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Offbeat 30 November 2016

I turn to my blues playlist on Youtube, open it and find the most obviously cruel song staring me in the face with a wolfish grin: Govt Mule, Banks of the Deep End. Sort of like my bathroom.

It’s been a long week so far, and at the time of writing, it is only Thursday lunch. If you are one of those people who say, ‘you can’t complain’, I don’t want to know you all that much. Sometimes people who have valid grouches are just the thing to take my mind off my own issues. If you have recently lost a foot or something due to some idiot who shouldn’t be let out without a leash and two child minders armed with cattle prods, hello there!

My week has been full of toxicity, people so slow they can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, and a water war of my own. I’ll skip the toxicity and sloths because sometimes what you don’t dwell on is a lot safer than homicide, but I will point out that the idea of cattle prods seems more and more appealing, especially with Christmas around the corner. Santa bring me knuckledusters, please.

The first battle of the water war involved a solar geyser that keeps overflowing. I was told it was heat, and to run some hot water to let the thing cool down. I was also told to buy some kind of shade to cool the thing down. Nope. Really. Seriously. But they didn’t have any shade netting in stock. Yup. That’s real as well. And depressingly predictable. The penny dropped when I figured that it carries on running when the water is lukewarm. I called and told them. They haven’t called back yet.

I have taken action to save Namibia from the fate of sundried tomatoes and the kind of alkaline water that gets served at the table in its desiccated form of salt. I turn my water off at the mains. I think of it as practice for the rationing that lies ahead.

But the water war didn’t end there. Monday night the connection under the basin began to leak. The fact that the mains were off made no impact, even though I turned the mains off some more, until my face turned purple and I faced the threat of serious groin strain. Apparently water remains in the pipes, or my mains tap is faulty. Given the number of municipal visits to the street to fix burst pipes, I suspect the mains tap has given up the struggle in the face of obscenely high water pressure, which is even higher than when you have had six beers, and some guy is occupying the pissoire at the local, dealing leisurely with the threat of his own overflow.

I turn to my blues playlist on Youtube, open it and find the most obviously cruel song staring me in the face with a wolfish grin: Govt Mule, Banks of the Deep End. Sort of like my bathroom. And it feels like this week is my own, personal, sucky 2016 conveniently packed into a couple of days. I assume there is some or other musician out there wondering if he is going to pop his or her clogs just to cap off my week. I hope it’s not Manu Chao, who is the better alternative to Govt Mule and my goth playlist.

In times like this, my mind turns to venting. Years ago, when I still had youth cred, and these stupid sideburns weren’t gray, I could respectably go out and write something nasty in very small letters on the bottom corner of a street sign, or even imagine taking out some matches and setting fire to the problem, not that I ever had the guts. Even the schmuck who caused an evacuation of the classroom by chucking lit matches into the hole in the wooden boards, left me slightly aghast after I stopped laughing.

So what am I left with now? I suppose I will end up going out and saying something acerbic to someone while watching the toilet door with a growing sense of insecurity and discomfort. Yet I have suppressed myself so much that I know for a fact that I will end up feeling ashamed and hoping that I didn’t hurt his feelings, whoever he is. I’ll use big words just in case.

I can complain. Growing up has deprived me of the idea that arson might be a way to relieve my frustration. And it hasn’t rained enough either. And it is too hot by far.

Sometimes it helps to say things. There! I have said it. If you still have all your extremities, please stay away from me in case I start using long words and imagining matches.

About The Author

Pierre Maré

Pierre Maré is a multi-awarded Namibian advertising strategist and copy writer. From 2004 to 2016 he wrote a weekly tongue-in-cheek column for the Namibia Economist, eventually amassing an impressive 590 articles over the almost 12-year period. This series of Offbeat is a digital rerun of his pieces that received the highest reader acclaim. - Ed.