About Me

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A constantly curious and melancholic wanderer...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Being in a relationship with a golfer (is difficult for people sometimes)...

This morning at exactly 05h45, I was picked up by one eager golfer to go play some golf. (Me in the scenario are off course only in a supporting role).
On our excursions to various golf courses, I am usually very very grumpy and only warms up towards the 16th hole, when the end is visible and we can go home... (sometimes if I get some nice food and a cup of coffee, I might show a little affection during halftime)
So, this morning, when I couldn't feel my hands or face from the cold and the wind, I starting thinking about this bizarre sport and why some people love it so much. Honestly, no answers came to mind. But I thought I would write a little something about the perceptions of the non-golfer about this strange sport.

 When I went for support for the first time, Golf Etiquette 101 was given to me in a ten minute lecture.
  1.  Do not speak - at all. This is off course only a rule for non-golfers, as the people hitting the balls seem to be talking and analyzing and making comments all the time. 
  2.  No cellphones. I understood this: the Rolling Stones could be distracting if they started singing just before someone takes that important swing.
  3. Do not walk on the green - you might hurt it. Again - this is only for non-golfers, the golfers get to walk on the green, look at the ball for hours, while pacing forward and backwards, and yes - even stamping their feet on the precious green when upset.
  4. If at any time, you hear someone scream "Four", immediately fall down to earth, face down - to avoid being hit by a ball.
  5. Do not distract the golfers - meaning: dress rather conservatively if you are a girl.
I've also learned some golf terms and their meaning:
  • Fairway (the place where the ball should be kept on to avoid being in the rough)
  •  Rough (a place that looks almost exactly like the fairway, but a fine line divides the two and if your ball missed the fairway and your into the rough - your into trouble)
  • Par (you played as many shots as the expert said you should play on this hole)
  • Birdie (you have played one less shot than the expert said you should play on this hole...this is a good thing, because in golf - scoring is done the opposite way: less is more).
  • Pissie (a ball that is too scared to go close to the dark hole and stops just a few centimeters before) Golf widow (something I would apparently become very soon according to my mother. Not sure why. Golf is apparently a much more dangerous sport than I thought at first.
From observing and supporting every now and then, I've also learnt a few strange facts about this game and the players:
  • Golf is about walking: you walk and walk untill you find your ball, then you hit if further and walk again to go find it again.
  • Players always retrace their steps once they have hit the ball. This means, that once the ball is gone (and usually it went in a different direction than planned), the take an imaginery ball, put it on the exact same spot than the real ball was and perform which looks to me like the exact same action. Then they say: "That was the way I should have done it"
  • The game consists of a good-shot-bad-shot combination. Once a golfer made a good shot, it is sure to be followed by a bad shot. This is too keep them interested in and excited about the game. Even if a player has played very badly (when even the non-expert eye like mine could see it was a rough game), one good shot can make up for all the poor ones. This is the beauty of the game: because out of the ranging from 80 to sometimes over a 100 shots that were taken, you will be able to recall that one good one, that went exactly where you aimed it at. This wil force you to continue playing golf - to hit another shot like that.
  • This bring me to my next point: The ball rarely goes to where the golf player aims it at.
  • You shouldn't look up too soon before you hit a ball - this could have a very, very bad effect on your game. Other golfers will immediately tell you when you looked up too soon.
  • You have to carry a small bag of sand with you all the time. If you don't other golf players will look down on you.
  • Swearing is part of the game. I did not include some of these word in the terms that I've learned to keep the post viewer friendly.
  • Golfers claim to play golf to relax. However, they always leave the course looking very unrelaxed and frustrated. I've figured that it's probably a long-term thing - where the relaxation only kicks in after a few days.
  • My favourite part of golfing: the zen gardens. Each course has a hundred of these. In golf terms they are called bunkers. The aim is for a golfer (that is starting to get frustrated with his game) to hit the ball in the zen garden/bunker. Then they have to try to get the ball out of the zen garden/bunker, which normally takes the frustration levels to a peek...then they start raking the sand in circles to completely calm themselves down again... Brilliant!
Another thing that rather amuses me about golf, is the pro-shop where you buy all your (oh-so-very-expensive) golf equipment. They sell some pretty useless stuff there: e.g. a pencil specifically designed to write on score cards (?), stuffed animals to put on your clubs, a thing that reaches in difficult places to get hold of your ball. (the last one is actually useful, but still very amusing)... However, the pro-shop is a holy place for most golfers and should be respected at all times.

Even though golfers are strange and the game is even stranger: I truly have respect for them. They never ever give up and they always go back, no matter how frustrating the previous game was. And to see the look of exitement about every new course and before every game - the hope that this game will be the best game ever...is priceless :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bye Bye JST

For the past year and a half - I have been working at a hospital called Job Shimankana Tabane Hospital. As the name suggest - the hospital is not like your ordinary public hospital.
Yes, there is dirty wards, lazy nurses and doctors with god-complexes, but something was different and even though you cannot always put your finger to it - there is something about the place that makes it extremely difficult to leave once you've grown attached...
Sadly, I finally had to make the decision to say good-bye and I thought I would share a few of my favorite memories that I will never forget:
  •  Dr Dungwa: This is the head of our peadiatric unit who always graced the rehab department with his presence just before home time. He looked like a muppet from the muppet show and had a permanent smile on his face. He would always get into interesting conversations with you e.g. "Are you related to the Richards who plays golf for Zimbabwe?" "No, Dr Dungwa, I am not related to the black golfer that you know from Zimbabwe (looking at him with my puppy eyes in my fairly pale skinned face). We used to play hide and seek with him - where we would hide and forgot to tell him that we are playing a game:)                                                                                                                             
Some of his famous sayings and suggestions:   
- To speechtherapists: "If you use bubble wrap to put on top of the incubators to dampen the sound - why don't you just wrap the babies in bubble wrap?" (smile/grin on face) "Why do newborn babies need speechtherapy, they cannot speak? Actually, why do children ever need speechtherapy - you can live without talking; as long as you are walking?" (smile/grin on face)                                            
- To dieticians: "Can't we give the new-born (mostly premature) babies chocolate flavoured milk - they will really appreciate that so much more?" (smile/grin on face)                                                  
 - To occupational therapists about 6week old baby: "Why haven't you seen this child yet for therapy - he's had Cerebal Palsy his whole life?" (smile/grin on face) Yes, I will definately miss this strange and enigmatic man when doctors' make sense when talking to me about the patients in the future...
  • Our Crazy Fridays: There was always something different in the air on Fridays and we tend to have crazy and weird conversations the whole day long and laugh about things that are not funny at all. Sometimes these craziness even creeped in on us on a Thursday afternoon... Our conversations would range from topics such as dust on lips to how drinking bad water is better than drinking no water at all.
  • A crazy and fun department that supports and participates days such as "Public Day of Randomness", "National Hygiene Day" and "Wear a flag day". Most other people were confused by these days - like when we gave a horrible, lazy and sometimes aggresive physiotherapist a badge to wear explaining "The pants of peace".
  • My psychiatric in-patient groups. Many fun memories were made in these groups. From our weekly general knowledge quiz and singing of the anthem (some black people refusing to sing the zulu, xhosa and sesotho lines, but standing up and with great respect singing the Afrikaans part?) to our weekly walks to the cafeteria where they had a new suprise for me everyday...casually talking and then starting to eat the grass as a group, one patient seeing a cat and starting to chase it like a dog, and many many conversations that made no sense at all. Like my colleagues say (and I'm going to take this as a compliment) I was perfect for pscyh:)
Finally the last week at JST arrived. My last few nights at Kloof:
  • Monday night - have to pack, but drink a glass of red wine and watch gilmore girls instead to avoid thinking about leaving...
  • Tuesday night - planning to do the same as above, but some friendly neighbours from the B-side decides to visit. Went for Wild Bean hotdogs and McDonalds chippies, had another glass of red wine, watched soccer and talked about the good old days...(no packing)
  • Wednesday night - roomie night. My wonderful roommate, made wonderful food (wish I could cook like her) and off course, we had a glass (or 2) of red wine, talked about the good old days and watched gilmore girls...(no packing)
  • Thursday night - had an awesome farewell party with all the people I've learned to know and love over this past year and a half (except offcourse the ones who left at the end of last year), had cocktails, talked about the good old days, said my farewells...(no packing)
  • Friday night - watched soccer, ate pizza, did not have a glass of red wine for some or other weird reason, watched gilmore girls and yet again NO PACKING (or thinking about leaving)...
  • Saturday morning - slept late, had breakfast, packed everything up in 2hours, had an emotional goodbye with roomie, one last meal at McDonalds and left Rustenburg without looking back (my car was quite full - could not see through the back window).
I'm already missing everyone: my friends, my patients and the beautiful Kloof that was my home since last year, but it was time for me to move on and know I made rhe right (very difficult) decision. Just thought I would let everyone know that I really really loved my first job at the wonderful, strange and sometimes sad JST...