Friday, October 31, 2008

pants and things



"...the hills step off in whiteness.

People or stars

Regard me sadly. I disappoint them..." Sylvia Plath


this persistant and not unfamiliar melancholy just quietly walked in and lay down beside me. now it sits next to me sulking. i wish it would go away. or cheer up.

my mind has wandered to some extraordinary places this last hour. and it's not even dark outside. (it is now.) it stretched out millions of tentacles, into the heart of whatever matter it chose to look at. and brought me images of great beauty, alarming sadness and stark clarity. my mind made a statue out of me. immoveable. peeling gold paint under the sun and wind.


until i opened my email box and read my daily message from Mr Universe. oh no. he's not a winner of a body building competition. not at all. in fact, could be Ms Universe, Master or whatever you bloody want it to be. Dame, Madame, Mrs Margaret. whatever. it's The Universe speaking.


in a, um, aherm, trice, it made me ridiculously happy.


Remember, janelle, the whole point of this "drill" - you know, living in the jungles of time and space - besides the daily adventures, falling in love over and over again, and the color purple, was simply to give you a little vacation from being Me.
You don't have to take everything so seriously.
Enjoy, "Hombre" - The Universe



PS: It was also the perfect time to get you out of your mansion here so that we could install the ski lifts, riding stables, racetrack, waterslides, and private Prada boutique. Hey... you were supposed to return several lifetimes ago, janelle.


HOWZAT!!!!!?? i yell.

i mean. how does he know i love prada and horses? oh. and waterslides? only seen a ski lift once though. from afar. in switzerland, many many years ago, when by a series of quite unfortunate life changing choices and events, i found myself being, of all things, a nanny for two small french speaking children in the dead of a swiss winter - in fact one of the heaviest since the '60's.

i was motherless (she had just died), fat (ate toblerones to try and stop being sad - about 6 large ones a day in between lashings of cheese fondues and pastas which completely went against my oath to develope anorexia so everyone would worry about me) and fucking cold. the mother of these two little bastards, was a ski instructor. this fact alone, the "ski" bit, raised my grey caterpillar depression, with completely false hopes of giving ski-ing a bash. finally a chance to slide down these extraordinary white steep extremely foreign slopes. to experience snow first hand. the only snow i had seen was in those little jars you shake up and down..with those little christmas scenes inside. and it's all a flurry of snow. (which takes me back to my russian vision, where i am a russian jew in a past life in snow and - oh ok .... swifly moving on though. swiftly.)

i still LOVE them. i had not seen snow until, by a series of misinformed decisions (to reiterate), i flew to switzerland, to unostensibly learn french. i was 18. and african. and motherless. and, obviously, confused. the only ski lift i saw was at a distance, while maman slalomed off, all blond, slim and laughingly glamorous in her dusty pink and fine furs. she left me definitely stationary, sipping cocoa, with her brats, fat, alone and with a terrible hair cut. like a lost michelin man.


my hosts had recently taken me to a congolese hairdresser in geneva. duh. why? one asks. not sure why. perhaps because of the african connection? only? he gave me a very very bad pudding bowl cut, which did absolutely nothing for me, for my round white sad full moon face beneath it. it looked nothing like the magazine picture i had shown him. absolutely nothing like it.

yes. so there i sat on those white slopes. sad and foreign.

so actually The Universe, please scratch ski lifts from that little list. thanks. unless you are also
involved in karma (the instant kind) and the results thereof. perchance? for no extra cost or skills in computer technology? if yes, please arrange a swoppsie with that mother. just for that exact moment in time. or p'raps not. because i don' t think it would leave me feeling all that well.


all i really wanted back then in cold geneva, with its piles of snow and wayward st bernards with little bottles of booze strapped to their collars (i kid you not. they were there, the little bottles of booze. i checked.), was a pair of white leather pants. trousers. for the life of me, i have no idea what prompted this inappropriate crush. abba? mourning my mother? who knows? that year, when i was in geneva, it happened to be, apparently, The Year Of The Friendly Shopkeeper. could have fooled me. bunch of miserable little swiss duka wallas. nevertheless, there i found myself, in a very upmarket, very small, boutique, in the old posh part of town, on a dark winters afternoon. sad. fat. and moon faced. and motherless. and absolutely desperate for a pair of white leather pants.


careful what you wish for. there they hung , as i had dreamt them up, my White Leather Pants. there was only one pair. it was now or never. i rushed excitedly to the changing rooms. they came exactly up to my knees. i said to myself, "Fuck it. I'm buying them. I'll fit into them eventually. iwilliwilliwill".


i lumbered up to pay the very rude spaghetti thin Chanel sharp nosed pearled completely elegant shop assistant. she held the trousers aloft, looking carefully at them, her plum coloured lips pursed, sizing them up, then looked slowly down her beautiful nose at me, sizing me up, then back to the trousers, then very slowly back to me and said "end do zay feeeeet??"
i went purple and nodded furiously. she shook her head. i paid a fortune. and fled into a dark winter afternoon, to eat a toblerone and drink some hot chocolate, my petits pantalons en cuire mockingly at my side.



i finally fitted into those trousers, a year later, in the sweltering humid tropical heat of a durban summer. i wore them about three times.


and then evolved.


to levis.



Kitchen Board: Friday Night (at home. missing the halloween party.) 31 October 08


Contributors: Veronica, Gabby, one hartebeest (skull. sorry. RIP)
Comments: our little halloween effort. along with four boxes of smarties.
so whoooooooooo tooooooooooooooooodely pip then and bisous, comme toujours xxx long wild dusty ones.



9 comments:

tut-tut said...

Happy Halloween! Get that mantle of sadness off! You rock! Enough exclamations!

Miranda said...

Ah Janella. Stunning stunning stunning. Absolutely love it. Sad and funny and just right. Lets go skiing, I tried it once, cried every day with frustration and aching bones the first week, incredulous at all these little bastard children that whizzed by without a second glance to you sprawled in the cold snow. I'm not selling it to you am I? And then something clicked and i loved it. LOVED it. And then we had to leave.

hope the universe had successfully lifted the gloom. Not just temporary, like.

Miranda said...

Oh, and GREAT picture of the Gabster! Love you guys...

Dumdad said...

What a great piece of writing, jumping from subject to subject, high and low, sad and funny, swirling around and around yet every little bit connecting...

When you're feeling low DON'T read ANY Plath! Brilliant she might be, rosy-cheeked and sunny she ain't.

For a more uplifting poem, pop over to my place. It's all about your pal Miranda (well, not really).

Janelle said...

thanks you all.. TT , mo and dd...as i said to dd, it's momentary melancholy . i'm thankful for it. its a shade of day. a time. its good to look it in the eye, give it some time then get it on its way..., no? xx janelle

French Fancy said...

I love Toblerone, especially the white chocolate one. I don't have white leather trouser love though and think that you finally saw the light with the levis.

A sad post that was also lovely and what a good email the 'Universe' sent you.

Reya Mellicker said...

Who was it who questioned your belief in a responsive universe? Because the universe, Mr. Ms. Dr. or whatever it is, responds immediately when you need it/her/him.

I'm so sorry you lost your mother when you were so young.

These photos are beautiful, of you dancing on the beach and especially your gorgeous daughter wearing horns, looking fierce. Oh yeah!!

Adrianne said...

I have never been skiing and don't really have any desire to change that fact; I have been fat and sad (clinically depressed once - that was no fun); I have a pair of skinny white Calvin Kleins that didn't fit when I bought them, later fit, and now don't fit (but I save them in the hopes that they someday will fit again); and I also get those daily notes from Tut. So I think I get what you're saying.

Hang in there, girlfriend. The present melancholy will pass in its due time.

Janelle said...

thanks y'all. oh really. it was momentary..and was literally thrown out in a jiffy.
um reya, maybe me? but then i saw fireworks tonight and everything was perfect again.
and adrianne..yea! TUT! they're great eh? love 'em. and feeling tops!
bisous all round. xxx