Harry Potter Midnight Party (no spoilers)

Picture me. Young, naïve, innocent. It’s about 2 months ago. I’m trawling the Exclusive Books website (as I do for fun, sometimes) and see that the new Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, is available for pre-ordering. I squeal in anticipation. I order it.

Now, picture me again when I find out that I’m not allowed to collect my book at the launch, and that the book is only going to be delivered THREE DAYS after said launch, meaning that a whole bunch of people, who didn’t even pre-order the book, are going to read it before me.

“That’s OK”, I snivel. “I’ve got an invitation to the Midnight Party. I’ll go for the vibe at the party, dress up, miss the queuing and just read the book a little later than everyone else”. So yeah – don’t be worried about any spoilers from this post, because I don’t actually know any (despite some solid efforts from my Facebook friends).

Instead, I’m going to chat about the event. I have a few thoughts, but before I share them, LOOK AT MY GOLDEN SNITCH OUTFIT. And before you ask: no, I haven’t got all of the gold off yet. But my bedsheets tried real hard to collect some of it.

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I KNOW MY SHOES ARE SILVER OK STOP SHOUTING
  1. They shouldn’t have called it a party

I actually feel quite sorry for Exclusive Books – as much as they’re a top business that has been doing this stuff for years and should’ve known better, they essentially delivered what they’re here to deliver: books.

So, either it was an oversight, or some noob in marketing needs to be fired, or everyone was just too excited for the new book to forward plan very far. But, essentially: whoever’s idea it was to describe the event as a “party” done fucked up.

My sympathy for EB is mainly because it was a great launch. The coolest I’ve been to, and I can say this having actually been to a lot of book launches.

If they’d advertised the event as a “midnight launch”, I can’t imagine too many people would’ve been disappointed. And, if they were, it would’ve been their own fault.

But it was kind of like being invited to a cupcake party, only to be presented with a bran muffin on arrival. I mean, bran muffins are delicious. They’re just not cupcakes. So regardless of how good those muffins are, you’re going to make some cupcake enthusiasts angry.

They didn’t call it a launch, though. The Facebook page clearly stated that it was “a midnight party in anticipation of the launch of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”. This suggests two things, yeah? It suggests a party, which is being thrown in anticipation of the launch?

  1. Why this is actually a problem

People have freaked out – more than when people were throwing water on themselves for ALS. It seems quite petty to get annoyed about there not having been a party, because the main objective is to buy the book, yes? Well, actually, no. That’s not quite how it is. A lot of people had, like myself, pre-ordered the book and some people, being Harry Potter enthusiasts, just wanted to dress up and have a party.

Again, if they’d just set up a couple of disclaimers, this could have been avoided. Nobody knew what was going on once they arrived – all they knew was that the RSVP process was hella tiring, so they expected to be presented with something worth that process.

I wandered around, with my entire body painted gold, for at least an hour before the hard reality sunk in: there wasn’t anything to do, other than wait in line for the book. Which was awkward, considering I didn’t need to buy the book, along with a lot of people.

  1. Harry Potter fans are the best

Apart from the meanie-bo-beanie who accused me of trying to cut the line (bitch), Harry Potter fans are my favourite types of people. There’s just a connection, you know? You know they’ve cried around similar times you have, or laughed, or stayed up until an inappropriate hour in the morning on a school night because “one more chapter” turned into 7.

I’ve arrived at parties in costume before and felt like the Tornado amongst Tinkerbells – mm, that happened, the “T” themed party that left most of the invited guests in fairy costumes left me wrapped in bubble wrap with dolls sticky-taped to it. This can sometimes make me cautious when dressing up for something. But I’m never worried when it comes to Harry Potter cosplay. Harry Potter fans always have your back.

  1. Facebook lynch mobs are terrifying

My final thought regarding the event: what on earth is up with people and complaining about stuff on Facebook? I realise it’s a useful way of getting things sorted, but people just take it way too far. The sass is mindblowing. Look at some of the stuff people have been posting on the event page:

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Damn, gal. Look at you. Using a poll AND HPB (Harry Potter Banter, obviously).
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Is “my foot” a thing?
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Oh oh oh we got ourselves some more HPB, everyone!

 

Ja’feel, Linda. You waited for 4 hours. Like, sorry man, Fred. I’m sure Exclusive Books didn’t mean to destroy your childhood (?! People are that dramatic). But like… What are you trying to achieve here? Complaining on public platforms for the sake of complaining, even when you know nothing can be done, casts the most intense Confundus Charm on me.

Ok. Yeah. They messed up. They missed a massive opportunity. As discussed in point 3, this is exactly the market that would’ve been tapped by a bar that served potions instead of drinks. And instead, there was a glorified line. But how is starting a “we demand an apology” page going to help you? I can understand complaining to Maynards because you got a mouldy wine gum in your packet and you want some new ones (been there, done that). In that situation, there’s something they can do to quell your distress (and let me just tell you – mouldy wine gums are unbelievably stressful). So what are we wanting now? Do you want them to relaunch the book?

Someone is going to go onto the page and say, “sorry”. Then we’re done? Is that enough? Is that the justice you’re looking for? Come now. Go read the book and stop wasting your time clogging up my notifications with lamentations about your son, Billy, being exhausted.

Again, I want to stipulate: it was a really, really fun launch. I love Harry Potter and I love dressing up and I love seeing other people dressed up. A huge S/O to all of the people who grabbed my arm shouting “I CAUGHT YOU” as I walked past. Even bigger S/O for thinking you were the only ones who had done it. It was just a pity they oversold it like they did and that they weren’t more clear about what we should’ve expected. Anyway, book review to come – just got to get the cursed thing first (hehe, see what I did there?)

Gotta catch ’em all

Loads of people will tell you that they’ve been die-hard Pokémon fans since they were just kids with a Gameboy, and that the release of the Pokémon GO app has been the best thing that’s happened to them this year bar Melania Trump’s recital.

Loads of people will tell you they’ve never heard of Pokémon and that this is the most annoying thing that’s happened to them this year bar Brexit.

Fewer people, like myself, will admit that they’d hardly heard of Pokémon bar collecting those plastic things off of chip packets back in the day, but think that it’s the best thing that’s happened to them this year.

I knew Pokémon were a thing a few weeks ago, but that was basically the reach of my knowledge. They were a thing, yes, that I used to collect and trade based on my lunch-box-treats. I was definitely more excited about the chips, though. I couldn’t tell you where they came from though or why people were collecting them. Were they from a TV show? A movie? A game? All of the above? Which came first? Is it a bit chicken-and-egg-esque? Who knew? Not me.

Then, one morning, a bunch of my friends were going to look for Pokémon at Zoo Lake and I thought “ag, why not”. It’s now two weeks in. I go on regular Pokémon excursions, I sit next to random people who have Pokémon lures, a large portion of my daily schedule is structured around making sure my phone has enough battery to check into gyms and check points when need be, and I was stopped the other day by a friend and asked to “stop sharing so much Pokémon stuff on Facebook” as it was “clogging up their newsfeed” (Gah! The nerve!)

I’m not going to even try give “tricks and hacks”, I’m not remotely qualified enough. Not to mention, if I actually knew some tricks and/or hacks I may not have wasted 5 Pokéballs trying to catch a Caterpie with CP10 yesterday (you’ll either know straight away that this is a disgrace, or you’re just going to have to accept that you don’t understand).

Instead, I’m going to give you some key tips on WHAT NOT TO DO around Pokéfans if you’re only recently converted, so that you don’t make your noob status public too quickly.

  1. Get your terminology right

“Pokémon”, as I’m very regularly reminded, is already a plural. Do not call them “Pokémons”. One fish, two fish. One Pokémon, two Pokémon. “How many Pokémons do you have?” is a question worth avoiding unless you’re going to ask it properly.

You “evolve” Pokémon, you do not “upgrade” them. For instance, the following sentence was received by a gasp of despair when I allowed it to escape from my mouth: “How many Pokémons have you upgraded?” While the process of evolving them is essentially an upgrade, “IT IS JUST NOT WHAT IT IS CALLED, MEG”.

  1. If you don’t know the name of a Pokémon, don’t wing it

See, Pokémon are based on real animals/things (or something to that effect, I believe). However, their names are rarely as simple as what they look like. Try avoid the impulse to shout out “I caught a (insert names to come)” until you know what they’re actually called:

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This is what I called a “piggy” for a while. It’s a Clefairy.
250px-092Gastly
This is a Ghastly, not “the inky black ball”.
013Weedle_Dream
Weedle, commonly mistaken (by me, mostly), as “the worm thing”.
  1. Try avoid excitement about catching Pokémon

I get it – it’s bloody exciting to catch something. Full stop. However, as I learnt when I ran with unrivalled enthusiasm across Rosebank Mall to tell my friends I hatched a Pikachu out of my 10km egg, it turns out that’s actually not a very impressive thing to hatch considering you walked 10km to get it.

So, what I’d suggest is that you just casually say the name of what you’ve caught and wait for a response. This ensures you look cool, regardless of its status. If everyone shrugs or says “shem”, you just nod and be childishly happy on the inside. If everyone is like OMG NO WAYS, then you give a coy smile and pretend your casual approach was because you catch cool stuff all the time… and then you be childishly happy on the inside.

I suspect hearing about Pokémon GO when you’ve never played it is somewhat like when you try describe Game of Thrones to someone who’s never watched it. I mean, I get that it must sound absurd. Imagine a situation in which you’re a Jabronie who has never seen GOT, and you catch the end of a conversation that involves the words: “wolves, bastards, magic, forest children, zigzags, dragons and holding doors”. You’re bound to feel something along the lines of “pick a genre”, if not “that’s not really my thing”. With this said, anyone who’s watched it knows that it’s much more than that, and it’s almost everyone’s thing.

So, if you’re holding back from playing Pokémon GO because you heard someone jump with glee about hatching their eggs in conjunction with shouting profanities as they were faced with another Zubat, and think they might be clinically insane and/or an 11-year-old trapped in a 21-year-old’s body – think again.

Tiger Tiger

Tiger Tiger is a nightclub franchise. The one I regarded as my local watering hole when I was in my first and second year at UCT is the one in Claremont, Cape Town. It was closed, for a number of reasons, apparently, and is in the process of trying to relaunch.

Tiger Tiger has a bit of a reputation, and much to the owner’s despair: it’s not for the great drinks and rocking music (… cane and Cream Soda specials paired with Ke$ha…) Its reputation is of both condoning and creating an atmosphere for racist, sexist and homophobic behaviour. Between bouncers kicking out gay couples while allowing same sex couples to practically have sex on the dance floor, and privileged white students throwing up all over the show and not even being reprimanded, the proposed “relaunch” of the club is receiving a lot of hate (rightfully so, and available on the Tiger Tiger Facebook page).

Disclaimer: I’m not saying I never went to Tiger Tiger and that I didn’t drink the R10 drinks or that I never had fun there. I’m saying that that’s because I’m white and adhered to the dress code and didn’t put up a fight when bouncers beat up boys (not the white ones, that is) for cutting the lines but let me skip the whole thing if I was wearing a short enough skirt and a pair of heels. Progress isn’t necessarily about always knowing what was right or wrong when you did it. It’s about being able to change your mind. 

Here’s a poem I wrote, outlining some of the many reasons why their attempt to relaunch the club needs to fall flat.

– Tiger Tiger – an adaptation of William Blake’s “Tyger Tyger”

Tiger tiger, burning white
“We can’t remember what we did last night”
What immortal brand or guy
Could frame thy fearful “new me” lie?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
So that you were so blind to see
Why boys get charged and girls are free?

Who raised a child that chose to pee
On a cab driver over the balcony?
A child that finds it quite the laugh
To beat up the cleaning staff?

And what privilege, how much cent
Could harbour such entitlement?
And when thy fists began to beat
Is it worth being a piece of meat?

What the hammered? What the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What is it I seek to fight?
Entrance goes to: straight and white

When the bouncers threw down their spears
The carpets stained with puke and tears
Did he smile his work to see?
Girls “dressed to impress”, impressing he?

Tiger, tiger, what a sight
You won’t come back without a fight
There’s no immortal brand or guy
That could ever frame your “new me” lie

 

Ritalin is not cheating

I want to talk about the years of my childhood being told I just wasn’t trying hard enough. That I would be fine if I didn’t talk so much. That I just didn’t have a work ethic. That if I just focused a bit more, I would be able to get good marks like the other kids in the class.

I want to talk about the years of highschool, where being semi-adults more capable of engaging with reason didn’t even help the stigma. Where the accusations actually got a bit more serious, because the stakes were higher. Of refusing to take it because I was scared of being called a cheater. Of telling my doctor I didn’t care, I wouldn’t take it. Of being told I procrastinate because I am lazy.

I want to talk about university, where the stakes got raised again. Where people would sulk under their breaths about how “we’d all be doing well if we were doing that”. I want to talk about people buying it without a prescription and making it seem less like a legitimate disorder and more like a luxury.

I want to talk about Ritalin.

I could write a thesis about how it affects people in terms of anxiety, or social interaction, or many of the other reasons why it is prescribed, but today I’m going to focus on its academic value, and the idea that it counts as “cheating” to take it.

Far too often, people take examples of children who were able to fight their way through the educational system, reduce the use of Ritalin, or other drugs of the sort, to redundant status and call it a way to suppress a child’s individuality.

“See! She didn’t take Ritalin and she made it through. Ritalin is just an easy way out!”

Denying a child medical attention because of speculation doesn’t necessarily “teach them to cope”, but sometimes it only furthers their inability to do so thereafter.

While I may have made it through the system without it, up until university, where I stopped feeling ashamed and allowed doctors to prescribe it to me, those formative years of being called the class clown and talking more than listening are part of the reason I still can’t do my times tables and why there rarely goes a paragraph I write without a spelling error popping up. Yes, I was able to get through it and wouldn’t say I’m particularly stunted by it, but most people don’t make it through and most people are stunted by it. I suppose it could be likened to how some people are able to sleep perfectly without sleeping pills – and that’s fantastic for them – but it doesn’t help the people who can’t sleep. Just because people have gone without taking medication for attention deficit and the likes, doesn’t mean that ignoring a clear problem is the best way of dealing with it.

I want to ask why people call it “cheating” to take Ritalin. Is it cheating to wear glasses? Are people who have genetically blurry vision told that if they just tried a little harder, they’d be able to see better?

What most people who don’t take Ritalin don’t understand about Ritalin is usually everything. But more specifically, they don’t understand that Ritalin doesn’t have some magic level of “smart” that it takes you to. Let’s make it really simple, and say that the average brain is able to to let you concentrate on level 4. Then, there are people who can only concentrate on level 2. Please note that these examples are for sake of explanation and not to be quoted as actual statistics. Ritalin will take both of those people to level 5. Does that make sense? It doesn’t have a set amount of “help” in each tablet – those who need it benefit more from it. For instance, someone who does not suffer from depression will not become excessively happy after taking an anti-depressant, while someone suffering from depression will be regulated.

Maybe it’s just too early to understand. There was a time – with a few ignorant souls still preaching it – when people were told they just needed to cheer up and smile more, as if that even skims the surface of the complexity of depression. Maybe, and hopefully, there will come a time where people will refer back to the time when people accused those suffering from attention deficit disorders of just being lazy or stupid, and they’ll think “thank goodness we came to our senses”.

I realise I’m being very unscientific about the matter and I’m doing so for two reasons. One, because I haven’t studied the topic to the extent that I could even begin to offer a medically sound discussion. Two, because we should be able to understand the topic without needing to make it a matter of statistics. It’s a social issue as much as it is a scientific one. We need to be able to discuss and understand these issues without bombarding people with figures.

Listen, I’m also not claiming that Ritalin is the only possible way to treat or deal with attention deficit. I’m sure that there are, and will be many other ways to do so as we learn more about the disorders. The only way that’s ever going to happen, though, is when people start acknowledging it for the disorder that it is, and not reducing it to an excuse for kids who don’t want to do their homework. Usually, and ironically, people aren’t concerned about these negative effects as much as they’re concerned about the positive ones. Either way, we need to acknowledge that it’s currently one of the only options for people suffering from attention deficit and to simply leave them to fend for themselves is unnecessary and archaic.

So, unless you’ve done specific research before bashing it, I don’t want to hear your misinformed opinions of how unfair it is that I am now able to absorb information that you might be lucky enough to do naturally. And please – please – don’t trivialise the disorder to the point where you are taking it without a prescription. That’s one of the many places the problem starts.

What Are The Odds?

I can quite confidently say I’m not much of a football fan. Though, in general, I’m not much of a sports fan other than playing in the Mighty U16 D Team for Netball way back when (*holds for applause*).

I’d never for a second try to claim that the sport isn’t one of great skill and professionalism, or that I don’t respect and appreciate that. I’d just say, quite simply, that it bores me. It’s mostly just people kicking the ball around in the middle and dramatically throwing themselves to the ground occasionally. In fact, I am so disengaged with it that my brother was once watching a game – I think it was a white team versus a red team, if you would like me to be more specific – and I watched for most of the game thinking he was playing a game of Fifa, as opposed to just watching it on TV.

So, recently, I’ve seen a lot of hype around a team called Leicester City on social media. From what I’ve gathered from the surface level, they have a cool fox as their logo, nobody really expected them to do well and there was some guy on the team (whom I embarrassingly referred to as “that guy Jimmy” too many times to ever be taken seriously again whilst making the reference) who chats shit, gets banged, and throws parties, or something like that.

For me, there is a natural progression that happens once social media starts buzzing like this:

  1. Find out how to pronounce “Leicester”. It’s not, as you might have thought, pronounced “Lee-kes-ter” – I realise this might come as a shock, but trust me when I say that people will bully you if you say this in public. Sort of like that time I told everyone how excited I was that “Dead Maw Five” was coming to South Africa.
  2. Once you know how to pronounce the name, ask someone what’s going on and why everyone’s talking about it.
  3. Ask your friends for as many basic facts as possible, so that you don’t impress everyone with some fact about Vardy’s strike rate only to get caught out when you go drink a glass of water when someone in the room aggressively shouts: “Go, Drinkwater!”
  4. Know enough that you can start pretending you knew what was happening all along, as was successfully manoeuvred when I manically learnt every Alt-J song before Rocking the Daisies 2013.

So for those of you reading this saying “How is Meg a real person? What a total jabronie. Everyone knows who Leicester is”, but thinking “Haaaaalp, what is she even saying?”, this is what’s happening. There’s a football club from Leicestershire in England and they weren’t very good at football (despite having a fox as their logo… This is like Hufflepuff and the Badger all over again…) They were basically the Kingsmead College of football teams, so they didn’t have much money. Their uniforms are blue (on reading this aloud to my brother, he interrupted me saying “they’re called a kit or a strip, not a uniform, Meg”). Their logo is a fox (did I mention that already? Whoops. But like, did you hear me? A FOX!) The odds for them to win the Premier League were 5000-1. And they won.

Yes, that’s right, 5000-1. Let me put that in perspective by giving a few other odds:

  1. Kim Kardashian becoming president of the US: 2000-1

I’m not quite sure what on earth these bookies use to gauge these odds, but Kim Kardashian was more likely to become president of the United States of America than this team was to win.

  1. Elvis Presley is actually still alive: 2000-1

Despite Elvis dying in 1977, the odds of people finding him – alive – in 2016 were still better than Leicester winning. (I’m not making these facts up, I found them on a BBC website)

  1. (My favourite) Finding the Loch Ness monster: 500-1

The Loch Ness monster is a mythical sea creature that many have claimed to have seen in the Loch Ness Lake in Scotland. Yes, that’s right, a full team of football players were less likely to win a football competition than we are to see a creature that is only rumoured to exist.

Yeah, it’s actually pretty impressive now that you give it some context. I’m obviously impressed that the team was able to beat those odds, but what impresses me the most is that anyone can be motivated to play their best game when people are so positive they’re going to lose. That’s some serious determination there (*cue the music: Phil Collins’ “Take A Look At Me Now”*). Apparently, there was a guy who got quite drunk and put a bet of £75 on Leicester – I enjoy this story particularly because I’m definitely the kind of person who would get drunk and accidentally spend all my money on a 5000-1 team, but definitely not the kind who would actually come right. And more than that, I’m impressed with all those lucky, drunk chancers thinking “Meh, what’s there to lose” when they bet a couple of quid on Leicester winning. My new tactic for income: place bets on ridiculous odds (this seems like a flawless plan… See you when I’m rich and famous!)

Social Awkwardness

When telling people that I suffer from social awkwardness, I’m met with the response: “But you’re so loud? And you tell really self-deprecating stories? And you document your entire life on social media? You’re not awkward”.

To start, yes, I do document my entire life on social media. But this doesn’t mean I don’t experience social panic before I do so – you don’t know me, you don’t know my struggle, you don’t know how many times I’ve run around in hysterical circles before replying as if I don’t care.

Then there’s how I behave in the real world. People seem to think that being confident, or just having no social filter, or just being loud, means that you don’t experience awkwardness. I get just as stressed as quiet people do when there’s a silence, if not more, because I take on the responsibility of fixing it (which frequently ends in a more awkward situation than we started with). The primary difference is that while other people might just swipe the screen of their phone pretending to be sending a message, I manically try to fill the silence by loudly proclaiming my unfiltered thoughts, instead of simply becoming one with the awkwardness.

Cast your mind back to around 2012, when a top private school made grade 8 boys hump a bus seat as part of their initiation (never get me started on boys’ school initiation if you have to be somewhere in a hurry). Apparently, humiliation builds comradery, or so I’ve been told. Moving on. As per the usual pattern of causing middle-upper-class outrage, this incident made SUV-driving, skinny-flat-white-drinking mothers everywhere gasp at the horror, with “BUS RAPE” making the headlines of the papers.

I was sitting with a group of mothers one day while they discussed the issue, which is where the unnecessarily self-induced social anxiety comes in. They were saying things like: “They’re just at such a tender age in grade 8, they hardly know what their bodies are for”. See, listening to privileged adults share their views always makes me anxious, because they usually ask my opinion of their racially-nuanced, obnoxious ones and I end up insulting a bunch of people I don’t even know. Calling people out on their bullshit is something I encourage, don’t get me wrong, but there are also times where it’s best to pick your battles. In this case, it probably would’ve been better to just keep being anxious in the situation, hope nobody asked me what I thought, and let them convince themselves that their 14-year-old boys didn’t know what their penises were for. But nay, I got so overwhelmed that I blurted out the first thing that came to mind, which was: “Oh please! They’ve been wanking since they were 12 anyway, AM I RIGHT?” As it were, I was not right.

The trouble with social awkwardness is that it extends into the ability, or lack thereof, to say “no” to people – because you fear disappointing people. Ah, the sacred beauty of the word “no”. Not being able to say no is the reason a bunch of people still email me about their products that I don’t want, because I was too scared to ignore them when they approached me at the shops. It’s also the reason I am a Jehovah’s Witness (haha just kidding, but I’m truly terrified for the day I’m approached by one, because there’s not a chance I’ll have the strength to reject them).

I am, however, a part of the UCT Anti-Abortion society. Let me explain this, please. It was a bloody hot morning in Cape Town in first year. I was shamefully hungover, and went to campus regardless – it was during O Week, where I was naively convinced I would attend every lecture, hungover or not. I didn’t really know where I was, or where I was going, or where I was supposed to be, and I’d just passed the phase of “hey I’m not that hungover” to “jokes, I was just still drunk when I woke up”.

I was ploughing my way down University Avenue, avoiding eye contact with the different stalls set up – the joys of Society Week. Society Week was a huge struggle for me and not just in first year. Every time, I’d walk away, defeated, with a free pen and a year’s subscription to the Kung Fu Society. I had nearly made it to Jammie Stairs, having even avoided the debaters (I ran past them – those people sure know how to convince you to do stuff, and the free slush puppies don’t help) when someone jumped in front of me with toy babies hanging from strings, painted with splashes of red. Important side-note: I’ve told this story a few times before, and I always forget to mention the “toy” part of the “toy baby” description, so I usually lose people to cries of disgust and have to quickly inform them I meant the plastic, non-human kind of baby. Anyway, there I was, a bit of residue mascara still sitting under my eyes, with a very vocal custodian of Pro-Life values waving these babies in my face exclaiming: “IS THIS OKAY? DO YOU CONDONE BABY MURDER?”

It was very stressful, I’ll tell you that. Regardless of my hangover, I was still able to formulate my views in my head. I’m neither for nor against abortion – I am pro choice. It’s not my decision to impose on other people. I tried to express this, explaining why I didn’t want to be a part of the society. But he kept persisting, saying that I could just attend the debates and see what I thought. Always keen to hear the different sides to an argument, I agreed that attending the debates was something I was willing to do, but that I didn’t want to be in the society. So I gave him my email address and went home, before I adopted a child while I was at it. They then took my email address (which I specifically gave separately and not on the sign up sheet), and signed me up themselves. It’s with great grievance that I inform you that despite my calls, messages and pleas to remove me from their mailing list, I am still a member of the UCT Anti-Abortion society and get very emotive emails, regularly, that use the words “murder” and “inhumane” as often as “and” and “or”.

The sweaty palms and nervous giggles might start small, but they gradually build to the point where I’m sitting in a bathroom stall eating my lunch alone because I didn’t know anyone on Jammie Stairs and I’d done too many loops to try find someone (… I’m not proud… I’m not explaining my logic… Let’s just move on). No matter how openly I acknowledge the problem, though, I’m not sure I’ll ever have full control of it. Every time, I’d rather walk all the isles of a shop before asking where something is, and I’d eat a bowl of soup rather than telling my waiter that I actually ordered a sandwich. Regrettably, as much as I tell myself, “calm down, Megan. Nobody has noticed the silence”, I’ll probably still fill them with a high-pitched, over-enthusiastic: “haha so this one time I vomited on myself” and hope for the best.

Alien Observations

Greetings, fellow aliens

I trust this message reaches you all in good time. After my first week on planet earth, I have decided to keep a log of the human experiences that I’ve found most striking thus far. I write excitedly to confirm that if their behaviour continues in its current fashion, we could use my research and intel to destroy them. This is if they don’t do it themselves.

Observation 1:

I’ve tried with great effort to work out what creates human outcry, mainly through observing social media trends. I’ve had to do a lot of sifting, as a formal means of communication for the creatures involves documenting even the most mundane daily activities. Unfortunately, there is no consistency in what upsets them and I’ve found it almost impossible to find a balance.

For instance, they’re able to show mass empathy and support for illness when they’re required to pour water over themselves. However, they don’t show very much concern for earth’s water shortages. Moreover, it would appear that people across the globe die regularly from starvation. This didn’t seem to bother the humans nearly as much as a price increase in avocados. Avocados, commonly referred to in conversations I’ve encountered as “avos”, must be a sacred food to the humans. They take great care with their choice of avo, squeezing the outside of almost every one in the pile before settling on one. Presumably, they do so so that they’re well-informed as to what the avo is like as a whole, and not just on the surface. They’re less inclined towards such rigorous investigation when it comes to forming their political opinions, however, and are often so cavalier in such choices that just one article can convince them.  From this, I might assume that the difference is: anything that is a recurring, constant issue is cared about less. Also, that the financial status of the person affected can sway the reach of the issue.

Observation 2:

I don’t understand what happened in this particular observation, for my grasp on behaviour under the influence of alcohol still has many holes. Often, what I’ve learnt previously is thrown off when alcohol is involved. For instance, the validity of my observations on human attraction were skewed after a night in a club. I’m still making sense of that night.

Faint sounds of the latest “Avicii” song rung out onto the street. A small group of males that were huddled, smoking, had an air that suggested years of experience with the practice. Apart for the one, that is, who was coughing and spluttering, clearly not enjoying himself. He continued regardless. Humans often do this – continuing with things that make them unhappy. It’s a concept I’m still working on understanding. Wilting against a wall, a sobbing female was being told repeatedly by another female: “He doesn’t deserve you”. Her other friend vomitted onto the street while this happened. Not far away from them, a couple had smushed their faces together and were doing so dramatically against a wall.

Then, a drunk girl whose mascara no longer remained firmly on her eyelashes arrived, two fingers slumped to the side, lazily carrying her high heels that were causing her too much pain to keep on her feet. This is another practice that makes predominantly female humans quite unhappy, yet one they continue with anyway. They rarely wear heels throughout the course of the night, so it seems as if they might be better off not wearing them at all.

Now, the most jarring experience that unfolded was that these drunk humans were then offered little red sweets and pancakes – free of charge – by people who had remained sober in order to offer this service. I’m puzzled, to say the least. Temporarily, I’ve concluded that it’s possible that humans reward each other for drunkenness with food? I cannot be sure.

Observation 3:

The concept of blame is one the most interesting. It appears humans will only take responsibility for their positive actions. For instance, they are quick to make their achievements very public, or the achievements of their friends and family. However, when an action does not reflect well on their character, they try to make other humans take responsibility for it. Or, at least, this is the only rational explanation that I can deduce from the blame-game that ensues. For instance, if a female is sexually abused by a male, it somehow becomes the fault of the victim, as opposed to the abuser. To my horror, victims are encouraged regularly to dress and behave in certain ways to avoid various assaults, as opposed to abusers being encouraged not to assault.

My friends, I will continue with my research daily and report back whenever I have new information for you. Until then, I urge you to begin interpreting my observations – maybe the best way of understanding it is from your perspective, having never been to earth.

Until then, all the best

P.S. I’ve included a photo of myself, in a form that the humans are very fond of. It’s called a “selfie”.

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Meg Thomas' Blog

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