Monday, May 23, 2016

Learning new things from old writings

 My sister had this blog in 2007-2008, a fun, flighty, conversational breezy diary called Fausset, accent on the e, but it might as well have been named Confetti.

Raj had his Prithvi and I was one of his fans, and I kept a little us-blog called Duniya / enta Raj too.
 You may also find it fun to mine the earliest months of BellaNaija and NotJustOK, and see too Sergey Brin's little blog from that era.  

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Ma chérie, mon cher

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What am I supposed to do - 
sit around and wait for you?  
Well, I can't do that...
- Cher, in Believe

 If I had far more than the one or two dozen gigabytes per month to play/live on the internet, I would watch most of these little tennis videos a few times.  I just watched #32 and it's a match I remember well.  I call it Black-On-Black-Violence.  Both Roger Federer and Andy Roddick showed up in black.  Dressed as The Undertaker, I said, as in, somebody is going to leave in a coffin today.  Andy himself was a perennial top 4 player and a one-time world number 1.  He had Jimmy Connors coaching him and had gone through hell to put himself in a position to challenge Roger, who had become a mountain-sized problem to him and everybody.
Oh Lord, the bullets came pow.  Pow.  Andy with the fastest serve in men's tennis.  Power.  Heart.  Fire.    Everything.  Read about it read about it, let me know if you watched it
Roger won.
I don't know if I cried but I felt Andy's heart.  That was when he became my guy, because before that...ehn, he's American, so, too...uncomplicated.
Omg another match I just remembered: Andy Roddick winning at Queens - pure, unadulterated beauty.  First of all the courts at Queens make you - I mean if you're the kind that gets visceral reactions to beautiful things - you'll lose your breath for a bit.  It's so dirty-yellow green and red.  And Andy respecting the space because it's England, yet being such a giant, so fit, hard, and American.  And then doing his job, whacking the ball, and winning and being happy. 

I usually cheat by using my internet overnight (12-6 is free in the contract), but the internet company cheats by charging for the first and the final 45minutes or so, that is you're only safe from 1-5am.  Then I usually call monthly when I run out of 'data' to complain about all the lost gigabytes and they usually apologize and tack them back on, but I'm sorta getting tired of the dance.  And maybe having too many all-nighters watching gossip videos and music videos while downloading edu/Coursera recordings and all the films and music albums I want, and getting really tired from the jetlag :) is not always the way to live.

Federer: amazing!
Rafa Nadal: mi amor.  I fell in love at first sight.

I wonder if when I'm 99 and dying my only regret will be all these years I'm spending NOT watching tennis.
Because think about my life without the 2008 Wimbledon final - the excitement leading up to it, the experience of seeing it, alone, undisturbed... The thing is I wouldn't even know what I didn't know, that I had missed out on the whole joy of life. 
Or my life without the drama of Ana Ivanovic - the beauty, the hustle, the rise, the fall, - or Anna Chakvetadze (A-Chak, the psychologist and book-lover, just kept placing the ball and placing the ball and many times, that was enough to win) in those days.
Or life without taking a snapshot of a body like Martina Hingis' and wondering what it means.  For many years I've struggled to describe it without thinking of horses horses.  I think it's how pronounced the balls of the shoulders are, like mine.  And since anatomically hips and shoulders are close kin, she's a bit more a collage of different structures fit together and less one compact aerodynamic mass.
(Yes I just figured it out.  It has these exaggerated balls (1) and it reminds me of me (2).  So I was utterly captivated, and now it turns out I'm just crazy about myself?  How narcissistic.  How pathetic. ) 
I thought to use the word gangly for Ms Hingis.  I know gangly is usually a Venus Williams tall-with-limbs-flying-here-and-there - you should watch Venus play, she is a tall, beautiful child - not a not-so-tall, non-flailing, sexy mama; but what I was thinking was actually GANGLIA, GANGLION, gangly in that sense, and after some work I've found there is support for relating ganglia-ness / gangliness to the knobs of her shoulders, the knobs/orbs at the hips etc.  Ganglia Origins: From Latin - swelling; From Greek - cystic tumour.
She walks like a bow-legged horse.  :)  Or maybe it's my imagination.
I looked up 'gangly' and found this person so named...
 I don't think to use gangly for myself.  For myself, I think Bantu, rather short/squat and explosive at least in the lower-body, contrasted with the slender-tall Sudanic type.  (Map) No I'm not actually short.  But I look like someone who really should be stronger.  Except that I don't like to move.  I'm basically like Martina.  She's a professional athlete, so I must be wrong about her not liking to move so much?  I think she's a bitch, definitely.  I don't think she's a person who gives too much of a _ ; I definitely from-a-distance like her.  Very much. 
If she was gay
and I was gay
I'd stay away
Cos it won't be ok
You know she'd wipe
the floor with my aaaassss
And she would break my heart 
Yes she would break my heart
Stomp on the littler part
Save the rest for breakfast 
fried eggs and rare girl-heart
line of coke for dessert
That bi* would fu* me up
That shi* would be so crae
No shrink could fix all that
So better not to start
But I'm not gay
Nor is she gay.
For the melody, you know If You Were Gay from Avenue Q, right?  

I haven't really watched tennis since 2008.  Maybe I watch three matches a year nowadays.  And not even full-attention.  Then again, Novak Djokovic has been number one for a few years.  I was happy for him to be a top three player behind Roger and Rafa, but not happy when he started beating Rafa.  I don't want anybody beating my Rafa, don't you hear me?
I never thought Novak would become so powerful, and while I'm sure he's a great guy and great player and all, I don't really want to watch him.  And that's not fair at all.
I have to mention Andy Murray.  Or it won't be fair.  I like Andy.
So maybe it's ok to not watch tennis to spite Novak?  My friend Bala has been a Djokovic fan since whenever.  He's not getting any from me with that kind of attitude :P  Haha just kidding, that's just one of ten good reasons.

Always thought that if I was 99 and dying, one of my regrets would NOT be that I didn't have a kid or two, so why bother?  Especially when I know how much I hate my life when it's filled with chores.  It's like dying, dude, when you have to constantly do silly things that you would rather not do and can't find the importance of doing.  I remember having my Chemistry book in front of me, while this little baby wanted to play.  Yeah it's fun to play with you for a few minutes but then I have to get back to regular eleven-year-old life.  I remember poo-poo.  (OK, diapers nowadays, thank God.)  There's laundry and connecting (because if you're going to parent you'd better do it well by paying attention and connecting with them) and the other day somebody reminded me about school, yeah, kids go to school, and I remembered: shit there's also the morning routine wake up brush teeth get to school on time nonsense to deal with?  I hated being woken up rudely to start the day with a bath, like what's so wrong with waking up when you feel like waking up, naturally?  And now I'm supposed to wake up somebody else?
School itself was great.  It's efficient.  You're with people your age so learning and play come naturally.  The adults have enough to do to keep them happily engaged.  They cook for a lot of people at a time and get it over with.  I can't even feed myself, too lazy, and now I've got to feed somebody else on a schedule?  Why mess things up in my life?  Why now when everything is so perfect?
If only I could be a dad.
Because I love you, future kids, I just don't want all this mommy shit.
And if you knew how stupid life was, you might consider staying unborn too.  There's nothing here.

So yesterday I learned one new way to be a dad:  I was at my amala woman's place buying some food to eat there and some to take home, and found out her kids are in boarding school.  The younger is eight years old.  Really?  You don't have to wait till secondary school to cart them off?  Awesome.  And she's a super-intelligent woman in my opinion, a Christianly-doctrinely businesswoman; she says she visits them often, maybe twice a week, husband too.  She says they live in a nice private hostel just outside town.  They eat well.  I'm thinking wow they don't have to deal with traffic; they can step right from schooltime into lunch, siesta/nap, sports/play, prep time, sleep.  This is magic.  I was in boarding school from age 9 too and always wondered about the hellish traffic and crappy lifestyle of day (commuting) students.  Unnecessary stress going back and forth. 
You never know though, what you think is best may not be what your kid prefers, but my preference has always been for kids to have lots of room to grow, lots of interactions with various interesting people, lots of space to play.
Those conditions were there in most of my own life and I see them as very positive.  I would hate to crowd my kid or be crowded in by them.
But it's probably not my calling to create all these healthy kiddie-developing conditions in this current concrete jungle with new modern cloistered life (can't talk to neighbours), small nuclear families (I think of those as hell, children need space), money-centered lifestyle (and getting very little value in exchange for the money.)  It is not my calling; I like twenty-year olds, I like to talk to people like adults, I like to teach in a respectful laissez-faire manner, I like to interact and go, I don't like the full-time-hands-on thing with a tiny little baby ... and so having kids has seemed to me like a passport to hell, at least if not well managed.  Maybe when I was 18 and busy it would have fit in as a nice side-gig.  Now I'm, oh Lord, I'm a grown-ass woman, and it just seems like it would be such a change from a grown-up life, if that makes sense.  Can't do it.  Definitely outsourcing.  Give me your college kids, I'll give you my toddler. 

What shifts the balance?
Boarding school - Oh Yes.  Especially since it's not even these big-money arrangements where I dunno, you're paying for the kids to basically network with rich kids and sleep under duvets with constant air-conditioning.  They're in Africa, what's all the rubbish about pretending it's Scotland? 

The alternatives I've considered before -
Very flexible work (beyond what you think of as flexible.  No, I will not be one of those harried adults.  Nope.  Not happening.  Unless there's a war or something.)  That's part of my life now.
Rural living or a semblance of it, like a job back in the 'country', or living on a nice university campus with everything.  I know people who had that - academic parents, staff school - and hated it, they claim they grew up poor.  Oh well.
Communal living, like multiple little families, like Rafa's extended-family house, so someone can baby-talk and pull my baby's cheeks and teach them drawing or stories and it doesn't fall to just two unfortunate souls to do everything.  I mean who came up with this whole isolated couples idea - it's so inhumane.

I really had everything as a kid: 
We were for a time too poor to be isolated and Lagos was 20 times less crowded.  Kind neighbours, low stress levels.  I was always talking.
Lived on a gorgeous island for a few years, even.  Maybe 200 people in 64 little houses on well over 10 hectares (so maybe 10,000sq.ft. per person) with no fences.  Amazing.
Then not sure what happened, stress level rising, maybe because of the extra kids - twins, maybe it's just hard after a few years of marriage to pretend life isn't frustrating, maybe it's just luck - sometimes a life is easy sometimes it's fraught with ... the mind/soul is not happy, but thankfully school was there for me.  So many people at school from whom to learn so many things.  I couldn't sleep my first night even long after lights-out, it was so exciting.  The biggest problem was holidays from boarding school.  Most people don't feel the same way, I'm sure.

So kids, I know you want to be born and everything.  Help me figure out the logistics of it, get yourself a daddy or two - maybe he's always wanted to be a mommy or maybe he has a nice extended family to feed us, because you know I love food, and I will take time out of my not-so-busy schedule to get knocked up and you know, do the whole nine months in the oven and two years carrying you on my back like a smiling peasant before you move on to General Relativity / Quantum Mechanics.
I'll get a unique 'oja' for your royal ass, not this towel.
If I was 35 and dying, how much would I regret not having done novel #2?  Not very much.  Now I thought of a new way to constrain the work - make it about children, the four main characters' ages are pushed down under 16, maybe even around 10, throughout.  To make that work well, I really should hang out with young people, and there are many schools about, and I have no job keeping me from doing it, so why not do it?  If I was 35 and dying though, I'd remember that it was supposed to be just one novel and I've done that.  These extra writings are beyond what's required, so hey, good job.  Do whatever you want.  Hang out with kids and write something amazing, or don't hang out with kids and write an irritating writerly piece.  Your business.

I'm tired.  I hate writing.  Yeah, right.  Time to shower.  11:11am, it's nice and warm.