Monday, February 28, 2011

When Did I Turn Into My Parents

I remember when I was growing up my parents being careful how they spent their cash. Not that there is anything wrong with being thrifty, mind you. These days, and I suppose those days as well, being thrifty with your money was being clever.

As far back as I can remember I wished my parents had more money. Mostly I wished they had more money to pander to my wishes on any given day. It was a selfish notion, but I was quite a bit self-centred in my younger years.

All through those years, I always promised myself that I would never think twice about spending money. I vocalized that promise to myself a few times as well. I made sure my parents knew I would never be as big misers as they were.

Fast forward a few years. What do we see?

I would not say that I am a terribly frugal person. I do not mind to spend money on The Boss. If it pleases The Boss of course. However, The Boss herself is not a terribly demanding person. I am also not a spendthrift.

I have, in recent years, become an incredibly cheap person. Allow me to paint you a picture of my cheapness.

About a year ago I noticed the front tyres of my car wearing down slightly. Any normal person would pull into the local SupaQuick, order 2 tyres and be off. Not me. I first phoned around to find out who stocks the particular (cheap-ish) brand of tyre that is currently on the car. Enquired about the cost per wheel. Made all sorts of encouraging noises on the phone.

On the day I decided to have the wheels done, off I drove to SupaQuick. Told the tyre fitting person that I want one tyre. Put one new one on front. Put spare tyre on the front, and put the best out of the two current wheels on the spare.

Like I said, I am cheap. I am so cheap that I make Jews look generous.

The Boss and I’s visit to Cape Town last year is another prime example of my cheapness. Most people would opt to fly down, rent a car and pay a hotel. Not this one.

We did the math. In doing the math we realized that if we drove down we can save R 6,000. Of course a saving of that much made me very happy. So we opted to drive.

The half of the population that would drive the distance would sleep over somewhere. Not this one. I reckoned that if we don’t sleep over anywhere we save even more money.

So I drove, and drove. We got to Cape Town in one piece, tired as all hell, but I saved money.

Previous years I had no problems spending money. I was however made to feel guilty when I spent my money on myself. I am assuming that my cheapness might stem from there. To this day I feel bad about spending money. Or perhaps it is just genetics.

Whatever it might be, I am not complaining. Stupidity has had me spend large portions of my “disposable income” paying off bills. Hopefully my cheapness will bring that to an end some day soon.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I spend an inordinate amount of time on certain social networking sites.

In spending so much time on one particular site, I have noticed some strange phenomena. Actually, given that is it now 2011, I have noticed one particular phenomenon a lot earlier than just now. Hell's Bells, I was a part of it in the late 90s and early 2000s.

This strange phenomenon is people losing their identity when they either enter a new relationship, or have a baby.

Admittedly, I have been in relationships where I have lost a part of my identity. Some time after the breakup I would regain that lost bit and become more of myself again.

I was lucky that with the arrival of The Boss in my life, I was able to hold on to what makes me what, and who, I am.

However, some of the people I see on the aforementioned social networks have lost so much of their identities; I don't think they know any more than I do who they are.

There are people, some on my list of friends that share profiles with their marital partners. Some of the unmarried ones will only post status updates pertaining to their new partners. And, for the sweet love of Christ, don't get me started on the new parents.

New parents need to realize one thing and one thing only. We are really not interested in how many times Spawn used the potty or what their first word was. I know for a fact that if it was my spawn their first word will be either "Fuck" or "Cock". Not exactly the words that will warm the cockles of grandma's heart, but I digress.

Not only are we bombarded with everything the child does, says or shits, but the profile picture changes as well. No points for guessing that one. I had to learn to identify my friends by what their spawn looks like.

Then the marrieds, or newly in loves, that just cannot exist without their partners. Their existence is so reliant on their partners that even their bloody Facebook profiles cannot stand alone. Piet en Sannie Poggenpoel is what greets me. Question is, who the fuck am I dealing with on any given day?

I have often thought about that profile sharing business. I thought about it before social networking even existed, when an acquaintance shared an e-mail address with her husband.

I would never in a million years share a Facebook profile, or e-mail address, with The Boss. Firstly because we have different friends, different interests and some of her friends don't like me, and vice versa. Mostly vice versa. Nothing personal mind you, just business.

There was a point to all of this… Yes, identity.

It seems as if more and more people are losing their identity when they're with a partner, or with child. People are spending so much time being identified by who they're dating, feeding or burping, that they have no idea any more who they are.

As much as I am defined by my partnership with The Boss, and whatever job it is that I find myself in, I define myself.

It has taken me a long, long time to find my identity. Not that I ever lost my identity, mind you. It did get a bit murky a few times, but never really disappeared. Looking at others thought, it seems as if very few people know any more who they are. If you remove their significant other, or children, they will turn to dust and blow away with the wind.

Perhaps this is a throwback to the old days. We all remember those. The wife was known as Mrs Piet Poggenpoel. Whether her name be Sannie, Gesiena, or Koos. She became a part of her husband. I just need to think about suggesting that to The Boss, and I'll get a flip flop to the side of the head. The Boss is who she is. I am who I am. Together we stand, but apart we stand as well.

Please, people, find your identities. You don't need your partners, or your children to define who you are.