Lockdown diarrhea (verbally)

Buckle up Buttercup, this is going to be a long one

I have so much to say and so many thoughts and ideas around the corona and since everything just melts into one, I can’t seem to split this into two or more posts.  So, grab a cup of coffee and banana loaf (can’t believe this is actually trending on twitter) and dive into my mind.

The world has gone crazy.   In case you’ve missed it, here are some of the headlines to prove it.  Being an overthinker always forces me to look at both sides of the story, so for each, I have 2 arguments.

Sex workers want to be included as “essential services” and be allowed to work
Suzy, if everyone must stay home, you won’t have clients in any case.  So, give your “job” a rest for a while, I’m sure everyone will manage just fine without you.  Husbands will be with their wives and the single ones, well, there is always Mrs Palm.  They will survive
I don’t think anyone becomes a sex worker by choice.  I think it must be one of the hardest, most soul-destroying things to do.  May God give that I am never in the position where selling my body to feed my family is the only choice I have.  I get that for them it too is a matter of no work, no pay.  They don’t have the benefit of applying for UIF and they may not survive

Homeless demands better food and drugs.
I get why people on the street would need drugs to send themselves into oblivion just in order to forget where they are and what little hope they have.  I get that.  Unless we can set up detox centers where they are weaned of the drugs over a period of time (as is done in Europe), I can see a lot of druggies going cold turkey during this time.  I’ve never needed to go cold turkey on anything (even though I may have an impending cigarette cold turkey if Government maintains that cigarettes are banned during lockdown) but from what I understand it is not a pleasant experience.  Perhaps, however, this is an opportunity to get clean.  

I found this one to ring very true for me: “People out there making jokes about couples’ survivor, but this is real life, you guys. “Til death do us part” might really mean “I’ll fucking kill you for the last cigarette, don’t try me.”

Tamaryn Shepherd@ExMi (my new favorite person on Twitter)

What good does getting clean do, however, when you have nowhere to go when all is said and done and life goes back to, albeit a slightly changed, normal?  Well, there are shelters, but since most shelters expect you to stay clean and sober, a lot of homeless chooses to not go that route. 
I guess it just really peeves me off that Government is doing all they can, yet still, instead of being grateful for being taken off the street in this time, being fed and having the ability to clean yourself up, some still feel it’s not good enough. Can we please handle one crisis at a time?  Perhaps this too will highlight the areas where we are failing the most vulnerable and provide ground for some much-needed change.

Then there are the conspiracy theories

This, ladies and gentlemen, is me if I hear one more conspiracy theory

“If I hear one more conspiracy theory, I’m going to explode”. I have to agree with that. While some of conspiracy theories out there carry some weight, most of them are just downright ridiculous.

Here is a collection of them to wrap your head around:


Conspiracy Theories – continued

Whichever way it started, the ones that ring most true to me is this:
Create a virus, lockdown society, spin the economy upside down, bankrupt business and countries, buy them up one by one – world domination, one world order…. The end is near, whether you choose to believe it or not, that is entirely up to you.  The more I look at what’s going on, however, the more Revelations comes to mind. 

In the end, I don’t think we will ever know how or why or where this really started and what the end-goal was.  Sure, there will be some “breaking news” somewhere with proof of it all, but whose proof will it be?  To any story there is always my side, your side and the truth…  

One thing is certain: the world economy will never be the same again. I think it is safe to say that the world as we know it has forever been changed. My work has adopted the “no work no pay” take on it. Luckily, they are applying for the UIF benefits for this (R3 500.00) but how long that’s going to take, no-one knows. What happens if the lockdown is extended, no-one knows. What happens when the money runs out, no-one knows.

Amongst all the madness, this is a time to stop and think.  To take stock.  Time for a time-out

Remember the time when your alarm would go off in the morning and you’d wish that you could just have a life where you could wake up on your own accord, without an alarm?  Remember the time when you would wish you could just stay at home and not have to go anywhere and not see anyone and just be … on your own … without someone popping in or you having to go somewhere?

Well, that time is now and it’s not at all what I imagined it to be.

I think for the first time ever I understand why a time-out for a toddler is actually punishment and not just a sanity tool to prevent you from murdering your 3 year old when they’ve managed to find that very last nerve at the end of a long day

I think the world and God (perhaps) have given us all one massive timeout.  Apparently, we need time to sit and think about what we are doing.  To ourselves, to those around us, to strangers, to the world, to the economy.  Time to think about our purpose.  Why are we here really?  Now, more than ever I am convinced that there is more to life and the way we’ve been living it than getting up and going to work.

There is something psychological about not being allowed to go somewhere or do something.  21 Days while on holiday is different from 21 days of lockdown.  It’s the same period, spend with the same people, but… different. 

When we go on holiday, we are busy all the time.  We go out and do things, we play games and go shopping, we go to the beach and see friends.  We are busy all the time.  21 Days go by in the blink of an eye

In everyday life, we too are busy all the time.  There is work and meetings and traffic and shopping and homework and gym and social commitments, the list goes one.  21 Days go by in the blink of an eye

We are so busy living our lives and doing what we must that we “miss” the people around us.  We don’t really connect.  Then, when we are forced to connect, it’s like we must get to know each other all over again.  We live our lives side by side every day, but being confined to the same space doing the same thing with the same people for 21 days, things could become interesting once cabin fever sets in.

It’s strange how the human psyche works.  For most, being told you cannot do this or that will most definitely invoke a response of “You bet? Let me show you!”  Ask me, I know.  That’s how I started smoking – dumbest “I’ll show you” of my life. 

For introverts, it is much easier to a degree, but extroverts really struggle.  Use technology, phone, message, video call your extrovert friends.  Check-in on them, they may need it now more than you can imagine

Mental health in these times is precisely why violence (both domestic and out of pure desperation and fear) and abuse is at the forefront of my concerns at the moment. An abuser will always find a reason. Cabin fever is nothing less than fuel to an already volatile situation.

A close second on my list of concerns is what will happen when peoples’ money and food run out? I expect to see a lot of rioting and looting happening in our near future, especially if the lockdown period is extended, which in itself is a possibility unless people start to listen and just stay the XXXX home!

My third and final concern (for the time being) is how quickly the virus will spread now that it has hit both Khayelitsha and Alexandra townships.  The appalling living conditions of many people in SA are a breeding ground for this pandemic to explode. Add to that the high number of people with TB and HIV/Aids and I expect to see a disaster.  Decisive action is needed by the Government at this time in the townships in order to stop the virus from spreading like wildfire.

On a lighter note, I have to agree with some of the social media posts doing the rounds

“Some parents are finally going to find out that the teacher was not the problem after all” My son has taken the self-isolation thing next level. He’s always been an introvert so this is heaven for him. We honestly only see him at mealtimes. That’s gotta change. Soon… O, and does anyone speak “teenage” around here? I could really use some help. If I have to hear one more thing about Minecraft and red stone… please refer to how I feel about conspiracy theories above

@saltyamas – Someday our kids will have kids. Those kids will complain that they’re bored and want to go somewhere. So our kids will tell their kids about the time they couldn’t leave their house for a month because of a pandemic. This is our kids’ “2-mile walk in the snow uphill” moment.

My dogs have gone ballistic. They can’t seem to figure out why I haven’t left the house in 5 days and since there is no one walking their dogs for them to bark at, they’ve taken to barking at the birds. Have you noticed how many birds there are around these days? Not my imagination.

OK, enough for now. Time to feed the dogs and get to work.

Stay safe!

Doing lockdown like a Kardashian (or not)


So day 1 and 2 of lockdown came and went and it’s not that bad (yet).

Day 1 wasn’t much different from the norm, except that I got to work from home. Jip, I’ll be working through lockdown which is an absolute blessing. Remember the 11 Commandments of lockdown – find a balance between time spent on your own and time spent with your family. With me being able to work, we are sure to have a very good balance in how we spend our time.

Day 2 – my love decided to bring all the equipment from the bus home and I am super stoked about it. That means I get to have the best coffee while on lockdown. We phoned up the neighbors and invited them over for cappuccinos. Before you blast me about social distancing, we had our cappuccinos on either of the fence with 6 meters between us. Realized again what nice people they are. Spend the day lazing around for the bigger part of it, doing crosswords and watching reruns of Kom on Braai. We watched a rerun of our episode too and felt like a total celeb: watching myself on TV while wearing my fat pants, no makeup, and hair in a mess. It’s fabulous being me 🙂 I wonder how the Kardashians will do lockdown? Finished the day with a chicken braai, roasted veggies and my very own apple crumble, which was delicious, even though it was more apple than crumble. O yes, I also tried out my running track I had laid out in our back yard. Turns out I need to do it 62 and a half times to get a 5KM run in. Yikes. I’m not entirely sure that it is going to happen, but I’ll try it out later today nonetheless. I am really sad at this point that I never committed to buying a treadmill. I’ve been meaning to do it for the longest time. Too late now.

As promised yesterday, my Corona scare

During the weekend of 14 and 15 March, we worked at a bike rally. A rally that was attended by a lot of Germans. Days before that weekend, news of corona increased and (being an overthinker) I started to take note of news specifically on how the virus is spread from person to person.

Well, I’ll have you know that before now I never realized

a) how much people spit when they talk

b) how often we touch our face and

c) how many things we touch that may or may not be infected

Taking a coffee order from a drunk guy insisting on telling you how his “flat white” is supposed to be made while you have a live band to your left and a DJ to your right – spit fest. At one point I seriously contemplated taking off my bra to cover my face. It was THAT bad!

Going to the loo, well that is just simply a minefield of germs and viruses waiting to jump! Seriously, men have it so easy.

Your first challenge arrives as you get to your cubicle. Closing the door with your foot is no challenge at all. To get the latch, however, your options are limited to fingers or teeth….. Mmmmmm I think I’ll opt for keeping the doors closed with my fingertips. Now, any girl will know that you never sit on a public toilet, you squat. Squat done, you wrap toilet paper around your fingertips and keep the door closed with that, hoping that it will offer enough resistance to someone wanting to enter. Do your business and (while still squatting) you use your free hand to gather some more toilet paper and wipe. Done! You feel super triumphant knowing that you’ve managed to miss every germ. Time to wash your hands. fcuk. You have to use your hands to open the tap, get the soap and wash and then use that super clean hand to close the tap. Hello toilet paper, my old friend! (I think I’m starting to see where the world toilet paper problem is coming from) All clean! Yayyy, a 4-year-old who has just managed to lose the training wheels on his bike couldn’t be happier! You turn around to leave, open the door and walk out of there feeling like a million dollars. Your fringe tickles your forehead and you wipe it away, not thinking for a second about the door and latch you touched to leave the cubicle. You take cash from someone who pays for their skinny dirty chai, gives them change and wipe the counter. You have now successfully touched 5 sites of possible infection. I’m not going to carry on, I’m sure you get the message.

So, Monday the 16th of March, our president announced a state of emergency and I started to think about the weekend. All those germs, all those Germans. I have no idea where they all come from. Tuesday meets me with a runny nose and sore muscles. My overthinking topped new levels, levels I never dreamed possible. Turns out I’m OK and there is no need for concern, but I can fully understand how mental health can become an issue in these times.

Mental health is going to be a huge thing in this time, more on that in my next post

How are you spending lockdown? Please share interesting ideas of things to do

Until next time, stay safe and stay home!

The 11 Commandments of Lockdown

As we all frantically prep for lockdown, which is now only 8 hours away, I just wanted to share the below with you. I am not entirely sure who to give credit for this, but it makes so much sense, I just had to share it. It was originally posted on Facebook in Afrikaans, please forgive me if my translation of it is not 100% correct.

Over the next three weeks, the gala is on, and you’ll most likely be sharing very limited space with people you’ve always thought you could get on with very well.  After 5 years in Afghanistan, and countless “hard lockdowns” that sometimes lasted up to a month, I would like to share a few thoughts of my own experience.

1. It’s hard. No, it’s tough! Especially here around day 10, when the newness of it begins to disappear. You are going to have to improve and keep your self-discipline.

2. Quickly develop a comfortable routine where you maintain a healthy balance between your own time and time spent with the rest of the household.

3. Don’t be lazy where day-to-day duties are concerned – do your part.  But also don’t be a spectacular pain in the a$$ with others and constantly order them around.  Nerves quickly wear thin.

4. You are going to learn, see and discover things about the people around you, things that you have never noticed before.  Most of it is not things you will be giggling about. Deal with it, and bite your tongue. They also realize that you are not as perfect as you believe.

5. Keep a close eye on the people around you. The “black dog” has a really bad habit of moving in during these times. And if it is not he, it is that fox we call intolerance. Keep both of them away from you.

6. When you are allowed to travel/move, avoid anything in uniform like the plague (no pun intended). Nothing puts the standard traffic cop/policeman/security guard/soldier on a bigger power trip than circumstances like this.

7. Stay busy, even if it’s just being busy at being calm.  And don’t get yourself worked up with all kinds of worries and stress. It is what it is. The comfort is that very few of us will NOT come through this. Make sure that your relationships are stronger and better. It will be a huge bummer if your first stop after lockdown is the divorce attorney or madhouse.

8. Stay positive. This too will pass. It always does. This is not war. Exploit your creativity. Forge new plans for the future. Dream big and prepare yourself to kick a$$ when the doors are swinging again.

9. Keep a stash of popcorn. You are going to need it when you sit and watch out how the guys who do not follow this council self destructs. Avoid snowflakes – they will make you crazy with their entitlement and claims.

10. You have a lot of time at hand. Talk to your Creator, get to know Him again. Years from now you are going to look back and realize how valuable these three weeks really were.

And then, that eleventh commandment. “Be safe, but have fun.”

Best advice in these times, don’t you think?

Be safe out there, see you soon with the story of my Corona scare…

And so, this is lock down

corona virus
SA lockdown
Cyril Ramaphosa
SA Government
Coronavirus outbreak and coronaviruses influenza background as dangerous flu strain cases as a pandemic medical health risk concept with disease cells as a 3D render

It is with morbid curiosity that I have been watching the developments around the Corona Virus since early January 2020. From the get-go there was something about this virus that made me keep an eye on it. As it turns out, Covid-19 will go down in history as something that united the world, for now at least.

When we first learned of the virus, it was “the black sheep of the family” – like domestic violence, sexual abuse, your best friend’s narcissistic husband – something that happened “over there, to other people”. As it started to spread outside of Wuhan, people took notice and it became the thing you talk about at the water station with colleagues. Soon it was the main topic of discussion, but still not something that will ever happen to us. Even as the first case was diagnosed on home soil on 5 March 2020 people were joking about “whether you have washed your hands”.

5 March – that is just 19 days ago.

16 March – the count is now at 72 and President Ramaphosa urges people to take care

22 March – 274 is now infected – that is 202 people in less than a week. But then…..

23 March – the number of infections jumps to 402 and between day 17 and 18 the number of positive cases jumped by 45%

24 March – 554 infections, 4 recovered and 2 in ICU.

In 19 days it took us from joking about something “over there” to 21 days of lockdown. 19 days for it to jump from 1 to 402. I expect that the number of infected people is actually much higher as it takes about 3 days for a positive diagnosis to come back. If the current rate of infection continues, I am afraid we may exceed 1 500 by this weekend. We still have 3 full days of work and shopping and prepping for lockdown (read: contact with others that may be affected) before we go into lockdown. It is very scary indeed.

Since this is a developing story (not the time for jokes, I know, but I’ve always wanted to say that) and there is too much to say on the topic for one post, for this one I will focus on why it is one of the biggest unifying events to occur in the world during my lifetime.

For the first time in South Africa’s history, that I know of, everyone is united against a common thread. I find it amazing that this tiny little unseen virus has the ability to bring together all races, all religious organizations and all political parties to stand as a united front and fight this thing. Not even Nelson Mandela or the Springboks ever had the ability to unite us like this. I am proud President Ramaphosa and I am proud of my country for the way they have come together to fight this unseen speck that has the power to grind us and the rest of the world to a halt.

Last night our President announced that we will go into lock down midnight on 26 March 2020 until midnight on 16 April 2020, This could not have been an easy decision, and it certainly is one that I am glad I did not have to make. Millions and millions of people will be affected by this. Business will be forced to shut their doors for good, the job losses and economic impact will be massive. It is something that will take a very long time to remedy. Despite all of this, I believe it to be right move, the only move. The economy and the coins in my pocket can never be more important than the value of a single human life.

Governments, organizations, companies, individuals, political parties, different religious groups, millionaires and billionaires – all are rallying to fight this unseen enemy. This invisible threat that is ripping apart families and forever changing lives has caused more unity than anything I have ever seen before.

All of a sudden you see groups of people pop up making donations, looking beyond the “glory” of “I did something good”. Parents are forced to spend time with their children as the schools are closed. The elderly are being looked after by strangers who are concerned for the health of the aged and husbands and wives have nowhere to go but spend time with each other – there are no pubs to go to or golf games to be played. We are forced to slow down and take stock of what matters. Nations are praying for each other and helping out where they can. Unemployed doctors and nurses come in from all the corners of the world to offer their services.

All across the globe, things are slowing down and resetting for one common goal – let’s beat this!

Corona will not touch me or my family, but I’ve had my scare (more on that in the next post)

As we approach lock down and we get everything in place to make sure that we won’t have to pop out to the shop, I stand in awe at the unity this virus has brought. I stand in awe at how resilient we are. I stand in awe at how we can pull together – regardless of social standing or race. Together we can beat this!

On bullies and abusers and getting paid for it

“I’m in an abusive relationship, so cheers to that”

Our weekly girl’s night turned sour very quickly when my friend uttered these words. I froze, my wine glass suspended halfway between the clink of our glasses in the busy restaurant and a sip.

I never, in a million years expected her husband to be that kind of guy. And I mean I should know. I have had my share of bad relationships. In fact, I think I’ve dated them all. Narcissist, Psychopath, sociopath – been there, got the t-shirt (and burned it). Abuse is something that makes my blood boil in seconds and I pride myself in the fact that I am FINALLY able to spot one of these bastards as soon as they cross my path. I was shocked and disgusted and surprised at her statement. Really, T would do this? Never!!!

My expression, as always, must have been a dead giveaway of the emotion washing over and through me. She quickly swallowed her wine and started laughing. “What are you talking about and why are you laughing?? It’s not something to laugh about!” I practically shouted at her

It’s my boss, she said. He makes me feel like a prostitute for abuse. If T had to abuse me, I’d walk away in the blink of an eye. When it’s your boss, it’s a different story. You need that paycheck at the end of the month, so you suck it up. You become a prostitute for his abuse. You know you should walk away from the situation, but every day you go back for more because you need it. It becomes a co-dependent / narcissist relationship. What makes it worse is when your boss knows that there is no one higher than him in the workplace and you need the job and work is scarce, so you’re just going to suck it up and take it day after day after day. That fuels his narcissistic power trip even more and he revels in the fact that he can do and say whatever he wants and you are just going to have to take whatever he throws your way. He doesn’t actually hit me, but everything else…. it’s an abusive relationship. He’s like the bully on the school ground who knows that you can’t stand up to him so he keeps picking on you every day.

I’m so incredibly tired of driving to work every day, not knowing what to expect. Will I get a coffee and muffin from Starbucks or will I get shouted at the minute I enter the office. Worse, or maybe not, I don’t know, are the days when I get the silent treatment and he just sits there, stewing, minding his own business, staring at me as I go about mine. I dread those days. I will literally do anything to avoid going to his office to ask him something. On those days you can feel the tension building with every second he doesn’t speak and when he finally does, it’s like opening a lucky packet, because you have no idea what you’re about to get. I hate it. I don’t have a contract, I don’t have a union, I don’t even have an HR department! It’s just him and it makes me so miserable. I go home at night and all I can think about is sitting down with a glass of wine to relax. And then poor T gets it from my side because I’ll either want to sit in a corner and cry or want to invite a whole bunch of people over for an impromptu braai or I’ll throw a tantrum because there are ants in the dogs’ food bowls! I really can’t do this anymore

I felt so sorry for her. She sat there looking utterly defeated and I can swear her lower lip quivered a little as her eyes glossed over with tears that threatened to spill over and into her wine. What do you do?

When you have no union rep, no HR, no higher power, who do you go to? The Department of Labour has much bigger fish to fry. The CCMA wouldn’t be interested unless you got fired. So what do you do? You become a prostitute for your paycheck. In fact, your bully pays you to come back to the schoolyard every day to take his abuse, and you comply because you simply have no other choice. It sucks

So from today, I am on a mission to find my friend a new job.

Have you ever been in this situation? How did you get out, other than finding a new job? Is it possible to “manage” a boss like this? I’d love to hear from you!