Saturday, May 02, 2009

Housing Virtual Stories

I like the postmodern habit that lends flexible meaning, if any, to virtually any story. The reason I suspect, but can't confirm, is because much of my being is mediated by doubtful ambivalence and a desire to tell stories. ;)

Sometimes I worry that my lack of traction in matters of moving forward or backward is described by seeking one more meaning inside of another meaning, or the reverse.

Whatever, I am drawn to telling stories and then doing so again in a manner that adds or subtracts meaning(s).

And so my immediate need to tell a story within a story(s) started after Mooi stopped by number 11 today on one of his uscheduled fly by the seat of your pants visits from Joburg. We talked over coffee and homemade scones in the front garden.

"I am starting my diet on Monday because I need to lose 10 kilos (22 pounds) very quickly," he announced in-between scones. "Don't you walk to keep fit anymore?", I asked for no other reason but to say something.

"Do I look like I walk?", he replied. "I think you should get a gym membership and run on a treadmill and lift weights like I do", I added.

We had this conversation before. Many times in fact. One time we were in Bangalore and another time in occupied Kashmir, among other times.

"Are you still wasting your time writing sh*t on your blog", Mooi asked. Before I could answer he added that "I look in from time to time and see you are still whining as usual."

"You should know that I am publishing two books this year and you are featured in one." "Let me read a copy ahead of time so I can sue you for defamation or something before you publish", I replied.

"There will be pictures too. Pictures to go with the stories. Remember at Rhodes you threatened to necklace a coloured soldier? It is in the book."

I remember that night in 1986. It was in the heat of new crack-downs on political activity and a car load of us came across a young coloured man in military uniform hitching a ride in Grahamstown.

I was driving and stopped the car alonside the soldier. I got out of the car and walked around and unlocked the boot making as if I was looking for a tyre.

"I will be back with a tyre and some petrol just wait here", I said loudly to the soldier. He did not make eye contact with me and I got into the car and drove away.

Later that night I drove back to the spot where the soldier was standing. Half of me wanted to apologize to him and a small part of the other half recognized that his life inside the apartheid military machine was more and/or less than just a choice about selling out.

The soldier was long gone and so was the point of showing off. Nonetheless the story has stayed inside the circle of friends who witnessed my necklacing 'threat'.

Since then we have witnessed soldiers of liberation sell-out more than a young soldier trying to hitch a ride inside of nowhere.

At the end of 1986 Mooi and I 'graduated' into what he calls "Rhodes University reject" status.

In 2005 and 2006 I worked alongside not-white soldiers at South Africa's Military Academy who served under apartheid and made clear their struggle for liberation inside the apartheid military machine, a struggle that is hardly over in the post era.

Some of you may remember that and Mooi very spent a month in early 2007 travelling in India.

I remember when we were on the streets of Bangalore one night and a cop waved his baton at me. He wanted me to move. I walked up to him and stared him in the face and said "what did you say?"

"This is India we don't speak English so move", he barked at me.

I was pissed. Said a lot of nasty sh*t and puffed my chest best I could even as I moved on.

That night I was the colonial signifier as my linguistic 'coalition' with the imperial system was apportioned subjective meaning.

The other night in 1986 was different but yet so much the same in significance.

In the end, if there is one or just one, both the soldier and I were so much more and so much less than just figures drawn from or alongside oppression.

Mooi and I don't see each other often enough since our India adventures. When we do I am always struck by his ability to weave streams of other-worldly consciousness alongside 'real' world concerns.

When he talks about his frustration about building his house and running out of money I often think about my previous entanglements with Jungian notions of housing one's spiritual being.

I am reminded that once I started a relationship out of another relationship where Jung's theories were prominent only to find that neither relationship could look like Jung's house.

I can't offer Mooi any advice on building his house or working with his builder. In my now almost 45 years I have never owned a house or wanted to house myself in anything but transient ambivalence.

I don't even like House Music anymore and I am not even sure why I liked it in that time when I wore a gold necklace.


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