Got back from the Brauers’ palatial new home in the ritzy suburb of Gramedoelas in Tshwane – that ancient seat of my forebears the Tshwanepoels (we have landclaim rights there) – landed at Kinshasa Airport and set off to my car. OK, bakkie. It’s waiting for me in 1A in the parking garage proper. (King Shaka airport, really).
Usually I park under shade cloth, but I thought what the hell, I was a bit late so I took a shorter route; the undercover is closer to the boarding gates.
Okaaay, I’m sure it’s here. I’ll check again.
Up and down all the rows, including the ones I knew I wasn’t in. Nothing.
Try level 0, one down (even though I KNOW I was in 1A, I memorised it and said to myself “Remember 1A: You can’t get better than that: 1st class and an ‘A’ result”). Nope. Try level 2, one up. Nope.
So eventually I had to go to security. To report my car missing, ask where the SAPS was to report the theft, open up a ‘missing car case’ and ask if they had CCTV cameras. Already I was imagining it on a lowbed trailer on its way to – I dunno, Monaco? Paris? where bakkies like mine are highly desired.
‘No’, said the perky 21yr old at the parking office with a smile, ‘You can’t have lost your car, where did you leave it?’
‘1A’ I said, my spirits lifting as she said it with such absolute certainty! I thought ‘They don’t have cars stolen here. I can see that just by her demeanour!’
‘Try -1A’ she said. “MINUS ONE AY” is how it sounded.
‘There’s a -1A?’ I asked, ‘Yes’ she burbled brightly, ‘Two levels down’.
There it was.