Low-key at home. Jess did it all herself; drew up lists, hired lights, organised a DJ who brought her own equipment; we bought some stuff; we bought booze. Jess invited a few good friends round, and so did I.
The oldies came early, we had a slide show on Jess from the early days. I was being a bit Nervous Norman, so thank goodness for hooligan friends. First the Lodders added their usual mayhem. Then star Lydia our Gautengaleng student friend stepped forward, deciding things were a bit quiet for a 21st. She took over the bar, mixing cocktails and getting the kids to pour them down their throats. The party was launched!
The adults disappeared except me in the background. Jess and her gang had a lovely evening with their favourite music and lots of chatting. Later, some boys arrived drunk but peaceful and friendly, and joined in. At eleven a neighbour complained about the music. I told him ‘just relax till midnight.’ – mea culpa, I had forgotten to tell the neighbours about the party! At midnight the DJ’s mom arrived to fetch her, they packed up and peace returned to the Palmiet valley.
My ole man complains his doc doesn’t even try to help him. “He always just says ‘It’s cos you’re old’ ‘Dis die ouderdom.’ Any problem, there’s no attempt at fixing or understanding – just ‘Hey, you’re old.’ He doesn’t even get up out of his chair!” Now I really empathise with people wanting to be heard; I think every effort should be made to patiently hear out 95yr-olds and understand their problems; Hell, I regularly do just that! Maybe he should make a double appointment?
BUT: I did also suspect that some things – human and mechanical – are simply “because they’re old” – reinforced by Tom’s refrain from The Boondocks: “You’re just mad cos your ass is old.”
SO: Although I told the ole man he really should get a second opinion – to which he replied, “I’m going to make one last appointment with him and I’m going to tell him I’m leaving him!” Why? I asked, Just leave. “No, what about his other patients!? He needs to be told!” – I did also secretly think, Hey, some things can’t be fixed.
So my Ford Ranger – that’s my white 3litre diesel 4X2 hi-rider double cab Ford Ranger bakkie – has been a bit noisy, but I was not admitting to it. What? What noise? I can’t hear anything. I once heard a noise and it cost me money.
Then three things happened and forced my hand: One, a very young lady – teenager really – reversed into my left front wheel, BANG. I got out and she burst into tears Waah! I’m sorry! Waah! I’ve had such a terrible day! Waah! I’m going to be in such trouble! I looked at my car: not a scratch. I looked at hers: a dented soft bumper. I said Off You Go. Just Go. As I drove off Tom said Dad! You’re such a sucker! You should have sued her ass! Nah, I said, nothing happened. Then the car starts to shake like its got Parkinson’s. See!? says Tom, I told you. She just suckered you, you should have sued her. We’d gone ten metres and a glance at the young lady – teenager really -‘s car showed she’d already gone seventy metres in the shade. She was outta there! What to do? I pretended not to feel the shake. What shake? I don’t feel a shake; I once felt a shake and it cost me money. Tom just gave an exasperated eye roll and shook his head.
Two, driving up our road with Jess, a cacophony of sound like forty seven tin cans had been thrown under the car made it hard for even me to ignore it. What was that Dad!? says Jess, who usually doesn’t notice anything automotive. Did you throw all your tin cans under the car, Jess? I deflect. No!That noise is from your car, Dad! she says firmly. Jess, I once heard a noise . . oh, hell, I just kept quiet.
The clincher was I had volunteered my vehicle as able to take the nine lady walkers and me to the Zululand beach walk and I now found out they expected it to drive to the actual beach, then on to fetch us at the next stop and I suddenly thought, “What if it lets me down in front of these grown – not teenage – ladies? That could prove embarrassing.” A 4X4 it ain’t. So I leapt into action: I had the left rear door fixed. It hadn’t opened for a year; And I decided I’d give it new tyres. That always makes it look better. The front ones were worn quite sadly. New tyres, I thought, and then the alignment will probably fix all the other problems which are simply a matter of being out of whack after being whacked by a young lady – teenager really.
And you won’t believe what the tyre man told me as he was doing the alignment! Your Shocks Are Fucked, he tells me. Bluntly; Just like that. How dare he? I was still puffing when he scribbled on my tyre invoice “Four shocks” and said “Go get a quote.” Well, I’m a diplomat and they say the meek will inherit the earth without any land claims, so I absorbed the shock and next thing I’m driving away with two new Dunlop-with-superblue tyres, balanced and aligned and four new yellow Monroe shock absorbers.
And would you believe it!? Silence! Smoothness! Amazing. Maybe old things CAN be fixed. I may have to re-evaluate.
While these shocks were being applied, this party bus was having its wheels aligned nearby:
So I dial the number and a voice behind me says “Are you calling me?” It’s Ndumiso and he’s the owner-dude. Sure, he can do Jessie’s bar for her 21st party, he says. No prah-blim. Ha! Two birds with one stone.
You can see from their bumper they’re probably steady, reliable ous.
Update: NOT. He hasn’t phoned, hasn’t returned messages. He’s like King Kong with Faye Wray. I’ll have to play barman.