An “I Like You” from a kid is priceless.

July 26, 2010

Today at school, right before I had to teach, I was out on the playground talking to the preprimary teacher. She always has her kids out there in the period before my first class. We were chatting, and totally out of the blue, this adorable little preprimary kid (probably between four and five, which I guess would make him “four and a half” in their language”) ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug around the waist. He after quite a long squeeze he looked up with the biggest smile you could imagine and said, “I like you!”

I couldn’t help but chuckle at the warm gesture and cuteness, “Thanks! I like you too.”

“Your tattoos are beautiful!” he said with all the sincerity in the world.

“Well, thank you again.”

He then went in for another squeeze, looked back up and smiled, and then ran off to the slide. Little kids are great. They haven’t built up all those walls we put up, and they speak honestly and genuinely in most every situation; sometimes things we don’t want to hear, sometimes things that make our day. They are great. If you get a chance, hug a kid today. And tell him you think he’s cool.

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Indigenous yet “Mod”.

July 22, 2010


Khoisan bling.

July 22, 2010


New mirror on the block.

July 22, 2010


Yes we’re open. Please come in!

July 21, 2010

I just saw a girl (maybe sixteen, but she might have even been younger) with her brother, mother and father, having a nice evening out at the Waterfront. They were American tourists. This girl had on, what she would have called shorts. But to even call them an “item of clothing” would have been an overstatement, and they more resembled a denim belt, and a thin one at that. I have seen female underwear that was more modest than those things! She had beautiful, flawless, long, luscious, milky-white legs, that were totally and completely uncovered, leaving nothing for the imagination.

I am not really one to stare at a ladies’ legs, butts, boobs, or whatever, but this girl’s legs were like a sign with neon flashing lights; maybe one that would read “Yes we’re open. Please come in!” but I don’t want to push this sign metaphor too far. Too late I guess huh? I saw grown men…wide-eyed, staring, licking their lips,  grinning, drooling, their eyes sucked in to her legs by some sort of magnetic power. I could not believe what I was seeing. I didn’t know what I wanted to do more: take off my shirt and cover that young girl’s legs up, or bang her mom and dad’s heads together.

People say weird stuff like “she is attracting or tempting the rapists”, which might not be far from the truth, but I don’t know about that. What I do know is she was walking around in a public place half-naked. Now, no one ever, EVER deserves to be sexually assaulted, no matter what, period. At the same time I do not believe there is an excuse to be that young, and walk around in a public place with such little clothes on, unless you are at the beach or a public pool. It’s just bad taste in my opinion, and more on the side of the parents in this particular case. Unfortunately, certain things do follow that type of fashion sense.

Ladies, you are always on our (men) case. You want to be treated with respect and dignity, and you deserve to be. But if you are displaying all of your flesh, you will be treated like a piece of meat. And I hate to see that. I’m not telling you to be more conservative, or wear long dresses or pants or whatever, and you can be sure that most men definitely are not telling you that; they are probably asking you to dress like that young girl as a matter of fact. But I am merely telling you just be aware of what you are doing, and if you are putting it out there for all to see, leaving nothing for the imagination, don’t be surprised when you get the disgusting comments, whistles, drooling and gestures that come with it.


Quoting Jay Z to Drunk, Old White Ladies…

July 21, 2010

So…

It’s kind of weird being twenty-nine-years-old, almost thirty, and still living with your mom, going to school. But a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do I guess. This one morning I wasn’t really “feeling” school, and that morning I told my mom I was just going to play sick, stay at home, and chill. She left really early, with my little brother, to get to school on time. She’s a teacher and he, well he’s only ten, and he goes to the school where she teaches. It was still dark when they left.

I laid there in bed trying to get back to sleep but it became more and more impossible. And the more I thought about how badly I wanted to get back to sleep, the more awake I became. I finally decided to just get up and walk to the shop. I pulled some jeans on and just kept the shirt on that I had slept in. I didn’t think to take my wallet with me. Not sure what exactly I was thinking.

I walked out the door and was hit with the early morning chill, but it was crisp and refreshing. It was still dark out and the streetlights were still on. They made those spotlight-type beams in the foggy morning air. I walked on the secluded street, alone. There was no sign of life what-so-ever. It must have been around 5:00 AM. Then, somewhat out of the blue, I came across this kid on a bike.

I’m not sure what exactly got into me, but seeing that kid on a bike made me feel all nostalgic, and I decided I needed to go for a bike ride. It had been so long. I ran up to the kid, pretended to hold a badge in my hand, quickly flashed the invisible badge at the kid and said, “Police! I need your bike! Police business! Police Business!!” The kid, obviously a good citizen, jumped off of his bike and pushed it in my direction. I continued my “police-business-panic-mode” and jumped onto the bike. I shouted “thank you” to the young man as I frantically peddled away.

The cool breeze on my face felt amazing! I rode as fast as I could, until tears streamed out of my eyes, and across my cheeks. I went down one street, up the next, around that corner, down that hill…and then I came across these three guys in the middle of the street. Why on earth were they standing in the middle of the street before the sun was up? And why was the one guy dribbling a basketball, doing Harlem Globetrotter-type moves in the middle of the street?

They were African-American. In most stories race really does not matter. But It does in this one. And that’s why I clarified their race. As I approached them on the bike I decided, almost compulsively, to try and steal the basketball from the dribbling guy with the front wheel of my bike; I guess I spontaneously thought it might be cool to marry two sports that rarely have any contact…or maybe I just didn’t think. I peddled up to the guy and just as I turned the front tire, trying to swat the ball away, he did this amazing move where he not only dribbled the ball over my head, but he threw his entire self over me, flying through the air  with the grace and skill of the love-child of Michael Jordan and Tinker Bell.

I couldn’t believe it! The other two guys just stood there and laughed, and the next thing I knew the guy, who had just jumped over me, jumped on the back pegs of the bike, and then somehow quickly climbed up behind me and sat on my shoulders. I just kept riding the bike. The other two guys just ran beside me and the guy on my shoulders was like, “Thanks for the lift man! I’m new to town and have been looking for someone to drive and show me around!” As much as he was making a joke, I could feel a bit of truth in his mockery.

I was coming up to a turn and realized I was not going to be able to make it with the extra weight on my back. And when I tried to brake the extra weight made the brakes useless. I saw a metal guard rail rapidly approaching. I put my feet down on the ground and pushed down as hard as I could. I could literally feel the heat from the burning rubber of the soles of my shoes.I think smoke might have even come out from under them. Fortunately, the bike stopped just before we crashed into the guard rail.

The guy climbed off my shoulders and his two friends ran up. It was still dark. Just as we started to greet and introduce ourselves, a car squealed around the corner, and then came to a screeching halt on the other side of the street. The driver’s door flew open and the car interior light came on to reveal an older white lady, with short curly grey hair in the typical “old lady” fashion. She looked at us with worried, suspicious eyes, and she held her thumb on the button of a pepper spray can. The weirdest part was she was all dressed up, as if she had been out all night and was just on the way home, and she swayed a bit in an intoxicated fashion. Wow, I thought, this old lady is a real party animal!

She continued to burn holes through us with her glare; the kind of look a person of darker complexion gets when they enter a shop and are immediately suspected of a crime they never plan on committing. We just looked at her, not really knowing what was going on. She drunkenly said, “What are you doing there in the edge of the Hoopers’ yard?” The guy who had just climbed on my shoulders said, “We’re just standing here.” The lady scoffed, and fake laughed, “Right!” she said, “Well, you’re not supposed to be there!” Her words slurred, most especially on the S’s. At that point I was not sure what was going on, but the words came out of my mouth, without the seeming ability to control them, just after she told us we were not supposed to be there for a second time. “Why? Cause I’m young, and I’m black, and my hat’s real low?”

Yep. I quoted Jay Z at her. And yes indeed, a totally random line about me being black. The lady looked at me for a moment without saying a word. Her head moved side to side in a drunken fashion. I was not sure what she was going to say to that. But I didn’t really care. The guys with me tried to hold back laughter. We waited for the lady’s response. She continued to glare, and then it seemed as though she was struggling to keep a straight face. And then, in an absolute miracle of an event, her face exploded in a smile, and she spoke, still slurring, in a shaky, laughing voice, “Well…yes actually.” I said, “I thought so.” And she said, “Ok then.” She laughed. I laughed, The three guys laughed. And then we all laughed together. It was a great moment. And then…unfortunately…I woke up. Dreams are so weird.


Incognito on Facebook…

July 20, 2010

Most of you know I teach grade 6 Life Orientation at a school in Woodstock on Mondays. And I seem to leave every Monday with a funny story or two from interactions with the kids there. So yesterday, the glorious day that it was, I was sitting outside, soaking up the sun before I had to go into the cold, dark classroom and teach. And I was, yes admittedly, on Facebook on my phone. One of the grade seven kids, who had been sent by his teacher to run an errand, came up to me.

His name is Jacob Ngouabi (for the purpose of this blog) and, though he has lived in South Africa his entire life, his mother and father are from Congo. He was in my class last year. A real sweet kid.

So, Jacob waltzed up to me and sat right down on the playground bench, scooting as close to me as possible, looking at my cellphone screen, “You’re on Facebook?!”

I laughed, “Isn’t everybody? Are you?”

He got excited, “Yeah! Search me and add me as a friend!”

I’m not sure how I feel about adding the students of the school, but I humored him, hypothetically, “Ok, do I just search Jacob?”

“No. Roger.”

“Roger?!”

“Yep.”

“Okay? Roger what?”

“Roger Shaw.”

“Roger Shaw?!”

“Do you use someone else’s account or something?”

“Nope, it’s mine.”

“Why Roger Shaw?”

“I’m not going to use my real name on there!!!”

“Good idea. But where did you get that name?”

“Out of my brain.”

“Ok.”

“I bet there are a lot of Roger Shaws though.”

“Yeah. But mine is the one with picture of Batista.” (A WWE wrestler for those that don’t know)

“Ah! Of course. That makes perfect sense.”