Poephol 2 (updated)

It’s true I have been a poephol in the past. But that was behind me. I now knew more. I was wiser. So when I got to the toll booth at Marianhill and reached for my bag on the front seat next to me I thought it must have slipped off. I pulled over. And I searched. And searched again.

So now my recent past flashed before my very eyes. I had parked my sleek white Ranger 4X2 3litre diesel – turbodiesel actually – bakkie on the pavement outside the old man’s place and left my bag on the front seat. I now remembered thinking I shouldn’t really do that but it’s fine and I won’t be long. After that I had driven to Azania to visit Mom, also parking outside on the pavement. The bag may or may not still have been next to me – I don’t know. I didn’t need my wallet, ID card, drivers licence or credit cards to visit my folks. Nor did I need my Petzl head torch or my new tiny Canon camera.

Nor . . MY ZEISS BINNIES!! Oh shit! NOW this was a disaster! The other stuff I could do without, but I cannot live without my binoculars! DAMN!!

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It’s three days later. I’ve been to the traffic department. The lady fetched me out of the queue and took me to the front along with some old people. I think it had to do with handsomeness. The clipboard she gave me said this:

I’ve been to the police station – very helpful; they took my case in Montclair Durban, even though ‘the incident’ happened in Pietermaritzburg. They sent me my case number for insurance the same day via sms. Tomorrow I go to Home Affairs. The bank is sending new cards. Insurance has emailed me – they’ll pay R20k towards new binocs. This is almost behind me again. I now know more. I am wiser.

Oh, and at the toll? One of the guys who works there said can you send me ewallet? I said Good Idea! Instead of a huge backtracking detour he paid R12 for me and I sent R50 to his ewallet. Win-Win.

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poephol – South African – The anus; (derogatory: a stupid or unpleasant person). Origin: 1960s. From Afrikaans poephol from poep + hol – literally shit hole; arsehole, asshole.

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The Montclair police captain said he’d forward the docket to PMB. I thought, All I Want Is A Case Number, and wondered if there was any point. Next day I got a call from Alexander Road police station: Where is Lincoln Park? I explained exactly and she was puzzled: Is it a gated estate? she asked. Then I clicked! It’s Lincoln Meade, not Lincoln Park, sorry! Oh, OK, now she knows where it is. The next day another call: Any chance of a surveillance camera at the scene of the incident? he asked. I said No. What else was in the bag? A little Canon camera. What make were the binoculars? Zeiss. OK, we’ll do our best, sir, he said. I’m ashamed to say I thought they’d do nothing. But they did follow up. Well done, guys!

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postscript: It gets worse! Sheila found my bag with everything still intact inside it in the old man’s lounge, where I must have carefully placed it, proving I am actually very organised – I hadn’t left it in my car after all! ** sigh! ** Tomorrow, exactly one week after first reporting it missing I will be phoning the insurance company and the police in PMB to cancel – false alarm!

I admit to being rather delighted! I get an uninsured camera back; my head torch back; my binocs back without having to pay extra to get new ones; and my ID card back without having to queue; It feels like I just played a Country and Western song backwards.

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Home Truths

We were talking about delayed gratification and I was saying I think its a necessary and powerful skill – and historical. And I could tell a ‘today’ story to illustrate the absence of the ability to delay gratification in the terrible Youth Of Today:

I spent my morning at Home Affairs today. Bear with me, it’s boring:

For months I have said “Tom, go get your ID card and a passport. Something might pop up where you really regret not having them. Like you win an overseas vacation and . . “

‘Yes Dad.’

So for some weeks he’s been ‘I’m gonna DO IT!‘ “Sure you are boy, get everything ready. Prepare. Make sure you know what’s needed.”

He doesn’t. We have a false start.

Today’s the new start. They’re gonna wake me at 4am and they’re gonna be first in the queue! They have A PLAN!

So I wake them at 4.30. Them is Tom and Ziggy. Ziggy is a star. His best friend and the only person who can klap him and have HIM say sorry.

I drop them off in Umgeni Road in the dark before 6am – it took them that long to move they asses.

Soon after I get home *pring pring*: ‘Dad, you have to also be here with your ID book and proof of address. They need the parent’s fingerprints for a first ID.’

They have gleaned this knowledge from those-in-the-queue-who-have-been-before.

At 8am I check my apt book is not snowed under – it’s not – so I mosey down there and join the fun. Be at work at 12 says Raksha. At 11 I see I’m not gonna make it so she says OK, 3pm. I read Cronje Wilmot’s book that Janet gave me on his days in Botswana. The famous Wilmot family of Maun.

By 12 we’re near the end and suddenly these two “need a snack” – ‘Dad, we’re starving!’ ‘Just a snack!’

“NO, I insist, firmly. “Eat afterwards. Do not leave the queue now.” Delay your gratification, I’m saying.

So they bugger off and true’s Bob, our place in the shuffling queue reaches Nirvana and they’re not back and their phones aren’t answered. Fuck that, I’m calm. I’m old now, I don’t panic easily. I wave the next auntie through and sit.

– Nirvana –

I phone again. COME NOW.

‘Aaw, we’re in the queue to buy hot chips!’ “Dammit Tommy, come now. LEAVE the food!”

OK

Tom gets seen next, as soon as they arrive back. Ziggy has a delay as her number was cancelled and had to be reactivated. I left after I’d given my thumbprints and R400 for the passport – your first ID card is free.

But not before Tom gives me a huge public hug and ‘THANKS DAD!’ in front of the assembled masses. He knows that always fixes a lot and allows future misbehaviour! Such as immediately bumming some ‘Cash for lunch, Dad!’

And Ziggy was seen to soon after I left, they tell me tonight.

Little shits.

– Home affairs Umgeni Road Durban – Tom and Ziggy –

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