Smelling the season

“When you tilt the glass sideways you will see the gold colour clearly, with the strong amber and orange flashes.”  I wasn’t seeing any flashes, just the urine coloured liquid in my tilted glass.

“Ok, let’s nose it.  This implies putting your nose in the glass and breathing in through your mouth.”  Don’t blow, someone chirped.  “You should be reminded of rich aroma’s of smoked wood, vanilla and other fruity flavours.”  I didn’t smell anything, ok maybe a little bit of smoke.

“Now when you taste it, you need to identify the area of your tongue where the taste of the whisky is the strongest.  In the front implies sweet…blah blah.” I lost him at that point and took a small sip.  I swirled the strong liquor around in my mouth, making my taste buds screaming, “Yeah baby!”  I swallowed, allowing the golden liquid to stream down my throat warming my body as it goes down.

I was at my first whisky tasting.  I was a lot of fun, pretending to taste and smell all kinds of fascinating elements, that one would never assume to be in whisky.  Like cigar smoke and pears.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my whisky as much as the next guy, I just never appreciated the complexities of what goes into a bottle of Johnny.  What struck me the most was the importance of smell when tasting whisky. (spelled without the e, for it has to be Scottish, lads.)

It’s fascinating how our brain develops a shortcut between a specific smell and a specific memory.  The woody tones that we were suppose to pick up during my whisky tasting session didn’t really remind me of anything, but the orange I just ate made me sad.  Why?  Well citrus is winter food in South Africa, so by eating that orange, I have finally accepted the inevitable.  Summer is over.  Done.  Dusted. Gone.  Goodbye to the long, lazy days, the bright, crisp, early mornings and my outdoor barbecue’s.  Goodbye to short sleeves, slacks, sandals and pool cocktails.

As the smell of the orange hovers around the office, memories jump around of our fireplace at home crackling on a cold night, and me and the wife snuggling under a thick woollen blanket sharing a small glass of port.  The fact remains; even though I love oranges, the smell makes my body temperature drop with at least 5 degrees.

And then we have the smell of spring.  The strong potent smell of blossoms wafting for miles in the light breeze carrying the promise of something new.  It’s when Mother Nature get’s fed up with Jack Frost and kicks him to the other side of her planet, quite literally.  And who can argue with the smell of rain, vanilla ice-cream and coconut tanning oil?  I’m on a beach on a hot summer’s day in one second flat.  My mind paints pictures of brightly coloured umbrellas, children building dilapidated sand castles and hot bodies glistening in the sun.

Autumn is cinnamon pancakes and flue medicine.   The change of seasons implies that Mr Flue get’s his opportunity to infect all the innocent kids on earth.  He only needs to infect one, then the disease spreads like wild fire and parents across the country have to find ingenious methods of persuasion to force the medicine down their throats.  But it remains a beautiful season, with gold and brown and red and yellow and amber and orange scattered across the country side.

But the best smells are the ones that remind us of our loved ones.  Curious, a fragrance from Britney Spears, is synonymous with my wife.  I just love it on her.  Whenever I’m in an airport I always spray the tester of this fragrance at the duty free shop.  The smell creates such a vivid memory of her, better than any photo I may have with me.  And then the smell of our kids after a bath, clean and fresh, jumping on my lap.  And the smell of our home, an aroma of happiness and love…

Maybe there is some truth in the pretentious method of whisky tasting, maybe the aroma’s are there, but maybe the shortcut between those specific aromas and my memories have not been created.

Oh wait, there it is now.  Where is that bottle?

Times flies…No, it moves like a friggin bullet.

Tic-toc. Tic-toc. Two seconds gone.  Disappeared forever.  Unrecoverable.  And the older I get the shorter these seconds become.

The latest signpost on my journey, highlighting this fact, is the coming Easter weekend.  Since when do we celebrate this holiday twice in one year?  Didn’t the last Easter weekend happen like two months ago? And we had Christmas in between.  I am convinced we still have some chocolate eggs left somewhere.  Is time moving so fast, that my life only consist of holidays and birthdays now?  What’s happening?

When I was younger a summer holiday felt like it lasted forever, there were days when you didn’t know what to do.  I now understand why mom chased us outside, when we would walk into the kitchen, slump down on the table and complain: “I’m bored.”

In my annual summer break, I barely have enough time to stop thinking about work or shut down like my friend says, and then when I finally get in my zone, I have to start work again the next day!

Father Time has an obvious inferiority complex, probably because he didn’t feature in Rise of the Guardians.  So here’s what he did.  He got some steroids from Lance Armstrong, who obviously doesn’t need it anymore, and now he is pumping iron and training like shit.  I heard he chucked his sandals and stick for some Nike’s and a bike and now his gunning it!

My wife’s theory is less dramatic, but I’ll share it in any case.  She reckons it’s because people only live for weekends.  During the week we are constantly making plans and counting the hours until the next Friday.  By doing so, we actually don’t appreciate the shitty other days of the week. Like Monday or Tuesday.  Urrgh.

If you consider this theory to be true, and we only enjoy Friday, Saturday ad Sunday, people are actually only enjoying 43% of their week or worse of their entire adult life. This is really scary, and I checked the stats with a calculator.

We need to understand that time doesn’t just fly anymore, it friggin moves, like a bullet or a rocket of Flash or Superman.  Just think of the fastest thing on earth and you get the idea.

We therefore need to consume time, we need to grab it and use it for that’s the only way to keep it, even if it’s only in our memories.  We should be like children again and not allow time to pass us, because if it does, we will not catch up again.  I am convinced that the older we get the faster time moves, and therefore it should give new meaning to the phrase “Make every second count.”

By the way Happy Easter, and don’t worry if you miss my daily post next week, I’m taking a short sabbatical with the family.  The only condition is that we all have to leave our electronics at home.

Yes, feel my pain.

I stepped on a bee.

I’m guilty of homicide. Or maybe manslaughter, as it didn’t happen on purpose.  I wouldn’t harm a fly…wait…I would.  I would crush those annoying flying vermin in a heartbeat.  But I never meant to hurt the bee.  It’s not my fault I stepped on an insect with suicidal tendencies. Besides he might be dead, but I was stuck with the discomfort of a swollen foot and rigid toe, that became an exact replica of a thick vienna.

Like most tragedies, it happened unexpectedly.  A perfect summer’s day.  The sky was cobalt blue, and the sun was playing hide and seek behind puffs of cotton ball clouds scattered across the sky.  The butterflies were dancing amongst the flowers and even the ants stopped working to bask in the smiling sun.  I know, for I was playing outside with the kids, passing a rugby ball.

Son decided to show us some “trick passes”, which just became ingenious ways of throwing the ball on the ground.  It spend significantly more time there than in the hands of the three people, supposedly playing.  In one moment Princess, intercepted one of the trick passes and thus changed the rules of the game.  Son gave chase and Princess passed the ball to me, about five metres too high, and it landed on the edge of the garden.  It was on.  It has to be said that I need distance to gain speed and needless to say Son got to the ball first.  Remember before you judge, he is 12 and I’m 40.  Anyhow once you have speed and momentum, stopping is a little more complicated.  Unless you fall.   Which I did.  Spectacularly. And once on the ground I grabbed my foot, thinking it to be broken, as a dull pain shot up my calf.

“What’s wrong”, Princess asked genuinely concerned.

“I don’t know, I think I might have torn a ligament in my toe.”  I said without any medical training whatsoever.

“How?”  Son asked. The hysterics was bubbling violently beneath the concern.

“I don’t know,” was my honest answer, as thoughts of a fragile, geriatric man flashed through my mind.

I got up again, not seeing anything suspicious, but the dull pain was still apparent.  So I did what any grown man would do in that situation, I called for my wife.  No I didn’t.  I wanted to, but I didn’t, for I. Am. Man.

I slopped back onto the grass and commenced a thorough search and rescue of my foot region.  Two keen wide-eyed kids loomed over my shoulder.  Then I saw it, stuck between the big-toe and the one next to it (what’s it called?), the entrails of my victim.  The last weapon he will ever hope to use.

I pulled it and examined the small stinger with disgust.  I exclaimed loudly:

“I was stung by a bee.  Shit!”

(Murphy, my best friend, will allow me to step on the only known bee who’s afraid of heights and can’t fly!)

Then the laughter commenced.  Falling down, exploding with hysterics, my kids were rolling on the grass.  It was the most beautiful sound in the world.  (And is more proof that humans are programmed to laugh at one another expense.  As was this story).  I joined in the laughter, and my toe forgotten, ended up in a tickle/wrestling/climbing extravaganza.

What I didn’t know was that the venom of the suicidal bee was spreading and slowly making its way from my toe to the rest of my foot.  After an hour my foot resembled the shoe of Ronald McDonald.  I had a slight discomfort when walking, but this was greatly enhanced by awesome acting.  Resulting in the kids laughing all over again.

That evening, tucking in Princess, she said: “Today was a great day, dad, sorry about the bee-sting.”

I smiled, kissed her forehead and said, “Don’t worry, it was worth it.’

Bedtime came and the wife gave me sympathy, tea and a tablet for allergies.  I got up the next morning, looking down at my brightly red, excessively swollen toe and smiled, realising that spending time with your kids are the greatest investment one can make in life.  It’s absolutely priceless.

My toe returned to its normal size after two days, but I’m glad to report the memory will lasts forever.