A few days in the life of..

So the past few days have been pretty interesting. Life has a way of coming in swings and roundabouts, but the truth is: it ALWAYS evens out in the end, and we have to learn to take the good with the bad. I know this better than most and have a rather amusing set of stories to add under this little file divider. I’ve also long since established that some days I can only say “this shit ONLY ever happens to me” and count on the fact that at least half the people who hear me tell the story won’t believe me….I’m OK with that. I don’t particularly care about your opinions anyway, so if all you take away from it is an amusing little story, that’s fine by me.

So here are a few things that happened during the course of the last 10 days:

  • When I returned from a 2 week out of country work trip the Friday before last, the Gypsy kindly offered to bring groceries and cook me dinner. While he was busy in the kitchen and I was happily sipping on a glass of wine I decided to switch on my “media setup”. This consists of a TV, PS3, Apple TV, Speakers and a laptop. So I plugged everything into the socket and flipped the switch and BAM! Flashes of light, smoke, loud exploding noises and a few shrieks from me before the electricity tripped. GREAT! I had no idea what exploded at the time but had been convinced that all of the above equipment would need to be replaced after that. I followed the smoke and found that the laptop’s charger had quite literally EXPLODED O_o How? I have no idea…but i’m very grateful that I’m pedantic about unplugging and switching off everything except the most essential things when I leave the house. Could you imagine the chaos and potential fire hazard if this happened while I was away? The explosion burnt my floor *facepalm* and the laptop is no longer usable (fantastic) but surprisingly enough everything else seems to have survived the onslaught.
  • On Tuesday I paid a little visit to my dentist as my dental implant (a long story in itself but it cost me a fortune, involved several bone implants and a piece of my jaw removed) felt slightly loose. It wiggled….like a loose tooth about to be pulled. The dentist very kindly tightened my screw and then indicated that he would like to replace the screw as it may have suffered some metal fatigue as a result of the wiggling….I made a follow-up appointment for the Friday.
  • On Friday i returned for a half an hour appointment to replace the screw. Let’s just say it did not go according to plan. DID YOU KNOW: A dental implant can experience a mechanical failure???? The dentist had to completely break the “tooth” of the implant apart in order to remove it. At this point I didn’t know whether i was supposed to laugh or cry. I had paid thousands of rands for that thing and here the dentist was kindly breaking it apart. Not to mention that this whole process took 3 hours. And trust me after 3 hours of someone messing about and “rukking” and “plukking” your mouth in order to try and break the “tooth”, your jaw and mouth in general is pretty damn raw, tired and sore. Then I learnt something new AGAIN. DID YOU KNOW: A dental implant comes with a warranty? I couldn’t stop laughing when the dentist informed me that it was definitely a manufacturing error and that I would no doubt be able to replace it under the warranty. The entire tooth has to be remade, so I will be returning in two weeks to have it replaced….at zero cost to me or my medical aid.
  • On Monday morning I had to head out of country again for yet another business trip. I always use Uber to take me to the airport and I’ve never before experienced any issues with the app or the service. I usually go online to request the uber about 10minutes before I have to leave home for the airport. I also make sure that, bearing traffic at that time in mind, I have more than enough time to get to the airport and drop off my bag etc. I generally don’t cut things close when it comes to flights. But the app had a problem. It simply refused to process payment, which means it refused to get me an Uber. I restarted the app a few times and even downloaded the 163MB update in an attempt to make it work. By now it was already well past the time I was supposed to leave home. I decide to add a different card as payment, but the app wouldn’t even let me do this and just continued to tell me that there is a processing error. In desperation I even tried to pay for the ride in cash…NO LUCK. So I finally gave up (by now running very late) and called a metered taxi service (which I HATE using). Unfortunately they wouldn’t be able to reach my home until only an hour prior to my flight. I would NEVER make it. As a last resort I loaded my suitcase in my car and drove myself to the airport….this will mean an astronomical parking charge, but what else could I do. By now I’m stressing about missing my flight as the traffic at that time is way more hectic than when I was supposed to leave home. I finally got to the airport and dropped my bag off with like a minute to spare prior to check in and bag drop cut off time. PHEW! And then the super nice lady behind the counter says “oh shame mam, you look so stressed. I’ll tell you what. I’m cancelling your online check-in and moving you to a business class seat.” Bless her cotton socks! I managed to make it through security and immigration and walked onto my flight with a few minutes to spare and then I was spoiled with excellent service, WAY better food and a ton of space.
  • When we arrived here the airport had another surprise for us….the immigration queue was literally running outside of the terminal building. Three international flights arrived at exactly the same time due to delays and the airport is simply not geared for that kind of traffic. It was going to be an incredibly long wait. Then a sweet old man in front of me starts asking the officials where the SADC line is. From experience I know there is technically a separate line for the SADC countries, but that when it’s this full nobody adheres to these rules and the immigration officers don’t enforce it either. But the old man spotted my SA passport, grabbed me by the arm and told me to follow him. And within minutes we were right in front of the queue and we sailed through without any hassles.
  • But without a doubt, the highlight of my day was last night. My SIL sent us a little photo of my littlest nephew in a superman shirt looking grumpy and miserable. Apparently the little man was also having a bad day, just like his aunty. So I asked my SIL to give him a big hug from me.  A few minutes later I get a message from my SIL saying that superman asked her to tell me that the hug made him feel better. *heart melts* That right there tops EVERYTHING. Nothing that happened in the last 10 days could spoil or top that moment….nothing. Family is everything.

So life comes with its ups and downs all the time. It’s up to us what we choose to focus on.  All I can say is…life with me = never boring.

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I would make a terrible feminist

Now before everyone gets all up in my business for making that statement..please read the post.  I would make a terrible feminist, a terrible activist, a terrible lot of things actually. I recently read a post written by a friend of mine about his little girl, and that’s what got me thinking about this topic.  In this post he refers to an article written by a feminist:

“Here is an example from Devorah Blachor’s New York Times article titled “Turn Your Princess-Obsessed Toddler Into a Feminist in Eight Easy Steps“: “Propose that the hatred that Anastasia and Drizella feel toward Cinderella is not the fault of the step sisters, so much as it represents a complete indictment of Western society and its attitudes toward feminine beauty. Suggest that all three women might be victims of the same impossible societal pressures. Work in this timeless Naomi Wolf gem: “The contemporary ravages of the beauty backlash are destroying women physically and depleting us psychologically.”

So, here is my issue with what she proposes.  While it might be true that society often discriminates against less than beautiful women, do we then condone or justify the fact that the 2 ugly step sisters were mean to Cinderella simply because she was beautiful and they hated her for it? I mean surely that’s just doing the exact same thing in reverse? And how does that teach a little girl anything but totally skewed values?

Here’s the thing…when everyone is getting their knickers in a knot about the fact that only 10 of the 50 journos invited to an event were female, I sit in the corner rolling my eyes…loudly. I have many reasons for that and I’m going to try to explain at least some it to you. I don’t believe in women’s rights. THERE I said it.  The simple fact is…I don’t.  What I do however believe in is equal rights.

True, historically (and often still today) females have been severely discriminated against purely because they weren’t male. The same is true for skin colour and many other things…..And this should be fixed.  But to let the pendulum swing in the complete opposite direction and to therefore allow women certain benefits for the pure and simple reason that they are female does not solve this problem…it just creates a new one, building on the already existing problem.  All this serves to achieve is to make sure that a bunch of idiots who can’t do the job are placed in positions of power, which very quickly escalates into chaos. How ridiculous is that?

The problem won’t be fixed until a balance can be achieved…a balance where nobody is discriminated against.  I don’t want to be chosen to do something because I’m female. I want to be chosen to do something because I’m good at it and I deserve it.  I don’t want to constantly fight off people’s opinions because they believe I got something for the pure and simple reason that I’m female.  I’ve been told on many occasions that my opinions would be different if I had ever been the victim of discrimination.  NEWSFLASH: I work in completely and utterly male dominated world where the general male opinion is that I have hair, boobs and a bum and I wear high heels and therefore I HAVE to be stupid, my opinions don’t matter, my ideas are never good, I should be bringing them coffee and I can’t ever be as effective as they are. (Please realise that while I refer to the general male opinion I most certainly do not include all males)

The kicker here is that while it is frustrating and while I have to work twice as hard to prove myself, I kick ass at my job. I’m good at what I do and I constantly prove that. And while it would be nice to be treated as an equal by all my male counterparts I refuse to be treated differently or better or to be given a promotion because the percentage of females in the profession isn’t high enough. I want the promotion because I deserve it.

So here’s what I propose….equal rights.  Give promotions and jobs to the most deserving candidates based on qualification, experience and compatibility.  Give it to the hard worker who towers over all the competition because that is the person who deserves it, regardless of whether that person is male or female.  Sex, race, skin colour, etc should never even feature in this decision.  So returning to my scenario about the 10 out of 50 journos being female….send the 50 most deserving journos, or the 50 most well-known journos or the 50 journos with the biggest reach.  Or randomly select them. But for crying in a bucket please don’t ever send me to an event for the pure and simple reason that I’m female and exclude someone who deserves that spot about a million times more than me. THAT WILL NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

The above only serves as the tip of the iceberg as to why I’d be a terrible feminist. The fact is, I also like it when a man opens doors for me, offers to carry a heavy package, offers his seat to me when there are no other seats available and allows me to walk through a door first. Why you may ask.  Well while everyone is freaking out because they feel like the guys are saying they can’t do it themselves, I’m standing over here going: “Thanks dude!” I feel respected and cherished, I immediately assume that the guy probably has impeccable manners, that he treats his mom like solid gold and that one day he will move mountains to make his wife smile. (yes yes, I realise this isn’t ALWAYS true, but you get my point) You see, my dad does all these things for my mom, and whenever I’m around he does them for me too.  And when a guy does these things he automatically scores points in my mind, because he is a gentleman. And we could really do with more gentlemen in this world, except that the few that we have are almost too scared to be nice to women because they get accosted by the feminists.

And the kicker.  If one day I should be blessed with a little girl I will tell the feminists to stuff it. If she wants to be a fairy princess and wear pink tutus and crowns she may, and if she would like to do so while yielding a sword or a light saber I will cheer her on and if she chooses books and jeans over tutus and crowns I will applaud her choices and encourage her to be the best damn princess/warrior/bookworm/superwoman she can be. And If ever I have a little boy I will teach him to be nice to little girls, to respect them, to see them as equals, to understand that nobody is better than anyone else, to open doors for all females, to offer his seat for the little old lady and to let even the most insignificant looking girl walk through the door ahead of him. I will teach him that he never has to apologize for being male. Because one day my child will be one kickass gentleman.

So hate me if you will and call me what you want. But the cycle of discrimination will never stop if we keep swinging the pendulum back and forth from one extreme to the next. At some point someone needs to reach out and bring it to a standstill right smack bang in the middle. Equal rights for ALL!

P.S.  Guys, I realise that this is my opinion and other people have different opinions…and that’s ok.  Imagine how boring life would be if we all thought about things exactly the same way.  I also realise that while I’ve expressed my thoughts here this is only the tip of the ice berg and does not include all my reasons or arguments for making certain statements.  If I were to include it all here you’d be reading one post for WEEKS.

Dear Negative people

Sometimes I wonder how many of us stop to think about what we say/tweet/blog.  I wonder if some people even realise just how negative, whiney and full of complaints they have become.

I’m (mostly) a very positive person.  And even though my job often makes me cynical with regards to trusting people and just how screwed up the justice system is everywhere, I tend to be the person who sees silver linings, generally sounds annoyingly chirpy and also the one who gets stupidly happy at the tiniest things.  Don’t get me wrong…some days I too feel down in the dumps, some days I complain and some days I whine (especially when I’m sick…I’m completely miserable and pitiful when i’m sick) but this is not an everyday occurrence. And everyone is entitled to complain or a whine or to a negative day from time to time.

But I’ve noticed that more and more people are constantly negative, constantly complaining, constantly whining and constantly a pain in my ass.  Every single word that flows out of their mouths/fingers laced with the toxin more commonly known as negativity. If you let it run your life for too long you stop realising that you’re being negative, you fail to recognize the amazing things in your life and you spread negativity to the people around you.  You become an increasingly horrible person to be around.

There are few things that annoy me as much as someone who has amazing people in abundance, amazing opportunities and just honestly so many blessing rained on them only for them to not once be grateful, not once say anything positive or happy…just negative negative negative!  The sad part is that the external parties are not the only ones to notice.  These amazing people who you have in your life…they notice it too.  They feel that you don’t value them and that you take them for granted, because if you’re this miserable all the time, surely the people who surround you must feel that it is somehow their fault? And not only that..spending too much time with a negative person is emotionally draining, exhausting and quite frankly unpleasant and because it is so toxic, some of these people will, in time, also become negative. A negative person is also often extremely self-centered.  Everything is a crisis, everything is horrible and in everything they ARE the victim, not because they’re actually the victim, but because they choose to act like the victim. There are days when I feel like saying “Get your head out of your ass, it’s not a hat” (to quote Pitch Perfect).  I mean if your head is up there to begin with, I suppose it makes sense that you have such a crappy outlook on life.

After putting up with a lot of the negativity from a lot of people over time I have finally come to the conclusion that I need to do what makes me happy.  I need to, at least to an extent, distance myself from the negative people in my life. Guys, I love you dearly, but realise for once that life is not that bad.  Make a point of noticing at least one good thing a day, because I can guarantee you that your life does not suck, you just choose to see it that way.

Love
Ruby
xxxxxx

Dear Ignoramus

I realise that none of us know everything or at least something about everything…it’s just not possible.  But what used to just annoy me has become a giant festering thing inside of me.  Please, for the love of apple pie…stop spreading your opinion about something that you CLEARLY know nothing about, as fact.  The sad part is that other ignorant people will grab what you stating as a fact and run with it because they don’t know any better and so begins the snowball effect of ignorance.

I’m so tired of people who think they know everything about everything.  So tired of people who start a debate or an uproar because they have a rather wayward opinion on a topic they know nothing about.  Sure, you’re allowed to have an opinion, and you’re even allowed to discuss it.  But don’t act like an arrogant idiot and a) spread it as fact or b) be indignant when people take you on about it.  If you want to start a debate at least be sure that you’ve checked your facts and done some research on the topic.  The same goes for jumping on some band wagon.  Boy, do people LOVE band wagons.  Most days I sit here in my quiet little world and wish the band wagons would just spontaneously burst into flames or something and take all its passengers with it.   If you’re going to jump on the band wagon at least make sure you know what the situation really is before going about and possibly ruining someone’s life/reputation/business.

Don’t be the Ignoramus.

Regards
Ruby

 

Dear license renewal people

On Monday morning I decided to embark on an adventure.  I had to renew my driver’s license.  Fun right? So after I spent the morning sleeping through 3 alarms, setting off my house alarm, knocking my shoulder alarmingly hard against a door frame and launching a mad search for my ID book which suddenly decided to disappear I finally ventured to your offices.

Your staff was less than friendly from the get go.  No clear directions on where you are supposed to go or who you are supposed to speak to could be found.  After pulling a ditzy blonde move some other victims of the system indicated where I had to go wait in line.  It was a LOOOOONG line.  I was quite happy to stand and wait my turn…but then I was instructed to “SIT DOWN!!!” rather loudly.  I gave the filthy, sweat and germ infested fabric coated chairs a swift once over and politely declined, stating that I’d rather stand.  A rather intense tongue lashing quickly changed my mind and I found myself balancing right on the edge of the chair, trying my best not to actually touch anything with my bare skin and cursing myself for wearing a short little dress.

But this was only the start.  It was HOT and there was not a fan or an aircon in sight.  I feel for the staff…I really do…it can’t be easy having to work in those conditions..but trust me..they sure as hell made sure we understood what an absolute pain it was for them to work there O_o.  After not moving at all for what seemed like an eternity, the line finally started moving.  This meant more filthy chairs, more balancing acts and, in an attempt not to be bored to death, chatting with the people sitting around me.  I was then shouted at for talking to much by one of the people working there…REALLY??

When it was nearly my turn for eye tests etc. I had the unique opportunity to tweet the following:
(Arch being catch of course) Yeah that was pleasant…NOT.  I had absolutely no idea how to react.  Do I ask him what the hell he’s doing? Do I shout and throw a little tantrum and risk getting shouted at again? Do I make a joke about it?  I just didn’t know how to deal with it…but was luckily saved from having to deal with said neighbour for much longer when it was my turn.

I smiled all friendly like, said “Hi” and started asking the guy behind the table a question.  Right in the middle of my question he started talking.  Then proceeded to shout at me saying: “Stop talking when I’m talking!!!”.  Excuse me??? I was talking FIRST! I think you could literally HEAR my jaw dropping when he followed that up with a “Now be quiet!”.  Really? Firstly…you interrupted me and then you shout at me??? What the hell?  I could have sworn I had walked into a parallel universe when I entered that building.

So I promptly snapped my mouth shut and listened to his instructions very carefully.  Pull the little lever in the direction of the solid line.  That shouldn’t be too hard right? Except that he informed me I needed glasses and failed the eyetest completely.  It was at this point I finally snapped, figured out he explained the procedure to me incorrectly and then told him in no uncertain terms that he better allow me to do the eye test AGAIN or I would make the rest of his human life a complete and utter misery.  I was allowed to retake the test…my eyesight, as 5 years ago, is perfect.

I was then sent to a new line in order to pay…oh joy! another line of dirty, sweaty, germy, fabric covered seats….at this point in time I was tired of being surrounded by freaks taking pictures of my feet, the heat and being shouted at…I couldn’t wait to get out of there. The payment line went smoothly and quickly except for one incident where the girl working in front stepped out to shout at EVERYONE waiting in line telling us that we’re useless because ONE guy didn’t have his R300 ready and waiting when he got to the front.  He had to actually take it out of his wallet… SCANDAL!

So guys…please…train your staff…send them on a people skill course…clean your waiting area….allow people to stand if they so choose and for goodness sake install some aircons or fans in that place!

Regards
Ruby
xxx

Dear Diary

I learned a couple of things this weekend.  It wasn’t pleasant…in fact…it was awful, mostly….

1.  People are cruel
2.  Being snubbed by people who used to call themselves your friends hurts
3.  It doesn’t matter how hard you’ve worked to get where you are…some people will always try to break it down
4.  No matter what you do…for some people it’s just never good enough
5.  It hurts when people who were once close to you takes everything you’ve worked so hard for because you were working towards a dream and with one foul swoop of their tongues diminish it to superficial things you do to impress superficial people
6.  People who claim to be non-judgemental can be awfully judgemental
7.  No matter how many times you tell yourself it doesn’t matter and no matter how well you KNOW that you shouldn’t let it get to you….it hurts
8.  Realising that you’ve outgrown people is both freeing and sad
9.  Having your best friend give you a hug and comfort you makes it a lot better..makes you more grateful…and makes you realise what you do have.  I am happy, I’m working towards my dreams in a big way, I have friends who care about me more than I can ever realise, I have a family I love and adore.  So you know what…take your superficial little friendship and your little clique and go play all by yourselves in your limited little world.  I’ll stick to being happy and chasing my dreams and having people around me who care about me, thank you very much.

Regards,
Ruby

Dabbling in politics

As you can see, this is not a letter.  I’ve also ventured outside my normal rules for blogging, as I never blog about politics.  But this specific little post has been brewing in my heart for a while. I need to get it off my chest…and then I realised: That’s exactly what my little blog is for.  If anyone is really offended by it…I’m not about to apologize.  This is my blog, and therefore I’m allowed to air my voice and my opinions here.

It’s a little something about South Africa’s beloved Nelson Mandela.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have respect for the man.  He’s come a long way in his 93 years and he has indeed achieved many great things.  He worked hard towards achieving equality for all, he uses his name to obtain funding for many great causes and on all accounts he seems to be a very nice guy.  He loves South Africa, and for that too I want to give him credit.  I think it’s great that South Africans can unite on his birthday and do something nice for their fellow countrymen…a noble cause indeed.  And I applaud the initiative.

What does make me sad however, is the way that he is being romanticized.  I watched a little piece on the news the other day.  And some organization had taken a whole bunch of school children and organized a sleep over for them at Robben Island and they were telling them stories about Nelson Mandela and showing them where he was locked up and where he did hard labour, etc.  And then the camera focussed on this little kid and he said:  “when I listen to this story I get really angry with the white people.  But (insert name of facilitator here) said we shouldn’t hold grudges.”  This statement made me sad and angry all at the same time.

Don’t get me wrong.  There were many things wrong with apartheid and everything around it.  And I am by no means a racist, nor do I support any form of discrimination against anyone.  But what everyone seems to forget is the fact that Nelson Mandela didn’t only go to jail for opposing the South AFrican government at the time.  He was a terrorist and in many ways involved with the deaths of innocent civilians.  It’s one thing to blow up military/police people during uprisings etc.  it is quite another to kill innocent people. In fact, I recall him once speaking after his release, and he himself admitted that he was in a way responsible for terrorist acts and therefore it was right for him to be in jail.  He will therefore NOT bear a grudge.

I look at all this fuss around Madiba and I weigh that up against some of the less than saintly things he did in his youth and I wonder how the families of his victims must feel.  How much it must hurt them when he is labeled a saint and practically worshiped by some.  Did he have a good cause? Sure he did.  Apartheid was wrong no matter how you look at it.  Does it justify the killing of innocent people? never!  It is also here that I would like to point out to all those people who love to accuse SA of having a sordid past called Apartheid that SA was no worse than some other countries.  The only difference between, say SA and the US was that South Africa dared to give it a name.  Thereby making it a tangible thing.

It makes me sad to think that Madiba’s struggle is being romanticized and that people are not being told the full story.  To be perfectly honest, I’m tired of all the hype.  Yes, he has achieved many things, and I think South Africans in general owe him a big thank you.  But that thank you is only owed to him for the latter part of his life.  I’m so tired of the fact that only half-truths are being celebrated.  I’m white, I’m proud of it, I was never part of any form of apartheid and I resent the fact that people forget that every story has two sides.

By all means celebrate his life.  Celebrate what he has managed to achieve in the last 22 years.  Celebrate the fact that he was able to leave his past behind him and focus on building a beautiful SA along with other amazing people.  Celebrate the fact that he’s helping people.  But don’t call him a martyr and a saint, for he is neither.

Maybe some of you will think I’m being stupid, some of you might even think I’m being racist and who knows what the rest of you think.  All I know is that I’m tired of the fact that certain people are allowed to say whatever the hell the want, while others are forced to tiptoe around on eggshells.  South Africa has changed in many ways, but until the pendulum swings back to a more balanced and central position we will not be able to reach our full potential.  We live in an amazingly beautiful and generally incredible country.  As South Africans we have overcome a great deal, and for that we should be proud of ourselves.  But we still have  long way to go and I pray that one day we will reach our full potential.  And while Madiba will most probably no longer be alive to see us reach that point, I hope he’ll know what we’ve done and what we have achieved.  He deserves to know that his hard work the last 22 years meant something.

So what’s the moral of the story?  I think what I’m really trying to say is that I find it annoying that the story we share is only half a story.  I’m annoyed by the fact that one man is put on a pedestal, in such a way that we try to sweep his wrong doings under a rug.  If we’re going to tell our children the story, at least give them the full story, even the not so pleasant parts.  Don’t call a man a saint and sanitize the truth to suit your own needs.  Rather celebrate the full story.  Because you know what?  I find the person Madiba has become so much more amazing knowing where he came from.  Mommy and Daddy Letters always taught us that not telling the full truth still makes it a lie.  Personally I think they have a point.  Just consider this.  If we are feeding our children half-truths about our history, what kind of morals and values are we teaching them? And how can we expect to build ONE nation if we refuse to own up to the whole truth?  What kind of a nation are we building if we build it all on lies and half-truths?