A million miles away, and I still hear that “Meow!”

Before I threw myself off that big career cliff and went to film school, when I was still Editor at News24’s entertainment site, my friend and Movies section editor  (and one of the best style subs and writers I’ve ever worked with), Shaheema Barodien suddenly developed this habit of going “Meow!” at random moments. It was totally bizarre, and I was worried that something was wrong. So after I managed to get her to stop listening to indie rock and talk to me, I asked her about it. Turns out she was doing the Muslim equivalent of lent. Catching up on missed days during the fast, and behaving better. EquivaLent? Anyhow. It was in March or April or something. And she was going Meow! instead of swearing, every time she was tempted.

Which in our office, was really, really often. It was like a freekin’ barnyard next to my desk.

I was cycling home down Palm Street, Orange, California, USA, when I saw this grafitti on a STOP sign and thought of a friend in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa.

We screenwriters do table reads – basically reading out loud in which we get to cast other writers in the parts – to figure out what’s working and what’s not. There’s a girl in the class who says Fudge instead of Fuck, and Gosh instead of God when she reads. It’s like me when I have to say God, I just swallow the word. Or I say Fuck instead. It doesn’t change the meaning. But the meow! did. That stuck with me. That was funny. That was fucking funny.

9976 miles or 16051.38 kilometers and I can stand for five minutes staring at a sign, smiling. I didn’t know, at the time that I heard that meow! that I’d ever be here. And yet now somehow, it all seems so inevitable.

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2 Responses to “A million miles away, and I still hear that “Meow!””

  1. Tweets that mention A million miles away, and I still hear that “Meow!” « Jean Barker's Sign Language -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jean Barker, Jean Barker. Jean Barker said: A million miles away, and I still hear that "Meow!": http://wp.me/pTAEQ-iF […]

  2. The Burg Says:

    the table read thing makes me laugh
    i did a movie where i had to swear, and i don’t swear…at all…never…so it was my first time and it exists on dvd for the world to see…i had to get so pysched up to do it…i may actually post the clip on youtube…coz that would be funny.

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