An End of Year Lament—In the Middle of the Year

An End of Year Lament—In the Middle of the Year

You know the curious journey that a train of thought can travel? Well, I re-discovered my first ever blog post, written in December 2004, through an analogous voyage through the interwebs.

A Facebook friend shared a link, and on that page was another link to a Buzzfeed article: 35 Surprisingly Useful Websites You Never Knew You Needed. Number 34 is The Akinator—The Web Genie! a clever app that guesses the names of characters by asking multi-choice questions. After the Genie correctly “guessed” Christopher Hitchens, Arlen Bales, and Titus Pullo—a pretty impressive feat—I thought I’d pluck a name from obscurity and truly test the lamp-dweller’s mettle… Jabalwan is a sorcerer and healer in Wyvern, an outstanding novel by A.A. Attanasio (do read it, if you have the chance). I had a problem, however. I couldn’t remember specific details about the endearing mentor. Could I answer pointed questions accurately? He was a minor character, after all, and I read the book long ago. To Google then, I submitted the outlandish name, and the first result, much to my surprise, was my long-forgotten Blogspot page (in my youth, I had adopted Jabalwan as my handle, because reasons…) The blog sports exactly two posts, resulting in a publishing frequency of one article every five years. Prolific I am not.

It struck me how much the sentiment of that first post still holds true. Even when I’m half a world away from my beloved Cape Town.

An End of Year Lament

A sea of clouds cover Table Mountain, but it will soon wash over. The morning sun promises yet another perfect day in the most beautiful city in the world. What am I doing in an office, I wonder.

The 15th. Two weeks. Holiday. And boy do I need it. It has been a rough (but good) year and the underlining tension of everyone at the office, is manifesting itself through snappy remarks, sulkiness, indifference, occasional shouting, and in some cases, spontaneous breaking out into song. I want to break free.

Coming back to the mountain… Some years ago (and I don’t care to count how many), my dad and I climbed the harbor side of Cape Town’s monument. Close to the top, we passed a rather portly man catching his breath. “The end is in sight,” his friend encouraged. Through gasps for air, he managed, “The end was in sight from the beginning.”

How true that is for this year. The final stretch. So close and yet so far. The reward somehow seems trivial, now that I think on it. Eighteen days to run down the mountain, heal sore muscles, and mend a weak spirit, before I must climb again.

Why do I do it? The beauty of the mountain? The thrill of the climb? I don’t know, but I know nothing else. At least I’m well provisioned. I feast on friends and indulge in writing (even though it tastes poorly). And when the storms of the Cape beats upon the mountain side, fantasy whisks me away to another place. That should be reason enough…


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