

Oh, and, nice hat, Jabu.

~ this post was written in response to this article

Never miss out on a mrofnoctonod post. You owe it to humanity and to that half-digested hotdog.

Phoenix

Ssshhh, he shooshed her.
This is my favourite part.

They were sitting in his lounge – a plush suede olive couch, rock hewn walls, downlighters, and glass for an expansive view over the apple orchards and vineyards, and in the distance, the blue mountains, and further still behind them, the setting sun.

A song had been playing a bit too loud for politeness, she thought, plus, it was quite harsh and jarring, and a bit shouty. But then it had calmed suddenly down and now Daniel Thompson’s voice resumed singing out again, from the speakers in Adam’s lounge.
“I can breathe again
I choose to never let go
Or lose control
See through the sights of a rifle
Live through the eyes of a child
Walk through the mind of a minor to extol”

Then she heard it.
His voice raise to the heavens.
Set free to swoop and swell.
She sensed the singer’s swooning cry of release and trust, and was transported with it.
Felt her surrender to its flow.
It was something purer and more keenly felt than anything she’d felt in music for a long time, she realised.
She understood.
A single tear rolled down her cheek.

He took her hands in his.

“I must change change because I’ve been chasing shadows” Adam whispered along with Daniel.
“Change, immersed in the night”
Then he stopped singing and moved closer to her than they had sat in months.

I’m so sorry, he said.

She knew she loved him right then.
For real loved him, not like before.
At that moment right there.

Tesseract – Phoenix 2015

I don’t know about you, but that’s what music does for me.

That’s why music matters.

Never miss out on a mrofnoctonod post. You owe it to humanity and to that half-digested hotdog.

The Actor

“Depression is the soul’s way of letting you know it’s time to play another actor.”
The Instagram post was a photo of a grey-green misty forest, somewhere where trees grow, with a brown dirt road leading in, and with those words printed on it in a friendly but neutral font. Briefly he felt a flicker of connection. Besides his default introversion, he had been feeling more melancholic than usual and couldn’t quite put his finger on why.

He resumed flicking through his feed.

But now his subconscious was squirreling away at the new question, and he found his thoughts drifting as the parade of colours, shapes, places and faces spooled upwards beneath his thumb.

He thought of the awkward kiss, Saturday morning in the car.

Darren and Norma were potential new friends as well as being new residents in town, as he was. Although being new to the area, Darren was known in the region and painted frescos and murals for lodges and restaurants in the winelands and local towns, but it sounded more exotic than it really was.
Between the 2 of them, they had a crop of collected kids from a string of collective collapsed lives, and a newish one jointly of their own. Norma was a stay-at-home mom who picked up part-time admin jobs here and there.
Both of them were street-smart and had that steely killer’s instinct in the eye but they were also nice people and she had made an effort to bring the 2 men together, because although Darren worked all over and was in fairly high demand, he had no close friends in the new town either. So far, the only place he had been able to actually spend any time with Darren had been at the greengrocers, where Darren had been commissioned to do a mural depicting a local orphanage’s soccer team that had been sponsored to play matches in neighbouring towns. It was a thoughtful and touching gesture, he thought as the 2 men stood next to the rough outline of the infant project and jokingly discussed Darren spending unhealthy amounts of time on his back with this new mural being his sistine chapel. Their exchange was funnier in person, because it involved a complicated machinery for turning the earth roughly perpendicular, so that the wall, would now be the ceiling. He was secretly delighted that Darren was familiar with 1950’s BBC radio comedy.

Every other time he had been invited or tried to visit the couple, he would find Norma alone with the kids.

Norma was a very “fleshly” person.

He had felt an attraction to her that disconcerted him. He experienced her as being very much in her body in an earthy way he was not familiar with, and it made him feel awkward and uncomfortable around her, but weirdly, something about it paradoxically drew him.

His thumb lifted off the ignored digital lives below.

It occurred to him that perhaps it was this earthiness he was drawn to, rather than to her, specifically. That maybe it was this “earthiness”…

He led his life in a world of his own thoughts, and spent much of his time mostly in his own head, he realised. He wondered how it could be that he didn’t have a mental model for this desire to be in her company. It was self-consciousness, he realised, that made him feel awkward and shy around her, because of this unquantifiable, drive. Naturally he had no intent to intertwine himself with her beyond the friendship of a married couple. He was smart and disciplined enough to know and do better than that. But this earthy attraction troubled him and then made him stop going there altogether, even when the next innocent invite from her had come.

He had been too “busy with deadlines” the next two times she tried as well. But then their car had broken down. Darren managed to arrange wheels for getting to his jobs, but Norma was now stuck and unable to do emergency grocery hops, and so it was, that on Saturday morning he had driven into town and waited for her in the parking lot of the local supermarket, to give her a lift back home. She made her way, unseen to him, through the bustling weekend shoppers and arrived at the car, hot, weighed down with packets and infant on hip. He couldn’t help thinking she looked somehow more earthy than before, but before he could hop out and help, she had the packets on the back seat, baby on lap and was seated next to him, closing her door. Like she’d been doing it in and out of his car a thousand million times, all executed in one fluid, confident motion. She did all this while loudly greeting him in her typical explosive fashion.

Norma wasn’t one for softly spoken parries, for hiding behind toned-down behaviour and tactfully offered, neutral language, with the minimum of emotion revealed. All cloak and dagger and such. Nossir.
What was happening right now, in the moment, was precisely what you got with Norma. It fascinated him all over again. She was speaking words to him in the hot car but he heard almost none of them as he took all of this in, instead.

When she leaned slightly across the centre console of the car, he felt it as being perfectly naturally appropriate for him to kiss her on her cheek in provencal style, and inferred that it was this that she was offering, by her doing so. So he leaned in and did it, planting a sidelong kiss on her right cheek.

Immediately he sensed a change in her posture.

Perhaps he had read everything wrong. Maybe that was not part of her fleshy greeting routines, and maybe Norma was all about the big hugs and loud words, but that’s it. He desperately hoped he hadn’t crossed a line. They were not, not-nice people. Something in his eyes or body language must have reassured her then, because she softened her suddenly tense frame and carried on exploding.

His digit still hovered over the now dark mobile screen.

Perhaps it’s time for me to be a bit more like Norma, he thought.

Never miss out on a mrofnoctonod post. You owe it to humanity and to that half-digested hotdog.