Tripping on the road to nowhere

Bit of a delayed reaction, but Level 2, hey? Look at us, swanking about all free and easy, visiting friends and sitting in restaurants drinking and eating like normal people. It's almost as if we no longer care that everybody is a walking, talking delivery device for a potentially deadly pathogen. I've never seen so many happy people that aren't on drugs. I can't even begin to imagine the wild delights that await us under Level 1. As for life without any levels at all, the notion of that kind of freedom brings tears to my eyes. I might not...
Bit of a delayed reaction, but Level 2, hey? Look at us, swanking about all free and easy, visiting friends and sitting in restaurants drinking and eating like normal people. It's almost as if we no longer care that everybody is a walking, talking delivery device for a potentially deadly pathogen.

I've never seen so many happy people that aren't on drugs. I can't even begin to imagine the wild delights that await us under Level 1. As for life without any levels at all, the notion of that kind of freedom brings tears to my eyes. I might not even be equipped to cope.

Quite frankly, I am having a little trouble adjusting to Level 2. Buying cases of beer every time I pass a bottle store has become something of a fixation and I hope therapy won't be necessary. I need to step up my intake. My greatest fear is dying while I still have stock.

Also, I don't want people thinking I suffered from some kind of hoarding disorder. I have a mistrust of government disorder. It's clearly not the same thing.

Our finally being allowed to travel within the confines of our great country (great country, rubbish government) has also left me deeply confused. When the cabal that controls our lives gave us permission to cross provincial borders, my first thought – never my most sensible – was to get in my car and drive as far and as fast as I could, then, when I ran out of fuel, I'd get out and run into the veld or the sea, tearing my clothes off and screaming and laughing with gay abandonment.

Hell, I'd be so excited that I might even give the gay thing a shot if a burly lumberjack or sensitive poet came along. I don't even know what kind of man would be my type. It's a terrible idea. Forget I mentioned it. I'll just do the abandonment thing, straight up, no chaser. Then, I hesitated. As we all know, he who hesitates is lost. This was, as CNN would shout, a developing situation. And it was developing in the wrong way altogether.

A Covid-19 week is a month in human terms and I'd spent all of them champing at the bit to get out of the house and hit the road. To go anywhere, as long as it was further than Mordor Mall. I sat in my easy chair and froze. On top of this filthy Cape Town weather, there's a lot of freezing going on in La Ponderosa, which is where I do most of my pondering. Did I even want to travel?

The not-my-cat walked in and gave me the lazy eye. "What's wrong with you?" she said in cat sign language (eyes narrowed, back leg over the shoulder). I shrugged and gave her the middle finger, which is human for "mind your own business". She replied by licking her paw and rubbing her face, which is cat for "you need to look in the mirror and get a grip". I excused myself and went to the bathroom. The not-my-cat was right.

You want to be able to see who you have a problem with. You want to look you in your shifty, yellow eyes and let you have it with both barrels. I'd barely got into it when the landlady rang. She said there'd been complaints of a domestic disturbance. I tried explaining that it was just me and me. Or, as the Rastas would have it, I and I. Probably a good thing she called. After nine years of lockdown, you don't want to look at yourself in a mirror for too long. There be dragons.

Thing is, so much has happened between Level 5 and Level 2. And yet so little. Everything has changed and nothing has changed. We are the same, but we are different. I could go on. Was I afraid to leave my bubble? Does one even have a bubble if one lives alone? Is fear poisoning me more than Covid-19 ever could? Or am I simply too lazy to get up off my flabby white ass and go anywhere? Maybe I've seen enough. Maybe my brain can't handle new experiences.

There are no easy answers when you live by yourself. Nobody to bounce things off. No objective opinions. No practical advice. I tried thinking like an adult. Make it a business trip. People do it all the time. Yeah, that's not going to work. I can't even lie to myself that I have a business. What I'm doing right now is what I do, with a bit of sighing and drinking thrown in. That kind of thing can be done anywhere if there's free Wi-Fi.

No excuse to stay in one place, really. "Go!" said the government with all the spontaneous exuberance of someone coming out of a coma. "Spread your wings and fly!" To where? George? I'm sitting with a return ticket to Costa Rica that is slowly turning yellow. It looks like a pigeon has defecated on it. I don't know how that happened. It must have been a pigeon. It definitely wasn't me.

We are not allowed to leave the country but we can move around within our nine provinces, which are at least five more than we need. There are only three that have a coastline. Four if you count the Northern Cape, which nobody ever does. Look, I don't want to badmouth the hinterland. It's where this fine newspaper is based, after all.

But I once spent 10 years in Windhoek, after having grown up in Durban, and I'm still in recovery. Right now, I live 20m from the ocean. It's okay. I'm in no immediate danger. The rent will drive me out long before the polar ice caps melt. If I work up the courage and motivation to do a trip, it will be to Durban to visit the irascible old patriarch to make sure he hasn't cut me out of the will.

I won't fly, though. I'd rather not be wedged in a metal tube with a bunch of diseased strangers. Also, the trolley service has been scrapped and flying sober is not something anyone in their right mind would ever want to do. Driving seems a better option.

However, with the way things are going in the ANC, the last thing I want is a confrontation with the panga-wielding descendants of King Hintsa on the road leading into the Transkei. I don't mind paying a modest toll, but I wouldn't be keen on paying for the sins of imperialist robber barons like Benjamin d'Urban, John Cradock and Harry Smith.

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