The headline on the Metro paper today is the fact that an OAP defended himself against an attack by a burglar who was a known career criminal and that he stabbed the burglar. The burglar died and now his family have blanketed the fence near the pensioner’s house with floral tributes and scared the crap out of this 70+ year old man and his wife that they will retaliate against the violent death of their lovely loving family member. (To the point where the old man has moved out and gone into hiding elsewhere.)
Shocking story yes. It is bad someone died but the fact that you are condoning the fact that he was a criminal is, I personally think, unacceptable. He got killed in the line of duty so to speak – and as it was a crime, it is hardly fair you criminalise the guy who is probably suffering post traumatic stress syndrome for his pains to the point you are threatening him and pushing it in everyone’s faces this career criminal was somehow an upstanding citizen who needs to be valued via a series of floral tributes. (This is also because I don’t really ‘get’ floral tributes at scenes of death. After a week or so on a fence or lamppost you have a tatty mess of cellophane and brown yellow rotting flowers. I don’t really want to be remembered for a cluster of mess and litter personally. The flowers were, like the person you are messaging across the grave, already dead before you plonked them down because you cut them down in their prime – oh – is that the symbolism people are aiming at?)
But I digress. I got distracted by the initials OAP. I had to think for a moment what they meant. ‘Old age pensioner’. That, I thought to myself, is completely redundant. Obviously if you are a pensioner you are old. Although sometimes you are old and not a pensioner because you have to still work. Then I realised that was my third world self speaking.
In countries with less social help you generally do not consider yourself a pensioner until you reach a certain age. And at that age you hope for a state pension but you can’t really guarantee it will sustain you – you need savings/family/friends to help you get by within comfortable means.
I realised in Britain they have to put that ‘old age’ bit on because actually, they do sometimes have people who are not old but pensioned. Whether because of a disability or because they served their country or some very clever loophole allowing them to capitalise early. There are actually people who might be on pensions who are not technically ‘old’.
Despite so many years here I am still occasionally surprised by the differences in the first world and the ummmh not first world.
So the world has gone mad, especially Britain. This huge palava over Brexit. Whatever. The people spoke. Maybe incorrectly but they spoke so get on with it. It’s not like the country will collapse immediately and if it does it will be because of a self fulfilling prophecy due to attitude issues.
Noone stockpiled tinned food or rush ordering passports to elsewhere like South Africans did in 1994 before the referendum but after the fact hardly anyone is accepting the results with any good grace which at least most South Africans did after the vote when they realised the sky does not immediately fall down the very next day. I feel like I moved from one tin pot country with issues about what peoples rights mean to another tin pot country with issues about what peoples rights mean.
Selfishly I am more concerned about the smaller issues. I question not Brexit or Britain’s role in it but will this affect my ability to affordably buy produce from outside the UK if the pound falls too far? While this may make British produce more competitive in Britain, I’m not really that interested in brussel sprouts or wonky apples or potatoes.
I miss naartjies. I think they don’t travel well so South Africans just eat them all inside the country. An orange fruit with a very loose moist skin, large and slightly flattened with juicy sweet segments of something that is bit like a tangerine/clementine/satsuma but is just specially naartjie flavoured and not any of the above. It is much sweeter, juicier, larger and more delectable. Instead we get these other varieties of citrus here. Undersized oranges and the random midget tangerine/satsuma/clementine things. We can never guarantee what variety or type will be in the shop as it is all seasonal to the WORLD. (And may even contain SA orange fruit but not naartjies, instead smaller more sour things the locals didn’t want to eat.) This means we have given up giving the fruit a name. In our house we just say, ‘oh, we need to buy some orangey fruit’. And then someone goes out and finds a mesh bag of any random roundish fruit because it could be any variety from anywhere.
And never a naartjie.
We just came back from a holiday. Where they served orangey fruits at every breakfast and lunch if you wanted them. Not naartjies or random round fruits.
Papaya. Lots and lots of fresh papaya.
I forgot how much I missed papaya. Decently priced paw paw that will ripen and don’t have finger marks in them are impossible to find here.
Brexit, schemexit. I’m debating how do I move to a country that probably isn’t even in the EU but has permanently sunny skies, white sands and tropical fruits. A place where orangey fruits really are orangey…
And if I did so, how would I live? Or would a couple of coconuts, grilled fish and a hammock under the stars be enough?
So now there has been a bombing in Brussels. And Paris and many other world locations will light up in the colours of the Belgium flag tonight in solidarity for this violent action against the west.
The left wing liberals will remind us again of the deaths in Lebanon, Syria, Nigeria, East Timor etc that are not recorded or publicised.
Many in the world will weep, somewhere I presume someone will be gloating and happy.
Why I don’t know.
It’s like the argument I had with Plus One last night where he resorted to calling me some really ugly names to reinforce how annoyed he was. It did nothing useful for our relationship and I sat there wondering what deprived childhood made him think hurling really nasty insults at me changed the way I reacted to him in a positive way or was in the least bit constructive.
Likewise the terrorists and bombers. What brainwashing process makes you think inflicting pain on others will prove your strength and win your argument? Clearly the concept of catching more bees with honey is not in the handbook of a war monger.
Instead the equivalent of trying to throw sand in your eyes in the playground or poke your eyes out seems to be the way to win you over to their way of thinking.
That’s not freedom of religion or freedom of choice.
At least the Scientologists offer the possible opportunity to hob nob with a plastic faced Tom Cruise. Rhema the chance to drive a fancy car on the church if you are high enough on the food chain.
Of course religion should be about enlightenment, feeding the soul, a glorious afterlife. But of course, in this day and age of instant gratification, creature comforts within the hope of salvation also go a far way!
*No fundamentalists were harmed in the writing of this piece. Freedom of religion, and the freedom to safely practice those beliefs without harm inflicted upon those around you or yourself should be a basic human right in this, the 21st century, hundreds of years later than the first Crusades. Something I know a lot of people who are supposedly of the same belief system as these terrorists would agree with me on.
I was reading a news report this morning about a woman who was stoned to death in Afghanistan. She was wrongly accused of burning the Koran and a lynch mob killed her in a terrible animal fashion. The media went crazy and Afghan women stood up in protest. Now many of the killer mob arrested at the time, a year down the line, are already being released, their crime swept under a rug.
It’s like Cecil the lion. All this fuss and bother about his terrible illegal painful death (and it was) and now nothing. Nothing except the fact that parts of the world will really condemn any form of game hunting now and parts of the world will just carry on as before but be more aware they need to be above board.
The fact is the human condition is such an immediate thing. We really only relate to our current circumstances. Every time I sit in a dentist chair it is the longest hour or so of my life. I swear I will always floss and brush two to three times a day. I will forsake coffee and sugary treats. Yet, three hours later I am chomping on a piece of cake with a coffee in my hand.
It’s a safety mechanism that allows us to survive.That we have to forget the terrible to move on. If you can’t move on you do get trapped in years of therapy if you are lucky or just as a very broken screwed up individual if you are not.
Of course it is good to remember the past. A grocery store in New York handing me a plastic bag this year with the twin towers on it and the phrase ‘never forgotten’ in the same size font as the store itself. Memorial poppy wreaths and the Queen in London on Remembrance Day for the world wars. South Africa celebrating Mandela – his life and death.
But it’s no good remembering the past if you aren’t going to learn from it. Human history really has got a terrible tendency of repeating itself.
I was wondering today with that new and ridiculous Pixel movie due out soon what aliens would really think of us. We (mis)interpret them as either really benevolent or malevolent as glorified images of ourselves with better transportation vehicles. Who knows what they really think of us. Probably that we are a vicious and malicious primitive race. Personally, I think they pluck us off the earth and feast off us like foie gras morsels, fed with fast food to glorious fattiness.