Friday, 22 March 2013

The Terror of Taking Photos, Planning, Driving on a Public Holiday

Things are cooking over here! Have a look at the Book page for news...

That aside, here are my three thinks for today:

The Terror of Taking Photos - I don't do well with photos. Never have. No matter how much I pep-talk myself beforehand, psyche myself up and try to remember that my right side is my 'good' side; I ALWAYS end up looking completely alien on the photo.
Sometimes, I hardly recognise myself: no neck, fat cheeks, small eyes and flat hair (I'm painting quite the pretty picture, aren't I?). It's frustrating and incredibly annoying!
Months before our wedding, I tried practicing in the mirror so I would at least be proud of the shots that will eventually be plastered all over my, my parents', my grandparents' and my new family's walls - but to no avail. Though some can be displayed in an inconspicuous fashion, peeking out from behind other family photos in such a way that you can only just see my fringe; the rest are best left in the album (or what would be the album if I had actually had them printed). Because, you see, despite my mirror sessions, my make-up artist for that day decided that 'tan' wasn't such a good look... So by some obscene twist of fate, my perfectly natural (also a few months' worth of work) tan face became covered in a light pink foundation. So now,  in the pics, it looks as though my shockingly white face has been photoshopped onto the body of a tanned bride. Oh. My. Word.
So, with that fresh in mind, I went to have my author photos taken yesterday.
I picked a friend of mine to do the snapping, both because she is a brilliant photographer, and because she is the kind of friend who will tell you if you are looking like a total idiot.
Satisfied that I would have someone there I could trust, I (once again) planted myself in front of the bathroom mirror and tried different looks. I wasn't too happy about my modelling abilities, but decided that it will never improve and that it was time to accept it.
So, prepared for absolute failure and the inevitable "Chandler Photo Face Freeze" (Friends Season 7, Episode 5), I set off to the shoot. Well, our version of a shoot; which includes coffee, a lot of gossip and chasing kids out of the frame at the park where I was trying desperately to pull myself into a tree (long story).
Whether it was due to the relaxed surroundings, the extremely buttery croissant I had just eaten, or the breeze that flipped my hair perfectly - the photos came out GREAT! I am incredibly surprised, and very VERY HAPPY!
But all the external elements aside, I know it only worked because of my friend. Thanks so much, Landi, for taking the best photos of me that anyone has ever done. And for offering up your public holiday to traipse around a park and boost me up a tree. And then for leaving me there and laughing hysterically as I try to get down.
I really cherish our friendship.

Planning - Lists. Getting things done and checking them off. Thinking ahead. Setting up a schedule. Keeping to it. Telling everyone I am on schedule. Realising I am not. Finding more things that need to get done. Add them to lists. Read books on time-management instead of working on project. Realise mistake. Try to make up lost time by reading how to do it.
So. Many. Things.
I will get there, though. I'm sure of it. Sometimes I need the pressure to coax myself into actually doing it.
At least, that's what I like to tell myself late at night.

Driving on a Public Holiday - I live in Gauteng, South Africa. Now, if you live here or have spent some time here, you will know that people here drive like maniacs. Even the nicest, most docile person (like the friendly receptionist or the small old man that sat next to you in church) instantly turn into a swerving, beeping, fist-waving lunatic the minute they leave their driveway. 
This is due to a number of factors. Like the fact that the roads are not designed to handle so many cars. Or the fact that most of the roads are peppered with potholes large enough to swallow a Fiesta (another post on that, here). Or the fact that, in Africa, there is a general disregard of rules.
Solid white line = cross it. Red light = challenge accepted! Shoulder of road = extra lane! No road whatsoever = adventure!
Without any doubt, if you find yourself driving in Johannesburg, you will experience: a taxi cutting in front of you and then stopping dead (at least once), a person trying to sell you hangers by running alongside your car, a bus overtaking you in a residential area, and a guy in an old turquoise Polo driving horizontally across four lanes so he can stop in front of you and reset his gps. Once, I even saw a homeless guy surfing a shopping trolley down a hill and I have personally witnessed three goats waiting for the pedestrian light to turn green so they could cross the street. I kid you not.
So then, what are we crazy Gautengees to do when a public holiday rolls around?
Suddenly, there's no pressure to get anywhere and less cars on the road. Shock and awe.
People are torn between driving around aimlessly and extra slow, and speeding and beeping people out of the way. There's a sense of limbo - a parallel universe where you get somewhere on time and no-one is pushing your car over the line the second the light goes green. We go into a trance-like state and, for a day at least, peace and harmony abides. 
Weird. You almost want to start a fight for want of normalcy. 

Aim for that perfect photo at least once in your life, don't get too overwhelmed and try to keep your cool if you ever drive in Johannesburg! (I said try).

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