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The Diarrhea Diary – A lesson in bargaining

Yip, it’s back to the bowels for ol’ JAW. Gather round, this is going to be super classy.

I recently told a colleague how I had been holding my fart in all day (she was asking why I seemed so uncomfortable) and at that point her face lit up and she said, “Me too!” It was such a, you know, relief, to share that moment with someone and that we all go through holding things in, whether that’s physical or emotional. Just remember, it has to come out somewhere.

But this is the point, and not that I had to use my impending explosive bowels as a segue, but my pain is your pleasure.

We all bargain with ourselves.

What are you holding in?

If it came to it, would your internal dialogue lead you to the right path? Mine usually goes like this: “But can I?”, “Should I?”, “I don’t know if it’s the right thing…”, “I think I do…” In other words, a mess of insecure ramblings that usually sort themselves out amongst themselves and usually lead me down the right path.

For this example, it came as I was driving home from Edenvale. Home is, of course, Johannesburg. And Edenvale, as I came to discover as a new Joburger, is not exactly around the corner.

I went to a friend’s place and ate some curry. He had warned me that he used habanero (chillis) and me being The Brave, I accepted this challenge wholeheartedly as I do all chillis and other chilli-shaped objects. I’ve never been scared of a good burn.

The food was lovely, conversation delightful. So then why did I cut it short and head home? I did not, surprisingly dine ‘n dash, but rather the chilli had caught up with me.

And here’s where the bargaining comes in -because I was not a stone’s throw away from home, and it would be terribly uncouth to use the rest room of someone I had recently met. So I’m driving home and at one point, even turned the music down, with the greatest of respect to Lady Gaga, and started praying, not to Gaga, but with myself. It went something like this:

“Look JAW, it might come to this. We’ve been anticipating this all our life. It couldn’t be smooth sailing forever.”

“But I cant pull over. I don’t even do that to pee!”

“So what then? This is not the time for your pretentious farts and graces. Get it together, man. You can always wash your pants when you get home. It’s not the end of the world!”

“But… but… I just… I don’t… I cant…” I said as my eyes went crossed and my bowels got cross and the world became a blur and when I came to I was still driving.

“Ok, you’re still good. Hang in there.”

And then I gave myself a hug.

At this point I slapped myself and realised I was still on the highway and that other motorists do not take too kindly to wild monologues on busy roads.

When I got to a red light, I couldn’t care anymore and my usual vigilance for hijackers, muggers and smash and grabbers went out the window, as I laid over onto the passenger seat and said another prayer for how grateful I am (for once) that I’m single. Imagine what a test of love that would have been. Not to mention awkward fare for a honeymooner.

That’s when I actually hoped that one of those smash and grabbers would come over, break some glass , get in my car, hold me and say “It’s going to be ok, you brave brave man”

Green light.

Now I entered the squirming phase. I passed Steers and cursed the Indian heritage of my host. I should have stuck with a burger. Veggie, of course.

I am happy to say that the squirming, uncomfortably so, was just that. I got home, crawled inside and crisis was successfully averted.

My ego and I have since recovered from that near-disaster and I’ve come to acknowledge that in times of need, I bargain a lot more than thought I ever would – not to mention what the dialogue would be in a work situation, or love life.

Remember, we all have our conversations with ourselves. But make sure that once the mire has settled, you come out better and stronger out the other side, and with at least a little dignity intact.

Author Jerome Cornelius

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Don’t judge a house

And people who live in glass books should really get their proverbs in check.

I’ve been looking for a place to stay while in Joburg, and have essentially been homeless. I was SO grateful to have a few excellent hosts who put me up out of the goodness of their hearts. But while searching, it seems that perceptions and assumptions are what define us.

I’ve always said that a little assumption is good. It keeps us on our toes, and as long as you are aware that people may not be the way you initially thought they were. Keeping an open heart and mind when we live in a world filled with so much evil and darkness is really hard.

A few years ago in a volunteer training session, we were asked to discuss our own prejudices. Mine was that black men are homophobic. This admittance was important because it forces it out of the mind and consciousness and we then have two choices: realise that our prejudices are based on our experiences (duh!), but also that they may not always be correct. I have been pleasantly surprised that my prejudice has been mostly incorrect. And it’s also important to not confuse being wary with being overly paranoid.

This idea of prejudice came to the fore while looking for a place, both from and in Joburg. I spent a lot of time in a suburb called Observatory in Cape Town. I loved it there – hipster does not begin to describe it. There’s a lot of peace and love types walking around, which is great. But it also has its dark side, like most other places. Well Melville is apparently the Observatory (or Obs) of Joburg. Everyone from Cape town told me this and said it’s a good option. It turns out that quite a few reputable people who I know live there.  Funny enough, I also got the “but certain parts of it…” and “it can be dodgy, watch out”. Driving through it, I really pondered on this “don’t judge a book by its cover”, because it looked great! I didn’t find a place there, but it looked like somewhere id live…. Like Obs. Then again, two of my friends had cars stolen in Obs, so it seems the outside does not always dictate the behaviour of others.

 On that, i was told by two new friends here in Joburg how much they love Cape Town because it’s so friendly and open. I happen to think the reverse, and jokingly call it Clique Town, because the up-and-down stares one gets when you walk into a club is quite obvious. Parties seem to be divided into high school-like groups. Yet the Joburgers saw it in the complete opposite way.

Seems like there may have been some truth in the proverb.

Just as a bonus, check this road sign for the area in Jozi called “Observatory”. Oy vey!

IMG-20140210-00089<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

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