An ill wind

You know what I hate? Well, lots of things – but today I’m thinking about something specific. Give up? Okay – I hate walking into a room only to discover that the previous occupant has left something of their – shall we say – essence behind. ‘Behind’ being the operative word here (if one means ‘operative’ in the literal sense, of course). This is particularly irksome when cabbage and onion featured somewhere on the long weekend menu.

This is only intermediate-level hate, though. The thing I really, really hate is when someone else walks into the same room shortly afterwards and gives me a disgusted, knowing look. How on earth do you defend yourself against that?

The truth will not necessarily set you free – you have to face into the wind if you wish to have any hope of riding the storm of effluvial suspicion. “What are you wrinkling your nose at at? I didn’t plant that fucking stink bomb!” is perhaps a tad too aggressive. “Oh it’s not mine, it was here when I arrived” sounds so lame, it could qualify for a disability grant, but “Quite a stench, huh?” is sufficiently vague and conspiratorial to leave you smelling like roses. In manner of speaking.

Enlisted

One of my tasks in the company I work for is to beat my colleagues over the head – metaphorically speaking, of course* – when they fall foul of the organisation’s quality management system. Yes, extremely glamorous, I know.

The system has been updated, so I am I am busy putting together a revised audit checklist. It’s a bit like being in church, because not only is it one of the most brain-crushingly boring activities in the history of time, but it also makes me feel vaguely guilty.

I am aware of what the system requirements are in general terms, but in combing through the system documentation, I reminded of the specifics (When selling employee’s souls to the Devil, the project Leader must use standard form # 666…). However, since auditing isn’t my sole function here, I am also reminded that I’m supposed to be doing the same things my colleagues are supposed to be doing.

Hence the guilt – because I’m not.

* although there are often times when I yearn to get literal, if you catch my drift.

Artistic license

Allow me to direct your attention to the ‘small art‘ button in the sidebar. This is a link to Andrea Pratt’s on-line art emporium, where fans (like me) who have money (unlike me) can purchase their very own Andrea Pratt originals. Why are you still reading this? Click, dammit!

Membership of the (unofficial) Andrea Pratt Fan Club is completely free, so if you want to decorate your sidebar in a similar manner, you can contact Andrea here.

Nocturnal exhibitions

I had an unusual experience on Saturday night. I was heading towards the city centre when I encountered a traffic jam on the De Waal Drive*. During the day, this road can get quite busy, but in the evenings it’s normally a quiet stretch of tarmac. At the most, you might find a parked car or two containing young lovers looking at the city lights and/or engaging in a spot of recreational carnality. You might also find the occasional mugger on the lookout for young lovers in parked cars, but that’s about it.

On Saturday, however, there were cars parked along the entire length of the road. It was like I’d stumbled unwittingly on the South African Annual Cheap Date Conference or the imminent arrival of the Mother Ship. The penny dropped after I was very nearly smeared across the side of a rock cutting by a rubbernecking driver whose attention was more on the sky than the road. The hordes were there to watch a fireworks display being held at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.

All I can say is that Capetonians really need to get out more often.

* for non-residents, it’s the high-level expressway that snakes around the lower slopes of Table Mountain

Meeting macabre

My job requires me to attend a variety of long, dull and ultimately pointless meetings. One of the first things you learn as a corporate drone is how to develop coping mechanisms to get you safely through these things. In today’s edition of ‘How To Slow The Inexorable Slide Towards The Edge Of Sanity’, I’ve come up a new game that I call Humbling Experience (TM).

It works like this: Imagine you’ve been hit by a bus and you’re busy perusing the owner’s manual for your new harp / pitchfork (delete where not applicable). Now make a list* of all the people you know well, dividing them into those who would probably attend your funeral and those who wouldn’t be bothered to make the effort. After you finish cursing the ones who wouldn’t show up, try and identify the ones at the service who might actually shed tears. Burn a few synapses in the process. Reflect sadly that you may just be a complete bastard after all.

Too morose? Well okay, you choose the sodding game then.

* this makes it look like you’re paying attention and taking notes and the section head will beam beneficently at you from time to time.