Frustration is…………..

We live in a very, very busy world. Life today appears to be all about working, rushing, getting the job done, everything done at a frenetic pace. All you manage to get done in a day is if you are lucky wake up, rouse kids, feed them, drop them at school, squeeze in a quick gym session, get to work, work, fetch kids, shop for groceries, crawl home through rush hour traffic (an oxy moron in itself), cook dinner, do home work, fall asleep in front of the TV, wake up and go to bed and the next morning do the whole thing all over again. Finally the week-end rolls around and you breathe a sigh  of relief, a little time to kick back, relax, unwind apart from dropping kids at parties, friends and ballet lessons. You try to carve out for yourself a life between all the rushing, spend time with friends and catch up on old times………….the good old days when you were younger, when money went further, before you had your own business, before you had kids and could actually sleep late…………yes, the good old days!

My industry, the food industry, in my experience is no different apart from the fact that our week works in reverse. The week tends to start off a little slowly as you re-group from the weekend just passed and then all hell breaks loose as you head over the hump and downhill  towards the weekend!  We too rush to and fro making meetings with new customers and calling on old ones, ordering stock, doing quotes, deliveries and being nice to bank managers, understanding to your staff, bending over backwards to accommodate your ever demanding customers, getting the food out, getting the stock in, finding that missing ingredient, finding the time to breathe…………getting to gym, wtf is that!

 And we do this all for the love of food because it sure isn’t for the fabulous working hours, the awesome remuneration package with medical aid and  the wonderful car allowance. Why do I do this I ask myself when I wake up and plant m y two aching feet firmly on the ground, as I unwind my twisted neck and stretch my aching lower back?

The hours are unsociable, the work is back-breaking, the tasks often thankless and all of it often fraught with frustration. Is it because I have been doing this for so long, 18 years is indeed a while, that  the thought of doing something else is quite scary, not to mention the fact that I have worked for myself for so long that with all due respect to my eminent self I am most definitely unemployable by any one else mad enough to own a catering company or restaurant or because at this point I have no idea how to do anything else? I don’t know the answers to the questions myself.

What I do know is that everyday I get up and come to work. Everyday it doesn’t feel like a chore. Everyday is different to the one before it. Everyday I meet new people, get to make new food, experiment with old food, laugh with my staff, shout at my staff, laugh at myself. For the all the bitching and moaning I do, I love my business. It is like nurturing a small child who turns into a petulant teenager but like Peter Pan never really grows up to stand on its own two feet with still needing you.

So why am I frustrated this morning you are wondering……….or maybe you not, but I will tell you anyway……..

Money is tight, food is expensive but I don’t have to tell you that, you are fully aware of it! It’s cold outside, it’s raining, it’s  miserable in general out there so a thick, indulgent and delicious soup would be a good thing to make. I go through the walk in fridge there is some left over beef curry from yesterday. Add some lentils, some veggies a little rice and a couple of litres of beef stock and bang curried beef and lentil soup with rice…………….simple, easy and cost-effective. Just the way I like it! With the help of one of my many minions we do this, we make this very yummy looking soup to serve today with a hot crusty bagel. However it is still a little on the thick side so I reach for the just boiled kettle and pour steaming “fragrant” smelling water into my pot of soup! My cleaning bunny neglected to mention that she was de-scaling the kettle.

The end result; now I am minus the curry, minus the lentils, minus the stock and minus the soup but hot damn, I have a clean kettle!

Happiness in my world:)

2.2 children and white picket fences……..

I can  very clearly remember sitting on the red brick steps at primary school in the early 80’s with the winter sun shining down on us benevolently, chatting to my female friends of the day about our bright and shiny futures. I don’t remember us talking about careers and work and succeeding in the big wide world out there beyond the school hedge but we did talk about husbands and children and knights on white horses and houses with picket fences, 2.2 children, four cats and a dog called Rex.

I don’t remember any of us talking about going forward as upwardly mobile single women, future business moguls, managing directors, movie directors, divorced with kids, single women with kids, single women without kids, single women with dogs as kids, widows, lesbians  with twins, female adults with huge chips on our shoulders and running accounts with therapists. Foremost in our simple pre-teenage minds were husbands and children and happy ever after lives. Even though many of us came from broken homes with numerous divorces and step parents by the dozens we never actually thought “”that” would happen to us. But then like all things in life  you don’t, do you…………..until it happens

Leaping forward in time to a quiet autumn evening in 2011, funky music playing on the radio in the background. The temperature outside is dropping but it’s still warm enough to be sitting at the laptop in just a T-shirt banging away at the keys and hoping my fingers can type as fast as my brain is churning out the thoughts that hound me as the light outside fades to inky darkness; a perfect match to the dull ache in my heart.

It never crossed my mind that 30 odd years after this starry-eyed childhood contemplation of the future I would still be single and childless. I have never married. I have never given birth to a child. I am single. I have the most amazing girl friends. They are scattered around the globe in a modern age diaspora, and lo and behold so many of them are single as well. What happened to us along the way? How did we go from the blossom and romance of youth to jaded and single and over 40 in the blink of an eye? Is being single an unconscious decision we made somewhere along the line or a conscious one? is being single the armour we wear to protect ourselves? Or is it modern men? Did we look around us at the single men out there and think, fuck me, I would rather be single. Is it because we are  the epitome of  independent, self-employed, self-motivated, self-starters who are able to support ourselves, who are able to make our own way in male dominated society that we are single? Do we scare men off? Are men put off  by the fact that we CAN support ourselves, that we CAN go through life without them, that we CAN purchase our own vibrators and change the batteries ourselves, that we can call an electrician, sleep with a plumber or have our newspapers delivered?

Shit I hope not. I don’t want to be single all my life. 

If that is the truth, that I don’t want to be single for the rest of my days, why do I keep making the same stupid mistakes? How stupid am I? What silly romantic notions lurk in my mind? Why do I constantly repeat the mistakes of the past like a CD stuck in the same scratch?

I cannot speak for my friends but for myself………..I never set out to be a single 40 something year old, not consciously at least. I would love to have Mr Right walk into my life instead of continually seeing the back of Mr Wrong’s head as he gets booted out the door just like his predecessor.  I would love to share my bed with a wonderful man, share the days happenings over dinner, walk hand in hand, bitch about the neighbours, make love in the  rain and chase the dog away from the nibbles on the picnic blanket. It would be wonderful to wish one man a happy birthday for years in a row, happy 25th anniversary and scream at him for getting you into this mess as the next contraction hits. Admittedly I have a penchant for walking into a room filled with men and fancying the only man in the 1 million, one hundred and thirty-one men that are filling the space at the time that I cannot have, the married man.

I have already broken my heart  over one married man for whom I would have gone to the ends of the earth. A married man who talked to a young woman of love and romance, of a home and children, of shared bank accounts and overseas holidays, of white weddings  and golden anniversaries. A married  man I loved with all my heart. A broken heart.  A really broken heart, so broken that it would take 12 years to mend and another seven before I would actually be ready to drop the walls around me, break down the barriers and hack into the cement shell around my heart to let a man in again. 

 In the mist of the 19 years between existing and being ready to love again there would be no shortage of  men along the way. One night stands, two-week interludes, a four-year romance, a one year joke with a man, no make that a boy, a decade younger with a humongous penis and a fabulous sense of humour. And although I loved each and everyone one for the brief 15 minutes they graced my life they never chipped the lead-lined casing protecting my aching and lonely heart. I may have cried some tears when they moved on, got asked to leave or fell off the edge of the earth but it was okay they weren’t Mr Right anyway and no I wasn’t in love with them.

 Mr Right, no, no, no I meant to say Mr Wrong would make a grand entrance into my life  2010 and rock my world so much that my armour would weaken and cracks would begin to marble the plaster of my heart. 

You would think that having learned my lessons along the way so well, having nursed my broken heart and knowing the male  creature as well as I think I do, that  I wouldn’t rush head long  into another dead-end relationship, that I would hesitate before taking the plunge, that I would reflect on the pain that would be waiting in the wings, that I just wouldn’t go there again. You would think! And you would be wrong.

 Alas, I never learned from those lessons life handed me. I never took heed of the treacherous road I travelled. I never worried about my achy breaky heart. I jumped headlong into the embrace of danger. I rushed heedlessly into the passionate embrace of the demon that likes me being single. You see this is the chip I carry on my shoulder, maybe single is a self-destructive state of mind;  a finger that beckons you at high-speed towards the dangerous curves so that you ignore the bright yellow and black of the chevron signs.

And if this blog makes no sense to you, it is because I am unable to make sense of it myself. My attraction to the dark side, my lethal penchant for repeating the mistakes of the past for you see, I have gone and done it again…………I have broken my heart

I have fallen in love with a married man.