Never Assume

Many years ago, I was told: “Never assume because when you assume, you are making an “ass” of “u” and “me.”

Well, I’m sure in my case that valuable lesson went in one ear and out the other, as I constantly assume.

One particular occasion occurred on the golden sands of Suncoast beach in December 2005. I was on leave and tidying the house, before taking my sons to the beach with their boogie boards. I was wearing an old tee shirt and a pair of shorts.

Our car was in for a service, so we were borrowing my in-laws’ car. Whilst tidying, my father-in-law rang to say their car would not start. Would I mind quickly running him into work? I thought, whilst I was already going to be out, I should put the housework on hold, and head for the beach.

So I hurriedly readied the boys and changed into my bikini, grabbed the heb-cooler, beach towels and we raced out of the house. We dropped grandpa off at work.

Next stop the beach.

On arrival the boys dashed into the sea. Removing my clothes, I settled comfortably on my towel reading my book while I soaked up the glorious sun’s rays.

As I read, I heard some young varsity guys sitting in a large crowd next to me, passing some really nasty comments amongst themselves.
“Ah gross man dude, jeez now I have seen it all! No way man dude can you believe this?” On and on they jeered.

I was sure they were chirping about the fact that I was wearing a bikini at “my age”. So I brushed off their comments. At the same time I felt a rather strong breeze blowing in my lower region!

So I very casually sat up and looked down. And to my absolute horror I realised; in my rush to get to my father-in-law, I had put on my bikini top but had forgotten my bikini bottoms!

Here I was sitting on one of Durban’s most popular elite beaches in the height of the summer holidays, in my oldest and very holey panties. I ever so casually reached for my shorts. Put them back on and returned to my book. What I was reading I have no recollection of at all.

Another classic example of my assuming occurred when my eldest son Ryan began Grade 7.

At parent’s evening we sat at our child’s desk surveying their work as we waited for all the parents to arrive. On the blackboard was written the words: “Outstanding work” followed by the child’s name and the subjects that pertained to their outstanding work.

As the parents settled, I turned to a fellow mom and bellowed “Whoop whoop Pat! Josh has outstanding work for 6 subjects – well done. Way to go Josh!!” I couldn’t understand Pat’s stony silence and the drop dead look I received. It was only when we left the meeting that the penny dropped.

“Outstanding” meant incomplete work. I felt dreadful. Thankfully, once I explained my assumption to Pat we had a good chuckle.

Then there was the time I noticed that there were blankets draped across the windows of our neighbour’s house. The usual chatter from their toddlers riding their bikes had stopped.

Besides a single man always sitting in the same position in the garden, there was this “deathly” silence. I bought some flowers, and begged my husband to come with me to offer our condolences.

As clearly the toddlers must have ridden their bikes accidently into the pool. My husband hesitantly trailed behind me as I approached the lone figure sitting in the garden.

“Excuse me” I called handing over the flowers “We just want to express our condolences at your loss. I noticed the blankets covering all the windows, and so have gathered you have suffered a tragedy.”

The elderly man looked at me in total confusion, whilst holding the beautiful bunch of flowers I had insisted he accept, he replied. “Ma’am the tenants have been evicted. The landlord placed the blankets over the windows so people can not see the house is empty”.

I was gob-smacked. The elderly man was a security guard, guarding the house.

Liz Robbertze

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