July 08, 2009

Question answered

Yesterday was one of those days! You know the ones where something you’ve always wondered about, pondered endlessly, asked questions about life and the meaning of our menial existence, all of a sudden made sense – in a flash everything came together – a big boom!

Yesterday was one of those days!

Some of you may know me better than others so the above will mean more to others than to you, or not. The following may help.

Yesterday morning in the recesses and cobwebs that once was my mind, lingered a conundrum that happily wrangled its tentacles through the levels of sanity that drove my existence – for years, nay decades... decade and a half… plus three… you get the idea – it was a long time. A question that would wake me in the middle of the night screaming like a bunch of 4 year olds at a Christmas party, while on other days it would mingle unobtrusively in a tub of beer with the other important or otherwise menial questions that define my personality, plotting its next vengeful freakish attack.

Well, today I know the answer to one of those questions. Today a burden that was, is no more. Today is a good day, because today I know why I went to University!

Every single one of you now has a question, an answer or a statement in your head: well done, I’m happy for you, print it on a T-shirt. To me it was a revelation.

Throughout my school career I really had no idea what to do with my life and this remained a mystery until I eventually hurdled the final jaw clenching panic station the national education system could throw at me: the Matric farewell! After that I still had no idea what to do with my life, but it didn’t seem such a big problem anymore because I had new purpose, new focus. Puberty had progressed to a point where now I had to shave once a week… well ‘had to’ is probably exaggerating slightly, but hey, I did.

And then I went to university.

And to this day it doesn’t make sense… well no, until yesterday it didn’t make sense – today it does, otherwise there’d be no sense to this letter, and that would just be silly. Today it’s as clear as the view across Walker Bay after a night of the South Easter trying valiantly to lift our roof – clear as crystal.

I was off to varsity because, of course, it was the natural thing to do: I did well at school, had a lovely smile, played various sports, did the cultural thing, was popular with the other kids and teachers (especially this one lovely lady who………eish, different letter), and I had a future shining bright on the horison. When you have all that going for you, you ask no questions – varsity, here I come!

The next seven years of my life was the most wonderful, frustrating, confusing, liberating, disappointing, fulfilling, freedom-loving years of my life! Hey, I met many of you there (into which category above you actually fit will blissfully remain a mystery forever). I learnt a lot about life, love, and I believe my appreciation of beer had its roots firmly planted in this time. I learnt a lot about the world out there, people and myself. And then there were the actual classes. Classes were different. For seven years I had to bend my mind to dead peoples’ teachings, imprint schematics, complex drawings and charts to memory. For hours had to commit precious time to ideas and concepts I didn’t enjoy and was sure I’d never use for the rest of my sane, adult life. Frustrations beyond belief, emotional strain beyond compare, for hours, weeks months and semesters on end. Why, I ask you, in heaven’s name, why?

To fit a baby seat.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying you need a degree to install a baby’s car seat, but for me personally, it helped. Had I not gone to university, struggled through years of agony and mental strain, meticulously honing my ability to get to grips with gut-wrenching frustration and incomprehensible schematic impossibilities (called probabilities in text books), conditioning the mind not to explode (or implode outwardly) when challenged by what seemed so logical, but wasn’t. Trained to accept disappointment when success was ever so close… because the math didn’t work.

Had I not gone through that for seven years, seven very formative years, I would surely have broken that bl**dy thing in half, kicked huge dents in every panel of the car I love so much, slashed those Pirellis – with my teeth – and strapped the dog to the roof-rack with the little baby-seatbelts (if only I could figure out how to get those little blighters from that fricken contraption thingy, that is!). Stupid dog staring at me with those big brown puppy eyes where I lay contorted under the front seat, fingers in various little notches – all which were never designed for moisturised hands (yes, I do), the seatbelt neatly tucking my left cheek, right ankle and entire chest securely to the contraption, which didn’t fit as the picture suggested. It would’ve made a chiropractor’s eyes water.

I would probably have taken the kitchen knife to that leather seat I cherish, that seat I polish every month, that leather seat not even my wife is allowed to sit on, because I’m a man and my baby’s seat must fit – somehow! Had I not gone to university, that would’ve been my fate.

But I went there, I did my time and I installed that seat – I tasted victory.

The wee man traveled in that seat today – he went to class and came back. And the seat is still there, where I left it yesterday, in the exact same spot – seven years and not a second wasted!

How simple everything seems today. How clear it all is. There is meaning to everything that happens in this world after all.

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