(r)ubiquitous diversion

Happy omelette, happy lady

Happy omelette, happy lady

I know that I’ve previously posted about how I spend some of my free time: shadow puppets, comparing South Africa to Harry Potter, inventing horrific meals with my limited ingredients, reading my Baba’s World Encyclopedias, melting crayons onto canvas, etc.  Well, I have a new pastime that I’d like to add to the riveting bunch of bouncing-off-your-seat activities… I was in Durban on New Year’s Eve, walking around a junk store looking for anything to add to my Rocky Horror outfit when I saw it and was captured: the Rubik’s Cube.  Mhmm, Mama’s getting mathematical.  This little 3x3x3 coloured cube can leave you with a head full of hot, intelligent air or feeling completely

The farthest I've ever gotten! Nerdily, I'm 8/21ths of the way there...

The farthest I’ve ever gotten! Nerdily, I’m 8/21ths of the way there…

hollow, dumb, and frustrated.  It’s potentially the tiniest device I’ve ever come across that’s just teeming with life lessons: it teaches you to plan, to colour coordinate, to think outside the box (teehee), to logically set goals, to step back and see the bigger picture, to use different angles, and to keep yourself centred (sorry, the puns are too good to pass up).  For all of these reasons, I don’t think I could’ve stumbled across this thing at a better time in my life…and now I’m that crazy chick who mumbles to herself and fiddles with a cryptic plastic box by candlelight.  Sweet.

Not just being a personal puzzle, the Rubik’s Cube has also morphed into a conductor of connectivity within the village.  I’ll watch a cluster of kids explaining the concept and importance of integral colour pieces to newcomers, fellow taxi riders pass it around while  speaking in hushed, confused Zulu, and it’s even helped my reserved 17-year old brother Kwazikwakhe come out of his shell a bit.  It’s helped me connect with part of my community but it’s also aided me with my personal micromanaging issues… when I

Some of my expert Rubik's advisors

Some of my expert Rubik’s advisors

purchased it, I promised myself that no matter how far I got with solving the Cube, if someone asked to try it, I would let them.  Now, I’m no algorithms genius (but I have recently looked up articles about it – nerd alert) so I haven’t ever gotten super far with this darned puzzle, but it does take a deep breath and a teeth-grinding smile to hand my six-coloured, square-shaped gem over to an inquiring kid.  The slight control freak in me has been long-trained – my Mom always told me I had a “me do it” attitude ever since I was dressing myself in, er, creative attire and I can remember always wanting everything perfect, completed, and symmetrical when I was younger (this changed a bit when I went to college but, nonetheless, some bottleneck issues remained).  Something that was broached during PST, and that I’ve come to see firsthand, is the idea that simply “doing” isn’t nearly as sustainable as teaching to do or even doing alongside…the whole “give a man a fish/teach a man to fish” thing.  So, in surrendering the Cube when someone else wants to try, I’ve been able to ease up a bit in my controlling ways, watch someone grow (and have fun!) through trying something new and intimidating, and have fully concluded that if this particular cube-shaped enigma of my service is never solved – it’s okay.  I’ll have gained perspective, made deeper relationships, and learned tons more if I go back to America with a dirty, fingernail-scratched, messed up puzzle than with a shiny, lonely, completed one…

My little pup back home waving hi to me! No assistance required, of course

My little pup back home waving hi to me! No assistance required, of course

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One Response to (r)ubiquitous diversion

  1. Mary Archer says:

    Sweetheart, you are almost inspiring me to go out and buy the darned thing, but being your senile grandma, I would be laughed at for even thinking I could solve it. *Bravo to you for sharing*: not sure I could w/ the finished side you’ve done thus far. You may not remember it, but I think your cousin Sarah mastered hers on our way back from Paris on that wonderful blissful trip ‘way back in 2006. I predict that you will master yours long before you’re on the plane in 2014. Sharing might teach you more than completing, and I love your maturity there. I’m impressed. That omlet looks deelicious. I’ll be right over. xoxo Your Mome/

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