Hey Brother, It’s Been A While

Dear Ayanda,

Hey there. It’s been a while since we last caught up… so this might be a long message. I’m sure you won’t mind too much.

Some interesting things have happened lately, most have made me very happy and others have made me ask questions of myself – that’s a good thing, right? The standout feature of my time away is that most of my waking hours are spent at work. The hours racked up in direct proportion to the responsibility I was handed. Funny how I think it’s great that I have this responsibility, yet I used to detest it. I’m winning trust and responsibility each and every day. The joy that comes with it proves it’s something I’ve intrinsically aspired for… trust. As a result I’ve worked loads of hours, encountered so many guests; all of different voices, appearances and temperaments. I’ve had to handle certain situations that tested wit and patience. I think I may have grown in confidence and eloquence. I’m also much better at timekeeping as a result, can you believe it? The downside is that I don’t get to chat with the family as often as I’d like to. It’s not great but at the same time I understand that they’re always there for me but I must also learn to do some things on my own.

Away from work I’ve been really looking at the relationships I’ve forged over the years. I remember reading somewhere that the friends you make at this stage in life will be friends for life. This makes me glad that I still chat with my good friends from high school. I’ve also recently learned to burn certain bridges. I must say it’s not an easy or pleasant thing to do but neither is cutting a tumour and though it sounds rough some people just shouldn’t be in your life. So I’ve said some goodbyes. I hope I’ve made the right decision.

I’ve met some new people lately. One or two interesting recent graduates. Arts and Sciences. I’m not going to lie, I haven’t enjoyed a conversation as much as the one I had with them in a long time, no offence bro. They just had different ideas and points of view. We discussed the purpose of a chair and how a chair should feel when our massive buttocks gracelessly plop on top of it.

I do hope you are well. I’ll fill you in with more details soon, I promise.

Yours forever,

Joe

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Don’t Be A Net

Q: What are you?

A: …

Q: Are you a hammer, a pen… a net?

A: What? No… I’m none of those.

Q: Good. What does a net do? What is it’s purpose?

A: To catch.

Q: Are you a net?

A: No.

So don’t catch.

Why

Why?

We all die in the end right?

So… tell me: Why?

Why wake up in the morning?

Why make friends?

Why strive for anything?

Why try to stay alive?

After all in the end no one survives it – death.

So – why?

Why work hard?

Why fall in love?

Why do all of this if the end is inevitable?

Why?

 

The Response

Why not?

 

Content

I was on my way to work when I overheard this lady say something just behind me. I’ve been mulling it over ever since and have decided to share it as a form of “food for thought”.

I have no idea what the context was but here is what she said:

It is what it is, you know. I can’t expect to be content every day. It’s just not realistic.

Do you agree? What do you think and why?

A Smashing Night

Conversation via Facebook one day after party.

Boy: It was nice getting to know you… till you absolutely crashed that is 😂

Girl: Hahahaha life! ❀ It was nice to meet you too… any chance you know where my phone went?

Boy: LOL! I mean… oh no! Sorry I have no idea where it went. Hopefully it’s still got battery. What’s your number?

Girl: Haha! Unfortunately I don’t know my number 😩

Boy: What… oh I was only asking so I could call your phone and see if anyone would answer. (basically implying: I didn’t mean, “What’s your number?” like that.) Hopefully you didn’t throw it at the party-goers downstairs 😂

Girl: People have tried calling my phone haha… I know we were a bit high up. Wait… did I try and jump?

Boy: Several times! We had to hold you back – you animal.

Girl: OMG!

Boy: 😂

Girl: What else did I do?

Boy: Well for one thing your timing was always superb. Just after joking about your life being a wreck you crashed to the floor literally a second after finishing your sentence. There was also flower pot, key word being was, till you got your hands on it.

Girl: OMG! Why? That’s crazy.

Boy: Hahahaha yeah. That was only the tip of the iceberg.

Girl: Wait there’s more?

Boy: Oh yeah! You did this weird thing where you sort of crouched down like you were doing squats using your behind to balance on every sturdy object. You did so on every wall, the fridge, the radiator… it was kind of like you were marking your territory.

Girl: Ahahahaha I can’t.

Boy: The more you drank the more easily distracted you were. I barely got two words out of you before you disappeared to mark new territory somewhere out of sight. XD

Girl: Ahahahaha OMG! As long as I was still nice.

Boy: Your irises were all black. Your pupils were that dilated. Looking into your eyes was like staring into your soul.

(Aside: This makes me wonder, does this guy even know how to pull punches? Also is he implying that the girl has a black soul?)

But you were friendly and your loco self was adorable xD

(Ah so he CAN pull punches)

Girl: Did I do drugs?

Boy: Alcohol is a drug so technically, yes you did. But in the context of what you mean, no, I don’t think so. To be honest if you weren’t so friendly tempers may have flared.

Girl: I’m glad it wasn’t too awful then.

Boy: I did laugh my ass off though, so good first meeting. Stay safe.

Girl: Ahahahaha you too!

 

PS: I still need to practise fleshing out my female characters so I’ll be doing a lot of reading now. As well as actually talking to girls *gulp*

We Can’t Sleep

Joe: I can’t sleep. Help me.

Ayanda: Tell me about it.

AJ: Us having a chat won’t help you sleep and you know that.

Ayanda: Selena Gomez!

AJ & Joe: What?

Ayanda: Remember that interview on BBC radio where they had Selena and you said you could be a better interviewer?

AJ: That was a while back though mate.

Ayanda: Well we can’t sleep… so let’s do it!

Ayanda Joe: *awakes from deep slumber* Do you have any idea how much brainpower it takes to project a well-known character accurately? Worse off one you’re making on the spot while slipping in actual bits of your own character? I’m sorry but I don’t think it’s a job just the three of you can do.

Joe: “Just”… I guess this means you’re going to help?

Ayanda Joe: You know me too well.

I was definitely reaching there. No way I can produce a good conversation with self/ves as well as have a fictional interview with Selena Gomez at 4 in the morning. So… I’ll get to it just… eventually. Just let me take a short… little… nap…

Subconscious Joe: You did it! You son-of-a-brilliant-man! You’re finally asleep. You’re finally asleep. Oh, the things I have in store for you…

What Lovely Weather We Have Today

Conversation go to number 1:

What lovely weather we have today.

Yes – nobody likes that as an opening line but it’s so passive and pc (politically correct) that one with no originality or boldness has to go for it. After all it’s very difficult to be mad at someone who says such a noncommittal statement, right?

Hello there. My name is Ayanda.

In the mind of the person hearing that I feel there may be a resounding:

So…? What does that have to do with me?

Or an even more heartbreaking:

Ok?

A simple name introduction is unique in that everybody has a name catered just to them (unless you’re a John Smith) and hearing it should trigger some form of thought or emotional reaction. Telling someone your name also puts you out there as you’ve already exposed a huge part of who you are and offered it up for a possible rejection. During the exchange, even though it’s fairly simple, all this should be going on in the back of the pair’s mind. The initiator should know that once you’ve given your name you’ve handed the receiver the keys/control of where this conversation may go. They are absolutely entitled to shut down the conversation at this point and there is very little room for you to manoeuvre thereof unless you have something else to say which is particularly unique and original to your character.

Hello there! (Notice the change? Exclamation mark denoting excitement because I am naturally excited as an individual.)

My name is Ayanda. It means “one who goes telling people his name”. In some dialects it means “one who wants to know your name”.

Clearly that is not what the name means but that sentence is a genuine representation of myself. I would say something just as corny in daily conversation. If you were to spend time with me I would probably try to make you laugh with jokes of a similar structure. It is a trademark of who I am and such a sentence would remain consistent with the character they saw over time if we were to meet again. This is very important because conflict arises when expectation and reality are incompatible. So let’s say I’d read some clever quips to share on a first meeting or I channel a different persona for an interview; the people on the receiving end will feel deceived, cheated and cross when they discover that you aren’t the contents the packaging advertised. Do keep that in mind.

My name is Ayanda. It means “one who goes telling people his name”. In some dialects it means “one who wants to know your name”.

The way you would respond to that would also let me know quite a lot about how any future interactions would go. The person on the receiving end could do one of many things:

  1. State that that can’t possibly be what my name means. (I’d have to explain my humour all the time.)
  2. Do the above with added laughter (One of my favourite brand of people. We would get along for who doesn’t like someone who laughs at their jokes?)
  3. Ignore. (Entitled to do so as well. Probably wouldn’t get along.)
  4. Roll their eyes. (I find that more impressive than ignore. Depending on the vibe from the encounter it’s split between go home or press on.)
  5. Return with a joke of their own or oblige and share their own name. (Probably just ahead of 2 on my list of favourites.)
  6. Explicitly tell you the joke is lame. (Love their honesty. Also feel challenged to prove my humour has merit.)

There are numerous responses but much more options than the statement “what lovely weather we have today” can ever offer.

So the next time you want to talk to someone new, try something different but original to you. I guess that’s the moral of the story.

Why Female?

Random conversation thought

Boy: You look a female celeb I know.

Girl: Why female? Why not just celeb?

Boy: See I thought you’d see the window of opportunity to propose a male celeb’s name – and use it. For example:

‘You look like a celeb I know.’

“George Clooney?”

Then I’d have to blush because I’d feel embarrassed OR produce an awkward laugh (because it wouldn’t be genuine laughter).

That’s why I went with female celeb.

Girl: …

This came across to me while walking home in a slight drizzle on my way back from Camden. Make of that what you will.

Learn This My Son

“Learn this my son: they are called “loved ones” for a reason. Love them with all your heart. Say you love them as often as you can, show that you love them always. Put them first before yourself. When you are famished offer them food. When you thirst ask if they would like something to drink. This is what a man ought to be. Your family will cherish you for it.

“Learn this my son: it is called hard work because it is hard. Is what you are doing hard? Then you’re probably doing it right. Persevere! Do not shirk away from your duty. Chip at it like the mason working on his prize sculpture. Remember to always aspire! Visualise, my boy! Plan ahead before you set your chisel against the stone, lest your eagerness ruin the masterpiece long before it is realised. o this and your goals will be achievable.

“Learn this my son: stay away from negative influence. Anything that clouds your judgement blocks your route to success. Read! Surround yourself with people with clear agendas, with goals as high or even greater than your own. Learn from them. In their presence do not speak the loudest, listen the most; this is how you’ll grow.

“Learn this my son: yesterday was yesterday. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow you will be one day closer to heaven than you are today. Do not be afraid! Be excited! You know now that you have limited time… make the most of it! Live every moment! Push as if you’ll never push again. Strive to your maximum at every attempt. Do this and you will have no regrets. Do this and you will be content.

“Learn this my son: laugh. I cannot stress this enough. Laugh! This way the aforementioned ‘Stress’ will not be enough to stop you. Laugh in the face of adversity, your family will cherish you for it. Laugh, for that is how they will know they will get through it. Laugh while you do all that I have tried to teach you and your days shall be long and joyful…

“Learn this my son: I am but a man and I teach what I have witnessed with my own eyes. Your true guide awaits you to find Him. Search for Him for He has knowledge far beyond my capabilities. Learn how to be a father from Him, He is the greatest Father of all. He will help you find one to share your love an laughter with. He will give you direction and strength. He will show you where opportunities lie. He will endow you with wisdom my boy. My son, do all of this and you will make me undoubtedly proud. Do this and I will be as proud as a man can be.”


“Father; this I have learned and continue to learn day by day. Now these principles reverberate throughout my whole being. I appreciate especially that these are not words uttered by you, Man of Few Words – instead I am learning how to be a good man, a good father in the best possible way… through watching you. It is testament to your great example that I can say with no hesitation. You are a great man, Dad. I love you.

Imaginary Conversation (With A Pretty Girl)

Boy: Hey

Girl: Uhm… Hello.

Boy: You’re really pretty.

Girl: Well you’re really straightforward!

Boy: I was told honesty is the best policy.

Girl: That’s rather clichĂ© of you, don’t you think?

Boy: ClichĂ©? Maybe it is… my source of advice isn’t very… young shall I say.

Girl: Next you’re going to tell me your source of advice is your Grandma.

Boy: *feigns it but it looks like genuine surprise* Wait… you know her? How did you know? Have you met her before?

Girl: What? No. *laughs*

Boy: Ah. There we go. Mission complete. *Stands up to leave*

Girl: Wait… So that’s it? *raises eyebrow* That’s all you’ve got?

Boy: What? I think you may have mistaken my intentions, miss.

Girl: Oh I see. Well that was rather uninspiring. I’m disappointed.

Boy: I guess I failed my mission *moves to sit down*

Girl: No, no, it’s fine. No need to sit down again. I’m actually waiting for a friend so you might as well head on your way.

Boy: I seem to have offended you. Might I ask how?

Girl: *scoffs* I’m not offended. I’m just surprised.

Boy: By what exactly?

Girl: I expected more than just a “mission complete”. That came off as rather lame don’t you think?

Boy: You want to hear something awesome about that?

Girl: What?

Boy: … to be honest I wasn’t expecting you to respond so I didn’t have an answer ready.

Girl: *laughs* Oh my God, you’re hopeless!

Boy: See? That’s it! Right there! That’s what I was trying to do.

Girl: *wipes away tears* to prove how hopeless you are?

Boy: Well there’s that, but more importantly to make you laugh. That was my mission.

Girl: *sarcastically* That’s rather gallant of you.

Boy: I wouldn’t say that to be honest but it’s something I’ve always believed in. Making people happier than they were before I met them. I saw you sitting there with God knows what on your mind and I just had to try and make you laugh. You did, hence mission accomplished! *flashes her a toothy grin*

Girl: Maybe you aren’t so hopeless after all. I guess I should say thank you?

Boy: No need. But so as not to be impolite, you’re welcome… in actual fact I should be the one to thank you!

Girl: *quizzical look* Now why is that?

Boy: I don’t always accomplish my mission. Some people just won’t have a stranger chat with them no matter their intent.

Girl: Maybe it’s because we mustn’t talk to strangers?

Boy: Who’s being clichĂ© now? *pointed look, gentle smile*

Girl: *smiles back* Touché.

Boy: You want to hear something astounding?

Girl: Surprise me.

Boy: You’ve done a great job cheering me up by talking to me. I really appreciate it. Thank you. *rises*

Girl: Wait… you’re joking right? Really? You looked you’re doing the same thing as before.

Boy: Ah yes but this time I’m leaving you with a smile on your face. Have a good night…?

Girl: *raises eyebrow* I’m guessing I’m supposed to fill in my name? *laughs*

Boy: I guess I’ll call you Aida.

Girl: What an odd name… why Aida?

Boy: It means happy and judging by the look on your face it’s accurate and it suits you… It’s been a pleasure meeting you Aida.

Girl: Hmmm. At least I’ve learned something new today. May I ask? What’s your name?

Boy: Call me Joe.

Girl: Joe… you’re not so regular are you?

Joe: I’d like to think so. Thanks. Hopefully I’ll see you around, Aida?

Girl: Vanessa… It’s Vanessa. And yes. I hope I’ll see you around too.

The End