thoughtsfromthepanda

I do my best thinking while driving. I drive a Fiat Panda.

Archive for the tag “thoughts”

Rock stars and superheroes: cut from the same cloth?

On one of my recent trips in the Panda, I announced to the other occupants of the car, rather grandly and with some pleasure, that I was going to see Bruce Springsteen performing live in Joburg.

 

Bruce Springsteen

 

However, as I made the announcement to my two children, currently aged 6 and 8, it was not received with the awed admiration I’d been expecting.

“Who is Bruce Springsteen?” said Liam baldly.

I had not quite foreseen this, but made a quick recovery.

“Bruce Springsteen is a world famous ROCK STAR!” I informed him, reverently.

His response was deflating as he said with childish indifference: “Huh. Well, IIII haven’t heard of him!”

“That is because you are still young,” I replied, somewhat coldly. “If you were a bit older you would know exactly who Bruce Springsteen is. He is a LEGEND! And my lovely friends Anne and Mel bought me a ticket to surprise me, because we all used to listen to him when we were young. I mean younger.”

“Yes,” interjected Matthew, ever-supportive of his big brother, “but he’s not a SUPERHERO.”

This lack of respect for he who is also known as The Boss was starting to grate a little.

“There are many people in this world,” I responded, still with a hint of ice in my voice, “who would argue that he is indeed a superhero. Many people think that rock stars like Bruce Springsteen are also superheroes.”

(I refrained from adding in, ‘So jolly well sucks boo’, but at that moment, I dearly wanted to.)

Now, Matthew and Liam are both very literal young men and they still tend to see the world in black and white. However, they do also try to be fair and humour their ageing mother from time to time when something is patently important to her, even if they don’t quite understand why. 

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So they started to think about it and I watched from the rear view mirror as the cogs began to turn in their young minds.

It was rather endearing, seeing them trying to equate my concept of the rock star with their cherished concept of the superhero.

Matthew got there first.

“We-ell,” he said thoughtfully, “if you changed ‘Springsteen’ to ‘Wayne’ then he would be… Bruce Wayne! Who is Batman!”

Liam nodded in enthusiastic endorsement.

“Maybe Bruce Springsteen is also Bruce Wayne!” he chimed in excitedly.

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Upon which I managed to keep a straight face – and also carry on driving in a straight line – while simultaneously clarifying that Bruce Springsteen was not actually Batman in disguise, even though they both have seriously good physiques.

(At least, I don’t think so: mainly because superheroes always have less flamboyant alter egos as part of their disguises, right?)   

Later at the concert…

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…I decided that even if he wasn’t Batman, Bruce and The (ever-inspiring) E Street Band were indeed superheroes. As they started their three-hour plus concert with a tribute to our beloved late great Nelson Mandela

Madiba

 

…I remembered how, around the globe, musicians – famous and less famous – have always helped to draw attention to rampant injustice; promote a worthy cause; raise money to feed the starving.

The entire concert was a fantastic experience. I didn’t know all the music, but  if I wasn’t entirely familiar with all the songs, the sheer mastery of the musical moments made up for it. Even the heavy rain that fell later didn’t (if you’ll pardon me for this one) dampen our enthusiasm. 

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And The Boss smiled and smiled as he played and sang and bounded around the stage. I have never seen a rock star of his calibre (and I’ve been lucky enough to see a few) have so much fun while performing. Joburg rocked in the pouring rain that night, and Bruce was our leader.

At the end of the show, when he’d played his second (or was it third?) encore and finally left the stage, he was humble enough to end with another great musician’s tribute to another departed South African freedom fighter.

I had goosebumps going up and down my spine when I realised that Peter Gabriel’s heart-wrenching anthem to justice, ‘Biko’, was playing us out of the stadium.

Peter Gabriel

 

“Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko

Yihal Moja, Yihla Moja

The man is dead

The man is dead…”

And the eyes of the world

Are watching now

Watching now…

Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko…”

Such humility in your greatness, Bruce, by playing out your fans with another musician’s tribute. We don’t – often enough – see humility and greatness combined, and yet I feel that the truly great are always humble.

Bruce 2

 

So I really do think that some rock stars are superheroes.

And jolly well sucks boo to anyone who doesn’t agree.

Accident prone? It’s in the genes…

Dear Teacher Thea,

Just a little note to let you know that yesterday we went to a friend’s house for a braai and there was an accident involving Liam, a wooden bat and our friend’s child’s nose. The pleasant afternoon ended very abruptly in lots of blood and crying and a sudden visit to the hospital. Liam was very upset and I just wanted you to know in case he is out of sorts today.

…And so it begins. This mother of boy children braces herself and, with a mental shake, prepares for the inevitable physicality and impulsiveness that apparently comes with a boy child’s life.

As well as two boys, currently aged seven and five, our family also includes a Dobermann. A hound of the female persuasion, our darling Sasha is a big galumph. She is a klutz of the first water. There is nothing graceful about her in motion over short stretches. However, it’s a different story when she is running long-distance through the park, when the Dobermann’s heritage, which apparently includes greyhound bloodlines, then comes to the fore. At those moments, she is a thing of beauty and a joy forever, somewhere over there in the green yonder.

However, when Sasha is not running through the park, but instead through our house, she is a big galumph who skids around on our wooden floors and the occasional loose rug like a ping-pong ball forever unleashed inside a gravity-less scientific chamber. She is a soulmate to my firstborn. They were made to be mates.

Sasha doing ‘the happy dance’

Oh, but I see hard lessons ahead!

We had the hardest of hard lessons on Sunday already. My little man, as my dear friend and fellow boy-mom exclaimed upon hearing the story, is in no way a malicious child and anyone who knows him would know immediately that it was an accident (and for this kind endorsement I thank you most sincerely, dear Z). But he is an impulsive young soul and it will be a torment to him for some time to come that the ill-fated bat was launched from his hand.

He is also a very strong young man, and for his age a very big little boy. Combining my husband’s tall genes with his grandfather’s stocky tendencies, he was fitting comfortably into clothes for a nine-year-old when he had just turned seven. He has always been really big for his age – a baby giant even when he was a baby.

Little Liam – the biggest in his first ever pre-school class

Now add an impulsive, dreamy, accident-prone personality into this physical mix and you can see why I am fretting. After all, he lost his first tooth the day before his fifth birthday – root included – because he fell off a windowsill and cracked his jaw onto a chest of drawers below. (Oh, how we mourned that tooth and its premature departure for the next two and a half years…) And who does he get the impulsive dreaminess and accidental tendencies from?

Yes, indeed, that would be me.

His mother.

The same person who once briefly took up skydiving and flew into a large bluegum tree on her second jump.

I will maintain forever that the Potchefstroom fire brigade did very commendable work that weekend, although I do think that bringing along two fire engines and erecting two ladders was arguably not entirely necessary and that possibly they were just using my predicament for some unusual technical practice. I shall also not mention the ‘reserve ride’ that took place on my twelfth jump, other than to say that the reserve parachute was set to be released automatically anyway and I am quite proud that I actually pulled the cutaway myself. It was, of course, a pity about the hard landing but no bones were broken, after all, and spectacular bruises are inevitable when one’s eventual arrival back on terra firma includes three unintended forward somersaults.

Pause.

Thinks.

Note to self: we will need to steer Liam away from skydiving, rugby and possibly horses. And perhaps mountain bikes and hockey and cricket and…

Yes, I can see straight away that I have got a great strategy going here – not.

Oh dear.

I think perhaps I am not ready to be a boy-mom.

Yes, yes, I know I’ve had seven-plus years of it to date, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready yet. I think I need a little more practice.

Perhaps we can wrap Liam up in cotton wool for a couple of years and I can practise being a boy-mom on his younger brother, Matthew, who seems to have inherited his father’s more careful attitude towards life and a pre-disposition towards being soulmates with the cat – a far more precise and careful animal than the Dobermann.

My friend Vincent

Pause.

Thinks.

Note to self: that would be the same Matthew who’s had his right big toenail torn off twice already in two separate accidents – the second time on his fifth birthday. (What is it about fifth birthdays in our house?!!) And that would also be the same Matthew who hero-worships his big brother and is forever getting banged up running around after him trying to keep up, yes?

Yes.

So no, that doesn’t seem to be a strategy either.

What to do… what to d…

Pause.

To sweep up broken coffee mug shards and mop up coffee from aforementioned coffee mug, which broke when I placed it carefully in mid-air instead of on the table while mentally proofing the early paragraphs of this blog post without looking at where I was placing said coffee mug.

Yes, it would indeed seem to be in the genes.

Case closed, and karate lessons here we come. Apparently karate helps to instill discipline, self control and an awareness of one’s body in space – what more could a boy-mom ask for!

Pause.

Thinks.

I wonder if they take Dobermanns?

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