Ah, the bizarre otherworldliness of the Southern Suburbs Tatler letters page. We’ve mentioned it here several times before, but yesterday’s edition gave us no less than two (2) examples of just how odd the folk that write into this freebie rag are.
Firstly, a simple and straightforward request from Douglas Rose-innes of Rondebosch:
I am requesting that homeowners do not pull up lawn and replace it with chipped stone, which is sterile and does not attract birds and life as grass does.
Short, sweet, to the point. I like it, Douglas. And it’s a reasonable request as well, although as a microbiologist, I can inform you that chipped stone is anything but sterile, its many tiny nooks and crannies harbouring a multitude of forms of microbial life.
Also, I have to ask whether this is a one off letter or whether this forms the early stages of a wider, multimedia campaign in order to prevent the life-attracting lawns of Rondebosch being pulled up and replaced with chipped stone? To be honest Douglas, if this is the only effort on your part to stop this scourge of the suburban gardens in your area, I think that you should be prepared to fail. Hard.
Perhaps learn lessons from the #Kony2012 campaign and misinform people that children are being kidnapped and used to pull up the lawns of Rondebosch and replace them with sterile chipped stone. Ask for donations which you will then quietly channel to the armed militia behind a despotic leader who will (possibly) use the money to buy lawnmowers and weedeaters to defend the lawns of Rondebosch from complete desecration.
Or not. It’s just a thought.
Robin Bond, also of Rondebosch, is far less direct. He rambles on for over 1000 words about two specific incidents in which red traffic lights were ignored and he nearly got flattened. You can read the whole lot on a quick and dirty scan here, but there were, for me, a couple of highlights amongst the waffle. (Mmm… Waffle…)
Last night, Tuesday at about 9:45pm, I was walking home from ballroom dancing. Coming to the pedestrian robot opposite Stardust, I noted two cars, one coming from the Wynberg side and one coming from the Cape Town side, both approaching the robot.
OK. Stop. While Robin has set the scene beautifully, I need to do some explaining for you foreigners:
Robots are a colloquialism for Traffic Lights.
Stardust is a restaurant and bar in Rondebosch, where people dance on the tables. Mad! It’s on Main Road, which goes from Cape Town towards (and beyond) Wynberg, which helps to explain Robin’s description of the cars’ direction.
Oh, and Robin does ballroom dancing on Tuesdays. This isn’t pertinent to the story, but it does give us a quick glimpse into the chaotic workings of Robin’s mind. Not only does Robin partake in ballroom dancing on Tuesdays, he also feels it necessary to tell us that he partakes in ballroom dancing on Tuesdays.
I pushed the button for pedestrians and the robot went red.
Both cars were a way off and had plenty of time to stop, but I was vigilant enough to be circumspect.
Vigilance and circumspection – the keywords of Tuesday night ballroom dancers across the nation.
The car on my side of the road (the mountain side) ran through the red robot, after which I proceeded to cross with caution, watching the oncoming car from the left.
Vigilance, circumspection and caution. Belt, braces and some more braces.
The car did not slow down and swerved to around me to get through the red robot. The car then pulled off onto the parking area opposite Stardust and the driver got out and looked at me.
Uh-oh. Hier kom kak, as the locals might say.
But then Robin just nonchalantly chucks the following line into the tale:
I had already had a bad experience up at the university, so I didn’t want to engage in any interaction.
Wait. What? Why? What “bad experience” happened up at the university? Did you perhaps kill a driver in a road rage incident up at the university, Robin? Because with the meagre information I’m given here, that’s what I’m imagining. What other “bad experience” could cause you to not want to engage in any interaction with a driver who has stopped and is looking at you? Was the red mist starting to descend again? I’m picturing you, swaying slightly (perhaps in the style of a gentle waltz) holding you head in your hands and praying for the demons to stop telling you to get the still-bloodied axe out of your ballroom dancing bag.
No. Please. Don’t make me do it again. He only ignored a traffic signal.
So – what was this “bad experience”? Well – there is no further elaboration in Robin’s letter, merely an appeal to the traffic department to clarify some methods of improving pedestrian safety. Which is all well and good, but leaves an mysterious and scary story hanging over what exactly happened up at the university, where they are still looking for the infamous and elusive Ballroom Beheader…
Muhahahahahahaha! [with echo, repeat to fade]