Frogs and Beasts

I have many problems in my life, big huge headaches that are not going away anytime soon.  For once in my life though I do not have men problems, I am happy to spend some time completely without the company of a grown man. For the time being I am sure they bring more problems than they are worth. I really, really do not need a man in my life at the moment. My life is so full with my little boy, caring for him, and coping with the demands of his active body and mind, I hardly have time for myself. Besides, I am constantly battling with this feeling of transiency and looking for permanence to our life-style. A permanent home, career, and long-term goal. At the moment there is only Robert for me, and if I was to be honest he is also sufficient as destination and a long-term goal, but humans are greedy, and I do need a little more..

For some reason, however,  some men look at me and figure that all I need in my life is a man to “help me”.  At the moment there are two dear little guys hovering in the background who are trying to convince me that this is what is actually lacking in my life. Although I am always pressed for time I explained to these two separate men that I am not even remotely interested in a relationship. I even went as far as saying that I am actually happy and relieved I do not have a man in my life. Yet each of these men thinks that my mind will miraculously change if I sat with one of them over coffee.

All god’s people are equal, they are in my eyes. But I seem to attract men who are in terrible financial straits.  And I really do not want to talk about my octogenarian admirer, or the elderly workers from solid waste who occasionally try to flirt with me on the taxi. At least these two men are younger than me, one is a refugee, and works for a charity organization. The other is a work colleague but may also be a refugee judging by his messed up country of origin. I have no doubt that each of them is a lovely person in his own right. But I am and old duck, a hard-working, middle-class woman, I do not need to be burdened further by a hard-done by man.  If I were a princess, maybe I would have had the time for the charming penniless fiddler or could have bestowed a loving kiss on a frog. But please, I am almost a frog myself and if I ever wanted a man, then he will have to be a prince who can fish me out of this rut.

Not bloody likely.  The fairy tale world tells us that only male protagonists can risk being beasts and frogs and still be redeemed by the love of a willing princess.   Now if these boys think I am one, then they have a huge problem with their judgement. Then again, I have yet to find one man with a completely sound judgement.


No matter how hard I work I do not seem to be getting ahead.  This does not only relate to small domestic chores and projects, but I am beginning to detect a certain futility in my attempts at getting out of the rut in general. Getting ahead in life and recovering from the setback posed by divorce.

At one point when I was married we owned the place where we lived and we saved our income for something more,  now I am just working to pay the bills. I am luckier than most people, for one I am debt-free, I pay off my credit card every single month, and do not have to procrastinate in payment of rent or school fees.  I can say very proudly that I am doing that without having to rely on the token child support I get from my ex, because that money goes straight into my son’s bank account,  a 30-day account which I am planning to grow into a significant long-term investment for his education.  Given all this, I should be proud of myself and of the astute management of my finances, but sometimes I get mad and resentful against my son’s father, because I know that I let him off the hook easily and he owes me much more that just this measly monthly payment.

I am in a rut because my job and the bank interests are paying off the bills, but there is no growth in sight. The salary will not increase in the foreseeable future as our management blatantly told us – we should actually be glad for having our job and tighten our belts (so that the giant multi-national could recover from making less of a killing than they made last year).  And even if I only spend the interest and preserve the nominal value of my capital, the falling Rand and the inflation is surely shrinking its actual value. I am observing that year-on-year as the price of staples, rent, school fees increase.  The salary which has not been increased will surely shrink in 2010 when deductions for medical aid go up by their usual 10%.

Also, since I am using the interest on my capital to pay my living expenses, I cannot actually afford to put it all as a payment for an apartment.  I have only two obvious solutions: either I buy a really cheap place using half my capital or work full-time for a decent market related salary. There is also the solution of the desperate : Throw in the towel,  pack up everything and go someplace where there is help.

There is no help here, that is for sure. I have arrived to a point where I could not care less about my ex.. I really don’t. But sometimes his lack of sympathy and his attitude of  ” deal with your problems I have enough of mine” makes me want to kick his teeth in.  I always feel that if I had the resources and finances that he has at his disposal I would have at least a plan or a schedule for getting out of the rut.  Instead I am reduced to just waiting for an opportunity to knock me on the head, and this is something that does not happen very often.

In fact I might have missed such a rare opportunity because I allowed myself to be affected by his lack of vision. An apartment was sold in the same block where he has his furnished unit, and it went for exactly half its market price.. exactly half the money I have in the bank. I saw the notice of sale and was tempted to go check it out, but instead I asked my intelligent ex about it. He did not sound too keen, and I let it go. The next time he spoke to me he was berating himself about a lost opportunity, and telling me about the price it went for.

I have calmed down some since my initial intense frustration. Sales in Execution are tricky, and a purchaser has to register before bidding and there are certain procedures. So, there was little or no chance that I could have bought the place on my first foray there, but still. Knowing that these things exist, a window of opportunity for people with a little bit of market savvy. And here is little me trying to get hold of such an opportunity -however passively. While my ex with all his oversees assets sits here, content to work as “project manager” for a solar heating outfit, and paying child support to two households, such a loser.  And to think that I was fooled by the airs he put on for almost ten years.