Monday, 12 November 2012

Who needs fiction when you've got real life

Who needs fiction when you've got real life
12 November 2012

I just love the fact that real stories, are so often way better than ones that even the best imagination can conjure up.  How funny stuff happens all the time, every day.  Stuff you simply couldn’t even conceive of.  How it’s a matter of apparent divine intervention and impeccable timing.  Silly things, that end up being the best things.  The stories of legends and family folklore.  We all know many of these.  So, I thought I’d share a few random ones, I’ve come across so far.  Just some that popped into my head.

Like the time our neighbours were eagerly awaiting the birth of their second daughter, Emma.  How their eldest child, little Lolla, was only about six or seven at the time, perhaps even a bit older.  How they never quite managed to get everything ready and together before the time.  No bags were packed and waiting, no lists were made and ticked off.  And then when Ginny went into labour unexpectedly in the middle of the night weeks before her due date, they scrambled around, throwing random things into a bag for the hospital.  How my neighbour, Wimpy, said to his eldest daughter she quickly had to get dressed, as she would have to go to the hospital with them.  Because albeit in the middle of the night, they had no back-up plan of who to leave Lol with.  How they literally all jumped into the car and raced to the hospital.  And only hours later, once little Emma was born, did they realise that Lolla was wearing her school uniform.  She just grabbed the first thing she saw, and was all decked out in her perfect and neat little uniform, complete with bobby socks and probably ponies in her hair too.  I still giggle when I think about it.

And about the time, my folks were off on a music festival somewhere – Grahams Town comes to mind.  How a very regular occurrence at 29 St James Street was a blocked sewerage drain outside my parents’ bedroom window – me-thinks old archaic plumbing system was the problem.  Which, gruesome though it was, always necessitated for the drain cover in the garden to be lifted, a hosepipe to be shoved down and a flow of water to be encouraged.  How Katrine was at home at the time and she phoned my mom, bemoaning her problem and asking her for help.  How my mom then explained to her that she would need to get a big garden fork to enable her to have leverage to lift the heavy drain cover, to go through the whole hosepipe process.  How upon my parents return, the problem was still not solved.  And how the garden was littered with bent kitchen forks.  How had she ever thought she’d be able to lift the cover?  Too funny for words!

How my old school friend, Maryke, has a friend of a friend of a friend.  An Afrikaans guy whose birth name is GH (which when pronounced in Afrikaans, sounds a bit like Gee-Haa).  You know how there was a trend to simply give your kids initials and not whole long names.  For years and years, schools were strewn with JJ’s, JD’s, KC’s and the like.  How this same poor fellow had to apply for his new barcoded Identity Document years ago.  How he patiently completed the necessary forms required.  How instead of receiving his new ID Book, he got a letter from the Department of Home Affairs, explaining the need for him to please supply his full names.  How he went in to the Department of Home Affairs (a tedious waste of time).  How he explained his dilemma, that GH was in fact his given name.  Once more he completed all of the required forms.  And once more, instead of his new ID Book, he got yet another letter from the Department of Home Affairs, urging him to supply them with his full name details.  How he went into Home Affairs again.  Filled the forms in again, and realising that the friendly and helpful staff member at the counter was not necessarily the end worker who would process the application he wrote G(only) H(only), on his forms.  Hoping this would clarify matters forever more.  Until he received his by now long anticipated ID Book, only to discover that his birth name in his ID Book, was noted as Gonly Honly.  Too funny for words and it still makes me laugh.

How a friend of my mom used to travel to work in Cape Town by train.  How she was still living with her parents at the time, and how her folks had visitors once.  How her room was given to the guests, her brother was kicked out onto the couch and she got her brother’s room.  How she got dressed in the dark early one morning, being as quiet as a mouse so as not to disturb those still sleeping.  How she walked down to the station, noticing people paying particular attention to her.  Feeling a bit self-conscious, she pulled at her clothes, and righted her beret on her head.  How she had the same looks from fellow commuters on the train.  And still she straightened her clothes some more.  Eventually giving up, thinking to herself that she was surely looking particularly dashing that day, hence all the looks.  How she got off the train at the station and walked the short distance to work.  And how she caught her reflection in a shop window, and saw that in her haste, she had not put her lovely and ever so smart beret on her head, but rather a pair of her brother’s tartan underpants instead.  Mortifying to say the least.  I’m sure that had I been in the same predicament, I would have resigned from my job on the spot and moved towns at the very least.

And so the real life comedic moments continue.  Simply way too many to mention.  They make me laugh all of the time.  When they happen and when I reflect on them some more.  I have had many similar blunders and silly things happen to me.  Perhaps it’s the universe’s way of making us stop and smell the roses.  Urging us to not take ourselves too seriously.  Irrespective of the cause, rhyme or reason, I am thankful for these.  As they brighten my days and my life.

So, all I can say is, bring it on!!!  Do your best and make me laugh some more.


  1. Love it, Helene!! And yes! There are many more!! How about a part 2!! Aw pleeeeze!!

  2. To funny and too true - exceptwe did drop Lolla off with mom in the middle of the night. And I was wildly relieved that we had a car with a roof - because up until a week previously we'd had a beach buggy. It was raining too... I wrote an account of that night for Emma on her 21st