Friday, 12 May 2017

Personality Types

Inside flyleaf of our library books. 

This is just an observation about readers at our local library. I noticed that there was a sort of sticker on squared paper glued to the inside front cover of the library books.  There were signatures on the different squares. On enquiry, I discovered that people can't remember all the titles of the books they have read, especially if their favorite authors are prolific, so this is an aide mémoire for reference the next time they take out a book so they don't read something they have read before.  A great idea I thought, so I joined in. The funny thing is that everyone seems to want to sign on the very outside column whether vertical or horizontal and they prefer to sign right next to someone else - a bit like people in a parking lot or restaurant.  Does this display timidity, I wonder? Or is it that people are like sheep?  Or is it lack of originality or is it modesty - not wishing to stand out in a crowd.  I decided that my husband and I will sign right in the middle - in splendid isolation, just to be different, or are we exhibitionists? ......or is it for some other reason?  After all, the signatures are quite anonymous.  Just a thought.  NB He hasn't read this one yet - that's me in the middle.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Same Time Next Year - why?

A typical 'Rondavel' for two in South Africa

We stayed a night at the Karoo National Park last month on our way home to break the long journey, now that my husband's back gives him trouble when driving.  I think we have now been to an almost identical chalet there about 8 times over the years. We could go elsewhere but somehow we always book at the same place. I get it now. The familiarity of the place, the unchanging decor, the arrangement of the furniture, the friendly staff - it all contributes to make you feel younger. Each time the years roll back and we remember all the great times we have spent at this place. I've never understood before why people revisit a resort year after year, but that's the secret. Turning back the clock.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

My Mother and Me

I may have been a silent rebel (Google image)

I could never put my finger on why exactly I didn't ever get on well with my mother. I tried my best - for about 30 years, then I gave up.  Growing up, I was wary of her temper and never argued, just looked away and shut up. I never felt good enough for her and was always hurt when she fantasized about the child she had during the war, who died at about 6 weeks from pneumonia (damp, rented flat). "She would have been just like me", she always confided to me. In a letter many years later, she called me 'her wayward daughter'.  Maybe I was, by her standards, I was after all a child of the sixties. I got up to a few things. 
The other day, I bought an old copy of a Women's magazine (circa 2007) from our library.  It was a May issue and approaching Mother's Day.  Hence the following words: I hope the author won't mind the quote, because I am not going to print a credit here, but she is almost exactly my age. Her mother was a career woman, mine was a housewife.
" On the negative side, she could be moody and scorchingly critical. That devastating inner voice, sounding like my mother, has stayed with me. I can hear her saying, 'Couldn't you have done better?' whenever I don't excel. It took me into adulthood to realise that to an extent she was disappointed with her own life, and that her marriage to my father was a difficult mismatch."
"A difficult mismatch".  Yes, those are the very words I would have chosen: and typical of the times, they stayed together, (my father adored her). In fact they celebrated their 70th Anniversary. At least he did: she said nothing but just had a resigned look on her face, while he made a long speech. No smile.  Ah well.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Micro-Managed a Fault

Google image

Before we rushed off to the Karoo, I was consumed with anxiety about organising my first commitment to our 'Lagoon Ladies' club which was to provide a speaker and decent morning tea for about 30 people.  I was really chagrined that I would have to miss this meeting, so as Team Leader, I contacted everyone before my departure and checked who was coming and what they would bring; I got someone to deputize for me to introduce my speaker, whom I had confirmed would arrive at our venue as planned and I managed to bake the Poppy cake I had promised. I prayed that the Power Point thing would go off alright (you never know when someone brings their laptop whether the plugs will fit your overhead projector).  There was a snag though - my husband decided that we would have to leave an hour earlier than he had previously thought with the result that my cake wasn't cooked and I had to microwave it for a few minutes (guesswork).  Then, on our way out of town, I had to drop off the (still hot) cake to one of my team who promised to put the icing on when it had cooled down, thence to freeze it and take to the meeting on the appointed day.  I had passed on my cupboard key to my deputy so she could organise the cutlery, crockery and laying of the table. So what did I forget? I committed the elementary crime of 'assuming' that everyone would stay behind afterwards to clean up.  When we gathered for our monthly Team Leader's meeting today, I learnt from our Treasurer (she is also on my Team) that when she looked up, having finished counting the monies after the meeting, she found that everyone had gone and none of the clearing up had been done! Luckily, she is one of those capable people who doesn't make a fuss: she just did everything herself.  We have two new members, who perhaps didn't know they have to help clean up afterwards (my fault).  I had assumed my deputy would see to everything, as she is a seasoned club member, however, someone said she appeared very distracted on the day - apparently, her daughter's divorce case was in court that morning. So there you are. She just wasn't herself. I won't assume anything again. The talk and tea were apparently a success.  The only remaining fly in the ointment is that most people don't know how to speak without a microphone and a lot of our ladies are a trifle 'hard of hearing.' I never understand why people don't know they must speak up for an audience: I guess 14 years of High School teaching and a rather deaf husband have prepared me for this.