If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably one of the privileged. I don’t want to offend us/you by what I am about to say, so if you’re easily offended, please stop reading now.
You are privileged because you own a smart phone, or a computer or a tablet and can access the Internet. You are also privileged because you have the time to sit and read a blog post, albeit that perhaps you squish it into a manic schedule or you do so on the loo. And if that is the case, thank you.
I picture you sitting with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and browsing Facebook. You see a link to this blog. The title makes you wonder to whom I am referring when I say that privileged folks and why I would say that they rant.
But, crapballs! They really do. And by ‘they’ I mean you. And me.
And we all do it a lot more than we should.
Here are a few I have noted over the last month or so:
1. I love the beach, but I can’t stand the sand. Really? By definition, the beach is the sand. A holiday at the beach involves a holiday with sand. Enjoying the beach means that you will be exposed to and forced to succumb to a crotch full of – you guessed it – sand! But that attitude extends so much further than the beach. I love the berg, but there’s nothing to do there. THAT’S WHY PEOPLE GO TO THE BERG!!! To chill and do nothing!! I love that amazing restaurant** (Pick a name**) but the food is so rich! Then don’t eat there. And seriously, then don’t say you love it. Because clearly, you don’t. I love my new ***** smart phone, but I really miss my iPhone… It’s lame. We get the privilege of enjoying something so many folks never get to enjoy and yet we bitch about a major part thereof. I would get rid of my pool, if not for the fact that my wife enjoys swimming. Then you can’t get rid of it. Or if you want to, perhaps get rid of your wife first. Point is: don’t bitch about it.
2. There are so many public holidays at the moment, its no wonder no one works in April. This is usually followed by, “And to top it all, we’ve just come back from a skiing trip to France/a week in Cape Town/holiday to Disney World/a boat cruise to the Med…” and it is no wonder no one works in April. What bothers us most about all these public holidays is that it is the working class – even, the “lower” class – who really benefit. They don’t work and they don’t feel the need to. They get the time off to relax and no one penalises them. It’s forced rest time issued by the government and the business-bottom-line driven folks really don’t get that mentality. You see, we/they want what they want when they want it. And that applies to staff too. They can have leave, but only when we’ve okayed it. They can relax and ask for extra time off, so long as we don’t need them. It pisses us off no end when we have just taken some time off to do something for ourselves, or our family, and then a staff member comes along and requests the right to do the same. Yes, the government does exacerbate the situation by allowing additional days off in between the holidays that already seem excessive, but we privileged folk don’t understand that a majority of workers will need to travel long distances in order to make the best of these public holidays, thus an additional day here and there really makes them worth their while. We live in Africa. Relaxing is part of the package. I guess we would just prefer it if our staff relaxed in their shoddy staff quarters in our backyards, or work yards and watched television rather than visiting their family and friends.
3. Basic living has become so expensive! And it has, it truly has. So imagine you only earned two thousand Rand a month. Food prices haven’t stayed low for the bottom wage earners. Fuel prices haven’t been cut in the townships. Taxi drivers haven’t decided to fix their fees and demand not to pay road tax because they offer an invaluable service to society, (which perhaps they should!) People who earn minimum wage, or thereabouts, are finding it as difficult, if not more so, than the privileged. Often their salaries aren’t adjusted at the same scale as people who earn higher wages. When they receive a ten percent raise, it doesn’t equal an additional tank of fuel or an additional trolley full of groceries. We still shop at Woolies and don’t even raise an eyebrow when their ‘Eat in for under R100’ campaign suddenly became the ‘Eat in for under R150.’ That’s a fifty percent price hike. And we didn’t flinch. Boy life is tough.
4. Another bloody election? Of course it’s been five years. Our president and his party have run their course, while perhaps having a questionable ‘run’ of the land. We need to vote every five years, and it’s for a good cause. But this rant is often followed by What’s the point? The point is – when you’re not griping about the election, you are griping about the government. If you continue to gripe about a government then you have to become involved in the election. By voting, at least. Or volunteering. At best, consider running. Wouldn’t that be fun?
5. My maid/gardener/nanny was late for work/called in sick/fell pregnant. Oh damn. What a first world problem. Count your blessings – you have a maid/gardener/nanny. You lucky bum. Now shut up. We’re all allowed a few mistakes.
These exclude complaints about a television show that didn’t PVR, a new car that didn’t arrive in time for the weekend, a bottle of champagne that was served a touch too warm.
Have you ever imagined what a less privileged person thinks when they hear rants along these lines? It’s quite humbling, if you allow yourself to be humbled for long enough to think on this. It’s like a skeletal blonde sitting at a table opposite a size fourteen babe moaning about how her jeans don’t fit because she’s eaten too much salad.
There’s the old hymn, certainly worth pondering over the long weekend: “Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.” Humble yourself enough to be grateful for every little thing – and there are plenty – that you have that so many others don’t. In a world of so much sadness and badness, don’t muck about moaning about things that don’t matter. See the silver linings and see the abundance in your circumstance. And choose that as a topic for your next conversation instead.