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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Are You Obsessed?

Have you ever cornered someone and rambled on about the topic of your obsession?

Are you unaware that their eyes are glazing over while staring into the distance.

If (s)he manage to make a getaway, do you follow them or then target the next unsuspecting individual?

My guests exhausted after an 18 hour flight and studying the pizza menu were subjected to Ralf as soon as he made his entrance.

His passion was Saving the Rhino.

While some people couldn't care less, most of us are sickened by the torture ignorant and greedy savages inflict on the rhinos which are being hunted to extinction.

While we admire the dedication and determination to stop this barbarism, Ralf's obsession drove my hapless guests batty.

As they were from Asia and had difficulty communicating in English, Ralf's questions and comments left them bored and bewildered.

"Do you know that Mozambican poachers have killed the last remaining rhino in the entire country?"

"According to eastern medicine their horns are believed to be a cure for cancer. Can you believe that? Also, as a hangover cure and an aphrodisiac in Asia. People are so stupid over there.

"Their horns are made of keratin, the same material as human hair and finger nails. So why slaughter them?"

"The rhino horn is more expensive than cocaine, gold and platinum at over R600 000 per kilogram."

"Would you be willing to give a donation to save these magnificent creatures?"

As the guests left the room Ralf followed them and continued with a theatrical rendering of the sound of adult rhinos and then those of their babies, as he explained each in turn.

Ralf then went off the topic but subjected the Asians to an African general knowledge quiz: "Are there tigers in Africa?" and "Do you know what a warthog is?"

"Some people are so thick," Ralf told me later.

I then told him that I needed to sleep as the guests were leaving at 4am for a flight to Cape Town.

"Why?" he asked. "I am far from finished. We can continue the conversation tomorrow. I only have a flight at midnight."

When Ralf heard the guests leaving, he jumped out of bed nearly knocking them over, to hand out magazines entitled: The Plight of the Rhino.

I had to strictly enforce the 10h00 check-out time to save my sanity. As Ralf was walking away the rhino sounds reached fever pitch.

My gardener asked me 'if that man was mad?'

Later that evening another group decided to braai in the backyard.

Aaron ran out of his room as though it was on fire: "Terry, Terry, I smell smoke. Is there a bush fire nearby? I wanted to speak to you anyway. I heard that they kill rhinos at your Kruger Park. Is this open to the public?"

"No," I replied.

"Well, that's a pity," said Aaron, "now I have come here all for nothing."

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