Saturday, January 9, 2010

Stolen Meme's

So I first saw this nifty Q & A for 2009 on Nafisa's blog and thought it was pretty cool .. now that both Azra and Waseem have done it, i'd better jump on the bandwagon as well.
It's a bit late it's true .. but better late than never

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?

Got arrested ooh and had a real job

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Didn't really have any resolutions last year, plenty this year though

3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?
A fun contrast to last year, spent it chilling out with friends in Umhlanga, playing on the beach in the rain

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Nope, not really, well MJ's gone .. and so i suppose pop is dead; but that's more of a thing than a person

5. What countries did you visit?
Went to the England in April, mainly to watch football

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
More adventure I guess, hopefully should be off to Nigeria pretty soon .. but also more adventure in life

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
1 Feb, the day I started working at my first real job

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Turning around my performance at work, something I didn't think was possible six months ago

9. What was your biggest failure?
Failing to maintain links, connections and relationships the way they deserved to be

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Right at the end of the year, I dislocated my shoulder (time number 15); thankfully 09 was free of any heart drama

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Tickets to watch Man Utd play Aston Villa at Old Trafford, what a fabulous time .. oh and perhaps the new apartment; but i'll still be thinking of that as 2010s purchase

12. Where did most of your money go?
Squandered i guess; in the words of the immortal George Best "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars, the rest I just squandered" .. although the fast car did account for a goodly chunk

13. What song will always remind you of 2009?
My sex is on fire - Kings of Leon

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Blogging, and just accepting and enjoying life

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Stressing about things beyond my control

16. What was your favourite TV program?
Big Bang Theory

17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Absolutely .. the Swiss Bitch who made my life such a misery in the first half of this year

18. What was the best book you read?
On the road - Jack Kerouac

19. What was your greatest musical discovery?
That I like deep house much more than I thought I did .. and that the Parlotones are really, truly fantastic

20. What was your favourite film of this year?
Avatar was amazing but I think Invictus wins because it tugged at the heart strings so much

21. What did you do on your birthday?
Can't remember the specifics, but it ended with riding a bus past the hospital I was born in in London

22. What kept you sane?
Work and the amazing friends i've made

23. Who did you miss?
Friends .. Kaajal in particular, although that was mainly my fault

24. Who was the best new person you met?
Maria who shares an office with me

25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:
That I can accomplish things I didn't really believe I could .. thought I could .. but never believed

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2009 in review - Chasing Cars

So the year in review, feels much like the title of the Snow Patrol song, "Chasing Cars", not actually like the lyrics of the song surprisingly, just the title. The lyrics are sorta relevant i suppose, a love story of sorts, but we'll come to that. The

So 2009, started off with more a whimper than a bang. I was partying up in Bellito at a 5Fm gig, which was pretty fun, but a whole lot less fun than the pre-planned alternative of partying in the Coliseum in Rome with a friend. The deviation from the plan was of course driven by my broken heart which ended with my doc barring me from flying. So there I was dancing in the New Year, opening up a new chapter in my life, the end of me the engineer and the beginning of me the management consultant.

Work didn't actually start for another month, 1 Feb was the big day, and what a ride that has been. I briefly mentioned what it was like, but to surmise it's been a crazy fun filled roller-coaster full of 18 hour days, tremendous excitement at actually driving change, and interspersed and mixed up between this some painful shocks to the system.

Which brings me to the title of this post "Chasing Cars", it's been the theme of my year, well "Chasing" at any rate. Chasing, was to use some Chessic jargon the leitmotif, for me. The year began with me chasing a girl, and ended in a similar fashion, chasing girls. Sandwiched in between, was me chasing the rest of life, chasing work.

I suppose on some level that's what life's about .. chasing .. perhaps just in my corporatised existence? I spent the work year chasing. Chasing after clients, after data (you'd think clients would want to share, considering they hired us, but you'd be wrong). Chasing after projects, the plum ones, in fabulous locations like Madagascar; and most importantly perhaps, chasing after good performance reviews. It's odd that, when 2 weeks, 6 months, an entire year is compressed down into a single page memo, a 10 minute meeting to discuss your performance rating and what that means going forward. It worked out all right in the end, i'll spare you most of the messy bits and pieces in between; but in retrospect it seems so bizarre.

There was plenty of other chasing throughout the year, including some actual "Chasing Cars", that was back in April; it was late one Friday night, after dinner with friends in Joburg. I'd promised a friend i'd drop off some stuff in Pretoria that night, but I needed to be back in Joburg by 7 the next morning. It was 1 in the morning, and the M1 North was pretty empty as I put my foot down, the next thing I knew there was a bright flash and a posse of cop cars chasing me down the highway and violently gesticulating at me to pull over. Less than 10 minutes later I was sitting in Midrand police station, having been flashed doing 178 km/h. Flashing through my mind on the way to the station was everything i'd ever heard about South African jails, anal rape by career criminals, brutal prison gangs and callous policeman. It took almost an hour for the cops to process my paperwork, by which time my folks had arrived at the station (I'd called them in my panic). The swearing and yelling I got from them as I was arraigned ended up being worse than the rest of the jail experience.

I was locked up with 30 other well off men, all arrested for driving in excess of 160 km/h. We laughed at our fears, and swapped speed stories. Unsurprisingly all 30 of us were driving German cars! There were 4 other men in the cell, 3 had been arrested for drinking in public and the fourth for drunk driving. So much then for the scary SA jails; I hired a lawyer before my court appearance who got me off scott-free on some technicality or the other; but i've certainly learnt my lesson. I will never drive at more than 160 on the M1 North!

So what else did I chase this year, life i suppose - that old cliche about working hard and playing/partying harder. Did my very best to live up to that for much of the year. 'Twas a tad schizophrenic i suppose, clubbing versus halqa's; hiking and the outdoors versus marathon PS3 sessions. I think it was a rebellion, a reaction perhaps to 4 years of the regimented life of an engineering student, of living at home, to my new found freedom; the ability to do anything without reprimand or even much of a word of caution. At some point point, burnout threatened to become an issue, but I was fortunate in the timing of projects; they allowed me just enough time to regain my breath, before plunging headlong into another packed calendar.

And so the final thing I chased this year, to return this post to where it started, 'Chasing Cars", and it's slightly too sickly sweet and sentimental lyrics. I chased women this year, far too many for my own good. To the point where as a friend put it, it was becoming bad for my soul!
The year started with me chasing the love of my life, who had decided in her infinite wisdom that we weren't actually cut out to be together for all eternity. It took a few months of hard chasing, wining and dining, for me to realise that the moment had been lost, things had changed and there was no going back.
Next on the list was an almost innocent flirtation then ended in a slightly seedy meeting of hands and lips, that may unfortunately have ruined a budding friendship. I don't think I was really chasing that, perhaps the anxiety and frustrations of the last few months had just sort of boiled over.
Most of the rest of the year was too consumed with my quest for a better performance review to afford much chasing time, but I think I easily compressed more than enough into the final 2 months of the year.
Another budding friendship inexorably altered by an accidental slip of the tongue (really bad pun I know), it left a sour aftertaste in my mouth and hers, here's hoping that can friendship can be resurrected sooner rather than later.
Which leads me to this last month, a tale of three beauties each with their own flaws and saving graces, pretty faces and slightly darker souls:
  • The ravishing medical student from Cape Town
  • The razor sharp investment banking belle
  • And the cutie-pie old family friend, who seems to be hinting at something
The Good Lord alone knows how all this will end up, but here's hoping that 2010 is less about chasing and more about catching. Less about anxiety and insecurity and more about certainty and confidence.

Here's to a 2010 filled with Bafana magic, and the euphoria of the World Cup, and perhaps to finding the one beside whom I can just lie "And Just Forget the World"

PS: And hopefully a lot more blogging :-)