You can open up your eyes – yet gaze within.
I awoke alone in the dead of night, down in the far campground.
I took my secret with me, a clue on the path to my far horizon.
All photos copyright of Stuart Henshilwood
The sunlight burns like napalm
I know because I put my hand out once
I watch these weak white worms wake
Shake off their nighttime terrors
So brave in the daytime
Strutting and squawking
Safe beneath the cruel sun
This is their time
But my time will come
This vampire life
I must wait for Nightfall
Darkness suits this pretty little town
With its dirty secrets
These people are dark inside
Upstanding citizens yet it appears
They like shadows and blood
As do I
The lights are on in the village
Time for me to walk amongst them
To drink and make merry
And remind them why they fear
The fall of night
© Dion Loubser
In airplanes mostly, which I loathe; but also in my dreams.
In my dreams, flying is the most magical and amazing single thing imaginable.
Sometimes in a dream, I am running, and then I realize that I can kind of skip the odd step without touching the ground.
Then a few steps at a time, and suddenly I realize I can fly!
This realization is so thrilling that I only use my new gift sparingly, and secretly. I hover just a few feet off the floor in my room, or float out of my window at night and drift over the city, or fly silently through a dark forest, like a vampire.
It is possible I was a vampire in my previous life.
I like my steak done very rare, for a start – lightly stunned, preferably.
And I tend to say ‘wodka’ as opposed to ‘vodka’.
Not sure if vampires drink wodka, but they should. It would give a glass of blood a nice bite.
Also, my ears are rather pointy, and I enjoy getting about in a black cape.
Sometimes, I stand over girls as they sleep, and watch for that tiny pulse in their neck. Not just any girls, you understand, it’s only girls that I know.
All right, it is only my wife, but don’t tell her, she is on the verge of a nervous breakdown as it is.
On the other hand, I am not afraid of Garlic – far from it, I reek of the stuff.
And you wouldn’t catch me dead in a coffin! Not while I am alive, anyway.
You know what I mean.
So, perhaps I wasn’t a vampire. Maybe I was just a vampire bat.
Or a moth.
Anyway, dream-flying or being a vampire is way better than being a passenger on a plane.
From the awkward disrobing and paranoia at security to the endless wait for your bag at the other end, it ranges from mildly unpleasant, to panic-inducing nightmare.
And that is if you make it to your destination.
Well, ok, you will almost always make it…unless you fly regularly in Nigeria.
Some flights are so cramped, long and painful that the thought of suddenly losing both engines at 30 000 feet becomes an attractive proposition.
My last flight went something like this –
I arrive late at the airport.
My luggage is too heavy and I have to remove books, put on two jackets and trade my runners for my 3kg cowboy boots.
A pair of red underpants flies into the air as I pull the boots out the bag.
I consider ignoring them, but two girls are snorting with laughter at my predicament.
My attempt at a carefree swagger as I retrieve the garment fails because it is impossible to swagger in socks.
After the ordeal at security, the departures board tells me my flight is delayed.
I soldier on, knowing I can have a few wines while I wait, and at least I will have time to go to the toilet.
The wines work their magic, and I smile at the pretty air hostess as I board the plane.
She smiles politely in return and tells me that I have toilet paper stuck to my shoe.
Even the magic of wine has its limits, and my brief optimism evaporates.
The safety demo further darkens my mood.
It is just insulting.
You have more chance of winning the lottery than surviving a plane crash.
They should do the demo on how to behave if you win the lottery – it would be more useful.
There is so much turbulence that the refreshment trolley is stubbornly parked in the kitchen for most of the flight.
The passengers are dying of thirst, I am dying of sobriety.
I am trapped next to a sweaty narcoleptic snorer.
The person behind me is racked with an Ebola-virus cough, and from all quarters comes the sound of wet, flabby sneezing.
Narcolept awakes, stinky of breath and bleary of eye, only to kick off his shoes and slump aside again, snoring peacefully.
As the stench and suffocating proximity of moist humanity presses upon me, I feel my mind begin to release its tenuous grip on the ledge of reason.
By the time they announced we were in a holding pattern due to heavy air traffic, I think I was pretty much gone.
This then is my Fear of Flying.
It is not fear of a fiery death, but rather the fear of a long and pointless life, breathing the recycled exhalings of decaying bipeds trapped in a tube, with artificial lighting and dry skin.
One of many in a shuffling herd, robbed of my sparkle and individuality, hoping for salvation; or at least one upgrade to first class.
Ok, I will wrap this up. Time to get on my next flight.
The boarding chick is giving me the stare.
Maybe because I am the last to board, or it might be my black cape and pointy teeth.
She does have a nice neck.
|Surfed this epic point, after I saved the Dolphins from those hunters, and before the cocktail party at the Swedish Embassy…|
FOMO is the Fear Of Missing Out.
It is an epidemic, and it is on the increase.
New research has shown that over 60% of western teens and adults suffer from FOMO.
Not MOFO, mind you, that is something else entirely. Although I am sure there are plenty MOFO’s that suffer from FOMO.
I know I do.
Technology is aiding the spread of the disease.
Mobile devices and social networking have now made it easier than ever to find out just how much you are missing out on.
Everybody is having a better time than you.
It recently took me over a month to settle on a new pair of work shoes. Every time I tried on a moderately suitable shoe, I was aware that the perfect shoe might be just two shops down.
It was agony.
Eventually, I cracked and bought a good pair in Italian Leather, a few hours before I saw the perfect shoe.
Now, every time I lace up these boring work…slippers, a memory of those spectacular Spanish wonder-shoes flashes before me, to remind me that I am, in fact, missing out.
Facebook is terrible for sufferers of this disease because people tend to update their status more often when they are having fun, or winning.
Getting regular updates on the awesomeness of Stuart’s Indonesian surf expedition, whilst plugging away at your pointless job as an underpaid desk jockey, is quite likely to have you frothing at the mouth with FOMO.
‘Sundowners on the beach. Saw huge Moray and rode a turtle’ or
‘Life is brilliant. Off to Rome tomorrow, then Positano for 3 days’ or
‘Got upgraded on my London-Hong Kong leg! I am seated next to Eva Mendes, and she said she loves my accent! Man, these A380’s are huge!’
Status updates like the above are keeping Psychologists in business, as FOMO-related depression reaches crisis levels.
How can all these bastards be having such fun?
Am I really 40 this year? What did my wife mean when she said my mate Andrew could ‘come around anytime?’ And what is this – a tax BILL?!
All these thoughts and more swirl inside our heads.Well, my head, anyway.
I have decided to act.
I am too lazy to change my job. I can’t afford a second pair of work shoes, let alone a tropical holiday, and no amount bench press is making the slightest impact on my ridiculous pigeon chest.
So I am now living a separate Facebook life.
For example, it appears that I enjoyed the degustation at Nobu last night.
And this weekend, I am doing a 15km trail run before Christine’s party on Saturday night and beach volleyball on Sunday. Also, apparently I am blessed to have the best friends in the world, love and kisses all around!
My life on Facebook is fantastic!
However, I have found that it is not easy being this perfect.
I have started photoshopping a few pics to match my increasingly outrageous postings. I have to keep double checking everything and make sure it all adds up – locations, prices, photo’s, anecdotes and the rest.
Recently I had to field some awkward questions posted on my wall regarding my attendance at the Model of the Year awards.
Thing is, after a little investigation, I have discovered that most people are doing this to some extent.
Turns out they are posting away like shiny social butterflies when most of them are couch-bound, overweight social lepers and alcoholics!
This was such great news, I felt a weight lift from my shoulders.
My FOMO all but disappeared shortly after these revelations, but my relief was short-lived. What with my elaborately fabricated Facebook life, I have become a nervous wreck trying to hold it all together.
I have been having panic attacks, and eventually went to the doctor.
I have now been diagnosed with an advanced hybrid form of FOMO.
It is FOBFO – Fear Of being Found Out. Apparently, it affects 87% of Facebook liars and fabricators and is affecting productivity in the workplace.
No wonder – it takes a lot of time to maintain a virtual life complete with life-like images of yourself finishing 3rd in a little-known, yet prestigious, marathon.
There is always something, isn’t there?