Posts Tagged ‘swearing’

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

December 8, 2010

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 editorĀ  (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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