But only under the first topic.
Open Letter to Dog Owners
Oh the fantasies I've had of shutting up that damn dog for good...
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I love animals. No exceptions. I will cuddle almost anything (Portuguese Man of War excluded). I work in wildlife film-making and spend my days lovingly staring at footage of cheetah cubs and the odd lemur.
And pets? Love them all. Will feed anything.
But I cannot stand a barking dog.
To clarify, I'm not talking about the necessary bark at a stranger or scary smell. I don't mind a yip of excitement at an owner returning home, or even a sad howl every now and again.
I do, however, make a vow to buy a paintball gun when I find myself awake at two in the morning because the neighbour's dog has been barking for half an hour straight. For no reason at all.
Do you seriously not hear that? What is wrong with you?
As a South African, I am conditioned to wake up instantly at the slightest sound or change in room temperature. Break-ins are more than common in this country, so you learn to be super vigilant. If a dog barks, you get out of bed and check your yard. End of story.
If you let your dog bark non-stop, you not only upset all your neighbours (who are now all leopard-crawling through their houses with night-vision goggles on), but you literally teach your dog to cry wolf.
Anything will now elicit a stream of yapping abuse from your furry friend: a car driving by; a bushbaby hopping through the trees; you flushing the toilet.
And in the meantime, I'll just be sitting here, grinding my teeth and dreaming up all sorts of scenarios where I tell you off and/or dye your dog blue to get my point across.
An endlessly barking dog is not a pet. It's a nuisance to everyone, in more ways than one. Control your dog. You brought that animal into your home, and you need to take responsibility for it. You are its guardian and the person it looks to for guidance and boundaries. Be the leader of the pack and teach your dog when it is OK to behave in certain ways.
It's dog ownership 101.
And PS, I am writing this through the cacophony of my neighbour's Cocker Spaniel going off, once again, with no end in sight.
Apparently Robbers Don't Like ABBA
While we're on the subject of break-ins... I have been the victim of various forms of break-ins (from car, to home, to kitchen cupboard) on more than one occasion.
Some have been scary. Like the time three crooks climbed through the window I had been sitting at only an hour before, and I woke up to my dad charging down the hall like a raging bull, armed with my hockey stick. Or the time a dude tried to break in by removing the roof tiles and climbing into the ceiling, right above the room my mom and I were hiding in. Or the time...
Then again, let's not continue on this path. All break-ins are scary.
But some do leave you with a smile or even make you laugh a few years down the line. For example: we got home one afternoon to catch a glimpse of a robber as he was escaping over the fence, a bag stuffed full of my clothes under his arm. A few weeks later, I spotted him in the supermarket wearing MY TOP AND HAT. He even gave me a sassy little pose, to boot.
But my most memorable break-in? When they plundered my husband's car and took the entire CD case with over 50 discs in it. But not before daintily removing my ABBA Gold CD and leaving it on the front seat.
Wouldn't be caught dead with that, apparently.
The Durban Promenade
Rickshaws and roller-bladers. Vendors shouting obscenities at you. Monkeys running amok amid kids on their skateboards. Surfers heading to the beach and lifeguards frantically whistling and waving their arms.
The gleeful screams emanating from Ushaka Marine World and the diving club returning triumphantly and then banking their rubber duck in full view of everyone. The surfskiers paddling their hearts out to keep up with the dolphins in the distance, and the massive cargo ship gliding eerily and soundlessly in to dock.
The sand artists who glare at you if you don't donate anything.
The reggae band and the accompanying suspicious smoky smells drifting up from under the pier.
The cocktail bar at the end of the pier, and its patrons who go there specially to laugh at you when your bodyboard thunks you on the head after a particularly aggressive wave between the pillars.
The Durban Promenade. What a poetic place.
Learn to laugh at your misfortune, appreciate the beauty of the place you are living in, and don't be afraid to vent once in a while.
You'll feel better, believe me :)