Africa, Family & Kids, Life, Motorcars_Automobiles

Ephemeral

Some sappy soul sent me this:

I thought ya, ya, sure, that’s true.

Tonight I was parked right outside the entrance to the Playhouse theatre in downtown Durban, opposite the City Hall, waiting to fetch Jess and Fatima after the show Shall We Dance? when out of the corner of my eye I saw cars taking big evasive action. A bakkie zoomed from the far-side lane at breakneck speed right across towards my side of the road and smashed into the little silver car parked right in front of me. BANG! People standing under the No Stopping sign scattered, leaping every-which-way.

Silence. Then much Hey! Hey! and running. I couldn’t see, too many people, but ‘my’ carguard told me the driver had made a run for it and citizens had chased after him. I though Uh Oh! and phoned 10111. Listen, you’d better send your people here pronto. I’m afraid the citizens may rough up the perpetrator, I said to the operator. I’ll send the police there right away, she said.

To their credit, the Playhouse security people stepped in and took the perp, who my informant confidently assured me was inebriated, marched him back to his car and put him back in the drivers seat to safely await the cops.

Two tow trucks arrived. An ambulance arrived and took the driver into their vehicle. The cops arrived and took over. The middle-aged couple who were sitting in the little silver car when it was hit – and like me had been waiting to fetch concert-goers after the show – were amazingly calm. They took photos and told their story, filled in forms, no panic, even though their car was badly damaged.

In the whole pantomime there were only two poephols – the drunk driver and a prick in a Merc SUV who drove up and hooted for the ambulance, the tow trucks and the crashed cars to magically get out of his way, he was important. A family member (I assume – probably a son) who had arrived to join the ‘victim’ couple went up to him, gave him a withering look and waved him around the scene.

When the dust had settled I finally thought of taking a picture. Then the girls arrived at last – they’d been waiting to have their pics taken with stars from the show! – and hopped in. As I was leaving my man came and spoke to me firmly: Mkhulu, my parking fee is R20; I looked after you well and I have to feed my family. I agreed with him, borrowed R20 from Fatima and paid him! He was chuffed and stopped traffic in the main street – old Smith Street – to let me out!

Africa, Life, Motorcars_Automobiles

Road Safety and the Elderly

On Saturday, January 18, 2014, I wrote reasonably:

Subject: A PBH solution for the PHBrauers of the world

I’ve been very worried about people driving Audis into school walls, but I feel a bit better now, as a Pretoria Boys High (PBH) boykie has put his mind to a solution for the big Audi / Brauer problem and here’s what he has come up with:

Google is not the only company that thinks auto-piloted cars are the future. Tesla has estimated that their time frame for having automated cars on the road is ‘within the next 3 years.’ So Elon Musk says we could be seeing cars running on auto-pilot as soon as 2016.

And none too soon!! This way we could have inebriation AND safety . . among certain elderly drivers.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Steve Reed wrote enquiringly:

Regarding Audis getting driven into school walls, I need to be updated in this regard.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Brauer quickly jumped in and wrote defensively:

Would you like an accurate version or will you settle for Koos’ ‘Clive Nel’-ified version?

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

I calmly wrote the simple truth:

All I’m saying is,

The ingredients were:

– Golf;

– Beer;

– an Audi;

– a school wall.

The results were:

– Damage to two of the above (the elderly greying culprit / suspect escaped largely unharmed due to being limp at point of impact).

– Lo-ong boring tales of walls ambushing unsuspecting cars in the depths of Gramadoelas suburb in Tswanie at the dead of night; * yawn *

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Culprit / Suspect Brauer wrote:

Total distortion of facts. ‘Twasn’t beer. . . . whiskey, mate.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

I fretted:

That’s a worrying development. I get worried when people start drinking stuff that slides down easily and stinks less when belched up. I feel that beer and red wine allow your companions to know more about your drinking habits, and give earlier warnings about ‘when’s enough’. Just by looking at his white flokati rug one night Mike Lello knew a lot about Milk Stout and the Rainbow Club.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Interloper Bruce Soutar now jumps in with his tuppence worth:

At the RAINBOW Jazz Club in the Pinetown taxi rank they serve their beers in ‘quart’ bottles (750ml). One special and memorable night The African Jazz Pioneers were playing, and Swanepoel ordered a Castle. He noticed the guys next door were drinking Black Label and saw theirs was 5,5% alcohol while Castle was only 5%, so he ordered a Black Label next. Then he saw some okes drinking Milk Stout and noticed that was 6% alcohol so he smoothly oozed over to Milk Stout and then stuck with it. All the while the African Jazz Pioneers were playing their seductive swinging special jazz. Many, many milk stouts later we decided to gate crash Mike Lello for a ‘last drink’ on the way home.

They were sitting down to supper when we staggered in. Pete S was feeling hungry, sat in Mike’s chair and polished off his supper. Then had an urge to burp? . . . but did not quite make the toilet bowl. Hence the flocked–up-carti rug.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Public Service Notice: This hugely exaggerated story is to be taken with a large pinch of salt. But as interesting aside, you can see what it MIGHT have looked like under a microscope.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

I objected:

TMI !! As I was saying before we were so rudely interrupted: Self-driving cars for the elderly – that’s what we need.

Driverless Car
Africa, Life, Motorcars_Automobiles

Dominee up the Bum

Sitting minding my own business on the way home and CRASH! Right up the rear.  It was a dominee of sorts. One of those churches I am highly critical of. You know PTL – No, not Praise The Lord, Pass The Loot.

I was OK:

20160606_172815

Him? Well, bless him:

car crash dominee

I dunno. You’d think the Lawd or the guardian angel would install those proximity sensors in dominee’s cars so even if they’re perusing their holy cellphones the car would glide to a safe halt with auto-braking. No?

Life

Did You Got a Licence?

It’s time to renew my driver’s licence. This is where my procrastination kicks in. Usually I’m “Never put off till tomorrow what you can put off till the next day”, but eventually I gotta go. I’m LATE!

So I test my own eyes, fill in my own driver’s vision form and get to Rossburgh Vehicle Licence Testing Grounds at 1.30pm, stopping on the way for a newspaper, a packet of crisps, a packet of NikNaks, a coke and a Tex chocolate bar. My health food lunch. Mental health.

Straight away it’s the usual civil service scenario: I enter the room and wonder where to go. No signs to enlighten me. I join a queue and ask: What’s this queue for? Oh. Which one? That one? Thanks. I join another queue. And wait.

When I’m two away from the fingerprint man a big fat pale bloke in blue overalls pushes ahead. He belligerently chunes the darker ou doing fingerprints: “This is the third time I’m coming back. You must do your job properly, man! The machine has rejected my fingerprints AGAIN! The lady at the far counter next door says I must tell you to do your job properly!”

“Which lady?!” says Mr Fingerprints, pushing back his chair and standing up, ready to fight with the lady who has impugned him. Off they storm next door. And no, he didn’t say “Please excuse me ladies and gentlemen, I have a small matter to attend to”.

They roar back ten minutes later, still chirping each other. “You wouldn’t last ten minutes in a private job, my man – you’d be FIRED!” “Don’t you be cheeky to me!” “I’m not cheeky, YOU’RE cheeky!” Etc etc. Neither is fuming fisticuffs mad, but neither is going to back down either.

licence renewal_2

Eventually I get my thumbs blackened and I ask: “Where next?” “Take the forms to that table in the corner”, he points. I go. I stand. I’m ignored. After a while, the Form Man finishes with the person ahead of me. He looks at me with a hint of disdain. “What you doing here?” he asks. I say “The fingerprint gentlemen told me to come here”. “There’s a queue, stand in the queue” says Mr Dale Carnegie. “Oh, OK” – I’m Mr Meek. The queue goes back to right next to Mr Fingerprint’s table. So he could have said “Join this queue” but he didn’t.

This is a long queue, so I get to read my newspaper. We’re on benches and the drill is: You sit. Then you stand up, move on three or four places, then sit again. The silent shuffle. I share the sections of my newspaper around, so some people think I’m a good oke, because there are three types of people in queues: Chatterers, Silents and Boreds. The Boreds want the paper. Three Chatterers grab me and tell me how this is “jis a munnymaking rakkit“. Although you’re always next to the same people, you get to sit just in front or just behind a constantly-changing variety of peeps as you shuffle left to the end of one bench, then right along the next bench, inching towards the holy grail. I find out that a white lady has to fetch her daughter and an elderly injun oke thinks the whole civil service has gone to pot “since the changeover”. “Hey?” he repeats, trying to get me to agree with him. When he doesn’t get any joy, he turns to someone else, undaunted. “Hey? It’s since 1994 it’s like this!” he chunes.

Now you must go next door to pay. Aha, I think, taking our money: That’ll be the fast queue. Forget it! It’s ten times longer, in a huge hall with 14 counters. Four are roped off for PrDP licences (professional permits, for heavy duty or carrying passengers).  Of the other ten, five are manned. It’s 2:40pm and the signs says We close at 3pm.  We debate whether they’ll  keep us all there and then gleefully slam the windows shut at 3pm, or if they’ll stay until we’re all done. We risk the latter.

The signs in the pay hall are fascinating: The official ones are all Batho Pele, Our Pledge to the Valued Customer stuff. The handwritten ones are NO CHEQUES! and UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL WE . . . etc. The signs show the difference between a luxury bosberaad indaba where lofty mission statements are made under airconditioning between lengthy buffets, and actually serving the great unwashed “on the ground”, I suppose!

When someone leaves the counter up front there’s often a long (some seconds) break before the next person wakes up and realises it, so the delay is exacerbated. One young sparky fella decides ‘Nooit‘, and stands up from mid-queue and takes on a marshalling role. “NEXT NEXT NEXT” he shouts the second someone leaves a hatch beckoning the next person in line. He gets things moving much faster and gets encouragement, laughter and applause from the assembled masses. When eventually his place in the queue arrives and its his turn to be served he gets a big cheer, and when finished he turns around with a huge grin and wishes us a good night here! He gets a cheerful send-off, and then things lapse back to the pathetic, glum pace before he took charge! It takes a while before someone else steps into his role, but not nearly as effectively.

Finally it’s my turn after nearly four hours, most on a hard wooden bench. It’s after 5pm and bless ’em they’re still there – down to only two open hatches by now, mind you. The very polite lady takes my money, checks the date and says: “Your licence has already expired, would you like to buy a temporary licence?” Naah, I say, I’ll just wait for my new one. “Fine”, she says, “But I should tell you you might not be covered by your insurance if something should happen”. Um, how much? “R156”. I’ll take it. Thanks for telling me, I appreciate your concern.

End of an interesting day at the licencing office! Don’t forget to take your newspaper and munchies when its your turn!

Postscript:

It’s one month later and I’m driving in Cato Manor when WHUMP! I get hit right up the exhaustpipe by a goofed oke in a home-made sawn-off “convertible”. He stumbles out and grins at me. He has no driver’s licence, the car is not licenced, he has no insurance and no job. He takes full responsibility and chunes me I must let him take my car to his mates who can straighten it. I think if that was true they’d have straightened you, china. A nearby carguard sidles over from a used car lot and says he saw it all if I need a witness, asks for my cell number. Later he phones asking for a job.

The repair runs to R27 000 and the very first thing my insurance asked for was my licence!

That beautiful very polite lady at Rossburgh saved me a whole lotta drama and pain with her temporary licence! Thank you again, ma’am! Above and beyond!

=======ooo000ooo=======

chunes – tells; says; informs; from ‘tunes’;

jis a munnymaking rakkit – just a money-making racket; a whinge;

injun oke – forefathers were from India or Pakistan;

Batho Pele – Wouldn’t dream of chooning you grief; or People First;

bosberaad or indaba – frequent retreats where brainstorming is done at great expense in luxury surroundings; plans are made, lo-ong mission statements crafted and then ignored; the success of the indabas is rated only on the standard of the catering;

nooit – never; no way; can’t be;