The Stationary Traveler Part 1 – The Container

Sun, Mar 28, 2010


I am very much aware of the fact that the name of this blog is a contradiction in terms. But the choice of name was influenced by personal circumstances and, to a lesser degree, ethics. It is somewhat ironic that I am attempting to write anything even remotely like a travel blog since I don’t actually travel much. My dislike of anything pretending to be anything it is not also played a role in the naming process. This blog is not going to pretend to be a travel blog in the puritanical sense of the word. From the outset it should be clear that it is NOT being written by a seasoned traveler and it therefore does NOT exclusively focus on travel as a subject.

I am an aspiring attorney doing my articles at one of those big scary Joburg firms. I am now entering my second year of slave labour and whilst not completely disillusioned with the entire human race, the legal profession is rapidly losing its charm. You can only perform so many mindless tasks before your IQ actually starts to diminish. And the shocking thing is the hourly rate clients are being charged for me to complete these tedious tasks. Surely they can find a more cost-efficient printing/filling service! But nevertheless, here I am, living the dream. The only problem is that for a substantial part of my day I am actually bored silly. Very little stimulating work comes my way and I have now resorted to daydreaming to pass the time. My favourite fantasy involves a container, all the people in the world that I would rather have disappear and the most uninhabitable place on earth.

The daydream largely consists of me unceremoniously dumping all the unpleasant people in the world in a large freight container and shipping them off to some truly desolate place where they can do no further harm. I have done some research on which place might be most suitable for such a purpose.

My choice for most desolate place on earth is Antarctica. This might seem like an obviously option but it has some truly dreadful geographical statistics that justify my choice. It is the coldest, windiest, and highest continent anywhere on earth. And even though it is covered in ice, it receives very little rainfall, getting just slightly more than the Sahara Desert, making it the largest desert on earth. There are no permanent human residents, but people reside throughout the year at the research stations scattered across the continent. Only cold-adapted plants and animals survive there, including penguins, seals, many types of algae, and Tundra vegetation.

In case you don’t know what tundra is (I didn’t and I had to look it up on Wikipedia, to which I give all credit for all tundra related information contained in this blog) – it is a biome (climatically and geographically defined areas on ecologically similar climatic conditions; or more commonly known as ecosystems) where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. Vegetation likely to be found in tundra is dwarf shrubs, sedges and grasses, mosses, lichens (a composite organisms consisting of a fungus and a photosynthetic partner such as green alga) and scattered tree growth.

The whole point of my rather overcomplicated account of the Antarctic is to drive home the obvious message – it sounds pretty miserable. It might look impressive on National Geographic but you wouldn’t want to live there. A frozen desert with nothing but seals, penguins, alga and fungus like plant organisms – bar the odd mad scientist running around. I think it is ideal!

The question of whom I would want to put in the container is a somewhat more complex matter. I am human and as a consequence I tend to be fickle. Someone who might have been assured of a seat to Antarctica the one week will not necessary be going the next. For instance, a few months ago I was hell-bent on including my previous boss in my load of passengers bound for eternal coldness. He was a nervous twitchy character who I can best describe as something akin to the cartoon character Stressed Eric, only he wore a suite. He had the disturbing tendency to perpetually pace up and down and shout unexpectedly when provoked, excited, angered or just for the hell of it. It took me the better part of 8 months to be able to determine when he was shouting at me and when he was just shouting.

I have now however, moved to a new department and have encountered an entirely new brand of evil. I now work for not one, but two female bosses and to top it all off I also work in an exclusively female department. The emotional rollercoaster experienced on a daily basis is quite staggering – all the gossiping, bitchiness, backstabbing and pms has turned our wing into a minefield – eventually you will put a foot wrong and have something explode in your face. All of this would have been bearable, albeit mildly irritating, if the Head of Department was not the lawyer version of Jackle and Hyde. With her impeccable English accent and willowy figure, she can go from pleasantly amusing to brutal tormenter, capable of devouring junior staff members alive.

My new boss, lets call her Neurotic Nora, is therefore currently, and probably for the foreseeable future, guaranteed of her place in the container. I recon that a reasonable sized container, filled with sufficient quantities of food to ensure that my chosen few do actually get to experience their destination, can comfortably hold 10 people. I therefore have space for 9 more lucky souls. The passenger selection process consisted of careful consideration and deliberation and, finally, a vote. The selection panel however, consisted only of myself and my boyfriend, and in the event of the vote ending in a tie, my vote was decisive since this is my blog and I can do what I want.

The final list of people that the world would be better of without is as follows:

  1. My boss, Neurotic Nora;
  2. Dolf Landgreen, the guy in the Silver Sands Poker School Ads. I cringe every time I see those ads and the fact that he was ever in a full length feature film is a crime against humanity.
  3. Joost van der Westhuizen. I never thought the day would arrive that I actually felt sorry for Amor.
  4. Steve Hofmeyer. His greatest hit prominently featured a rotten pumpkin – I can’t take this man seriously as an ambassador for Afrikaans or the Afrikaner people.
  5. Patricia Lewis. I have nothing against the woman personally, but when your main achievements in life are dating David Hasselhoff for a very short period of time and having hair extensions, one does start to wonder where talent ends and desperately clinging to any form of celebrity status begins.
  6. Julius Malema. Surely at some point some figure of authority in our countries ruling party must realise that Julius should be banned from publically speaking his mind on any subject whatsoever?
  7. Robert Mugabe. The man is hell-bent on destroying an entire country. Need I say more?
  8. Gordon Ramsey. I don’t care if the man can cook. Must he be so insufferable? And why do people find it entertaining when he throws tantrums that would put any three year old to shame and abuses helpless kitchen staff?
  9. Paris Hilton. She has no talent and she carries a tiny dog around as a fashion accessory.
  10. Barney. He’s a purple dinosaur. It’s just wrong.

And there you have it – my list! I find it very relaxing to imagine those mentioned above shipped off never to be heard from again and I would recommend it as a method of stress relief to all mistreated, undervalued minions everywhere. It may not change anything but it should at least make you feel better for a little while, which is sometimes all you need to get you through the day.

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