Of Breaking Free; A Writer’s Block

 

Writer’s block is the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.

When I try to picture it in my head, I visualise a large immovable block that your writing hand is shackled to, which is why you cannot write…..

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Or maybe it is large chopping block where you lay your head as you wait for the axe of creative constipation to chop your silly head off…….

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Off with your head….. if you can visualize your writer’s block in your head then you are kidding yourself you do not really have writer’s block, your creative mechanism still work; you need to collect and focus your creative energy.

To understand writer’s block you first have to understand the psychology of a creative individual. Imagine a writer as a therapist; unconsciously self-psychoanalyzing to resolve inner turmoil via the sublime medium of writing….

In other words writers are batty, how can they not be?

Writer’s block has probably existed since the first writer picked up a stick and scratched something on a cave wall or perhaps even before that when he traced doodles into the dirt with his fingers and when the rain washed it away he tried to do it again, and could not, quite get it right……

But the term writer’s block was first coined in 1947 by a psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler who described it as a “Neurotic inhibition of productivity

What causes Writer’s Block?

Self Doubt or Self Criticism; (afraid of how you will be judged or  if you wrote something before and it was praised and now the pressure as you are not sure you can ever equal the same level of excellence or being compared to other greats)

Timing; (when you just cant find the time and space and distractions.)

Procrastination; (waiting for inspiration)

Perfectionism; (waiting for everything to fall into place, which it never does)

Disillusionment; (you write and no one notices, no recognition)

unhappiness; (It should come as no surprise that an unhappy writer is likely to be creatively blocked and that a blocked writer is probably unhappy. Unhappy people daydream less period.)

There are many other causes for it but these are the most common.

Writer’s block is a psychological condition and as with all psychological manifestations its treatment should be some feel good therapeutic exercise….

How To Break Free The Writer’s Block

Writing is an intimate conversation with your innermost thoughts; so to deal with your writer’s block; relax and get alone time, you need to find some joy in your writing; if you feel good, you write good……

If I had a holy grail solution to dealing with writer’s block; I would probably be selling it in a set of 25 motivational DVDs at $1.99 a DVD and after you had bought the entire set you would find that you were no closer to getting past your writer’s block than when you started; that’s because writing is not an exact science, it is an art; and art has no rules; it has No Chill.

However I’ll share a few quirky remedies outrageous enough to just pop the bubble of that uncreative funk

*Firstly WRITE, write anything; keep writing until you write better

Writing about writer’s block is better than not writing at all

~Charles Bukowski

*Pretend you are writing a rough draft and not a masterpiece

*Talk to your characters, have coffee with them, interview them

*Write like you talk

No one ever gets talker’s block

~Seth Godin

~B

PS I never suffer from writer’s block; I immensely enjoy it and use it as an excuse to exercise all my quirky traits and blame my unruly muse ♥♥♥♥

Of Freedom Of The Press

#PressFreedom

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day

A day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression.

For a second I thought to myself what does press freedom have to do with me? I am not a journalist, I don’t work for a media practitioner…..

But like everyone else I pick up a newspaper and browse through, sometimes I find articles about journalists being arrested or detained, cameras and voice recorders being confiscated or destroyed. Media blankets from certain proceedings….. or key government officials calling media parasites or a circus….

According to the Reporters Without Boarders website Zimbabwe Ranks 128 on the World Press Index a ranking based on RSF’s assessment of the countries’ press freedom records in the previous year.

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Zimbabwe Press Freedom Index

I won’t say I am a supporter of the press but it has always existed to fill the information gap and they should be able to disseminate truthful information without bias or prejudice or fear, but at the end of the day; Media Houses are a business, and they provide news and information not as a benevolent act but their bottom line is to make money; to sell newspapers, to sell advertising space and whatever else that pays that puts food on their table….

It’s quite easy for The Press to slide down the slippery slope of only covering sensational stories, emotive news that stirs emotion and likewise sales and once down that path its quite easy to start making up your own news when there is none, speculative opinion pieces dressed up as fact; or whomsoever butters their bread tells them to cover a particular story and not another.

Sometimes the media seems nothing more than a tool whose sole purpose is to build or destroy politicians…

Pick a paper any paper what are the odds the leading story is political…

And sometimes it’s a voice for the voiceless and a defender of the people’s liberties but who defends defender……

I remember once getting a communique that was supposedly from Ministry of Information’s office to various radio stations informing them not to cover news on certain protests as it would glamourize civil disobedience…..

It must be tough being part of the government machine, how many secrets you must keep, I am sure it’s with good intentions (at first) you keep these secrets to maintain order( I would like to believe) . It’s not hard to imagine how people were to react if they were told for example the government only has enough money or water or other basic need for one more month before the country reserves run dry, mayhem and chaos…. I have seen the apocalyptic movies where people become mindless animals when they don’t have hope….

Sometimes it seems like hope is more important than truth……

So the state keeps a secret, to preserve hope, a curious journalist sniffs out a scoop and what happens next has happened before and will probably happen again.

If governments didn’t keep so many secrets, if they trusted its citizens not to react like base creatures and properly explained; If good governance meant transparency maybe Press Freedoom would not even be an issue….. but cows come home to roost; scandals break out, politicians fall out of favour, new politicians rise and  they become exactly the system they criticized, and so the cycle continues….

And now we live in the internet age which has brought with it a paradigm shift of how we consume THE NEWS…. Anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection is suddenly a pseudo-journalist. Something happens, you capture it on your phone, you tweet it, blog it and share it via WhatsApp and in seconds it has gone viral before traditional media houses can even say “BREAKING NEWS”

Its absolutely brilliant but it has its pitfalls such as the increase in unverified information or downright slanderous gossip masquerading as fact being peddled by people seeking their two minutes of internet notoriety; for example celebrities have been “killed” several times over, fake news, satirical and downright cyber victimization (leaking of chats, pictures and videos)

Small wonder governments are trying to find ways of monitoring and regulating the internet….. it’s an unruly information jungle. But if only they did with the intention of safeguarding citizens it’s simply a way of controlling information, information is power.

Once the was a time when all internet service was down and conspiracy theorists claim it was a directive from the government trying to stop a citizen protest which rallied around the national flag as it was deemed that the protests were being mobilized via social media.

Our government is trying to pass Cyber Act which gives them power to arrest people deemed to be inciting violence or causing unnecessary alarm and despondency…….

The Press is no longer some journalist with press card and a column in a newspaper, The Press is someone in your phonebook, in your contacts list, in your email, in your whatsapp group, the next person whose tweet you retweet….

Are you really free if you are afraid to speak? How will you be heard when you do not speak?

~B

Of Coffee with Jack Of All Trades

If you were having coffee with me; I would welcome you into my house and home like the favourite guest that you are. I might not mention it enough or ever at all but I do so love your visits; every time there is a knock at the door, I hope its you but; its only my twin toddler nephews, they have discovered the art of knocking on doors.

They knock on open doors, they knock on closed doors they knock on all doors and surfaces until you say “Come in”; then they knock some more and giggle… And they have discovered clothes have pockets anything they pick up goes straight in there; money, keys, pens, thats the first place you should look when you cant find something, which happens, twice like déjà vu because twins….

Ah yes I’ve always wondered why babies clothes have pockets:

They are for putting all the “dollars”  from visitors so their parents so can buy treats for the them( ah the embezzlement that occurs, I guess its payment for all the drama toddlers cause) and also as My twitter Neha friend pointed out kids’ pockets are filled with innocence….

…….and that inspired the beginning of a story rattling about in my head:

“Once they had walked merrily, arm in arm, not a care in the world, pockets full of innocence and sunshine; until the day they dipped into the pockets to find them empty, somewhere along the way, no one knew where; innocence got lost or stolen or if they ever had it at all. Now they walked arms protectively crossed; some where along the way they had become adults……”

If you were having coffee with me I would tell that every time I have an interesting idea I have decided to write it down because I absolutely hate it when I sit down and realize I don’t remember what the idea was, simply haunted by the ghost of a brilliant idea that’s just at the edge of recollection…..

If you were having coffee with me I would say thank you for pretending to not notice that the house is a mess, we have been doing some home improvements, and also some furniture got damaged when we moved. Moving is rough on wooden furniture and glassware; the fact that it was raining; didn’t help.

Everyday I write but yesterday I was a carpenter repairing furniture, the day before that I was a babysitter, today I am an electrician and tomorrow I will be a plumber and maybe the day after that a painter, and then a gardener.

Gardening is therapeutic; plants require only water and sun, you can even whisper your secrets to them if you like, the perfect best friend, who is always there, by the green patch where you first met, they will listen without interrupting, they don’t judge and you know they will keep your secret to the earth they sprouted from or until you cook them and have them for dinner, well because plants don’t talk and they are rooted to the spot (unless it’s a pot plant… HA) Its not weird right? To name your vegetables (Asking for a friend)

Its been lovely having you over, do tell what have you been upto? Read any good books seen any good movies… does watching a movie based on book with the subtitles enabled count as reading the book??

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you if you had to choose between Strong Roots or Strong Wings… what would you pick?

~B

PS My life is so much more interesting in my head…

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Its been two months since we moved and yeah about 90% unpacked yey!!! Unpacking is such a process…..

Of Coffee and Edible Water after Easter on Independence Day

tea

If you were having coffee with me I would say hello to you hope you had happy Easter holidays. Did you do anything interesting, visit family, hunt for eggs with the Easter Bunny, or go to church and celebrate The Risen Lord. Regardless of your beliefs and faith on Easter I find you hope you never get swayed by the corporate monster, out there to make a quick buck, commercializing every single reason we have to buy a gift or anything really for any occasion clouding up everything till you find you cant go home until you have bought a mother’s day or father’s day, valentine’s day or anniversary gift, cake, presents, Christmas trees, hot cross buns, Easter eggs, spending hard  earned money on meaningless trinkets and  meaningless gestures. Ok, fine maybe that was a bit harsh, its not meaningless and there is nothing wrong with gifts and gestures, and I for one wouldn’t mind getting a gift; even for no reason, actually especially for no reason but they must come from the heart and not because some big corporate splurged a lot of money in advertising and marketing and it’s all inception and subliminal messaging for you To Buy Buy Buy Buy Buy.

But hey the corporate monster just like progress is a multi-headed beast that needs to be constantly fed with innovation.

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you if you saw the April Full Moon, also known as The Pink Moon. I don’t know why it is called The Pink Moon, it was most certainly full but not pink in colour. Here is a fun fact, Easter Sunday falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox. (which occurs March 20)

It still feels like the weekend today, Sunday to be precise but its Tuesday, that’s because today’s another public holiday, it’s been a holiday studded past five days whoop whoop…

Today is Independence Day for Zimbabwe.

Happy 37 years of…… sovereignity.

They call us the Born Free generation because we are fortunate to never have witnessed oppression at the hands of colonial overlords or the blood price that was paid for our sovereignity. Sovereignity is a tree just like liberty it needs constant watering, with blood of patriots and traitors alike. I would like to believe no leader ever sets out to rule with iron words, firm fists and tyranny but the old adage holds true power corrupts and absolute power, well absolutely…. and here we are 37 years later and sovereignity feels a lot like oppression  simply changed skin colour.

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you if you have taken a walk outside and thought to yourself someone should do something about this and then kept walking….. Yeah I do that. Just the other day I was looking for a bin to throw litter in, while walking in the city, I noticed all the different kinds of bottles littering the street thinking yeah people need to recycle or something….. and I kept walking.

Everybody expects somebody to do something and in the end nobody does anything

Fun Fact; Empties is really a word, it means a glass bottle empty of its contents. You might be familiar with bottles that come with a deposit refundable when you return the ‘empties’ or those who wont sell you takeaway beverages without an empty to exchange with. I had always wondered who came up with that word or if it was just street lingo but had never looked it up not until yesterday. When your bottle has a deposit you are less likely to just toss it away without a second thought.

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you what you think of edible water bottles. I would watch you look at me trying to wrap your head around the idea of an edible water edible. I know I have crazy ideas but fortunately that one isn’t mine.

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A company called Skipping Rocks Labs has introduced water, packaged in water drop shaped bottles that are get this Edible… made from some organic algae, dipped in ice. How cool is that?  The idea is quite an interesting and innovative take on that recycling and littering problem I mentioned earlier, especially for those who want water on the go…(hello jogging #teamfitness I see you) I don’t know about the practicalities though like you cant have your water and drink it too hahahaha. What do you think

Thanks for dropping by and have an awesome week

~B

PS If you are a Christian you must live each day as if Christ rose today and is coming.  Amen

Photocredit Designboom

Of Feeling The Earth Move

I felt the Earth move beneath the soles of my feet, a tremor deep from the bowels of the planet’s core.

I was sitting on the sofa watching TV and tweeting about it….  and then I noticed that it was just that I could feel The Earth beneath my feet but the sofa was vibrating ever so slightly like it was a massage chair and the windows were rattling like a freight train was passing through my backyard…. There is no railway line in our backyard, so it could only mean one thing…. a derailed freight train was being all unstoppable outside the house…. I got up and peered casually outside the window half expecting to hear the shrill blast of a train’s horn or see the headlights coming straight at me and I could look like a startled deer watching a flame come to burn it, wait that’s a moth, but see a moth would have flown to the flame, the flame would have come for me…..I guess my imagination is just like runaway train of thought….

The internet is such a handy tool, instead going crazy trying to figure out if I had gone crazy a few clicks later I knew what happened…..

Turns out it was an earthquake:

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A 6.5 magnitude earthquake with an epicentre in central Botswana occurred at 1940hrs CAT, and the tremors were felt in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

I haven’t heard of any causalities so I presume people only got a little shaken up nothing serious…

Its amazing isn’t our ability to laugh at  the things that frighten, our on way of assuring ourselves that, that wasn’t so bad give me another challenge… see fear cant abide humour, were it not for laughter sometimes fear  would never leave, that’s because fear usually arrives late, inevitably leaves early, and ends up never going out at all.

So when you wake up in the morning and find people joking about earthquakes all over social media maybe they are not just being funny, they are saying hey lets laugh because we are not afraid… at least lets pretend we didn’t for a second think the world was going to end, aint no body got time to live their lives like that….

I felt the Earth move beneath my feet and I laughed, did you feel it too…..?

~B

PS If you didn’t feel anything and you are wondering if it was real, the internet says it was real so it was real

 

Of Coffee, April Fools, Short Stories and Fathers

If you were having coffee with me I would say thank you for joining me, how have you been? I have been good cheers to the New Month, hello April what do you have in store for us? Good things I hope.

So did anyone play any good April Fools pranks on you or did you do the pranking?

I didn’t prank anyone but I did write a Very Short Story #VSS called April’s fool:

He used to be the court jester, till he clowned his way into queen April’s heart. No one ever called him King only April’s Fool….

For those who follow my twitterverse account @Beatonm5 you might have noticed I tweet a lot using that hashtag #VSS.. I have been asked many times what this means  it simply stands for a very short story. Twitter and its 140 characters per tweet makes you adept at the fine art of brevity of expression and challenges your creative skills to write a story. If you have a second you can find my #VSS tweets by clicking HERE. If you tweet micro-stories on twitter do let me know and I will check it out and if you haven’t you must try it, it’s also a good way to come up with writing ideas or a story to develop further, for those moments you think you have writer’s block.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you I attended my first mass today. Before you look at me with that scandalous expression it was not my first mass but rather it was the first mass I have been to where the priest in attendance is a family member. He got ordained as a priest last year but time and circumstance had not made it possible for me to attend any of his services. It was quite weird, watching him, deliver sermons and perform sacred rites of communion with ease of someone who has been a priest all his life. It’s also weird how once, he was my young brother and now I call him Father, he looks older. He looks like someone you can confess your sins to, without being judged and expecting him to mete out a fair penance of Our Fathers and Hail Marys, someone who could officiate your wedding, baptise your little ones and when you laid there on your deathbed someone who would perfom the last rites and finally bury you and into the   hole ye goes… Someone you could call Father.

I remember attending his ordination ceremony officiated by an Apostolic nuncio who is the Pope’s emissary so it was quite an honour. The community decided to welcome him by bestowing upon him the gift of a totem, he was declared of the Moyo (Heart) Clan. I am fairly sure protocol was creatively circumvented and he accepted ever so graciously. He thanked the family for our generosity in letting go one of ours to a greater calling. The ordination of a priest, it feels bittersweet like part marriage and part funeral… Christ being the bridegroom: does that make the priest, the bride? but unlike a wedding you are not gaining in-laws as such, but losing your relation to the church … imagine calling your own son father I guess that’s why priest end up in parishes far from their home and family to prevent awkward encounters and broken hearts just like at any wedding.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell I just got my few seconds of fame from a YouTube video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcmwF7_6Ljo

where I got a shout out from Leeann who I featured on my blog The Girl In the Red Dress ( she has a YouTube channel and shares recipes with Conde a parrot I do believe) anyhow someone watched the clip and is now a new follower on my blog, I would have mentioned them by name but, they are internet shy, so I’ll just say I hope you read this wherever you are…

Cheers, April Showers and May Flowers

~B

PS speaking of pranks, and April I am still trying to figure out if this notice from the Zambia Police is real or not, if you do please tell me so…..

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Of Bond Age

Welcome to the Bond-Age…. You are supposed to read that as Bond Era, like the year of the Bond, and no, its not a new instalment in the James Bond movie franchise but one ought to be forgiven for thinking bondage and not of the kinky kind…

We have survived this long after the introduction of the Bond Notes surrogate currency, late last year, longer than some pessimists had pegged till collapse of our economy. Bond Notes are a surrogate currency, trading at a rate of 1:1 with the United States Dollar, introduced into the system to help ease the cash crisis. According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe they are backed by a $200 million dollar facility by the African Export-Import (Afrexim) Bank, and to date $102 million worth of bond notes are in circulation.

(confession: I really have no idea what exactly that means if it is a loan or something else and its terms, I worry a little because this is how countries get economically colonised  I’ve read The Confession Of  An Economic Hitman had I heard of said bank before this… and I had never heard of the Afrexim bank before all this; well Google says it is a real financial institution  but I wouldn’t put it past responsible authorities to take creative liberties with the truth and claim to have financial backing so as to instil confidence in their surrogate currency )

The release of the Bond Notes was shrouded in quite the mist of mystery and vaguely phrased terminology like a stimulus package for Export Incentives and Cash Shortage alleviation and I remember a bank even got fined for breach of some confidentiality clause by circulating pictures of the bond notes prior to their release. Even the security features of the Bond Notes were only made public after the notes had been already introduced into the system.

An sms from the RBZ sent as part of their public awareness campaign:

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Who can even make sense of that?

Strangely enough though these notes were supposed to ease cash shortages trading at a value of 1:1 with the USD (easily making the Bond Currency the strongest currency in Africa) it seems to have worsened the crisis and bank queues are even longer than they used to be, and people struggle to withdraw the weekly banking limit, of their own money. The rumour mill has abuzz with talk of introduction of  even higher denominations of the Bond Currency which are currently trading in bond coins, $2 and $5 bond notes; although the Reserve Bank has gone on record to dispel this saying they won’t do so, as that could fuel inflation.

Plastic money, is the order of the day, but it’s still the standard operating procedure to first ask the cashier if the swipe Point of Sale machines are working and if they accept your particular bank, because some banks apparently don’t play with others, and local banks are suspending MasterCard and VISA transactions outside the country or placing limits on transactions.

How about doing RTGS …one would think that something called a Real Time Transfer should be instantaneous yet they take anything from 24hrs to 14 days, where does the money disappear to? Instead of just whizzing digitally from one account to another at the click of a button like magic? What if it disappears there and never comes back, what if maybe that’s how all the cash disappeared ??? You would think is a terrible time to invest in banking, but you would be wrong, banks are making a killing, your money in the bank doesn’t earn any interest and it will probably get eroded in transactional charges every time you swipe your card, or transfer money and other hidden costs, you might even get billed for enquiring your balance… and meanwhile some banks are making double digit million dollar profits…What a time to own a bank

If you figured you could runaway from the Bank Queues and try to make a withdrawal from some unscrupulous mobile money agents, you would find they charge a “commission” on top of the transaction fees and people desperate for their cash have no choice but to pay and that’s how it starts. Mobile Money Operators say such practices are illegal and should be reported, but desperation breeds strange bed fellows; once one person is willing to pay a premium for their cash then someone else will, and then another and another and soon chaos and the parallel market thrive….

Fuel supply is quite sporadic and one can’t just waltz or rather drive to a fuel service station without checking if they have fuel cause they just might not, and you ought not be surprised to find separate queues at the same service station, one for US Dollar fuel and another for Bond Currency fuel.

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Oh yeah, it also shouldn’t further surprise you to see that they are most likely to run out of Bond Currency fuel first too. They blame the Reserve Bank for not clearing their foreign currency payments to suppliers and in return the RBZ says it works on some priority list where not all foreign currency payments are equal; some payments are more important than others….

The RBZ FOREX Priority list

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Officially there is no parallel rate though in effect there is, by offering discounts for cash transactions as opposed to using plastic money which basically translates to cash being worth more. Unofficially there is a multi-tier pricing where there same product has a different pricing depending whether you are using plastic money, United States Dollars or Bond Currency. This is illegal and an RBZ amendment act was passed into effect  which will see perpetrators being jailed for “devaluing” the Bond Currency.

That’s some Bondage for you

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Of Queue Waiting: Suggestions

A reader made the following comment after reading my previous post Of Queue Waiting:

Comment  I don’t understand. If you have a number, and you know how much time it will take, then why not head back home? You could come, as you stated, two hours before the bank opens. Get the number. Then return to your home and chill out for a few hours and do whatever you want to. You can use your 3 and a half minute average to calculate how long you have till your number arrives. And according to that you can leave for the bank. That way you wouldn’t have to wait in a queue. 

… it seems such a simple solution doesn’t it….Confession: I have even wondered the same thing myself. Theoretically it’s ridiculously as easy as that …… For half a second you can’t help wonder why people waste so much time waiting around in queues… you could hold a position leave then come back but in practise such a system would fail mainly for one reason: The Human Condition. People are generally not the most honest of beings, and if you are not there in person to witness what’s going on, with your own beady little eyes; shenanigans will happen….

Even when you never leave the queue you for any significant amount of time you still notice people worming their way into a position in front of you from out of nowhere claiming they came way earlier than you did and got a position before you or “claim” that someone else was holding the queue position for them. (sometimes it’s true) It doesn’t help that some enterprising individuals see a business opportunity in selling premium queue positions.

It’s like stealing candy from a baby, not that am giving anyone any ideas but if one were inclined to make a quick buck, all you need is a pen some paper and maybe a scissors

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You get to the bank very early before anyone else does….

On the pretence of wanting to maintain “order” in the queue; you start handing out your list of numbered little papers corresponding to queue positions but here is the trick; you keep some numbers for yourself so it means that the actual positions in the queue are vacant… When people start queuing in earnest; when the bank is open and the ATM is dispensing cash, you then approach potential “clients”.

It’s easy to spot someone in a rush, desperate to get their cash, milling around at the back of the queue looking longingly at people at the front, and in their hand a lil paper that’s showing a triple digit number and little chance of their getting cash that day. Or the executive type who drive up to the bank in their vehicles and wind down their power windows and ask “zvakamira sei nhasi?” which translates to anything from “Whats up?” to “Any chances of getting cash today and what’s the withdrawal limit today?”

Those are the ones willing to pay to get a position in the queue… You spot your mark and say “Good day to you, pardon me for intruding I can see you value your time, I am selling a spot in the queue I can even organise that you get in the top 10 but those one cost you extra…” If you are of unscrupulous disposition, you can even sell the same position more than once (after all you made the numbered lil pieces of paper you could make duplicate numbers)…. Easy as pie.

And if all this is happening right beneath your nose imagine what would happen if you were to leave the queue for too long….. Not forgetting that unforeseeable circumstances might mess up your calculations anything could happen while you are away, you could come back and find that the whole queue has changed you don’t recognise anyone you see and that might be because the people you were with gave up or went to a different bank and new people showed up… what do you do.. what do you do…? Oh yeah and the bank just might run out of cash while you are away…..

The longer you spend outside of the queue the harder it is to get back to your position especially as you get closer, to the ATM people tend to become aggressive in allowing people to in front of you and they will eye you suspiciously when you say I was in front of you, especially if they sweated all day in line and never left it for a second and you expect just to waltz in ahead to the front of the queue goodluck with that…

Maybe just maybe if the banks took a more proactive role in the maintenance of order in the queues cause it seems they have a morbid fascination in having people just queuing up outside, as if they have no better place to be, and that’s also it, where can you go when you have no money going home and coming back is an unnecessary expense, so you wait…  It’s also a convenient excuse for anything, “yeah sorry about that…{insert anything from being late to not showing up for an appointment or work or school or even forgetting to buy flowers for that special someone’s birthday] I was at The Bank the whole day you see…” It could even be an alibi for how to get away with murder…I was at the bank the whole day…

If banks wanted am sure they can even tell you the exact number of people they can serve before cash runs out so you don’t have to just wait and hope… It’s fascinating I have been reading in our local financial papers how banks have made massive net profits in the region of million dollar figures. If they wanted, they could afford it, to make a wait in the queue such a pleasant affair, ice cold refreshments, chairs, benches, entertainment, free WiFi while you wait…

How about even making a system like those pizza places where you get a timed buzzer when you place your order and it a buzzes when you order is ready, or better yet use a system like at the doctor’s. Where you make an appointment you know exactly the time to the minute when you will get your money. How about a Queue Buddy mobile banking app that lets you track your position in the queue giving you real time update as to how long you have till it’s your turn to get served… The bank could even send you an sms remainder or call you to confirm if you are still coming to make sure the system runs smoothly and you never have to wait in a queue with longer than five people (That’s 15 minutes at the bank tops…)

Anyone with any suggestions on innovative banking solutions please do share….. maybe we could start our own bank and make million dollar profits too………….

 

Of Queue Waiting

…..Greetings from QueueWait,  I have spend so much time waiting in this here bank queue, one might think I went on vacation to  QueueWait….

I usually somehow manage to survive without setting foot in a bank or bank queue, resorting to plastic money in all its expensive charges glory…. Its not that I have lots of money to spend or anything but its just more convenient than spending a whole day in a bank queue… The struggle is real….

The cash crisis situation seems to have taken a turn for the worse and as a result I have been forced to wake up at the crack of dawn to forage for cash at the bank……

I arrived at the bank at what I thought was a decent hour, two hours before official bank opening time, figuring not many people would be there, boy was I wrong….. the were already 57 people in front of me and I am the 58th. I even have a number that says so…

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A handy system that helps curb the scourge of queue jumpers, nobody likes a queue jumper; we all have places we would rather be, than here, now, waiting for money, our money not handouts or charity but our blood sweat and tears… where did all the cash go again?

 

It is weird standing in a neat queue long before The Bank is due to open and it is not even waiting in line to get into the bank, its waiting for them to put money in the automated teller machine, which they do after The Bank opens, which is after The Bank gets its consignment of money I guess from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, RBZ. So you wait patiently not even sure if The Bank will get its delivery of money and then hopefully you. You ask the people next to you how this particular branch operates, they tell you the money comes around 9.30am and then the ATMs start dispensing money an hour and a half after that. In hindsight  you realise maybe you should have had something to eat before coming to the bank, that’s what you get for thinking a bank run is a simple in and out and thank you for your time mission…..

You stare at yourself in those bank windows that are really one way mirrors, but at least you can wile away time checking out your posture starring at your reflection and reflecting…. its a good thing you took a bath and decided to dress decently because by the looks of things you wont get time to go back home and change for your meeting for later during the day…

You pass time by turning on your Wi-Fi and searching for any open Wi-Fi Hotspots, you might get lucky and find one too. Its something to do until your battery level goes critical, you should have charged your phone before you left the house, or brought a power bank….. Next Time remember that…..

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You start talking to your fellow queuesmen (hmmm a red squiggly line appeared on that word, not surprised considering I just made it up) There is always that one guy who is overly friendly who tries to engage everyone in conversation telling you how you must entertain yourselves otherwise you could just drop down dead of stress. Someone even makes a suggestion about how The Bank must take out the TVs in the banking halls and put them outside since people spend more time outside The Bank, than inside….

Shout out to that one guy whose idea of making small talk is asking inquisitive personal questions that no one feels like answering and most of the time ends up just having one sided conversations with anyone who dares make eye contact with….

After a while the stranger next to you becomes familiar like an old acquaintance and it pays to remember what they look, in case you have to leave the queue for a short recess to stretch your legs then you can come back and just say “I’m back” and squeeze back into your position without having to take out the piece of paper verifying what number you are in the queue… and just when you are thinking your number is far from the ATM, someone taps you on the shoulder and asks you what number you are… you tell them and ask why, and they say they are number 205 and looking for their position in the queue…. they are waaaaay to the back… Where did the cash go?

Finally the armoured truck delivers the day’s cash consignment for The Bank.. People cheer and generally get a little lighter spirited, money does that doesn’t it? This is when the Queue jumpers usually make their play, trying to persuade people that they were here earlier, even greets you with  the “hi! I am back“…. “But If you were here earlier then you have a number?”… “I lost it”…”Too bad!”… aint nobody got time for that

Some ladies are prepared for this; If you ever wondered what they carry in their those handbags, a change of “sensible” shoes from the heels and wrap fabrics to spread on the ground and sit. Its a good plan sitting because now you have been standing for close to three hours and your feet starting to ache. Queue

You think you are suffering, you are wrong, there is a pregnant lady who seems ready to pop, should she even be here in that condition? But what if she needs money for hospital, and the money is in the bank? Some hospitals only accept cash or take medical aid cards but with a cash co-payment….. where did the cash go?

Finally the security guard announces that the ATM service has now started and the limit per person is $300 which is also the weekly cash withdrawal limit, so if you get your $300 you don’t come to the bank till next week. The next part is the tricky part, the notes come out in $2 bond note denomination and the ATM cash slot tray can only dispense a maximum of  15 notes per transaction which is $60. So to withdraw your full $300 you have to do five $60 transactions. I am sure The Bank is quite happy with this arrangement as they get to bill you cash withdrawal charges five times……

The thing is with everyone withdrawing their weekly limit, it takes an average of 3 minutes and 30 seconds for one person to complete their business on the ATM. (I timed it)

I am number 58 which means I’ll be standing here 3hours 22 minutes and 8 seconds

There’s always the impatient person who complains real loud about everything and anything and how they have places to be and keeps threatening to just quit and go, but they never do, but they talk about it, a lot. While others just quietly disappear from the queue without telling a soul, they never come back…. but the queue moves ever forward, slowly…

….And then just when you get within a two people away from the ATM you are so close you can hear it beep as the person at the ATM punches in their transactions… you get told that it’s run out of money…..

How long does it take to refill an ATM with cash; approximately 1Hour 30 minutes judging from the time it took in the morning… how long does it take to realise that the bank has run out of money and no money will be dispensed by the ATM 2hours, at least that’s how long you wait for before deciding this is pointless and no one has come out of The Bank to tell you anything about anything ……

You just start walking home, because frankly you don’t have cash for the taxi… maybe if they accept a bank transfer ? Where did all the cash go??????

~B

wrote this post to pass time while standing in a Bank queue

 

OF Things Found In Boxes

Of The Things Found In Boxes….While Unpacking

You never know what you have until you are done unpacking…..

I shared with you some of the curious things I discovered while I was unpacking in my last post about moving and bonfires, and if you must know I am rocking a pair of 80s fashion pants…. Well I am bringing the 80s back, style I really am an old soul and not just by the fifty strands greys in my beard….

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I found these pants in a wardrobe that’s been in storage for quite the longest time ……

While on that subject of longest of times I also discovered this smoke-preserved barbequed meat, also known as biltong or Chimukuyu in Shona.

Who knows how long its been there? Dare I eat it?

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Spicy

Ok if I suddenly develop mad cow disease or get any crazier than one would expect from a writer type…. please refer my doctor and or psychiatrist to this post, I am assuming the meat is beef but frankly it could be anything that once lived under the sun……

 

The first thing I unpacked was my dumbbells…. Because Fitness Freak.

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Yeah I can run for quite far with one in each hand and then repeatedly punch at imaginary targets which is great practise for when I need to defend myself from invisible assailants with featherweight punches.

A Credence Clearwater Revival Vinyl LP tape….

CCR.jpgThe moon is shining outside and I am bopping away to some….. Bad Moon Rising as I write this post…..

Some interesting T-shirts I have never gotten round to wearing because I wasn’t brave enough….

A book project I started writing ten years ago…… when I was this big *you can’t seen my hands but I gesturing my height and or size reference * I signed of as B-Man *groans*

Yes, I went to Gokomere High School in case you are wondering……

For the fun of it I might just type it up and publish it on to here….. it deserves its slice of immortality than just to live in a grave of long forgotten dreams in box beneath my bed…. Maybe I might even finish it…… if anything its proof the writing bug bit me a long time ago……

Fun fact did you know it would take a 29 39040seconds to tick away 1 000 years…   I did the math… without a calculator

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And finally a boxful literally of bullshit, genuine African Elephant bullshit from Gonarezhou game park…..

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It’s a cure for people who experience chronic nosebleeds, smoke this bad boy up and presto, you wont get nosebleeds as frequent. Ok you don’t really smoke it, you burn it and inhale a bit of the smoke, you inhale but you don’t smoke there is a difference right? Hashtag AskBill I don’t know about the actual physiological pathways but it works, if any doctors are in the house please do let us know… my granma swore by this stuff and I used to get regular nosebleeds but look at me now I don’t remember the last time I had one….

well I think I am mostly done with unpacking, and life gets back to its regular scheduled programming

~B

PS I hope you had already eaten maybe I should have warned you about the elephant dung but its dry and smells like well compost and decaying leaves…..so I figured it shouldn’t violate any sensibilities ….☻☺☺☺