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Tuesday, July 12, 2005 

I'm not scared. I'm merely expressing myself.

Flying from Johannesburg airport to Durban last week and while waiting to board the plane, I had time to look around the airport for a bit. Besides, the cup of hot chocolate and the croissant I had bought earlier were finished and with it so was my attention span. And watching the arrivals/departures board tick over is only fun for about 30 seconds or so. It amazes me to see how little walking one has to do in an airport terminal these days. And this is only the domestic terminal. There are lifts (elevators for non-Seffricans) and escalators and moving walkways to almost every place you need to go to. All you have to do is step on, park you luggage next to you and off you go. Next thing you know they’ll beam us from one place to another. Now wouldn’t that be fun! “Beam me up, Scotty” and off you go. It seems like nothing now, but back when I was a child, I was seriously freaked out by lifts and escalators. My mother literally had to coax me into stepping onto an escalator. Coaxing by my mother's standards usually involved a lot of hissing and yelling and numerous threats to “tan” my backside with Dad’s leather belt once we get home. Once on it, I would freeze on the spot and remain standing there, arms held stiffly down the side like a retard until it was time to disembark. Getting off usually meant leaping forward just as your step hit the bottom of the escalator. The thought of my shoe getting caught as the step disappeared underneath the lip, was my greatest fear. Well, that and the flesh eating troll who lived under the escalator. Can you imagine what it would be like to be step onto an escalator for the first time when you are an adult? Lifts were a different story altogether. I would cup my hands over my ears to drown out the noise of the motor. I especially hated those super-freaky high speed lifts, the nauseating feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when it seems to drop down to your shoes. Coming down always made me feel lightheaded so I would squat down on the floor much to the chagrin and embarrassment of my mother. I couldn’t care less what other ppl thought and how amusing they found it, it was either that or I’d be wailing like a banshee. Yep, young chitty thrived on melodrama. I don’t exactly know when I got over my fear and nowadays I hardly give it a second thought. Hop on, hop off… it’s as easy as breathing. In fact I am so jaded in general that even when I experience something new, the novelty wears off in a matter of days and sometimes even sooner. Is it perhaps “uncool” to publicly display emotion, joy and fear, these days that we learn to internalise and freak out within? It could explain why have so much rage inside us. I maintain that nothing beats a good top of the lungs scream of joy (or fear) or laughing out loud when you experience something for the first time, does it? I am not saying I want to be scared out of my wits or go around acting silly, just want to externalise that which (or does not) excite me. Good therapy for me, perhaps… not so for the other kids who may come in contact with me.


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