Monthly Archives: September 2012

Woo by Email

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There is this facebook photo which is good fodder for amusement. The picture has a statement which says “there should be a relationship status for I don’t even know what’s going on”. The first time I saw this after my friend had tagged me I was thoroughly amused. To be honest it is a bitter-sweet kind of amusement because I totally identify with it. I’ve been in a similar situation before. Why bring this up? Well it’s because I remember a time when I was seeing this guy and after we stopped seeing each + many more months after, he said he didn’t want to say we were seeing each other because I hadn’t officially agreed to date him though he had asked already (God bless him because not everyone asks these days, they expect you will do the math). This is how it ended though, we met up, had a meal together and when he was walking me to the matatu/bus (I forget) he asked me “Is it ok, if we see other people”? It was kind of shocking because the date we had the week before was exciting and there was so much hope for the future especially on his part. I also thought” hey, I’m afraid to get my feet in but this looks hopeful I can do this”. It was the proverbial “ready, steady, go before you leap through the air to the other side. Except in my case I didn’t know the other side was planning to move before I leapt. How things go from we’re engaged to be engaged to let’s see other people in one week is testament to clearly “I didn’t know what was going on”. Fast forward to happier times and I remember one of the cool things about that period of time when he was pursuing me was the exchange of emails between us.

It’s common knowledge that personal letters by post are in their death bed and it is a terrible shame. I however have had the rare treat of receiving letters in the mail from someone in the last two years but that’s a story for a book another day. You would think that email would naturally replace the letter but has it really? We are so caught up in this instant results web (pun intended) that the idea of waiting a few days to receive a reply is exasperating to say the least. The sad thing is, apparently the more we use all this smart devices the more dumb we are becoming. Are we going to stop using these devices? I can hear a resounding, “Of course not”! And that is perfectly fine. The advent of smart phones cannot be said to have completely diminished the human’s mental capacity. I mean the people who come up with these things are still creative right? Now as for the consumers I cannot really say but I trust that wherever we are we are creating in some way or other.

I know I seem to have lost the plot as far as email is concerned but let me try to get it back. What I am advocating for is bring email into the relating process especially for those of you who are creative. Like I said when I was having the thing with the guy (since I didn’t know what was going on might as well be ambiguous), I loved the emails. At the time I was doing French class during the university holidays and internet access wasn’t that much of a breeze. I couldn’t afford to go to the cyber every day, therefore those days when I did go and there was an email from said guy oh the excitement! My temperature would literally rise up a notch and the contents of those emails could not have passed for steamy (I promise). What would get me even more excited was the process of replying. For me writing back was a challenge to be interesting, witty and even a little coy. It was so much fun. I think it was a bit of a treat for the reader too. I could go on and on about it but that would kill the mystery of finding out for yourself. There is nothing quite like putting your thoughts into words and going the extra mile and putting feelings into words is amazing. Now add witticisms, intelligent jokes and charm and it is a recipe for grinning from ear to ear. Who doesn’t want to grin from ear to ear at the office sometime during the day? It is the tea masala on an otherwise dull cup of chai. Like I said I don’t expect people to go back to mail by post but I think email meets us half way between modernity and the golden age of the love letter. The thing to do with email is to add a brief waiting period in between emails. If you receive a romantic email at lunch time please do not feel the pressure to get the reply in by end of day. Leave it until the next day or two but at the same time don’t wait light years. Of course for two people in the same time zone it’s kind of silly to write about things you can easily talk about when you meet physically. So I suggest keep it interesting, bring out your most charming self and enjoy. If unfortunately things don’t work between you and your significant other, you will have a keep-sake in your inbox to put a smile on your face on a day you want to take a trip down nostalgia lane. If things do get really bad, you can hit the delete button. So hey, woo by email and feel free to share any e-woo stories.

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Friends with food

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I think I am a little vain. I imagine some of my friends’ eye brows furrowing thinking, a little? I wouldn’t blame them. At the moment I am on a default exercise programme. Now before you get excited when I say exercise I mean the kind that will not break a sweat. Don’t get me wrong I love sweating as much as the next guy but if it involves pain I will take the easy way out. My exercise regimen consists of a 30 minute walk 5 days a week. I call it exercise because when I talk about it to people who spend a lot of time in vehicles and chairs, they are impressed, and maybe a little envious or not. If you’re on the other side of the divide and you break real sweat through adrenaline inducing work outs, a one hour walk might make your eyes roll but hey I don’t care. I will keep walking for vain reasons like I’m losing inches. If walking does what jogging could do and with less pain, I will take it. Anyway the vain part of the story stems from what I think about losing inches. What can I say I love it! Every time I talk about it I have this celebratory tone like woohoo! I’m getting smaller! On the surface I am thrilled about being smaller but deep down the thing that makes me do mental cart wheels is I can look at all food sinful, eat it even and enjoy it thoroughly, knowing full well it will not remain with me for too long. For someone who loves food this is like having your cake and eating it too. Allow me to digress a little but I reckon the expression would have made more sense had it been having your cake and ice cream. I keep asking, who is this who thinks cake is for having and not eating. In case you’re wondering; I am whetting your appetites so that I can talk about food.
My favourite scene in Eat, Pray, Love was when Elizabeth was in Italy having Pizza. She was tearing into a pizza and her new found Swedish friend couldn’t shake the guilt off having the indulgence of a large pizza because her pants were getting tighter. Then Elizabeth said we are going to enjoy the pizza and thereafter go shopping for bigger pants. I loved it! I mean really how liberating is it to realise that we shouldn’t be defined by external things. I once had some philosophical moments and I thought we should treat food like we would our friends. It made lots of sense back then, I don’t know if it does now especially since you can’t eat your friends. This is the part where I ask for your indulgence. In my epiphany I thought love your food but don’t depend on it entirely. Food is a necessity, it tastes good (depending) but it is not everything. Do not rely on food to sort out your emotional issues. Of course food especially sweets are amazingly comforting when you are in an emotional funk but the truth is if your friend figured out that you constantly go to them when you have emotional issues they would grow sick of you. Since they are your friend they might react by being passive aggressive and avoiding you. Food may take the passive aggressive route too but it won’t be so forgiving. It will hide in your body as fat and kill you slowly.
It has been said variety is the spice of life. Every once in a while you need to make new friends if only to broaden your experience of humanity. When your experience of humanity is broadened your adaptability increases. Adaptability is essential for survival. Same thing with food you need to try new foods every so often. Your palate needs to experience different tastes so as to make you more adaptable to the environment. You might end up in Cambodia where their food philosophy is apparently ‘bitter is better than sweet’. If someone gives you the opportunity to experience some novel food, you grab that opportunity. You never know where life will take you so even your stomach should be prepared for anything.
Then there are the toxic friends who do you no good. Yeah sure, they are loads of fun but they leave you high and dry. At this point I would like to clarify food includes drinks. You keep saying I don’t want to hang out with X anymore because every time I do trouble bites me in the behind. Foods or drinks with high sugar content fall into this category. When the sugar wears off, you crash and burn. At work there was a kid’s birthday party and there were marshmallows. My colleague and I helped ourselves to the marshmallows and I figured since I don’t enjoy the spongy super sugary taste of marshmallows as is, we should toast them. Personally I think in the case of marshmallows once you go dark you should never have to go back. So we went looking for some fire and well we decided to use the birthday candles to toast the marshmallows. Don’t ask! Anyway so we put our marshmallows on forks and we toasted them and you know the result, some ooey-gooey bundle of goodness. We were so pleased with our genius that we high-fived each other when we were bragging to our colleagues about our treat. Besides the marshmallows we had earlier had some cake with jam spread on it so you can imagine sugar on sugar. At first I was totally high! I mean you should have seen me super charged past 3p.m. Normally, the average person wishes the clock was a horse so you could kick it so it goes faster but then time decides to be a donkey at that time. Later on I was heading to town for a meeting and I ran into traffic and by the time I got out of the matatu I was so mad. I had to calm myself down throughout the entire 15 minute walk to the venue. In spite of my best efforts to calm down I was still the crankiest person at that meeting. Newton wasn’t kidding, what comes up must come down. I won’t even get started on alcohol because everybody knows first high then dry and literally because you need to hydrate afterwards. Toxic friends will drain you so the best thing is to avoid them same goes for food. Toxic food and drink should be avoided. Unfortunately some of us are weaker than others and we can’t entirely avoid these things, one word: moderation.
I always say moderation is key (if you haven’t heard me say it, I’ve said it to myself). There is a programme airing on a local TV station called Slim Possible that follows some women’s weight loss journeys. I know some people are having a blast being mean and criticizing them and I will admit my constant thought is “why let the weight get so out of control only to suffer later?” Honestly I feel sad that someone should have to repent for having a piece of cake during the week. Once, a friend blogged about his culinary creation and posted it on face book and the description was mouth watering to say the least. The funny thing is it sparked a debate on calories and death by heart attack and I contributed to the piece saying food is not the problem, we are. We lack control, we ignore all the signals our bodies send to us telling us to stop and then we blame it on innocent bacon. I mean bacon doesn’t call to you saying come and eat me and even if your mind is playing tricks on you and bacon is beckoning, shake your head, say no and live to enjoy bacon another day. Food is to be enjoyed but if you take advantage of food there are repercussions. Go on enjoy some food with friends today!