I’m drinking again. No, I don’t mean alcohol, I mean coffee. Right now, there’s a mug of steaming black stuff squatting on my desk like an insect ready to leap up and grab my face. And it’s my third one today.
To think, I managed two whole days without one. Yeah, okay, I know that’s no big deal, but there’s more to it than that.
I decided to give up coffee and chocolate three weeks prior to my last karate grading. I managed two days with none at all – and then I cracked. Only a little bit though.
On the chocolate front, I bought 2 packets of Minstrels (not on the same day) and managed to give away at least half of both packets to my fellow karateka. Coffee-wise, I rationed myself to just one mug per day.
Post grading, I decided to carry on with my healthier lifestyle. I was drinking shed loads more water, and the occasional mug of rooibos tea. I did try green tea at first but, come on! Seriously, does anybody actually like the taste of that stuff? Hmm, thought not.
So, what caused my inauspicious fall from grace? Yantsu! – My novel, not the kata.
You see, coffee and chocolate were not the only things I gave up prior to the grading. I also quit writing for a while, so I could focus more on my training.
Well, now I’m back behind the keyboard for several hours a day, the old bad habits are kicking in again. My water intake has plummeted from 4+ litres per day to only 1.25 litres so far today.
Time to take myself in hand and learn to write without the caffeine buzz that seems to keep me going. On the plus side, the only chocolate I’ve had since the grading is a Malteser bunny and a packet of Revels.
Speaking of writing and gradings, about that OMG moment.
After the pre-grading training session, we were booted out of the dojo for a while before the actual grading started.
As we were waiting to go back in I was chatting to someone who was in the middle of reading Sanchin. She told me there was a line in the book that she didn’t understand. She said she had read it two or three times and she still didn’t get it.
Uh oh! By this time my mind had gone into overdrive wondering what on earth I’d written that came across as utter nonsense after several readings.
Talk about a great way to take your mind off an impending test. “What was it? What didn’t make sense?” I asked, hoping it wasn’t something horribly bad, as there were other people listening to the conversation.
She gave me a rough idea of the paragraph she meant. Ah, right, that. “Sorry,” I said, “it’s a South Africanism. It means he’ll be back when he can, sometime soon.”
Anyway, when I got into bed that night, I looked up the exact part she meant:
Jason draped an arm over his shoulders and led him to a bench at the side of the room. “Sit there for a few minutes. Sempai Jabu’s bringing you some water. I’ll be back just now.”
I’ll be back just now?
OMG! Suddenly, even to me, that sentence seemed quite absurd. Granted I’d had a couple of beers, but I actually burst out laughing.
At this point, any South African reading this will be scratching their head wondering what’s wrong with both me and that sentence, but honestly, from a non-South African point of view it must seem absolutely ridiculous.
I won’t go into detail because I think you’d have to be South African to really get it, but, in SA, now, just now, and now now have three distinctly different meanings. Well, what do you expect from a nation that calls a traffic light a robot?
So far, I’ve managed to fight the urge to go through the whole of Sanchin looking for other potential sources of confusion for those whose first language is not South African English. However, I will have to be much more careful when I edit Yantsu!
Now, where did I put that coffee?