We went to the cinema and watched the movie 'The Lorax'. It revolves around a young boy living in a rather grim world surrounded by a huge wall and who falls in love with a slightly older girl.
This girl longs for a real ‘Truffula tree’ in her garden that should still exist somewhere out there. And that’s how the adventure starts, the quest for a place outside of the grim city, with all its rules, to find fresh air and that one tree.
All five of the family dutifully watched the show. The two of those younger than 3½ years old, fell asleep halfway. Two of us tried desperately to fight off sleep for the duration of the movie. However the six-year old was quite entranced and re-enacted some scenes afterwards - telling us that the “best part” was the scene with those dancing zebras. It turns out that this particular scene was actually an advert for a forthcoming release.
And then we came home and found a letter wedged into our front door, which read (and here I summarize):
Your garage door should only be open when you enter or leave. Your garage door is found open too often; it is sometimes even left open at night. This is contrary to Article 17.2 of the Rules.... We have received a complaint about it and have verified this allegation to be true as from the 29th March this year.
I thought to myself, ‘Seriously?’ Then in Dutch or something very like it I used some words that would be considered, well rude, and they probably lose a lot of their meaning in translation.
After that I looked up the rules governing the Estate.
Or well, I said, 'Joost where are the rules?’ I need to point out that I am not the one whose job it is to administer, since I am liable to get lost in this two-holed, colored ring binder world.
Anyway, I read the rules which read blah-blah-fish paste, and it appears as if we are indeed contravening the rules of OUR beautiful Estate.
It didn’t cause a nervous breakdown. Being a nervous wreck over the rules of an Estate, where we voted with dead pan faces the evening before on whether to allow dogs larger than 20kg, is subject to inflation.
But still, were we possibly to blame after all?
I suddenly remembered the cultural orientation course that we attended when we had just moved to South Africa. I asked the trainer and myself during the course why it was so difficult to arrange play dates for son B. who was five by then.
The trainer did have a handy reply.
‘You are like the Swedes. The people probably think that you walk around at home naked.’
Then he kept silent and gave us a meaningful look.
OK, maybe it was not so much us, but me. I was after all the one who opted to have an influenza vaccination done in the pharmacy nearby administered by this muscular assistant. Instead of a white lab coat he wore a brown T-shirt with the slogan ‘The girls want me like a monkey wants a banana.’ This was hardly designed to set my mind at rest.
He administered the vaccination and when he was finished he said, ‘I've done this one very nicely, nothing spilled!’
I looked and said, ‘I couldn’t have done it better myself!’ I had no better retort and was actually quite happy that he didn’t accidently ink a tattoo on my arm.
Then I read the side effects one could get from the vaccine. “Patients may feel a little heavy-headed from the vaccination as well as fatigue and lethargy.”
Actually I felt all the effects immediately.
In this state of heavy headed lethargy my mind focused on our garage, packed with toys, the closed door, the open door, the fact that we were running around naked behind that revolving door at times when we have other children over for a play date, the fence surrounding the Estate, the guys that trim your hedge, the guys that clean your pool, lapdogs that are apparently appreciated on the estate and the black people that still help the white people for a pittance.
I thought, all of this must be caused by the side effects of the vaccine, because isn’t it fantastic.