So the deal is, I left Pleasantvilla this weekend. Ben got back from the states and I moved in with him for, what is potentially, my last little while as a Joyburgian. As happy as I am to be shacking up with the man, I have never in my life been as happy in a living arrangement as I was at Pleasantvilla. Despite the potential pitfalls of our roomshare situation, none of them realized and I was snug as bug in a rug. Roxy was selfless enough to take in a stray puppy and share her life and space with it.
You get the absolute sense that these kids are a family, in a very Gen X sense of the word. Like this paradigm shift from the Brady Bunch to Melrose Place or Friends. Nuclear family exploded and like any good sitcom from the 90s these kids organically melted into one geographic location amidst big city life and found features in each other's personalities which filled little holes in each other.
I remember when I was about 12, my brother was going through his terrible teens and at the age of 15 was alienating himself from the family daily. Screaming matches and temper tantrums and groundings. He preferred running with his gang of boys, a mash-up of skaters, musicians, artists from different schools and different ages.
I asked him one day, as he was smoking a delinquent cigarette on the steps of my parents' home, why he hated us? Why didn't he want to be part of the family? He thought about it for a while, and I don't think he would ever realize what a big impact that which he was about to say, would have on my life, and the unfolding of my 20s. He said, it is the most liberating feeling realizing that you don't have to spend your life fighting for the approval of your biological family, the loophole is that you can create your own. Friends become brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers, you choose who you want in what role and they'll become your tailor made pack of wolves. It doesn't mean that you don't love your real family, it just takes the edge off. I remembered stories of friends' families' who were so irreparably fucked up: divorces, alcoholism, infidelity, fraud, bankruptcy, drug abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, the list goes and goes. And I wished all of them happy families in friends. We were very fortunate that our family is essentially the brady bunch - and soon my brother came around again and realized the value of our setup. I suppose that was essentially what drove him away in the first place. Perfection can be a hard thread to string. He still has his pack of wolves though - and they have been his housemates, bandmates, drinking buddies, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters for the past 15 years. I think it's the ever tempting Peter Pan and the lost boys idea. It's the witnesses to our lives that make it worth living. THe ones who can tell the stories when we've forgetten them.
When I arrived in Joburg I realized that I'd been severed from my pack. And boyfriends and girlfriends can fill a part of that, but can't fill all of it. The Pleasantvillians invited me into their home. And I'd found my pack. Cameron the DIY calm-as-the-dawn dad, Lindi the carer softest-of-love Mom, Rox the ridiculously cooler older sister, Karien the punkass middle child who hides out in the attic, Jared the crazy uncle who lives in our garage, and aquired Nicole the rich aunt with solid advice, who lives in the poolhouse (we have no pool though :/). I guess I would place myself as the beloved stray dog that came in from the rain and never left.
So weekend prior to the last one Mom and Dad threw the dog one last bone in the form of a 48 hour core team. We popped the first cap Friday afternoon round 5:30pm.. Realizing that we'd blanked out about actually inviting people to our gathering, it was just us and the cast of Jersey shore playing drinking games. Linas and myself made a mission to the petrol station early in the evening to stock up on supplies. For the first time noticing Rox's blood trail on the porch (she got drunk and yeah, it's a long story :) )
Karien and Terry popped by at some point to laugh at drunk us. We only got to bed at 4:30 am.
The next morning I woke up and downed some hair of the dog (G&T) and we started it all again.
The day we alternated between making outfits for the 90s party that night (I know - how appropriate) and drinking. Cam sanded down some jeans, I cut a crop top, linas cleaned and scrubbed down her combat boots. And by 5:30pm we were all dressed and out the door.
Mom and Dad took it upon themselves to finally expose me to Bowl's club (I'd never been there in all of my 8 months in Joburg: and seeing as its the cheapest watering hole in Johannesburg that Makes No Sense!!) where we had a light dinner and some brewskies. Sadly Cam was on call (almost like, like a Doctor), and had to go medicate some bugs with his brain. We accompanied him home and Colin popped by. Linas and I kept going strong with some help from the Situation and our newly discovered JS drinking game (we drinking everytime someone says situation - you wouldn't believe how often that actually happens) until Cam told us to go ahead, the bugs were sicker than he imagined.
The Kitchener's atmosphere didn't disappoint and I was amazed at how hot everybody looked in crop tops, it almost felt like they went out of style cause people got too fat over the past 10 years - obvs not the case. I ended up dancing for 3 hours straight (a feat I would sorely regret on Monday at work) and once again - our party only ended at the house round 5am - after smoking cigarettes staring at the stars from our backs on the front lawn.
"There's no point to any of this. It's all just a... a random lottery of meaningless tragedy and a series of near escapes. So I take pleasure in the details. You know... a Quarter-Pounder with cheese, those are good, the sky about ten minutes before it starts to rain, the moment where your laughter become a cackle... and I, I sit back and I smoke my Camel Straights and I ride my own melt."