for reasons which shall remain incomprehensible and entirely inexplicable, there comes a time (or indeed, many times) when a girl (read as 40 something) gravitates, like a mesmerized spinning top, into Self Help Mode. i am not talking about at the buffet table. i am always at the front of that queue, no matter how hard i try and resist. i lurk around a bit and eventually say “oh fuck it. why not?” and happily dive first into the lasagna. everyone else is either far too well mannered, not hungry enough or so ridiculously timid they deserve a poke in the eye with a blunt stick followed swiftly by another large serving of chocolate mousse. graced with not one but three glazed cherries.
in fact, the same rings true at the self help shelf in our local book store, which i have proudly and scoffingly eschewed for the last decade or so. (the self help section, not the book store.) lately, in fact Monday last week to be precise, precision being a rare and surprising trend in my days, I found myself perusing, then actually buying (astoundingly) books called ‘be happy: release the power of happiness in YOU’ and ‘Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life.’ there was only one other customer in the shop and i noticed he had chosen the far superior Stanley’s Dark Safari. he didn’t look the type, from the way he was holding the book. uncomfortably, i thought. so i naturally assumed he was buying it as a present for someone else. i briefly mused on who the happy recipient might be and decided it was for his daughter, if he had one. he was behind me at the computerized till, which seemed to be momentarily dead. the self help books, MY self help books lay brightly obvious on the counter.
it reminded me of the time when i uncharacteristically, she quickly points out, bought some sexy little lacy pants at Mr Price in Smith St., Durban. i had hidden them underneath my Sensible Brooks. the queue was very long and of course, the um, little black things didn’t have, surprisingly, a price attached. just my luck. the fierce sales lady, who had lipstick on her teeth and wore too much rouge, was irate and not shy. she swung them triumphantly around her head, whilst roaring “ Sanette! How much are these?” to the vaguely inept saleslady a kilometer away on the other side of the shop floor. lots of little knowing looks were shot from strangers in my purple faced direction. here I was again, it seemed, under a not too dissimilar situation, although a far more well mannered one. self help books are at least polite. understandably, mr dark safari was looking at me sideways, in an alarmingly pitiful fashion because, i like to think, i looked too normally happy to be buying these kinds of books. at least the look was sideways and not down his nose.
i haven’t started the aloneness one, yet, as am sandwiched tightly between Hemingway and Harrison, the polony and the gherkins being ME releasing my power of happiness, or at least making a courageous yet seemingly futile attempt to do so. i might not make it to the aloneness one. nevertheless, I have presently adopted the rather comforting but not entirely convincing mantra of “I am a wise person” when I feel myself slip sliding in a downward or doubtful direction, followed by “happiness is inside of me, not outside”, as i rightly recall....
it seems to help momentarily albeit a pleasant little distraction from the weather. and i also like Abba.
at least it rained today. and then some.
KITCHEN BOARD: 20th february 2012.