It's a typical manic Monday in our office in Tokai - our editorial team is banging away at their keyboards when out of the blue, Tanya Petersen, People's Post Grassy Park reporter, breaks into song
On her way to our local Pick 'n Pay on a lunch run, Reyana Nacerodien, People's Post Wynberg reporter, says that while she's there, she might as well buy new vocal chords for the pathetic choir who attempting a rendition of Ain't no sunshine. In between the singing and the cries of "shut up" from me, our sports reporter Brian Gaffney asks how to spell "incompetency", while Ciska Verster, People's Post False Bay reporter, replies with her favourite word, "Err".
Among all this madness and fun, we produce what you are now reading. It may not be a conventional office but this is how we, the People's Posters, deal with the pressure of deadlines and breaking news while producing an informative, educational, entertaining, quality read that is relevant to all our communities. And in between the organised chaos, friendships are born. Considering that eight months ago we hardly knew each other, I'd say it is safe to assume that now we don't want to know more about each other.
Adri-Ann Peters, People's Post Retreat reporter, has an inexplicable habit of putting her foot on her desk while writing an article and holding a telephone. Unconventional though it may seem, she always comes out tops with hard-hitting stories. With her penchant for pink, Tanya always has a kind word and is willing to lend a helping hand or a listening ear.
People's Post City edition reporter Toyah Lord has kittens every Monday, convinced that she can't make the articles fit on the page, but her tenaciousness always ensures that she succeeds. With a little help from Nina Harvey, our entertainment reporter.
Then there's our roving reporter Barbara Meyer, who despite warnings (ours and doctors'), continues smoking the most vile smelling banana leaves.
And while Reyana found it hard to adjust to the smell initially, she has now managed to find other things to moan about, like her family's tendency to buy her one-year-old daughter a gold bathing costume.
And when things get too rough, the baby in our "family", Nurene Jassiem, who is currently performing Hajj, is always willing to accompany someone for a smoke break.
And the rose among the thorns is Brian Gaffney. How he stoically manages to go about his work with all the oestrogen (aka PMS) threatening to engulf him is mind baffling. But he does.
As we all do. We fight, we argue, we scream at each other and sometimes I have horrible fantasies of jumping on someone. But at the end of the day, we are a team. When Elmari Potgieter, our production head, dislocated her shoulder, we all went round to the hospital. And even though we couldn't see her together, we sneaked in one at a time, just to rub her shoulder or scratch her nose.
And the driving force behind us all, the captain of our ship, is our editor Annelien Dean. Sometimes referred to as a dragon lady, sometimes referred to as a fairy (depending on my and her mood), she binds us together with her energy and passion. And she binds herself together with a wide collection of pantyhoses.
A wise woman once said that friends are the family we choose for ourselves. I'm glad to have met friends who put the fun in "dysfunctional". "We are a family, I got all my sisters (and a brother) with me..."