Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Feeling Safe

Yesterday my friend and I Skyped with our bestie in Oz. It was about 230pm here and in Melbourne it was 11pm. The first thing that we couldn’t believe was that we were speaking to her (and seeing her face) while she was on a tram! The miracle of modern technology still astounds a neanderthal like me, and I can’t believe I live in that sci-fi  fantasy of video calling.

The second thing that blew my mind was that she was on a tram, going home, by herself, at 11pm at night. She was free to use her cellphone to Skype us. She was waiting to get off at her stop and walk the rest of the way home, by herself, in the middle of the night. She was safe. And I was jealous. I was totally, unashamedly jealous of that freedom, because I have never felt it here, at home. I have never walked by myself at night, or caught public transport at night (or regularly during the day even). When I come home, in my car, I scan the road I live in. I look up and down and left and right. When I leave, in my car, I make sure my valuables are nowhere to be seen.

Poor me. I, who have a car. I who will pay for an Uber if I need to. And then there is the majority of women in this city, and country, who have no option but to take public transport and to walk home by themselves at night, and are scared every day of their lives. Women whose cellphones get stolen as they run the gauntlet from station to home. Women who have to sit with steel tight knees and thighs on overcrowded minibus taxis so they are not harassed. Women who cannot find themselves alone in a train compartment, or taxi for fear of losing their lives. Women whose children are unsafe while they wait for their mothers to come home. Women who are in the cross fire of gang wars. Women who are afraid, all the time.

I want women to feel safe here. I want to feel safe here. But I think it is too big an ask and that breaks me.

Vegan French Toast

  • a recipe without pictures because I ate too fast

I love vegan french toast much more than I ever loved egg french toast because I never liked the egginess of french toast. With vegan french toast you can get it 100% right and it is delicious.

Ingredients

2 slices of thick white bread

2 tbs chickpea flour

1/2 cup non dairy milk (I used soy milk because it’s what I had)

Turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt (as much or as little as you like)

mild oil for cooking

maple syrup

sliced banana

Whisk the flour, milk, spices in a shallow bowl. Soak bread in mix while oil is heating in the pan. Fry until golden. Cover with maple syrup and banana. Try to savour each bite. Mine was gone in a second.

Being Vegan

One of the absolutely surprising and truly positive experiences of my weekend away was how I was treated as a vegan. There were 11 of us women, and I was the only vegan in the group. We did huge communal feast style cooking for lunch and supper, and we took turns, and at every single meal I was taken care of, honoured, consulted and respected. Special food was made for me, but I was never made to feel bad, and not once did I ever go hungry. It was the best and most wonderful response that I have had since becoming a vegan almost 8 months ago.

And it got me thinking. I am much more accustomed to having to defend myself, explain myself and go into battle. My conversations around being a vegan are usually challenging; where people demand to know why I have become vegan, demand a list of where I get my protein, and demand to know how I negotiate the meat eating world. I have even been challenged on my world views, religion (or lack of it), and how I come to terms with having animals as pets.

What this weekend away did for me was make me realise that, really, the tables need to be turned, properly and 180° towards challenging people who eat meat. Just because meat eaters are a majority doesn’t mean they are the ones off the hook. The eating of animals needs to be challenged more than the not eating of them. It is the meat eaters who are problematic, and need to justify and answer for their ways. And this is why they get in first, call us names, become confrontational, and make the Vegan memes. They feel bad, and their best defence is to point fingers and criticise.

I have never tried to force anyone to become a vegan (it took me long enough to commit to it), and I am careful about initiating the vegan conversation. Mainly because I am familiar with a teasing (at best) or even hostile (at worst) response. I am careful not to make my choices impact on others and am used to ‘making a plan’ if people haven’t catered for vegans, or considered the possibility of them. Film sets are a challenge. Mainstream restaurants can be tough going. But truthfully, it should work the other way around; like it does for smokers. Smokers are made to feel bad, and their habit is frowned upon. Don’t you think it is the meat eaters who are like the smokers, not the vegans?

Room with a View

I was away for the weekend, on a beautiful, celebratory trip for a friend’s 50th. We were in the Drakensberg, at a spot I have never been to before. It was also a group of 11 women, which is something I have never done before, and it was magnificent.

One of the most special parts of the space/place was the view from my bed out through huge windows over a special part of the dam. I saw the sun set behind the hills, and I woke to the morning star reflected in the water. I saw the pink sunrise turn orange and then pale yellow as Crowned Cranes fought with Plovers for the island. I heard and saw the massive Spurwing Goose, swim, dive and even take flight, and I watched the zebra from my front door. I had a live-and-let-live agreement with the family of rock pigeons sharing my balcony and even stopped frightening the two stodgy adolescents of the group. And I saw the elusive and much spoken about but hardly seen otter, twice. It was a room with a view. A whole new world for me.

When I came home late last night Big Friendly caught me up with what had happened while I was away, and one of the things we chatted about was that he had seen my brother, who was visiting Cape Town while I was away. He mentioned how my brother had said that if he hadn’t heard, from us, that there was a serious drought in Cape Town he would never have known. And when Big Friendly’s sister was here for a few weeks, she saw no sign of water awareness at her Waterfront hotel either. And this is really problematic for me. It means that visitors to our city have no idea of the extent of the problem, and are not prompted to do anything about it. It’s true. There is nothing about the drought at the airport, or in hotel literature, or in public bathrooms. There is nothing about it in the B&B’s and they are not telling their guests. We can do better Cape Town. We have to.

A Cold

There is nothing that makes me feel as wintery as a common cold. It starts with the loud sneezing and nose running, then goes to the head, with a feverish ache. You can’t taste anything, but feel hungry and sorry for yourself all the time.

I think I caught this cold on set. It was bound to happen; I stood in open toed sandals on a rain soaked lawn at 9pm getting into and out of a car over and over again. And it was freezing.

I also think I got this cold to put me in my place. I was feeling invincible and immune, and I kept boasting that I hadn’t been sick since becoming a vegan. Then, next thing, I was finishing the at least a year old tissues, and making ginger tea and marmite toast.

I also got a cold because I am going away this weekend and I really don’t want to be sick. I am doing as little as possible, and hoping it will leave me fast.

So, I am watching the cricket and playing online Scrabble and hoping the sniffs and coughs will be gone by the time I wake up tomorrow.

On Set

Being on set is weird. I am resurrecting the acting side of my ‘career’ at the moment (thanks mostly to a devoted and believing agency; thank you all at ERM) and in the last little bit I have had three totally different set experiences, with one thing in common; this alternate, limbo reality that actors go to for the day.

Usually you arrive at a place you have never been to, in an area you have never been into, and usually it is early in the morning. Usually, as an actor, you will have had a little intro to the wardrobe people because you needed to try on your costume beforehand, but mostly everyone on set is unfamiliar; except for the one or two actors you may know. Usually, there is time for a coffee and to check out the craft table (in my case to scout if there is anything vegan on it) before getting changed, even though you know you won’t be called onto set for hours.

The work in front of the camera is the least weird part of the day, and night. That is the expected part of the hurry up and wait that is film making. The weird part is the make-up lady, who you have only worked with once before, who is suddenly and for the day your NBF. The weird part is sitting in a space not meant to be sat in, reading your book, with your dressing gown over your character’s clothes. The weird part is checking Facebum on your phone, as you would every actual day, but now you are checking it from another world entirely. The weird part is the running away from the talk-too-much extras. The weird part is watching other people so engrossed in their work and the detail of it, and how upset they get when messy performers have to come into their space of light and angles and set. The weird part is driving in a left-hand drive, on the wrong side of the road, down suburban streets of Ottery-meant-to-be-Virginia, with a camera suctioned to the door, while normal people come home from work, and stare out of their windows at the spectacle. And of course it is the people who must share in that weirdness with you; fellow actors, crew, catering, and the owners of whatever location you may be inhabiting for the day; their house becoming four different houses, a workshop, an interrogation room and a small business.

Finally, after trying so hard not to ask when, it is your wrap time, and you jump out of the strange clothes, now totally familiar, throw your own shit into your bag (I either feel smug that I remembered to bring the things that helped me make my day comfortable; gown, slippers, ginger tea, book, pen and paper, or else regretful that I forgot), and you walk down an unfamiliar dirt road to where you parked your car, 12 hours ago, and start up in the bitter cold, trying to remember how you got there in the morning. And then, the radio comes on and introduces you back into the usual world, as you join up onto a familiar highway, and make your way home. 

(Me and Alan Glass on set)

 

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