Walking home from work today I had one question on my mind; do I attract the crazy people, or do they attract me? Although this question has only arisen after working 5 months in the infamous ‘Fortitude Valley’ my apparent gravitational force affecting crazy people started long before this year. In fact related memories stretch right back into my early years of childhood.
Growing up in Africa it was expected that all white families had servants. Which, contrary to first world belief; was a service to them as it would help to provide for their families when there was no other form of employment.
My family had several maids throughout my life, some who looked after me as though I were their own, and some that would seize the opportunity to steal valuables. However at my most recent home in Zimbabwe we had a gardener who went by the name of Tendai.
Tendai would seldom turn up to work without a bottle in his hand and that unmistakable stench from weeks’ worth of uncleaned drunken escapades. He was not a bad gardener as such, in the rocky economy of Zimbabwe he even helped to provide my family with a small amount of income. He had planted a whole packet of lettuce seeds which ripened just as the rest of the country was experiencing an extreme case of lettuce shortage.
While my family had thought he was merely crazy because he was an alcoholic, he accompanied my father on a trip to the RIFA conservation camp on the Zambezi River. After one of my father’s colleagues had made the shocking discovery that his seat was saturated, he was made to stay at camp and skin a Hyena. We first discovered he was a witch doctor when the skinless Hyena returned minus the pricelessly medicinal tail.
The next morning Tendai came out of his tent exclaiming ‘boss, did you hear the lions last night? They were right here in camp and we couldn’t even come out and eat dinner or go to the toilet’. Little did he know that those lions were actually my father and his friends making noises into a watering can?
Many years later, I still seem to be surrounding myself with crazy people. After it took over an hour for security to remove a customer who was verbally abusing me at work this afternoon I realised that crazy people come in all different shapes and sizes and where there are no crazy people, life can seem rather dull.