Wednesday morning and Back on the Bus.
I’m the only passenger on the first bus out of Monte Casino and the terminus circle is oddly devoid of late/early revelers. It’s just the bus driver, a couple of security guards hiding in the warmth of the carpark and three cab drivers snoozing behind the wheel.
When I get off the bus – in solitary splendour – at Sandton Station, it’s cold. A feral pigeon and two glossy starlings have taken advantage of the dearth of humans to forage near the taxi rank, but flap away at my approach. The station guards, who I normally greet at just before 5:30 am, are nowhere to be seen.
Heading out of the station, the chill bites down a tiny, gentle bit. As if to warn.
The streets are dark and streetlamp-lit, but there are no people on them.
An empty taxi minibus cruises past.
Well, the streets and trees and shrubberies are all where I left them. But where are all the pedestrians?
There should be at least some precinct security guards posted at intervals along West Street. There should be passengers alighting from the minibus taxis pulling over every few metres. There should be folks exiting the Michaelangelo Hotel towards the station. There should be a small group of vendors coming up the road with their wares on their heads.
But there is no-one on the street.
I cross the road at the robots – admittedly dodging another non-stopping taxi – and make it to the office, having seen not one single pedestrian for the last 10 minutes. It’s a bit eerie, but then it’s Winter and fairly chilly so maybe everyone is getting up later.
That was Wednesday. Thursday, it was like Wednesday never happened. There were three more passengers on the morning bus, the circle at Monte Casino was fairly full of loud-mouthed drunks, the security guards were all back at their posts in the station and on West Street, and people were getting out of taxis like nothing happened.
I may sound crazy – and no doubt by this time I am, pretty much – but I had a distinct feeling of the heavy velvet curtains having been twitched aside prematurely 24 hours ago, before the scenery was all fully in place.