Wrestling with a pig

What is that saying, dear Reader? The dead don’t know that they’re dead (hiiiiiii Sixth Sense), same same with the stupid. Something like that. And it is tragically very true. I think a great sign of intelligence is when you understand how little you do know and freely admit to it. I remember a very clever friend of mine who casually got a PhD in her 20s – actually I do believe her Masters was upgraded to a doctorate because it was THAT GOOD, admitting in a conversation to something she didn’t know.

It was in a professional setting, and I recall thinking, “Wow, so that’s how it’s done, you just admit you don’t know XYZ” instead of breaking out in a cold sweat and thinking you would be beaten because you didn’t know ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW in the world.

The Sixth Sense

Another sign of intelligence is being able to hold two contradictory viewpoints in your head at once. Example: we can be irritated about the protests that are happening on various university campuses around the country because of the VAST FEES we are paying but we can also understand why the students are protesting. It is often much more comfortable just holding one viewpoint, but life is more complicated than that and generally several things can be true at once.

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In my experience it is often the loudest voices and the people who speak the most who are the most challenged on the intelligence front. You know the type of people who seem to have two mouths and one ear, and it’s a very smallanyana ear that’s kinda hard of hearing? The fatal error is to try and argue with these type of peeps because they read it on Facebook and know that XYZ is true and even if you might’ve worked in a particular field, have lived experience and several degrees in the subject and indeed taught that subject at school/university, THEY KNOW XYZ is true because not only did they read it on Facebook, they heard someone speaking about it at a dinner party and saw a meme about it on Tiktok too so it must be true.

As GBS so famously said: “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides the pig likes it.”

I feel this is unfair to pigs as they are kinda adorable and also taste delicious (I regret to say) but you get the analogy.

You can tell I’ve had a somewhat trying week, dear reader, and not even meditation and several walks a day could help me. I’ve had absolutely INSANE work deadlines, the kind where they try and butter you up after they’ve asked you to write a script in 25 minutes and you are not in the mood to be buttered up. Not even with Lurpak spreadable butter which is totes delish. Whilst some of us were enjoying a long weekend, I was as usual working and I’m starting to lose my sense of humour at never having any time off. I also have not had much sleep and my blood is now 50% caffeine. At this point I fear I might be turning into an OLD CRONE, I say ‘fear’, I do not really care and am willing to lacerate anyone who disturbs me in my crone’s lair with a few choice words.

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Enough whining and on to some good news; the Lastborn has returned for her break. I say break, it’s a break from protesting, not from studying as currently very little studying seems to be happening at UCT. It has been utterly lovely to see her and hearing about all her adventures with adulting 101.

She has declared that she will never again go for a late supper at XXX hotel (name redacted) where she had to pay with her one kidney for a measly toasted cheese. She’s tragically realised that life is awfully expensive when you’re on a budget and can no longer use your parents’ money to pay for everything.

And yes, it is slightly concerning that there hasn’t been more studying done at university in this first term.

The husband: what exactly are we paying for here??

But as I was explaining to the Lastborn, firstly varsity is very different from school with less contact hours but more personal research required and that education is not just about book learning. Education is also about stepping out of our cosy bubble called The Parks and having to eat that ‘interesting’ res food and not having a car to get around and doing your own washing and finding a doctor to go to by yourself and seeing and understanding why people are protesting – and yes, standing in solidarity – with students who are not as privileged and who desperately want to get an education.

It’s been a hard first term, there’ve been fewer jols than expected and more tough lessons, but I feel the Lastborn has learnt an incredible amount, including how to make excellent posters for protests. I am proud of her.

In other news the Firstborn is doing very nicely in his job as an assistant at a school in Norfolk and every five minutes swans off to some interesting European country – Spain and France are up next, I do believe. We thought the little Prince would never cope on his own, particularly in a foreign land, but he has been doing brilliantly and it particularly cracks me up to hear him chuntering about the hard water in his neck of the woods and how it’s no good for the laundry. We are also very proud of him.

But TBH I am mostly proud of myself that I haven’t poured five litres of wine down my throat or killed someone this week. Either of those options were a definite possibility.

Film/TV recommendations:

Stella Murders on Showmax. The film maker in me just lurrrrved the cinematography – the flat landscape! The scrub! The lone Jacaranda Tree! The two-tone kakhi/khakhi/khaki shirts! But the mother part just felt utterly heartbroken for the parents of the two murdered girls, Sharnelle Hough and Marna Engelbrecht. Ugh. So unbelievably tragic. But kudos to the team who made it.

Book recommendations:

I saw on my phone that I have been spending an average of 4 hours a day on it. Quelle horreur! Obvs some of that is with work emails and whatsapps but I fear, dear reader that the majority of that has been me watching Taylor Swift videos on TikTok and catching up with the Hailey/Justin/Selena scandal (I am team Selena obvs).

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Anyhoo, I gave myself a stern talking-to, stepped away from TikTok and applied my mind to my reading and have finished The Close by Jane Casey. Delicious sexual tension between Maeve and Josh (verrrrrrry Ross and Rachel) and lovely Elizabeth is Missing mystery with a character with dementia. Highly recommend it. Have a great weekend and happy reading! Xxx

Ps…the other nice thing that happened was this podcast with fave, Amy Heydenrych. Have a listen: My Year of Not Getting Sh*tfaced Podcast

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