Home Opinion and Features The day Tetris almost killed me

The day Tetris almost killed me


GREY MUTTER: I mean seriously, why do they call it ‘common’ sense when it’s such a rare commodity? asks Lance Fredericks.

Picture: Pixabay

I CLEARLY remember the day when I first realised that some folk are just not morning people.

Here’s how it happened: I was on a tour bus, headed to Durban for a college winter sports tournament. I remember how cold it was en route as we approached the Malutis. By the time we got to Harrismith, the heavy snow had caused roofs to cave in.

The bus pulled over at a service station to top up the fuel tank, and I got out to stretch my legs. As I stood there shivering, I overheard the driver speaking to the service station attendant. Apparently the snow was really coming down on Van Reenen’s Pass, and there was a possibility that the authorities would close the road as a result.

Instead of taking cognisance of the waving red flags, our driver took this as a challenge.

He bundled us all onto the bus, and in his haste to get over the mountain before the cops shut the pass down, he scraped off an entire bank of fluorescent tubes from the forecourt’s roof; apparently he had forgotten that most of the luggage was on the bus’s roof rack. Yes, our lives were in this ou’s hands.

Anyway, after a further delay of about 30 critical minutes we found ourselves on Van Reenen’s. The snow must have been about 30 centimetres deep and the bus was slithering around.

Students from the hostel’s prayer group started interceding.

I do not know what would have happened had we not become lodged in a snowbank at the top of the pass. I shudder to think what would have happened had Evel Knievel attempted to descend the mountain in the snow.

So there we were, stranded on the mountain in the driving snow for about four hours. Eventually, the military came and ferried the stranded passengers off the mountain and took us on to a community hall in Pietermaritzburg where we were given blankets and something warm to eat.

Some of the students were shivering so hard that they could not keep the soup from spilling off spoons.

Quite a number of people had been rescued, and we were all packed into the hall. In fact, space was limited to such a degree that we had to sleep on the floor like Tetris blocks; if you found a gap more or less your size and shape, that’s where you unrolled your sleeping bag.

But everyone was exhausted and it didn’t take the Sandman long to finish his rounds in the hall.

Early the next morning, I woke up uncomfortably close to a stranger who must have found a gap next to me on the floor after I had nodded off. Our puffy eyes met, and in order to relieve some of the awkwardness, I cheerily said, “Good morning, Darling!”

My Tetris neighbour was not impressed with me. Judging by the look he gave me, I suspect that if I had the ability to read minds and decipher looks, this is what I would have read from his puffy glare:

“Sharpen two daggers to a razor edge. Next, heat daggers in flame until white hot. Quickly remove from heat and plunge into the freak who said ‘Good Morning Darling’ to you at 6:03am, remembering to twist daggers both ways to produce maximum discomfort.”

I guess what I am trying to say is that, had our driver not been such a know-it-all Maverick; had he just applied some common sense, had he just followed the rules, then there would be one less person on the earth who wanted me dead.

I mean seriously, why do they call it ‘common’ sense when it’s such a rare commodity?

Just this past week, at one of the malls, I walked into a store where the air conditioning was not working. Fortunately they had a powerful fan set up, blowing at high speed.

The problem is that the fan was set up in front of a display of chocolate bars. A fan is only effective for cooling when a surface is damp, like when you sweat. And these chocolates, being unable to sweat, were turning into blobs thanks to the powerful gusts of hot air being blown on them.

And then, with Christmas shopping queues looming, I still cannot believe that all stores and supermarkets have not adopted the single queue system. These days individual queues are just not efficient. It boggles the mind how it’s still a thing!

This type of short-sightedness could cause chaos … mayhem … anarchy!

I even toyed with the idea of hiring a trophymaker to create an award that could be handed out to the individual or group with the most hair-brained ideas or actions of every month.

In fact, I became so obsessed with the idea that, the other night, I even dreamt how the trophymaker went about his arduous task.

He had the basic design for the award he was creating, according to the brief given to him. But there were still choices he needed to make – what type of wood would be suitable for the base? Would the trophy be cast in gold, silver or titanium? Would the surface of the trophy be smooth, or should he create a pattern on its surface; and then, on top of that, what would inspire the pattern?

Eventually, after a few weeks he had everything except the pattern for the plated surface. He looked everywhere for inspiration, even taking long walks in the veld. After all, if George de Mestral could come up with the concept of Velcro after a walk in nature, and if the Shinkansen Bullet Train in Japan is modelled on the long, narrow beak of the kingfisher, why could he not find his inspiration there?

However, it was upon returning home that the trophymaker saw the perfect pattern. On a dusty part of the floor, close to the pet’s food bowl, there it was. The imprint wasn’t large, but to his mind it was the perfect shape.

It turned out, to his amusement, that the perfect shape happened to be a print of his feline’s anus in the dust. But, it was the perfect shape and undeterred – and after being clawed to shreds – he managed to create a cast of his pet’s bum.

Hey, it’s a dream; I couldn’t tell him to stop if I wanted to.

Next, the trophymaker fashioned a tool and carefully stamped the unique pattern on the trophy. To his delight, it was perfect, and the client (that turned out to be your’s truly in the dream) was happy with the end result.

The problem is, however, now that I know what the trophy should look like, I wonder if I should go ahead and have it made? Ultimately, the only concern I have is … who will be the lucky recipient of Kimberley’s first Cat Ass Trophy?

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