Much aplomb in the Transkei or I was simply plumbing a line when “I found Bob”.

aplomb \uh-PLOM\, noun:
Assurance of manner or of action; self-possession; confidence; coolness

This word aplomb keeps cropping up in my life system whether it’s during conversation, reading, incoming daily email or just wishful thinking. It’s something I simply wish I had more of. I remember an ex asking me where I got such self confidence from and me having to admit that I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about.

Maybe it’s all about pretence, something like the old stuck record, “Fake it till you make it”. Well I certainly got a dose of it last week in amongst the other bits and pieces, signs and symbols and useless information.

Road to Qolora Mouth, old Transkei by GarethPhoto. Flickr. CCommons.

Road to Qolora Mouth, old Transkei by GarethPhoto. Flickr. CCommons.

Driving through the Transkei years ago in a bakkie with an assortment of backpackers and renegades on the back sharing quarts and marvelling at the hills nestling in amongst the Transkei greenery. I resist the Kerouac urge with a great and enduring difficulty while keeping my eyes on the road ahead.

The dose came quick and easy courtesy of one Bobby Dylan. “People are crazy and times are strange. I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range. I used to care but things have changed.”

In a flash I felt like some road cowboy ditching the past into the Time out of Mind file. The one that contains everything that happened before memory began.

That I received it second hand did not matter one iota, in fact I felt a bit like people who’ve just seen the light. How he would feel about a phrase like, “I found Bob”, is anyone’s guess but it tightened up my life and the rear-view mirror was no longer my primary concern as I became focused on the road ahead.

It was full of bends and cows, minibus taxis and goats with wide open spaces interspersed with dotted villages and people simply watching time go by.

Nothing lasts forever but I don’t tire of reminding myself about that moment when I feel rutted and stuck in 1st gear. Onlookers and innocent bystanders must think I’m a little nuts when they see this curious grin slowly light up my face and then deep in the recesses of my eyes a small flame ignites.

It’s all about the secret and remote places in our geography and our minds and we don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows.

The small things in the system simply make big differences.

Quoted lyrics played a crucial role in the movie Wonderboys.

Aplomb comes from the French a plomb which in turn comes from the word perpendicularity which is being at right angles to the plane of the horizon.


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