Have you ever eavesdropped on a conversation you weren’t supposed to? Tell us about a time when it was impossible not to overhear a conversation between people who didn’t know you were there. What was the conversation about? How did it make you feel?
It wasn’t eavesdropping so much as my first ten minutes in a new job in Johannesburg. A secretary walked into the office in great distress, crying her eyes out and complaining that ‘he threw my elephant ears off the balcony!’
Hillbrow flats are small and their balconies are tiny and I wasn’t interested in the argument – instead, I was consumed with a desire to know what exactly were elephant ears? If they were ornamental elephant ears, how huge were they? Did he have to use a tool to tip them over or was he so adrenalin/drink/rage fuelled that it was like a mother lifting a car from her child’s pinned-down body?
Or were they genuine elephant ears? If they were, they’d still be pretty big but surely they’d have shrivelled to mankiness; and where would you buy something like that anyway? You could buy legal ivory because elephants weren’t protected in South Africa in the Eighties but I never heard of anyone buying wrinkly skin flaps before.
I felt quite sorry for her distress and empathised with her experience of that terrible creature known as ‘man’, but I was cripplingly shy in those days, kept my head down and never stuck my nose in where it wasn’t wanted. I went all day without knowing what the argument was about but, finally, at 16:29, one minute before leaving, I had to ask: what on earth are elephant ears?
She laughed and replied, ‘A plant.’
How mundane. Eavesdropping: it’s really not worth the ear-burning it causes.
Tell us about a situation where you’d hoped against all hope, where the odds were completely stacked against you, yet you triumphed. Be sure to describe your situation in full detail. Tell us all about your triumph in all its glory.
I really hoped those ears were real.
That was back in the days when I wasn’t animal-mad; or unselfish (no kids yet).
I triumphed because I plucked up the courage – in the face of twenty-four years of terror at the thought of asking questions of a complete stranger, especially about her personal life – to satisfy my curiosity.
A song comes on the radio and instantly, you’re transported to a different time and place. Which song(s) bring back memories for you and why? Be sure to mention the song, and describe the memory it evokes.
Nellie the Elephant…some of you may have heard of it. I’m transported to church at half-past seven in the evening and the recollection that I forgot to tell you that I’d had a spicy dinner that day and had to clench my butt cheeks the whole time I was on my knees practising CPR, in case the evidence seeped out.
Don’t mock: I could save your life one day.
You’re 12 years old. It’s your birthday. Write for ten minutes on that memory.
I can’t remember it. I’m not an elephant.
What giant step did you take where you hoped your leg wouldn’t break? Was it worth it, were you successful in walking on the moon, or did your leg break?
You never take giant steps when you have a wind problem like mine.
When was the last time you were embarrassed? How do you react to embarrassment?
Did you not read my last answer? How easily embarrassed do you think I am?
Okay, you’re right: I am very easily embarrassed in real life; blogging is fairly anonymous so it removes my inhibitions. If I were to break wind in your physical presence, I think I’d be embarrassed beyond measure. We both would.
Publish a post in the style of a favorite author/blogger or photographer.
A nonsense poem for you, written in five minutes, as an homage to Ogden Nash, Roger McGough and the city of Chicago.
In Praise of Gas
There’s an art to the fart, I’m sure
(just follow a wild beast’s spoor).
But if a pump makes you jump
stay away from the elephant’s trump.
He who has gas laughs last (and usually alone).
He capers at vapours and gels with smells;
but he secretly prays there’s no belligerence
caused by his intense flatulence –
he feels embarrassment
but masks it with merriment
frequently sprayed scent.
Apologies to my audience:
I feel I ought to rescind my words about wind –
I suspect I am less sinned against,
than I have sinned.