White, English speaking South Africans are not master storytellers. I know that one should avoid generalisations, and that there are, of course, exceptions, but generally speaking, if you recorded one of us telling you about the time we caught fire while judging a wet t-shirt contest and had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital in Barack Obamas helicopter while he smoked marijuana in the front seat, and played it back to someone who spoke no English, they would think we were telling a story about how we chose tiles for our bathroom.
English is a beautiful language. Not because it is rhythmic or melodic or filled with words that slip off your tongue like caresses. No. English is a beautiful language because it’s a bloody mess. It’s a quilt made up of random scraps. A potluck dinner of a language. One of those cocktails students make by mixing every drink they have together in a hollowed out watermelon. And then drink. Without gagging. Because they are students.
The first time I was nominated for an award on WordPress, I had only just started blogging, and had never heard of such a thing. I thought I’d won a Pulitzer Prize! So I checked it out. It was a chain letter. I give an award to seven people, who give it to seven people, and so on until everyone has got one. It’s just silly. I turned it down, as tactfully as I could, and went on about my business.
I wasn’t going to post today. I wasn’t being lazy or anything; it was the youngest 23thorn’s birthday party. Two months after her birthday. She’d had a family party (at full strength, we can muster about 20 people), and then we went away, so we thought we’d get away without a school party, but never underestimate the complexity of the average four-year-old’s social life.Promises had been made on the playground. People had been blacklisted. A party there would be.
Elton John wrote a song called “Sorry seems to be the hardest word”. He wouldn’t fit in around here. I wrote a post the other day about apologies, and a rather curious thing started to happen. People commenting on the post began claiming to be geographically sorry. Canada is a little remorseful. Australia is quite embarrassed and promises never to do it again. But the champions are the English. They are completely mortified and will do whatever they can to make it up to you.