PEOPLE who know me, know that I am a tree hugger. A hypocritical one who uses spray deodorant, but a green soul in theory, nonetheless.
I have a dream or two.
That all women and men are created equal; that our food won't be mutilated into chemical GM hell in any near future; and that soon, no news will be good news, because nothing bad or horrible happens, ever, since we're all too busy living happily ever after.
You'd think, then, that my highbrow philosophy on life automatically equals eternal optimist. And it does, when I'm on display and baring my best side in public. In private, and among people who love me anyway, I'm a serial whiner.
There are worse things to be. A serial anything is potentially harmful, especially if you're wielding a gun or have an axe to grind. But still – in the complaints department, I'm top dog; the queen of negativity. The one who blabs on Facebook about every consultant, corporate or government lackey who has purposely set out to ruin me because today hasn't gone my way.
The funny thing is, I cringe around whingers. They're boring, repetitive and speak in squeaky monotones.
They always have a "woe is me" agenda: even an offer of coffee is spiked with pity-speak about how they're sorry this isn't Nescafe or freshly-brewed, but with the price of living skyrocketing, they can't afford anything else and hope that you don't mind and of course there are no biscuits either, because the ants got in again and this house is falling apart at the seams and why is life such a bowl of dung?
I'm afraid of these types. You can't ask how they are, because they'll actually tell you.
It will take a long time and afterwards, you will agree with them, just to make it stop – and then find yourself shouting absurdly at taxis on the way home, because someone must be blamed for something, anything, always.
So for the past two days, I've tried to distance myself from the potent pit of despair that is serial whining.
This isn't easy nowadays and, heaven forbid, probably most difficult in South Africa, where our natural inclination towards rainbow optimism is constantly boxed around the ears by bickering unions, consumers, political opponents and an international media conspiracy that's aimed at brainwashing us into believing that we're the most pitiful, corrupt nation ever.
Bah humbug. I've stopped complaining, albeit for only 48 hours, and it works. Following my launch of Whine-Free Friday last week, I've counter-attacked any "Flip, I hate this wind" thoughts with "Yay, so much pollination and fresh air" rebuttals. I'm still upset about the supermarket's fresh grapes containing sulphur dioxide, but I'm going to firmly ask them to get rid of it, rather than getting horribly hot and bothered and threatening a month-long fruit boycott.
Ditching the doom and gloom attitude isn't about ignoring the facts. It's about making observations, rather than firing complaints. When you aren't happy about something, change it. And if you can't, either die trying, or accept that sometimes, the world is a bowl of dung – but nothing that a hot, soapy shower can't fix.