I was a little girl of about 7 or 8, and I was sitting on the kitchen counter while my mum cooked dinner. Though I was raised in an Afrikaans family, I had been to an English pre-primary. This meant I was pretty much the only person in my class who could speak any English. But at this age, my vocabulary was still very limited. So, while sitting on the counter chatting, I sniff the air and say to my mum 'That smells familiar!' with a big grin. See, I thought 'familiar' was a complimentary adjective. This was because of movie I watched over and over again called The Little Mermaid. When the prince is all near-dead and Ariel has just saved him, she [now sans fish tail] is leaning over him and he looks up in his dazed state saying 'You look familiar'. Now, knowing that Ariel was a beautiful princess, my logic told me that 'familiar' was a compliment. And that is how I made an error that has eaten at me since the day I figured out the true meaning of the word. Thankfully it was a mistakle only evident if you were in my head, or are now reading my blog.
Having just moved to Pretoria, I get to see my family and boyfriend all the time. But I have a strange sense of lostness and loneliness at times. When I am alone at home I realise the great lack of people to text for a quick cup of coffee. I know many people in this city and its neighbour, but so few of them are what I had in Stellenbosch and Cape Town. They are, for now anyway, not the Naomi or Nina I meet for a cup of coffee and cigarettes any spare minutes we have. They are not the Stef who will text me on any night that the drinks are flowing, and manage to drag me from bed to Bohemia in a matter of minutes. They are not the Simon, with whom I have fabulous lunch dates, wine tastings and shopping sprees. They are not the Nash with whom I make plans to go out, always getting out of hand and the next day nursing hangovers over breakfasy, coffee and recollections of the embarrassments of the night before. They are not the countless familiar faces at gigs I always run into at gigs, the Melissa I always see at the stage, with whom I end up partying unexpectedly into the wee hours of the morning.
I crave something familiar. In the true sense of the word, of course. I crave Bohemia pizza, Mystics dancing, Neelsie coffee and a gig at Klein Libertas. I want to walk everywhere, spend a day wandering aimlessly around Long Street and have sunset cocktails at Buena Vista.
It will come. Change is good. This will be a new year with a whole new start. But for now, familiar is my favourite word.
On that note, Thieve is coming to town! Catch them at Hotbox on Wednesday along with our spastic favourites, Desmond and the Tutus.
Be there. You know I will.