I sat there scrolling through my phone as a potato fritata fried on the stove. I failed to smell any burning but heard something fall. It turns out leaning a plastic spatula on a pan was ill-advised. The heat of the pan had burned through the plastic and now half of the spatula lay next to the stove while the rest lay melting on top of my dinner.
Having not eaten much that day, I surprisingly did not lose my cool. I let out a less than savoury word, picked up the corpse of my spatula and began laughing. Nevermind, my lack of wisdom — why do companies make plastic spatulas? A utensil that is meant to be around heat, shouldn’t be liquescent!
As I was laughing, I walked to my wife and showed her the grotesque image of a spatula that looked like it had been bitten by the shark from Jaws. We both cackled as we witnessed my error.
She suggested a plan to have her food which was left over from a staff lunch. I replied asking her to give me a moment. I was still figuring out if I was going to react like a toddler before nap time or like the stoic adult I pretend to be in public. Fortunately, before I could make my mind up, she had dished up enough for both of us.
We ate with a recognition that my meal truly had fallen apart. A recognition that brought our minds to the experience of things in utter disrepair.
The experience of trying to print on the day a document is needed. The experience of teaching a class when the projector stops working. The experience of a traffic light being out on the way to work. The experience of your car not being able to start, when you don’t have money to fix it. The experience of the Wifi going down for no plausible reason. The experience of going to sleep with no power only to wake to a notification on your phone that loadshedding is in 55 minutes. Within an underlying frustration, we found immense humour in the calamity of it all.
After dinner I made us tea. I decided to drink my cup of tea on the stoep in the early evening. The sun had just gone down and our outside light was on. I looked at the bushes in front of me, and took a deep breath.
On my left was a recently purchased Eucalyptus tree with a bush of Aloe and Rosemary next to it. I looked to the right to see a tree, the name of which name I have forgotten but I do remember the significant amount we paid for it. Scanning further, a large bush of budding Marigolds was in a pot with a lemon tree growing a few paces away. Right next to me a double decker potplant with Roses growing at the bottom and a Plumbago bush growing at the top against the wall. A midst it all I could see growth.
I continued to look around and taking a few deep breaths. Despite the chaos, all I could I think about was how far we’ve come.