You know it’s gonna be an interesting day when you put your shoes on before your pants. At five o’clock in the morning, rectifying this pants-shoes situation feels a lot more complicated than it really is. It’s an arduous task filled with loads of sighs, but soft sighs, cos you don’t want to wake your family.
Nevertheless, pants and shoes in place, I set off for my morning walk, hoping the world wouldn’t put me on before its pants today…
A walk through Boston, Bellville…
My walk was rather uneventful, though I saw more joggers and walkers in the streets today. I have come to the conclusion that people east of Cleveland street are far more active than those towards the west, or perhaps everyone just woke up today and decided to get active. Belated new year’s resolutions? They say people tend to start any resolutions at the beginning of a year, week or month. It makes sense. That ‘new leaf’ thing has us believing we can’t make any changes in the middle of something else. No one changes horses midday.
Anyway. I have found that Boston has some real friendly folk, and downright rude ones. I suppose this isn’t a Boston thing, but I haven’t frequented any other suburbs to such an extent as to make the same type of observation about its inhabitants. It’s hard to ignore people when you’re the only ones in an empty street, yet it happens. You see people’s muscles tense and their breaths hold the fort of their lungs as they try to walk past you as normal and oblivious as possible. All stiff armed and stiff-lipped – you imagine them clinching their butt cheeks too. Sometimes their eyes dart off nervously to a boring-as-hell tree just to evict you from their periphery. Or they start petting their dog nervously, starting a nonsensical conversation with it from which you are deliberately excluded – and a part of you blames the dog for it. I wonder what these people are like in life. They are probably the passive-aggressives. We should make them T-shirts. They will wear them, but only for dirty work. Only to tell us that they don’t really like the T-shirts. But telling us wordlessly – the same way they smite us silently on their morning walks.
There are friendly people too, though. Ones you spot from afar and then you reach an awkard proximity-of-greeting conundrum where you both wonder what the right distance is to greet, and calculate projected volume of said greeting. Sometimes someone misses this ratio and greets you from too far, and you are left wondering if you should fill the gap between you with awkward silence or even more awkward conversation.
Today wasn’t like that though.
I met a man on the street walking his dog. After a greeting, he quickly jumped into a conversation starting with, “Ek het nounet n bruin man in daai straat af sien stap…”
Now, my eyes rolled figuratively into my skull as I foresaw the conversation turning rotten in the next few sentences. I mean, utterings like those usually end up on the decidedly racist part of the conversation scale.
But I was wrong. Silly rabbit. I should quit making snap judgements.
The man said how impressed he was – apparently the man he had met was 87 years old and pitches up for work at 5:45 each morning. I, too, was impressed. Impressed, proud and rather sad. Though this clearly attests to the spirit and energy of the old man, it also attests to the desperation and need of our country. I was sad for the poverty forcing our grandparents to work.
Regardless, though, it was a good pitstop conversation to take home and mull over. Far better than my thoughts on the street lamp that had gone out as I walked past – sending my mind adrift on trivial thoughts of hauntings. It’s only 7:14 now, but I am hoping my day will emulate the surprise of the streetside conversation and not my shoe-pant-lamp-post situation.