Regrets? I’ve had a few

• I don’t regret the rosé with a light lunch at the hospital (a few slices of cheese on French bread and some baby tomatoes, which left a definite hole in my tummy only partially filled with chocolate cake). But I do have other regrets – social ones, work ones.

• What got me onto this subject was watching the latest episode of the wonderful ZA News here (along the lines of Spitting Image). Former president Thabo Mbeki is funny on the subject of regrets. I love Zapiro’s puppets and all of them are good – Tim Modise as the presenter, Tutu and Mandela, Manto, former prez Mbeki and the others. This was initially intended for the SABC but they chickened out so their loss is the web’s gain.

• I’ve almost reached 150 posts here at the Couch Trip and I’ve realised that I’ve fallen into the habit of blogging about once a week (mostly on a Monday). I don’t think I’ve lost my blogging Mojo just yet but I have been wondering about how long I’ll keep going and whether I should focus it a bit more on psychology rather than the general whatever-I-feel-like format that it currently has. When I’m busy and/or stressed I don’t do the rounds of usual blog-reading that I would like to. But I do think my life is a lot richer for the blogging friends that I’ve made and I always come away from my regular blog-reads with some good ideas and grateful for the sense of shared experiences.

• I also know that I need to shake up my real-life social interaction. I’ve fallen into a bit of a rut where friendships are concerned and reading Sandy’s blog-post (over at Blogging Behavioural) about making friends made me realise that I can do something about it.

• Today is the day that I got an offer of more permanent employment with the military. Part of me is relieved that the offer finally came through but I’ve also got used to being temporary here so it’s with mixed feelings that I will sign the acceptance letter and fax it back to them. I’m almost ready to leave again and so it feels quite weird to be signing a letter saying that I’m going to stay.

• I’m working on a short talk for my group on Tuesday about literary representations of Cape Town. I intended to draw on ten novels about Cape Town but I think that I will find more than enough material in the excellent A City Imagined by various authors and edited by Stephen Watson from the UCT English department. It’s interesting that while Cape Town is such an incredibly beautiful city many people (and writers in particular) react to it with such mixed feelings and with a sense of tangible disappointment. I’ll post on this next week when my head is a bit clearer.

• Friday is generally not a good day for me. I’m not exactly sure why but I think the friendship drought has something to do with it. I enjoy the solitude and the chance to read and recover from the week but I’m also wishing for more stimulating company. I nearly went to a book launch this week at the excellent (and independent) Book Lounge but P was busy with her taxman and I just wasn’t up for it. I felt like a bit of a coward and the trip to the gym only put me in a worse mood.

• I have a low cringe threshold for John Cleese in Fawlty Towers. I bought the complete edition for P for her birthday and we watched the first episode the other night. Basil Fawlty is sooooo awful. It’s that similar feeling I get when I watch The Office. I can appreciate the humour but the awkwardness of it makes me want to curl up into a ball and start rocking! One DVD series that I AM loving is Planet Earth. The visuals alone are breath-taking.


13 Responses to Regrets? I’ve had a few

  1. My husband also has a low cringe threshold and has to leave the room during key scenes of The Office. Glad to hear the Planet Earth series is good – I have it coming from Lovefilm at some point this year so I’ll look forward to that.

    Well done on your job! Hope you find the energy to enjoy it again.

  2. Courtney says:

    I think a lot of people are going through blog angst right now…I myself am not but that’s because I am comfortable with blogging only when it works with my schedule. I think blogging and reading blogs should be a joy and a pleasure – there are moments where it can feel like an obligation because relationships are developed but as much as possible remember firstly, it is for you.

  3. litlove says:

    Ye-es the friendship thing is interesting. Every so often I think one’s friendships need a shake up and a reassess. There are so few people who really represent a meeting of minds, whose sympathy and humour and good nature make them into lasting friends. I am very anti-social due to chronic fatigue, but I do try to make the effort to keep up with the few that really matter. The rest, it’s pretty easy to live without, unless you are in that party frame of mind when only a crowd will do. I do hope you’ll post your list of Cape Town novels, as I must shamefully admit to never having read a book set there and would like to.

  4. natalian says:

    I am so with you! I get the exact same feeling when watching Fawlty Towers and The Office.

  5. doctordi says:

    Pete, I periodically ask myself the same question, about whether blogging should be more specific instead of the general ‘anything goes’ thing my own has always been. I find it really hard to reign in and define, to be honest, because things happen that I want to write about, and the blog is my forum for that… but that variety of content probably limits its appeal in some ways, because people don’t know what it is, it’s not immediately obvious what’s going on. But that comes down to what you want it to be, and since it’s brought me you and the others, I figure I must be doing something right, so now I’m seeing it primarily as my means of continuing that line of communication with you guys. And that more than justifies it to me.

    Congrats on the permanent job… I think! And I hear you on the social interaction front, you have to keep that up, you just do, and personally I find it requires more and more effort. It’s exhausting but necessary, and I make myself do it.

  6. Harriet says:

    Do you watch the American Office or the British Office? I used to love the American Office, but it’s really gone downhill. I’ve never seen the British version.

    I love bread and cheese – a cupcake for dessert would make it the ideal meal!

    What do you mean by a friendship rut? Your friends are boring you or leaving you? Or you are not seeking out new friendships? Do you really want friends right now? I’m in a bit of a friendship quandary right now as well, but it’s due to the fact that I am isolating myself. This is confusing to friends who feel that I don’t want their friendship anymore and after I don’t see them or talk to them for awhile it’s hard to connect again. What can I say, “Thanks for taking a break – I’m back!” Not really fair to them.

    As for your blog, I’m always interested in what bloggers have to say. I like the free form style, but I am always interested in a psychological or therapeutic viewpoint from the other side of the couch.

  7. tobeme says:

    You have a lot going on. Interesting I never related to The Office to Faulty Towers John Cleese, interesting. I cannot watch the office for it is uncomfortable, yet I do enjoy Cleese in Faulty towers.

  8. Pete says:

    Charlotte – Thanks. It will be good to commit to this job for a year but not an easy environment to work in at times.

    Courtney – Thanks for the good advice.

    Litlove – Very true re friendships. I’ve got a number of friendships which have just lapsed over the years. So now I sit with the decision whether to try and revive them or not. I can do the mostly solitary thing for a while but I do need to make (at least a couple) of good new friendships. Not an easy thing to do for the reasons you mention.

    Natalian – Oh good, it’s not just me. I feel an obligation to watch all the Fawlty Towers shows but I’m sure we can ration them.

    DoctorDi – I like that blogging philosophy! And you’re right about the friends too. So hard to know how to go about that though. One step at a time I guess.

    Harriet – It’s more the “friends have left me” situation. It’s been a long time coming and I know that I can revive some of them (acquaintance-ship really but there’s friendship there too) with a bit of effort. Easier often just to become isolated as you say. Part of me thinks I could put that time to good use (write a book) but I also need more friendship connection. Part of the solution is to go back to therapy.

    Tobeme – Thanks Mark. The trick with John Cleese for me will be to admire his performance without making the connection to embarrassing family members!

  9. ted says:

    Nothing wrong with wine & cheese and congratulations on the employment possibility!

  10. doctordi says:

    One step at a time is all you can ask of yourself, mate. There’s a lot going on in your life, and I just think everyone needs to set their own pace.

  11. Grad says:

    You know, Pete, I was just thinking about friendships today before I read your post. Once again I was asked to join my co-workers for something (today it was lunch…before it was a beer after work…you know) and once again I made an excuse not to go. I really love the people I work with. They are smart and friendly and supportive. Nevertheless, for some reason I almost lways decline an invite (that is until a friend really threatens to cut me off from all communication until I say “yes” to dinner or something.) I decided that I am a very sociable person – I’m just not a social one. Does that make any sense? I love people, but most of the things I really like to do are solitary pursuits (reading, cooking, writing, working on the house). And, although I’m alone a lot, I am never lonely. I worry sometimes, though, that I will completely alienate everyone around me and they will simply stop asking. So I guess the moral or the story is nurture your friends or they go away.

  12. Pete says:

    ted – Thanks. I think it’s congratulations and commisserations at the same time! But good to have a steady income in the recession.

    doctordi – haha, yes as long as I actually move forward at some stage 😉

    Grad – Hello! Yes very true about nurturing the friends. I suppose it’s like anything – you need to cultivate it a bit at a time. I go through what seems like long periods of introspection and then it’s much harder to connect with people again. But I’m usually happy when I’ve made the effort. Some people are so draining though and then I just want to rush back into my protective shell and say “argh, why did I venture out again?”

  13. “Low cringe threshold” — I love that.

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