A jog down memory lane

While jogging in the neighborhood on Saturday I enjoyed the calm of Randburg. It was a blistering hot day and the trees offered some spots of shade, a wonderful respite from the sun. Johannesburg has a lot of trees, in fact its one of the biggest man made forests in the world.

I jogged through memory lane. So much has changed from the time I rode my bike through the same streets. For one there is a lot of diversity now. Windsor, one of the areas from my house is now a totally integrated area. People of diverse backgrounds and cultures live as neighbors – unheard of when I was a boy.

We used to go to this one store we call it a café on the corner across the video store. My dad prohibited us from playing arcade games there – he said ‘all kinds of weird people do that.’ Ten years after that I joined one of my friends he played twenty rand worth of games and then he shoplifted the same amount. He justified it by saying that ‘he already paid by playing the game’.

My brother Dirk loves cream. One of his favorite tricks was to make a small hole in the bottom of the can and through it systematically empty the can. Mother wanted to bake one day and guess her surprise when she found an empty unopened can! Dirk had to go to the café and buy new cream. The café is now a supermarket and the video shop is gone.

While jogging I was thinking about our propensity towards exercise in the twenty first century. It’s weird that most of us ‘work’ without using our muscles or aerobic capacities. Exercise is something we have to do in addition to our work, because our work don’t give it t us. Man this hill is tough!

Diagonally across my parents’ house is the suburb’s swimming pool. I can still remember the day I rode my bike to the pool and saw one of the most absurd scenes. I was in middle school at the time and a high school kid rode a fifty cc motorbike straight into the pool, everyone scattered out of the water. The disturbed individual who accomplished this feat was a scary man. I walked to the school and had to pass him every day. His name was Derrick and he always dragged a chain behind him, word on the street was that he was part of the occult. He is now married to one of my friends.

Anyway, as I jogged the last hundred meters to the house a family in a brand new Audi stopped me and a little black kid poked his head out of the window. In perfect English he asked me, ‘Sir, could you please give me directions to the swimming pool?’ I gave them directions and just wondered how things would have changed when that ten year old turned thirty. What he would experience at the pool?

South Africa changed a lot in the last few years, democracy is a good thing, and we are a rainbow nation! I am proud to be a part of it.