Monday, February 27, 2006

Come sweet sleep...

I have a horrible secret power. When I look at people - strangers usually - they trip. Sometimes it’s just a small slip and they regain their balance. Other times, when I’m in a really dark mood, they fall completely over. I first discovered this power when travelling to school on the bus. Every time I looked out the window and stared - just so - at a pedestrian, they would trip. This was apartheid South Africa and there was usually a policeman prodding them with a baton and a rather unfriendly Alsatian, but the tripping still seemed only to happen when I looked. I don’t know the statistics on how many people are tripping at any given moment in time, but I would put money on the fact that there’s a concentrated amount around the times when I’m staring intently. On a visit to India it was worse than tripping. I would look out the window and dogs would projectile vomit, mothers would maim their children, young men would pee in the gutters.

I know for sure that this stuff never happens when I’m not looking. Otherwise I would see it. Which is good. Because while I’m busy stopping my life to breed, I am reassured that the world will simply wait for me. I don’t have to worry about the fact that I haven’t earned a cent in the last year and my ability to do so is currently impaired by the fact that I don’t get more than 2 hours consecutive sleep. I don’t need to be concerned by the giant gap in my CV or the worry that I may never be able to write a script again without being interrupted by crying children. I needn’t give a second’s thought to the tick-tick-ticking away of my life while I change nappies and feed and burp and shovel chocolate in a desperate attempt to fill the enormous hole that’s left now that my belly is empty and my life-giving purpose complete.

Someone offered me a job making an interesting doco with a good budget today. It’s not even 2 weeks since I’ve given birth. I want to scream and run away and also I want to do it so badly. I haven’t responded yet. I’m paralysed because I can’t say yes but I don’t want to say no. There is something so small and banal and shell-like about living according to a feeding schedule. But the babies are amazing and perfectly formed and needy. And this is their lives and I’ve brought them here so I can’t run off and make docos right now.

And I’m going for a walk and I look at myself in the reflection of a car window and I can’t recognise that person, that stranger. And before I can think about how saggy my tummy looks I’ve tripped.

And I’m lying on the floor laughing because I may be a hormonal, morose old hag with stretch marks, no sex life and a gaping nothingness where my career used to be... but at least I have a horrible secret power.


Blogger -Rama said...

must be the hormones speaking angel! You have done such incredible things over the last year and will reap the benefits over your lifetime!

8:38 pm  
Blogger LJ said...

This is...I'm almost sure of it...a short segment of your life. That you will write always and brilliantly and find good work when you (& babies) are ready, is also something I feel sure of.
At my age (and pardon my mentioning it again)time speeds up incredibly. I have a feeling that it doesn't for you right now...but seems an eternity of pregnancy, trauma and small babies, located somewhere in another solar system from your writing work and career aspirations.
And I figure you just can't see that the shuttle back to that other planet is idling it's engines and hovering. Soon as it's time again, it will pick you up.
Much love, YC. You are and always will be a fabulous writer. Meanwhile
don't look at anyone fragile with that secret power.

12:44 am  
Blogger Lin said...

I well remember how tough it was for me in the baby beginnings and then I multiply it by 2 and add another babe to the mix and, well, if I had your power I'd probably be tripping anyone who even looked at me sideways. Raise your eyebrows at me...bam. Concerned little short stare in my direction...bam.

3:59 am  
Blogger Calliope said...

amazed by your secret power!
but you must know of your other power(s): you are a wonderful, wonderful weaver of words.

5:12 am  
Blogger Yasser Rahman said...

On a visit to India it was worse than tripping. I would look out the window and dogs would projectile vomit, mothers would maim their children, young men would pee in the gutters.

Nope...this happens in India all the time, Espicialy the last one.

Sometime last week , I was traveling a little away from the city and desperatly needed a leak LOL, I didnt want to pee in the gutters, so got my driver to stop next to a public toilet that was built my some British guy who lived in India, a message on the wall

Young Man, the future of this country is now in your hands

Really got me laughing :P

5:18 pm  
Blogger tzipi said...

my secret power is turning the water in the tap from cold to hot. sometimes you turn on the hot water and it runs cold for ever, but if i concentrate on it just so it will turn hot.

or, at least, that's what i told myself when i was little and desperately wanted a secret power :-P

10:54 am  

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