So much for some R&R in Maritzburg

2008-06-17 00:00

The bottom-shaped groove on my couch has begun to expand of its own accord. Like many Maritzburgers I was a lead contender for Olympic Gold in the couch potato and popcorn-munching marathon; however, things have started to change. Just this morning I noticed a slight film of dust on the TV remote, and I could have sworn I saw a little condensation sliding down the screen like a lone tear.

It was on a Friday recently that I found, instead of a weekend jam-packed with activity, I was looking forward to some rest and relaxation to recover from my week. It started on Monday night with a game of poker with family. I have until recently been under the impression that poker is a game for addicted gamblers and seedy underlords. This has proven to be far from the truth. It’s a fantastic mind game, involving a bit of luck, a bit of skill and a lot of bluff. We seldom manage to leave before midnight.

Tuesday night used to be my couch night, a sacred evening involving eating junk food and cuddling my cheeks into the aforementioned groove. But Pietermaritzburg has again thwarts my efforts to square my eyes. I know of at least two restaurants that have decided that Tuesday is a wasted trade night and the only way to get bodies through the door is to make it a “ladies night”. How very sneaky, as in one fell swoop it gets all the women in keen for a good night out on a shoestring budget and all the men (single and otherwise) come in droves to feed at the waterhole and observe the bokkies, if you’ll pardon the cheeky innuendo.

Wednesday night is social soccer night at Carbineers. For those who know me, I don’t strike an imposing figure by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, there was speculation when I first started that if I suffered a major blow in play, a roll of sellotape would suffice to stick me back together until the ambulance arrived.

I have defied all of their expectations however, not because I can bend it like Beckham, but rather because I’m keen and have discovered that just by being in the way I can divert the players who mark me from our really good players.

The game is normally followed by a session of karaoke at the Kick & Whistle. I have only once grabbed the mic, and I can’t be entirely sure, but I have a feeling that my mic did not die as claimed. I suspect it may have been switched off to allow me to retain some shred of dignity.

Having said that though, I have heard many people warbling tunelessly into the mic, but we all just hum along tunelessly as there’s no judgment among the tuneless. There are some very impressive crooners and when they’re up the dance floor heaves as people from every generation jump up and give you a snapshot of the moves of their day.

Thursday night, with my eyes screaming in protest due to lack of sleep, I landed up at the action cricket arena watching the guys wallop balls around for an hour. It always impresses me to see the more generous figures bowling with a speed that quite positively defies all the laws of physics. The camaraderie on the pitch is palpable, and the family enjoys a night out.

Thankfully it’s the weekend, but despite my intention to take it easy, I have just been told that tonight we may need to help serve food at the Royal Show. Next week doesn’t look much quieter as I’m attempting a belly-dancing class at the Lizard’s Rock with the Legs (the women of the Round Table) and there’s more social soccer on Thursday night for the Articled Clerks Association fundraising at Carbineers. Sleepy Hollow has discovered caffeine and my neglected television may just commit suicide at this rate. Not that anyone will notice as we won’t be there.

• Bernice Avery has a BA in languages and literature with a specialisation in creative writing. She is the marketing and HR manager and skills development facilitator for Austen Smith.

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