Chips on the ‘bonnet’


I didn’t know what to write today. Usually I sit with a heart full of words that simply take shape on the screen, but I really got what I prayed for: a bit “boring” and boring.

The smallest thing usually produces a whole text for me without effort, but today it is as if even my thoughts have taken a break.

In my search for something to write, I scroll through my notes on my phone. 13 September 2019: “Slap chips on the bonnet“.

This memory makes me smile spontaneously. I remember, it was not in 2019, but sometime in 2016. I lived in Barberton and also taught there, and I had a friend in Nelspruit who I used to visit.

There was no shortage of adventures. The Big Swing in Graskop, golf in Skukuza and many evenings of socializing (with cold drinks) with friends.

The Lowveld is just another place, so full of charm and promise. The most beautiful views, right out of your window, and an atmosphere that really makes you feel like you are permanently at a festival. Spontaneity bounces around in the air and the friendly comfort in the atmosphere quickly takes its hold on you.

Actually, I’m lying about that night. I can’t remember much about the evening itself, for no other reason than that absolutely nothing special happened. It was a perfectly normal Friday or Saturday evening in Nelspruit. I went to hang out with a bunch of friends until late at the big restaurant in town. And then it was 02:00 and we were a little hungry. Across the road was a gas station with a small shop that sold takeaways and had no closing times. It was the perfect solution, and before I could find myself, we were sitting on the hood of my car eating chips with cheese sauce on top.

I do remember it well: the tranquility, the excitement, the carefree freedom. It was so wonderful to live in the moment; to forget the world; and to do only what we want, when we want… like students… like children.

I wonder how many of us experience such moments today? Moments where we just let go and even just for an hour or two allow the “here and now” to capture our thoughts in spontaneous silliness.

I am particularly guilty. Life has become unbearably serious somewhere and I myself am one who pulls a plum mouth more than I just start laughing spontaneously. For whom and for what? Life is supposed to be a song, and that doesn’t mean it has to be some kind of funeral tune permanently.

Of course we know that it can’t be a permanent scarumba either, but it can definitely contain more of it!

I realized that being serious is so hard and it’s not too good for my marriage either. It drives me and my husband up the wall. Inflexibility leads to blame and conflict, and in my case the inability to see my partner’s point or to just flow with life and enjoy each other.

It’s so unnecessary! And I’m not really that awesome that I or anyone else needs to take myself so seriously all the time. It drains all the joy out of life.

So, it’s not New Year’s and I haven’t lived in the Lowveld for a long time, but I feel it’s time for a new resolution that can become a habit and then a way of life: loosen the bun and eat more chips with cheese sauce the middle of the night on the car’s bonnet!