And after my glut of posting, WordPress summarily ejected me and I found I could not post to enthuse about my sober Sunday. A quiet but relaxing day, full of my new passion for food politics, admiring the clusters of pink blossom on a young weigela, playing with cats.
Last night my neighbour Thinus came around to let me know the arrangements for free leiwater this summer. Free water from the Elandskloof Dam runs down the deep ditches on either side of the streets and is channeled into homeowners’ gardens, into plots of fruit trees and kitchen gardens. It is not exactly free because we pay a nominal sum for the service, but gallons and gallons of cold pure mountain water floods my back garden for several hours each week.
Thinus stood there in the dark, self-importantly waving the notifications for water allocation in my direction and telling me how he intends to administer the water in our neighbourhood. As I looked at him in the warm darkness, the mountains scarcely visible behind him in the distance, I realised he was happy. He loves the details of irrigation and neighbourly co-operation each summer. He steals much of the free water on the pretext of starting to run the water early. I looked at him and felt envious of his happiness. I wish I felt happy in that simple uncomplicated way more often. I want to feel the way I did last year, when I was newly sober and floating around on a pink cloud. Before I went to Wales. Before it all went wrong.
This isn’t an easy time and yet I have so much to be grateful for. And I don’t have the daily horror and terrors of drinking, the self-loathing and unconvincing excuses and great big suitcase of cherished resentments that I once packed and unpacked every other day.
Woke up this morning and realised that my central character in the famous novel is to be called Fernanda and she will have lived in the shiftless and magical cities, sea ports, of Luanda and Beira, that I knew so well when I was younger. Her voice is light and low and inflected with a slight lisp. It may drive me crazy, that soft little breathy voice, long beore I reach 10 000 words. But Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is almost upon me and I have to make do with the characters I have pressganged into staying with me for the duration of the fiction.
Now I am going to eat locally produced muesli and think about why I love Michael Pollan and want a resolarized future. Yesterday I read reams and reams of bad news about genetically modified cowpeas grown all over Africa for enhanced crop yields. The alternative would be more pesticides. I shared all this informed angst with my housemate until she locked herself in the bathroom and turned on the taps to drown me out.
I am lonely, and my uncurbed enthusiasms bore my loved ones.
Perhaps I should send Barack Obama a letter all about the Luo of Kenya and their fondness for beans and pumpkin and cassava leaves simmered in a black pot. His father was Luo and I am overjoyed at the prospect of the first African-American president having a filial connection to Africa.
It is cloudy and cool here among the mountains. I am going to write long emails to the unsober newcomers who write to me, to encourage and bully them, hoping my Good Advice on any aspect of sobriety you care to mention does not drive them back to the bottle. They would rather write to me than sit in meetings with real live recovering alcoholics because they can click Delete and I just vanish into Cyber Limbo whereas human beings tend to hang around and say annoying things and sniff at your ethanol-tainted breath.
Feeling grateful but preoccupied, not exactly staying in the present moment with mindfulness, as my Buddhist friends would say. Sober and scatty.