I’m very much a person for looking forward. I try not to live in the past and when today is over, that’s it. You can’t get it back, you can’t change it so why bother.
Instead all you could do is learn from the milliseconds that have passed then go out and try and make today better or at the very least, stay out of trouble. Having said that, there are some rather funny incidents in my past that make me chuckle when I reflect back on them.
One of them was my very first day on a new job, in the middle of the suburb of Hillbrow, in Johannesburg, SA. Hillbrow then was a teeming metropolitan city, full of concrete buildings, very vibey African stalls and the inevitable beggars . I’d been at my new job with the unlikely named ‘Taj Mahal Jewellers’ for the rather paltry time of three hours, working the outdated switchboard, cutting my boss, Mr, Himelsein, (who looked like Danny de Vito) off about half a dozen times as I learnt which lead to plug where. His partner and lady friend, Ms. Greengar, hissed at me to be more careful. She was a fairly large and imposing presence and I was pretty scared of her.
I decided to take a break from thoroughly irritating my new boss and his partner with my miserable efforts to be like Mary Printz, (you can read about her here http://nyti.ms/QWYJHz) and went out to buy a sandwich at a nearby shop.
I managed to get there, buy my bacon and avocado baguette and started to make my way back to the office. There was one problem. I couldn’t remember where it was. Ask anyone that knows me and they will tell you that I have a shocking sense of direction. My husband says if he simply puts me on the opposite of a street that I’ve just walked down, I wouldn’t have a clue where I was. That is true and I cannot in all honesty dispute that.
So I wandered up and down the busy Hillbrow streets, walking from one street corner to the next (I bet some of you are familiar with where this is going now) and generally getting more and more nervous that I was going to be late back. The formidable Ms. Greengar would not have taken that lightly.
Imagine my consternation when a man sidled up to me and engaged me in conversation.
“How much?” he hissed at me out of the corner of his mouth as he looked around him furtively.
I looked down at the bacon and avocado baguette I held in my hand.
“Err, about two rand fifty,” I stammered and he blinked, looking at me as if I was the crazy one.
“Jussus. That’s cheap.” he said doubtfully but with a glimmer of hope in his eyes.
I blinked back. By now I was getting the impression the sandwich wasnotwas he was interested in. I could feel my hands grow clammy and I stepped back.
“Are we talking about the sandwich?” I whispered feebly. He stepped back, light dawning in his eyes as he realised he might just have made a terrible faux pas.
“No. I wasn’t talking about the sandwich,” he stammered. “Forget it, I’m sorry. I think made a mistake.”
The man turned tail and walked as quickly as he could in the opposite direction leaving me with a baguette and a distinct feeling of both relief and pride. Relief that I had escaped unscathed from what could have been a very tricky situation and pride that someone had actually offered to pay for my –ahem- services.
Needless to say, I did eventually find my way back to the office, I was late, I continued to cut Mr. Himelsein off and eventually they promoted me to the large walk in safe at the back of the jewellery manufacturing section to look after the lovely sparkly bits of jewels, gold and silver that the artisans used to make the jewellery. This was definitely more my forte.