Mister Y’s mysteries (part 8): Crossing over

Pedestrian crossing light

At South African traffic lights*, why does the green light stay on for such a short time for pedestrian crossings? It’s only green for a few seconds before it turns red again – which is usually not enough time for the average person  to cross the road. The light then flashes red for quite a while longer – even though cars must still remain stationary (since the light is still red for them).

Is it a cruel joke to encourage people to run across roads? Or did the initial designers just grossly miscalculate the timing?

Is it like this in other countries too?

* In South Africa, we call our traffic lights “robots”. Apparently, that amuses people from other countries.

Mister Y’s mysteries (part 7): Who is Ayesha Teladia?

For many years, the University of Cape Town has hosted a rather mysterious memorial. At the bottom of the Leslie Commerce building lies what appears to be a gravestone, or a marker of sorts. As seen in the picture, Haji Ayesha Teladia died in 1981 – living to be 56 years old.

The mysterious memory of Haji Ayesha Teladia

The mysterious memory of Haji Ayesha Teladia

The question is: who was Ayesha Teladia? And why is this stone sitting here – in this position at a university – for so many years? I find it hard to fathom that she would actually be buried at this spot (since it’s not a Muslim graveyard), but I’ve never found answers to these questions…so I put it to the world (or at least those who find this post).

Shaykh Google refers to one or more (seemingly) currently-living person/people of the same name – but the one in question has been dead for 31 years.

So again, it’s a mystery.

Does anyone know anything about her?

If so, please reply here.

(Previous mysteries can be found here.)

Mister Y’s mysteries (part 6): Custom plates

If you’re going to spend the money to get customised number plates, what’s the point of choosing a message that’s redundant?

Previous mysteries are available here.

Mister Y’s mysteries (part 4): The Night Visitor

(Just like The Case of the Missing Socks, the following mystery is also based on a true story)

Just as I was about to retire for the night, I was alerted to the possibility of an intruder…or, as I like to call this category of intruder, a “visitor.”

“Don’t be alarmed,” said my wife, “but there’s something moving in the blinds.”

Interested, but not overly-concerned with the claim, I went to the scene of the break-in, wanting to observe this supposed threat for myself. I listened closely, hearing nothing. I was about to dismiss the whole thing, and then I heard a faint rustle. Something was inside the room – by the window – moving among the blinds.

Yet I was still not too alarmed, consciously suppressing the fear that it could be one of my worst nemeses: a cockroach.

And then, on cue, my wife interjected with: “It sounds like a cockroach…” – to which I responded swiftly, “Don’t say that!”

My fear had now arrived. I now dreaded the task of trying to find out what the ‘night visitor’ was.

“I’m going to take her to the other room and close the door, then you get rid of it,” said my wife – referring to the fact that, just a few metres away, our little angel was fast asleep – not knowing the horrors that could lurk behind the blinds, waiting to attack her cowardly daddy.

We proceeded with the plan, and I sheepishly began the process of opening the curtains – a little at a time, then moving away…’testing the waters,’ as is my usual procedure when faced with such threats.

The matter was complicated by the intricacies of the window covering: curtains at the front, another set of blocking* curtains behind that, then a netting* behind that, and finally the blinds. (*Don’t ask me the actual names for these things…I just pay for the curtains, I don’t know what they’re called 😉 )

I couldn’t see much, but then I heard rustling, and quickly let things fall back into place. The visitor was on the move.

I went to the kitchen and got the torch, as a companion to the can of Doom (bug spray) – my beloved ally when such incidents occur. I rued the fact that the broom was outside the house – so I couldn’t easily get it. (Dealing with visitors is much easier from a distance…)

I returned to the battleground – armed with my torch and Doom – and reluctantly resumed the process. “This isn’t something I want to be doing at 11PM,” I thought to myself.

It was a scary process, so much so that my wife decided to take over – because I was “taking so long.” So she took over, and I held baby, still fast asleep, in the darkness of the other room.

She returned, grinning, and reported the nature of the intruder: it was her nightmare – a moth!

Knowing that she was afraid of moths while I wasn’t, I quickly returned to the scene with relief and confidence. I administered an anesthetic (i.e. a spray of Doom) to the winged wonder, then watched it struggle frantically as it realised its impending demise.

I felt remorse at having to do such a thing – but I couldn’t open the window to let it out, because there were more moths (and other creatures) outside – hovering around the spotlight that was positioned outside the window. I didn’t want more visitors. (And besides, flies, moths, and the like, usually don’t get the message when you try to get them out via an open window).

With the visitor drowsy and hanging on to the netting, I dealt the final blow – a sharp smack with a slipper.

Alas, he was gone.

Cleanup operations commenced; and everything soon returned to normal – thus ending the mystery of the night visitor.

Or so I thought…

Early the next morning, as I was in the bathroom, I saw a figure fluttering outside the window – trying to come in. In an instant, I knew what it was…another visitor. But why?

Was he trying to come in because he was attracted by the fluorescence of the light? That would be the simple answer.

Or had he heard of his comrade’s passing – and wanted to come in to take revenge; or protest the killing?

Whatever the case, I knew I could not let him enter – which he may well do, given the little gap in the bathroom window – by which creatures of the crawling kind can make their way in.

I quickly put the light off, and saw him give up his quest.

And the fortress was once again safe…but for how long?

The case of the missing socks

After a long while, Mister Y’s mysteries returns with part 2 – a tale of intrigue and cotton thread, saved up from a few years ago.

Saturday, 14th October 2006:

Socks are forcibly removed from the cupboard, in preparation for the week ahead.

These are night-time socks; warm, fluffy – designed for home use only.

Sunday, 15th October 2006:

While changing into PJs this night, the socks are put aside – temporarily.

But later that night….

The socks are gone.

But, where?

Did they go for their own walk?

Did they evaporate into thin air?

Did they decompose into tiny socks that would fit on the feet of spiders?

There’s no answer.

But there’s sleep.

Monday, 16th October 2006 – early, early morning:

Still no sign of the socks.

Failing to materialise, the sock investigation is set aside for the moment.

Then, later that morning…

The socks are found: hiding between the blankets.

With blanket re-arrangement the previous night, the socks must have ended up in the middle somehow.

By their own design?

By my sub-conscious action?

By the sock fairy or sock union boss, who look out for the well-being of socks?

No, that’s silly.

There are unions – but no such thing as sock fairies.

It doesn’t matter. The end result is: the socks got a warm night’s sleep too.

(This must please the union boss – whether he was behind this mystery or not)

Even later that morning…

As I leaving home, I spot something on the ground by the gate: a sock.

White. Wet. Crumpled.

Maybe discarded.

Maybe lost.

Maybe cast out by the sock union, and finding no refuge elsewhere.Whatever the case, the fact is: this sock was not as fortunate as mine, for it had to brave a cold night outdoors.