Thursday, December 08, 2005

Selected Conversations With My Sister

Twice a year my sister and I trek to the Northern Suburbs (read: middle to upper class Afrikaans-speaking people) of Cape Town for our biannual dentist visits. We've had the same dentist for, maybe, 20 years, and we've just followed her around as she's moved from one location to another, each time further away from where we live in the Southern Suburbs (read: middle to upper class English speaking people), because a good dentist is hard to find (apparently: everyone I know has horror stories).

The visit was uneventful, as always, but the car ride never is. My sister and I have our own language, of sorts (we once had an entire conversation that consisted mainly of the word "morning" (as in, "early in the day", not "hello"), which confused the hell out of one of our cousins who was standing nearby and didn't know what we were talking about). We also tend to have heated discussions, which occasionally lead to heated arguments.

We're about 500 metres away from the building, having just left, talking about the appointment.
Tracey: " then, the dentist is using that hook thing, and she blithely yanks upwards and picks off bits of my gum in the process..."
Me: "You used the word 'blithely'. I've never heard anyone use that word!" [I am only familiar with the word because when I was in my final year at high school the play for the year was Blithe Spirit. (I headed the lighting team, in case you were wondering.)]

We're on our way home, but looking frantically for a petrol station, because the last thing someone from the Southern Suburbs wants to be is trapped in the Northern Suburbs. I have taken out my 2005 diary to write, because I realise that the conversation we've been having is blog material. We've been discussing words, of all the odd things to discuss. My sister makes fun of a colleague who uses the word "verbose". I comment that I like the word, although I never use it (and yes, the irony that I am somewhat verbose at times, certainly in terms of writing, is not lost on me. Go away.).
Tracey [with a slight, frantic edge in her voice]: "What are you writing? I don't like it when you take out your notebook like that."

We pull into a petrol station and the car is being filled up. I look across the road and see the "Barloworld Subaru Tygervalley [sic]" car dealership.
Me [absentmindedly looking out the window at the dealership]: "Ah, Subaru. Su-bagh-rhoooo[in a fake, bad French accent].
Tracey [absentmindedly, while making a note of the kilometres on the odometer]: "...Sooo-behroooo..."
Me [absentmindedly]: "...Su-bagh-rhoooo..."
Tracey [absentmindedly]: "...Sooo-behroooo..."
Me [absentmindedly]: "...Su-bagh-rhoooo..."

We're driving out the petrol station.
Tracey [glancing to her right]: "That dude's very familiar. I wonder why?"
Me [trying to see what she's looking at]: "What dude?"
Tracey: "In the thingie."
I look past her and see a guy in an old VW beetle parked off to the side at the petrol station.

We're on the N1 highway [*]. I comment, for the second time, continuing our earlier conversation, that I like the words "obtuse", but I never really use it, and I like the word "abstruse", but I don't think that I've ever used it.
Tracey: "I use 'obtuse' all the time, but I've never heard of 'abstruse'."
Me: "'Abstruse' is a word, I just never use it, but I like 'obtuse'."
Tracey: "I use 'obtuse' all the time..."
Me: "You said that already. I never said that 'obtuse' wasn't a word, I said that I never use it..."
Tracey: "Yes, but I use it all the time..."
We go around like this about three times before we finally give up...

...but it then leads to a heated discussion about the concise Oxford dictionaries that we both received for Christmas in 1988 (the dictionary was fine while we were in school, but when I became a copy editor and would sometimes work at home and would need to look something up, the word would never be in the dictionary. My sister, though not a copy editor, experiences the same thing and notes that "hubris" is not in it either. Well, of course not. Who uses that word? It's like "blithe". She is odd...). We debate whether "abstruse" will be in the dictionary. I don't think it will. Neither does my sister, but that's because she's beginning to think that I've made up the word.
[By the way, it actually was in that particular dictionary. I checked when I got home. I was rather surprised.]

We get stuck in roadworks. Not the same roadworks as the ones from Sunday but, nevertheless, roadworks on the same highway on the same side of the road. A heated discussion ensues about the roadworks, which have been going on for over a year and are both inconvenient and dangerous (because they don't put up proper signage far enough before you hit the sudden traffic jam).

We're off the highway but stuck behind a slow person who drives stupidly. At one point we get a profile view of the person, while at a robot [*]. I'm convinced it's a woman because of the swishy hair and the fine features, but my sister thinks it's a man. We drive along trying to figure it out but, oddly, aren't having a heated discussion about it. There's more an air of anticipation. Eventually we are able to get a better look as we manage to overtake the idiot.
Me: "Oh. It's a man! I thought it was a woman but I didn't want to say anything [read: "start a fight"] because I wasn't sure..."
Tracey: "I thought it was a man but I didn't want to say anything because I wasn't sure..."

I think we'd be very entertaining if we co-hosted a radio show, although that's assuming that we could do it successfully more than once without ending up in a heated argument...



Blogger Tré said...

Ha ha. Funny. No really, I mean it! 'Cept you have me sounding somewhat like a monkey.. My job at the 'Banana must be rubbing off on me..

& BTW, I was ALSO part of the lighting team for Blithe Spirit - it was my first year on the team - the start of my gradual ladder-climb (ha ha! geddit?) to the top.
Because you may not remember, but I was the Head when I got to matric.

So there.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 5:52:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Yes, I remember all of that, but it was totally irrelevant to my post, really. This blog is about ::ahem:: my life, not yours. :)

Start yer own!

Friday, December 09, 2005 9:45:00 AM  
Blogger Tré said...

May I retort by saying you dragged me into YOUR post without my consent?

& then encouraged me to comment?

& THEN made it difficult as all *HECK* for me to actually leave my comment?

Yet I persevered, I filled in forms, I made up usernames & passwords, I guessed at the word verification (while fearing I'd fail), & now I have a blog thingy that I don't know how to use, let alone access?

I have a selection of colourful names for people like you..

Friday, December 09, 2005 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

Judging from the comments I'm gonna make a highly educated guess... tré is your sister?

Thursday, December 22, 2005 6:37:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Yeah. (::snigger::)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 9:42:00 AM  

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