Monthly Archives: February 2010

The Haunting or “Get Thee Behind Me Satan” Moments

listening to: Les Jumo Selsao – Zoomer

Someone I know went through a break up recently and she mentioned how she cant seem to be able to shake memories of her ex. Its not that she wants the dude back, just that there seem to be reminders of him everywhere. Add that to the fact that they live pretty much in the same neighbourhood and that they have the same friends (after several years of being together, that kind of happens on its own) she has resorted to calling these kind of encounters “The Haunting”. No matter how hard she tried her ex inadvertently keeps popping back into her life and she’s not at the point where it doesn’t annoy her – she cant ignore it and the ghosts of relationships past are not yet hilarious in a “ thank god I know better now” or “what in the world was I thinking?” kind of way.

For me these moments were where I would, in a knee jerk kind of way, go “get thee behind me satan!” (hello religious upbringing :-D).  Usually what brought this rebuke forth was listening to my iPod or turning on the radio or watching music on tv … you get the idea. Thing is, everyone I have known for a certain period of time get two things from me – a nickname (whether you may know of it or not I give you one) and a bunch of songs that remind me of said person. The longer I know someone, the longer the list of musical reminders gets. And after a break up it can become tiring and boring and just plain irritating.

So there I would be with my headphones in my ear walking someplace and Jill Scott would start playing and without even thinking I would blurt out “spineless fucker!” and skip to the next song. Or maybe I would have pressed the shuffle button and then got to doing some housework and Slow Flow comes on and I would turn the air blue with curses about “that controlling bastard”. Raindrops would only give me shudders of revulsion instead of inspiring those impromptu dance parties I keep telling everyone makes a good situation great or make a bad day better.

It was getting to be a problem so I created a ‘do not play” playlist and added to it every time I felt spontaneous outbursts coming on. I got tired of getting strange looks from passers by or anyone who was in my presence when I was trying to exorcise my demons. That was only part of the solution though. There was the gritting of teeth when people would ask you “what happened between you two” and you choose the it-didn’t-work-out-and-we-moved-on route and he took the please, cry for me Argentina because I’m so complicated and damaged road.

Doesn’t it suck when you have a strict no airing of dirty laundry in public/no sharing of sordid details with mutual friends and others don’t? There’s that saying about words swallowed never hurt a person but wow, is that ever hard to put into practice when you so want to put the record straight lakini realise that in doing so you will become petty and immature. It’s always a balance between telling yourself that you must absolutely be all zen and shit and maybe getting an ulcer.

Where was I? Oh right. There is also going to happy hour and having the bar tender repeatedly ask whatever happened to the fun guy who you used bring along (and here I thought they were supposed to be the best at getting casually dropped hints or realizing that some things you don’t want to talk about). Worse still is finding things that belong to him where you live – shirts that still smell of him in the depths of your closet, that something that you spotted online that you knew he would like finally being delivered to your mailbox. The thing with a relationship is that even after it’s over it’s the little things that keep jolting you back even when you are so ready to put it behind you and move on already.

And the one thing no one wants to hear is that it will take time for those moments not to feel like you are being spanked with a cactus and that your heart is breaking a little bit all over again. Mention that to anyone in the throes of being haunted and you will get eyes rolled at you and those little sighs that dismiss you as someone who has been watching too much Oprah and reading too many self help books. But it’s true. Either that or all the little rituals you have acquired to avoid being reminded of your ex will get tiring and a little ridiculous and you will wonder why in the world you are exerting so much energy over someone that you have already written off.

One day, I realized that my “do not play” playlist had a ridiculous amount of music that I actually liked and missed listening to. Probably because there was a time when I started adding entire Maxwell, The Roots and Steel Pulse albums to it along with lots of individual songs that just kept adding up until the list had spun out of control. Clearly I wasn’t going to never listen to this Ledisi song again or this Tony Rich Project one or this one or this other one …. a lot of those songs I liked before I knew any of those people. So I reclaimed my playlist back. And it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Instead of thinking spineless fucker it was now Peter Pan, controlling bastard became Gaston and the dude formally referred to with gagging and dry heaving became Muttley. Clearly a sign that I was mellowing out, especially when “get thee behind me satan” moments became punch lines instead of times that I wanted to crawl into a hole and disappear.

So yes, as much as it sucks being told so, time will help. It’s why everyone keeps saying so over and over again. There will be no magic moment and it won’t be spontaneous. If you feel yourself stuck in limbo distraction is key. Use the time wisely like spur of the moment dance parties in your room, get a hobby or finding new ways to drink vodka or whatever rocks your boat. Just remember to focus on the moving on part.



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How Time Flies aka Of the King of Pop and Easter Eggs

listening to: Sila and The Afrofunk Experience – You Love You

Wow, is it almost March already? So much for all those half written posts and ideas I had floating around my head. Guess that at some point I will get around to finishing them up, if only so that all my procrastination won’t have been for nothing ( believe it or not, waiting before you hit that publish button can be a good thing sometimes). But random ramblings will have to do for now so sorry to those who I had told I would update soon on matters of a more specific nature.

I usually don’t mind baby sitting my friends kids provided that I am given ample warning and that they are well behaved. The former is because while I appreciate surprises every once in a while they shouldn’t include dropping off your offspring at my place all willy nilly. Sometimes I need to make my living area more child friendly and anyone who knows me has heard me go on at length about how I hate unexpected visitors. You have to be a special kind of someone in my life to be comfortable enough to just stop by … I have come to the conclusion that only people who truly love me can handle the bitch face that I usually have on in the morning (not my favourite time of day) or grumpy/sulky phases. The latter is because I wont be held responsible for children that lack manners. Fabulously fun aunt or not I don’t tolerate children who talk back, are generally unruly, or like to dispute who is the adult in the house. By the by, times like these I catch myself mid thought and realize that I have turned into my parents. Ten years ago I would have thought that impossible.

Anyway. Not having any kids of my own means that my house is the typical child free zone. No special cable channels like PBS Kinds or Nick jr. No kiddie friendly juice packs lying around (orange juice in my fridge serves two purposes: to drink when I’m having breakfast and for making screw drivers and it has the dreaded pulp kids for some reason hate). No special software on my computer to keep them away from the ugly depths of the internet as they play video games. And alas, no toys/educational dvd’s, despite the demands that I get legos and Barney/Wiggles dvd’s pronto cos allegedly I can be boring sometimes (which I will deny forever, hehe). Still I can keep them entertained and fed. I get them to help me bake muffins, make random flavours of smoothies and popsicles and play dress up with the stuff that’s in my wardrobe and make them put on a fashion show for me.

Last night though, they (two little adorable and well behaved girls) were getting stir crazy half an hour into their visit. It was too cold to play outside and as far as they were concerned there was nothing interesting to watch on tv, nothing to play with (the “play with each other” suggestion was met with a blank looks) and they must have caught on that the fashion show “game” was more entertainment for me than for them cos dressing up was not an option.

Aside: after 5 minutes of hearing how I am deficient in some way cos I don’t have even have own a ball I told them that maybe they should use their imagination to entertain themselves. It was like I had asked them to sing a nursery rhyme in Sanskrit so I gave them an example. I made a ball out of socks and told them that they could throw that around. Here is their response, paraphrased: favourite almost 5 year old: that’s not a ball, it doesn’t even bounce! That’s just your socks in a big lump! favourite three year old: *picks up my ball and being the ever helpful child went and put it in the hamper and forgot about it* At that point I thought back to all the times when I was a child and we would wait for break time in school or Saturday mid morning so that we could take off our socks make them into a ball to play kati with and then of course get in trouble when you went home with socks that had lost their ability to be worn without uselessly pooling at the bottom of your feet and sighed. That sigh when all you want to say is kids these days blah blah blah. I remember when bottle tops were entertaining and plastic bags were re purposed into soccer balls.

Regardless, I had a secret weapon with me – a Michael Jackson dvd. I don’t know what it is about his videos that put kids in a trance or make them so obsessed with him but thank goodness that they could preoccupy themselves trying to moonwalk or spin or whatever. So I got around to whatever I was supposed to be doing for the evening while absent mindedly answering random questions. This was where I got into trouble. Since the almost 5 year old has a birthday coming up she is obsessed with knowing everyone’s age and when their birthday is and whether she can go for their birthday. So she asked when MJ’s birthday was and I was like in August. Then she asked when she could go for his party and I was like “of course you can’t, he died.” Since I was only half paying attention it took me a moment to realize that the endless stream of questions had stopped. I looked up and she was looking at me with a mixture of horror, shock and surprise.

“He died?!!?”

This is the worst possible situation to be put in. That girl is obsessed with Michael Jackson, he is even above Hannah Montanah or whatever singers Disney is forcing upon the general public nowadays. He is the reason she wants a red jacket and curly hair for her birthday. It was akward when I had to explain why MJ was different colours in different videos. It was a bad situation when in the interests of accuracy I needed to explain some aspects of the Easter bunny. Mainly that he doesn’t lay those chocolate eggs that he brings to people’s houses. Secondly that he can’t lay eggs at all (baby bunnies don’t hatch from an egg like a chick or a dinasour) and thirdly anything that looks like chocolate that comes from a bunny’s bottom should be avoided at all costs. When she was about to swear off Cadbury’s mini chocolate eggs I decided that some things are better left to parents to explain and that I should keep my mouth shut.

And seriously, I thought the reason all kids are obsessed with ‘Thriller” and whatnot is because at some point last year you couldn’t escape those videos. Maybe it’s just me but under list of things to know like a Kenyan is half responsible for Barrack Obama being on this earth and other facts maybe someone could add the fact that the King of Pop died? Then some of us wouldn’t be caught between a rock and a hard place.

Anyhoo. As I was trying to think a way of backing out of the whole “your musical idol is dead and no birthday for him” moment and wondering if I was in a position to explain death to a child the questions began. When did he die. Why did he die. I told her he died last year cos he was really sick. Then the real explaining had to begin. No, sweetie, you won’t die cos you have a cold. That isn’t nearly sick enough. The three year old was just distraught when she was informed authoritatively that Michael Jackson won’t be coming back and she thought that meant no more music.

Luckily, their parental units found it just hilarious and assured me I hadn’t traumatized the kids in any way though I was convinced that at some point I’ll be asked to contribute money should the almost five year old have to visit a shrink in like ten years. Especially since I heard that she has spent every moment alternating between telling everyone Michael Jackson died and that if they get sick they’ll die too.

Now that I’ve removed the cobwebs from the blog with this post maybe I can get to the drafts lying around and post them later this week. That’s not a promise though cos me and my procrastination …. wacha tu.


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