So I carried on with the week. Did some Pilates Tuesday. Met friends for lunch on Wednesday. The tennis girls for coffee on Thursday, did banking with Oscar on Friday. I thought I was ok. I thought so.
But Tessa and I went out on Friday, up to the Mini dealership, to pick up the new key for the car. I was fairly irritable, yes. I’ve been a bit tetchy, jumpy, all week.
So we came out of the Mini dealership, up to a stoplight. A guy came toward me, walking down the lane-lines, a 2 liter coke bottle in his one hand, a squeegee in the other. I accidentally looked at him, looked him in the eyes. Realized my mistake, shook my head firmly, meaning, “No, NO, I don’t want my windscreen washed.”
I looked away, and then suddenly, a squeegee sponge was moving down my glass.
“NO. NO. NO!!!! NOOOO!!” It was me.
I screamed it, shrieked it, bellowed it.... “NO, NO!”, in the most horrible way. “NO!!!! I WON’T HAVE IT!!!! NO! NO!”
Not an effort to be polite, no apology after. Just a complete, total flip out.
He dried that bit of my window, “Ah, sorree, mommee, pleasee, sorreee, sorreee...”
Miss T was appalled.
“Mom, ALL you had to say was, ‘no’.”
Yeah, that could work. I guess.
And in the end, you can see why everyone, everyone, is angry in this country. Yes, it’s beautiful, yes it’s sunny. But people drive like effin’ maniacs, and now I will too. Don’t step in front of my car, pal. I don’t want to buy your freakin’ sunglasses. Why are you HERE, making me drive around you?” It’s so sick.
People talk to service workers, people at the bank, the dry cleaners, the grocery, irritably, right from the start. They roll their eyes, they grimace. Like, “Right, this isn’t going to go right today, is it?” Language issues, laziness issues, African time issues. Everyone expects the worst of everyone else. And then they dive in headfirst, gonna change lanes, take your place in line, insult you first, give you the two fingers, then see what comes of it all. Nothing very good, hey?
It is so flippin’ disheartening and uncivilized, for a so-called “civilized” country.
Welcome, for the second time, for REAL this time.
This time: Welcome again to South Africa.