Now I know that some mothers LOVE to go back to school shopping with their daughters, but I am not one of them. Maybe because I grew up in a place where the term back to school shopping isn't even part of the language. Or maybe I'm just a mean mom (more likely). In any case, I hate it. Plus, I have drawers full of school supplies from previous years.
I recently went on a college campus tour, glued to the side of our guide and peppering her with the questions I knew my son wouldn't ask. It was a pretty day and a beautiful campus. Leafy trees, gorgeous brick buildings, winding paths, a bell tower, a library to die for (with a Starbucks inside it; a STARBUCKS, people!), the whole place oozing tradition and privilege.
It started with me opening the back door when our cat, Findus, was meowing, wanting to be let in. Right in front of him, between his paws, was a baby bunny. Not more than three or four inches long. Here we go again, I thought, and began to turn to get the dust pan to clean it up, when I realized that the bunny was breathing and had its eyes open, sitting perfectly still awaiting its fate.
We now live in a posh upscale suburban neighborhood. A gated one. Though the gate mainly serves to keep adoring fans away from Carrie Underwood and her brethren on the Nashville celebrity circuit, not so much to keep out criminals. Lately our posh upscale suburban neighborhood has erupted in collective outrage, expressed in long-winded discourse on Nextdoor.
I've already told you that I'm more likely to worship at a Starbucks than at a church. The time I usually find myself most in need of a Starbucks is when going on a road trip. I will crane my neck this way and that to spot what is so ubiquitous in urban areas but woefully absent in the countryside. Which of course is what you're driving through on your typical road trip.
we may just have hit on the perfect American equivalent to our beloved safaris, featuring all the elements of our forays into the bush: A remote location, endless drives on bumpy paths, an abundance of wildlife, cheeky tree-dwellers stealing your food, and gorgeous sunsets. Introducing a little Africa in America: Dewees Island in Charleston, South Carolina.
I admit our South African Christmases were a bit lacking in spirit. I could blame it on the pitiful tree, or the fact that all my Christmas cookies stuck together like glue in the heat. Or the fact that we altogether skipped the last one to go on a safari instead. So this year it's been back to my 24-item pre-Christmas checklist in all its glory. And, of course, the shopping.
When you move to Africa, you soon learn to say "This is Africa" when things are moving at a glacial pace, or not at all. And yet, it is also endearing. But in my eagerness to record all the hilarious TIA moments in Africa, I had forgotten about all the weird stuff that can happen to you right here at home in the United States. A condition that we have dubbed "Only in America."
As many of you know, my object of intense dislike while living in South Africa was Eskom, the power company. They were inefficient, their billing system was terrible, they would charge you for their own mistakes, and you'd battle with them for years to get your money back. And yet I did not hate Eskom. How could I hate an institution that gave me such wonderful writing material?
I'm not a hunter. And, as your typical non-hunter, I pride myself in not killing anything that's alive. Living in peaceful harmony with all the creatures of the Earth. I could never hunt animals to kill them. Never. Right? Except, it turns out, when my home and hearth are attacked. Even when it's by killer bees that can eat an entire house.