Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Lily Issue


After another walk in the Botanical Gardens where I felt like a private detective snooping around taking photographs while couples lounged in the sun, I was pleasantly struck by the amount of lilies that populated the waters edge. This thought then led to the realisation that this meant an increase in beggars or hawkers who would be selling these handpicked lilies on the side walks. This then led to a smile because of how grateful I felt toward the hawkers who take their time to pick flowers from the edge of any water source in Grahamstown. This would mean that I could finally afford to buy flowers to brighten my dreary room.

My boyfriend, after handing over a bunch of flowers and witnessing the love that suddenly poured out of me, asked what the fascination is with flowers. I replied that it was a cheap and easy way to remind us of how much you care and so forth. He scoffed at this because he said that the bouquet had cost him R100 and so would not be able to continue this gesture on a regular basis. I realised that once again the ‘love’ industry has managed to exploit something that we should be getting for free and so although the hawkers exploit the natural resources for their own gain, at least it is only costs us R5 or R10. But I know that the price should be the least of our concerns and that we should all begin to learn to love flowers in their natural environment because there is so little left.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Nothing like summer to show that spread.


Each step that I took today I felt as if I was growing larger and larger and feeling more and more grotesque as my thighs rubbed together in sweaty strides. I do not know if it was the first taste of summer weather or the skinny girls skipping around in mini skirts and beautiful flowing dresses that just sent me spiralling under the weather. I trudged unhappily to the dining hall and wolfed down my food in an angry and contradictory protest to first year spread and to the sad fact that I had become its victim without realisation. Yes, summer has arrived and so has the cellulite that was hiding in the folds of polo necks and warm tracksuit pants and it is plain depressing. And once you start feeling like that suddenly everything makes you look like an obese pig where your double chin feels as if it has quadrupled and is now rubbing in between your sweaty thighs. I immediately phoned mommy for moral support and to make it perfectly clear that I have to return home so that I can eat skinless chicken breast and vegetables, which is made in abundance at my house. My mother just laughed in exasperation because my siblings are complaining that they cannot and will not accept any more measly meals of steamed chicken and vegetables. We are never satisfied with what we have and I even had my boyfriend bang the phone down in me hear because he said I am not fat and know it. So I guess I will just have to join the girls for an ice-cream tonight.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that if you want to listen you should sit in the front!"

I once again tossed aside my pen in frustration because once again the journalism lecture was spent trying to control students who do not seem to realise that they are at university now and really do not have to come to lectures if they wish to socialize. Two students were sent to sit in the front of the lecture hall like children once again and one was our very own class representative who rallied about her diligence and commitment to the course and its students. She then still has the cheek to walk to the front, dripping with attitude as if she honestly believed that the lecture period was her personal Rat and Parrot! I know that the lecturers are attempting to make an example because singling out one individual does bring a groups attention to the fact that they are not invisible. But everyone just laughs it off, which results in the lecture yielding the same fruitless results. Last term during another journalism lecture (notice the trend?) a student eventually stood up and shouted at other students because of the noise levels, saying that she had not woken up early to come and listen to trivial tales from other students. Instantly another student shot back saying, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that if you want to listen you should sit in the front!” I don’t mean to be rude or to offend the student that made such an insightful comment but I do recall paying R50 000 to sit wherever the hell I want to! Many fellow students have also begun to notice how discipline and respect have been slipping as the novelty of being a first year has worn off and now we seem to think that we can swing form the lecture rafters like a bunch of monkeys and then still have the audacity to call ourselves rocket scientists!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Denied the happiness of solitude in nature


The last post was written in the haze of a hangover and in a daze of too much sun after lying in the Grahamstown Botanical Gardens for half the day. I had decided, after walking around without an aim, to do something constructive and so packed my dorky rucksack full of fruit, a blanket, books, pen, paper and camera and decided to explore the Botanical Gardens instead of climbing back into my bed of depression. I had only previously explored the easier parts of the garden but this time decided to walk off that first year spread and hangover by jogging along the paths that lead near to the monument. Naturally after two seconds the jogging slowed to a power walk, which after another two seconds slowed to a crawl, which eventually led to a sit-down where my breath was further taken away by the beauty of Grahamstown and beyond. I was as usual ashamed at the fact that I have brushed off Grahamstown as a hole, void of any beauty and instant pleasures. But there it was, staring me brightly in the face, all the beauty a girl like me could ask for. This natural high saw me skipping down the hill taking photographs of flowers, trees and creeping along the river bank photographing weaver birds building nests. I truly felt like I was in my element and was so relieved to find a place that I can escape to when the feelings of living in a void return.

At midday I danced my way back to my residence to tell my friends of the wonderful excursion only to be reprimanded for going into the botanical gardens alone when I have been told countless times of the dangers of wandering in such a place. My giddy mood was replaced by anger. How has crime managed to dominate every aspect of my life in such a big way? I cannot even explore nature, which I prefer to do in solitude, without having to worry about rape and pillage! My mother than emailed to express her disbelief at my teenager sisters need to party all night even though there are so any parents who are part of Griefshare for losing their children in car accidents and party related tragedies. I agreed with her but with great resistance because why should we stop experiencing life, both the good and the bad, just because of someone else’s tragic story? Or am I just being a na├»ve, selfish individual who has never had my feelings stretched further than a few crocodile tears?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Emotional and physical hangover

One night out in Grahamstown and a severe hangover later, I am walking desperately (at seven in the morning) in an attempt to get away, to move, to do something to distract myself from my physical and emotional hangover. It's only about the fifth time that I have gone out in Grahamstown and every morning after, I feel the same isolation and desperation. It honestly takes a night out in this place to remind you that you need to get out of here, pronto! A night out is destined to leave you hanging in some way or another, either because you have consumed too much alcohol just to survive the repetitive bull or because you realise how very depressing the culture of drinking is and the individuals that are spawned from it. I am no better than they because I too fall into my tequila with haste and every time promise myself that this is the last, but then do it again and again without a moment of hesitation. I do not know if my feelings are that of admiration or disbelief toward the students who diligently go out every single weekend. The way I feel right now renders me speechless because if I had to subject myself to such physical and emotional abuse on a regular basis I would not survive.

I guess that I understand why this is the norm because technically that is all you can do at Rhodes and as research has shown there is practically no activities for students who prefer to walk the straight and narrow. But it is so frustrating that our options as students are so limited but what's even more disappointing is that the majority of us don't seem to mind and so are destined to wake up with emotional and phyiscal hangovers. I just worry that this is what students live for at the end of every week. Is the system to blame or are us students as pathetic as everyone thinks we are?