We went to gather bamboo reeds -long, strong and useful for keeping the tomato plants upright – from the Jukskei river.
Where the municipality has just packed up from this side of the river, leaving a glorious bath of sludge over all. Especially after last night’s howling storm.
I had my bolleen with me, in case any of the trees wanted to give me some resin, or I found a plant of interest. Turns out I needed it.
(And thank you, Shevek, for returning it to me all those years ago)
For we got the bakkie well and truly stuck in the brown sludgy stuff, coming out of the grounds.It didn’t look, or smell, exactly like mud.
Putting such thoughts out of our minds, we found an old wooden pallet left behind by the municipal pipe-layers, and, with the help of the bolleen, tore it apart for the planks of wood.
Let me mention here that a Will Rogers bowie is the finest Sheffield steel around. If I ever need another strong, dependable knife, it’ll be a Will Rogers.
The planks were placed under the wheels, but one of them just kept spinning, sending up clouds of scorched-wood smoke.
An elderly Black man, who looked pretty much the worse for alcohol and/or drugs, and whose home was the river bank, and who carried all his possessions in a plastic bag, stopped to help.
Turns out he couldn’t do much, but he applied his frail shoulder to the vehicle anyway.
Two younger Black men, out for a Sunday stroll, stopped in the road and asked if we needed anything. We waved them on, pretty sure we’d have the bakkie out of the mud soon. A municipal worker, in clean orange pants, came over to see if he could help.
All this time – and it turned into nearly 3 hours – motorists were passing, in their big sunglasses and Sunday finery, staring blankly at us stuck in a sea of mud-and covered in it ourselves – just the other side of a chain link fence. White people cycled, jogged or walked past, and never lifted their eyes from the road, or their cellphones, or whatever vision of hell keeps them in their Northern suburbs enclaves, all alone, so alone that the thought of asking two obviously distressed people if they needed help never entered their self centered little minds.
Eventually, Warren jacked the bakkie up, and we slid (literally) some planks and a rock under the right rear wheel. After repeating this a half dozen times, she climbed out of her hole and we went home.
Bathed with antiseptic and ate a whole clove of garlic – that’ll knock any roto bacteria on their heads alright, but it will never cleanse from my mind the sight of Joburg’s finest, most affluent residents just failing to give a shit. Again.
Remember I saw this when my bike broke down a couple of months ago. Same story – bunch of sods whizzing right past me, in a hurry to get home to their tellies (except the middle-aged lady on a scooter who did stop – to ask me for directions), and the only friendly, willing-to-help faces around me Black ones.
I swear the people of this country are even sicker than they know.
Breaking News: Police shoot Greek anarchist.
I am vastly cheered up.