Now I Know

Ole man phones on his new cellphone. FINALLY a cellphone like I always wanted.

As usual, its a one-way call; he can’t hear me, but I can listen.

The phone is perfect. BIG numbers, which display BIG on the screen when pushed AND I can actually hear when I push the button; And get this, the best of all! – it speaks out the number when I push it! It doesn’t just beep, it says SIX when I push the six. Only the four is not working. I told them to take it back to the shop, the four isn’t working.

But they told me they can’t – they bought it online. So the four makes a scratchy sound, I know now that means FOUR.

Then he starts laughing. He says It came with a pamphlet and I saw ‘Italiano’ on it so I turned to the Italian description and I’m still laughing. It said this is a special phone for “ANTICA” – not for “ANZIANI,” for “ANTICA.”

That means it’s a phone not for THE ELDERLY; it’s a phone for THE ANCIENT!

Now I know what I am! laughs the 97yr-old!

– WW2 – where he learnt his Italian –

Gotta go – this call is costing me a fortune. You owe me R33.


Surviving Off The Grid – The Essentials

So we have no electricity and its getting dark and the kids are all over me, outraged!

Dad! There’s no electricity!

Yes, I say, I can see that.

Why!? they ask.

Uh, mumble mumble, payment mumble, I mumble.

Soon I have to confess: I paid late and we got cut off. Now there’s a re-connection fee I have to pay and a delay. I’m thinking fridge, freezer, supper tonight but they have far more urgent and greater disasters and catastrophes in mind:

“THERE’S NO WIFI!!” they scream in unison.

Now they’re ganging up on me. “In unison” and “Jess & Tom” are not usually linked phrases.

Well, I’m walking to the shops, I say, thinking charcoal, firelighter, matches, candles. Do you need anything? Their voices go up two octaves as they shout as one:



Lasted four days. It was cool. Very instructive. Gas cooker and candles. Cleared out the fridge and deep freeze. AND – they survived!

(I had paid on the due date but had ignored this little instruction “Rx is due immediately, the rest can be paid on the due date”).


I Was Young and Foolish

Today twelve year old Tom comes home with a long face.

Hey, Tom, how was yr day?
Half good.
They confiscated my phone!
What? You actually took your phone to school?
How dumb was that?! *snigger*
Dad! Don’t rub it in! I’m suffering here!
*loud guffaws* followed by a sympathetic hug.

He took his cellphone to school and was busted. School rule: The phone is confiscated for the rest of the term! I laughed like a drain – even harder when he manfully tried to smile ruefully. Damn, Tom! I know Dad.

Tonight was Jessie’s school art exhibition and music and food evening. All three of us went, and Tom had to tell everyone who wanted to hear about his misfortune. Give him his due, he took it like a trooper. He knew he had blundered and was loved and the suffering was his alone.

Tomorrow’s Saturday and I’m working, so just before bed he comes to me with puppydog eyes and asks to please use the iPad tomorrow. I say, I dunno Tom, do you think we can give irresponsible, non-learning, non-listening type of people any treats whatsoever?

He implores: PLEEZ Dad, work with me! I’m hurting! I was young and foolish then, he says, I have matured, I’m a new person now! he beseeches.

A ten-hour turn-around.

20140831_152100 no more selfies


It’s Lo-onely in the Saddle . . .*

Jessie lost all her songs on her Blackberry. Also all her photos. Just disappeared. Much sadness.

She started uploading new songs slowly from her friends.

This morning she comes running to me “Dad! Dad! All my songs are back! I’ve got 173 songs! Also all my photos are back!”

I said ‘You must have played a Country & Western song backwards, love.’

She just looked at me blankly, thinking ‘What’s he on about?’

Different generation. Double generation gap, in fact.


*. . . since my horse died.


Everyone knows if you play Rock n Roll backwards you get Satanic Verses.

If you play Bles Bridges backwards you get potjiekos recipes.

If you play Country and Western backwards you get your dog back, you get your girlfriend back, you get your house back, you get your modified pickup truck back . . . and your lost songs on your cellphone!


Now I’m Incommunicado . .

December 5th, 2008 by bewilderbeast

As I hit ‘pay’ on my internet banking and waited for the beep on my cellphone it struck me. I could picture it in my mind’s eye: The little white enamel loo roll holder in the stall in the mens toilets, Montclair Mall.

I rushed back just in case, but forget it. No sign of my Nokia N73.
Damn! Feroza and Raksha phoned it as soon as they saw me muttering and cursing. It got switched off in mid-ring.


It’s 17h15, so the cell shop is closed. I go home and phone Vodacom. Sorry, our systems are down. Phone back in an hour. Or so.
When I finally get them with their disting up, it’s: Sorry, I MUST PHONE MY SERVICE PROVIDER. (Vodacom! You don’t train your poor call centre people! Shine up!)

I phone the Autopage after-hours number. They say they’ll block the number for me (well, in the next 24hrs they will, that is), but they can’t block the phone. I MUST GO IN TO THE STORE and give them the IMEI number to do that.

Next day the Autopage store say they will only block the IMEI number after I report it to the cops but even then it will take 24 – 48 hrs. Or longer, today being Friday. There are profits to be made from phones stolen, but not from phones blocked, I guess!?

They say my insurance will need the SAPS case number, but the cops will need the ITC number first. When? When it gets blocked. Maybe Monday. I’m not happy, so they give me their P number (provider number) and I’m off to the cops right now. What do I need for the cops? Only the ITC number. Sure? Yes.

At the copshop Inspector Luthuli is helluva apologetic, but firm: Yes, he does need the ITC number, true. But he also needs the IMEI number. The computer won’t give a case number unless it is fed with both numbers.

Back to the Autopage store (grrr!), and then back to the copshop. As I get in, Inspector Luthuli is on his way out. He has grabbed a copy of Drum magazine and he’s heading off (to the loo? home? I dunno, but I call out:) Please Insp Luthuli, can you help me? He does. Batho Pele.


Actually, this is quite lekker. I am incommunicado, as Jimmy Buffet would say. I reach for my pocket quite often: I’ll just phone Aitch. I’ll just sms the Brauers. I’ll just make a note of that.

No, you won’t.
Write it down. Use a pencil.
I make a note to use a tickey box. That will tickle people.

I’ve lost my contacts list, my notes, my sms’s, my calendar reminders, the lot. Lekker.
Now on the day that John Wayne died
I found myself on the continental divide
Tell me where do we go from here?
Think I’ll ride into Leadville and have a few beers
Think of “Red River”, “Liberty Valence” can’t believe
the old man’s gone

But now he’s incommunicado
Leaving such a hole in a world that believed
That a life with such bravado
Was taking the right way home


moertoe – gone to hell; down the toilet

disting – dingis; whatchamacallit

lekker – naas; nice

batho pele – batho pele means putting other people first before considering your own needs, or yourself; ‘people first’