… if you reach the end of the earth you’ve gone too far.

As we left the boerewors curtain and headed out into deep cattle country of the Vaal Triangle, I have come to accept that the changes in my life are perhaps for the best, but as yet unrealised. I was off for 3-dys training on our most advanced CNC Milling and Turning machines as well as for a crash-course of the software management necessary for operating these kinds of machines. Leaving before dawn I witnessed something that I haven’t seen for a long, long time. The dawn rising like a melting ice-cream on a hot summer’s day as you stroll from Sea-Point to Green Point.


Vanderbijl Park is like a quant European country that you visit as a stop-over between the big tourist cities. The music is 10-yrs behind, people still smoke in restaurants and offices, and life is uncomplicated by things like iPod-envy or café-fatigue. Having arrived just as people were setting up their tools for the start of a full-day shift at our supplier’s premises I was like a fish out of water. Here men are men, the women have moustaches like their Dad’s and the kids don’t wear shoes to school. As far as a novelty holiday goes – I loved it. The question would neither be foam or cream – but what is a cappuccino?

With expectations such as these you can imagine my surprise that even the most hard-core of employees were not only courteous but went out of their way to help us in every possible way. While not the chivalrous gentleman that every girl, or guy, dreams of the basics were there and as every person worth their salt knows you can work with less to have more. But is this an environment that I could adapt to and even thrive within? You hear of people selling everything up after a lifetime of success and finding meaning in something foreign. But no baristas’ in a 50Km radius … hmmm …?

As the day progressed, I found myself sitting in the mild-spring sun eating my hamburger slightly enticed by one of the Brahman studs that sat next to me. I started to think about that eternal quest of ‘happily ever after’. As progressive as our society claims to be there are still certain life targets we are all supposed to hit: marriage, babies and a home to call your own. But what if instead of breaking out in a smile you break out in a rash at the thought of never achieving the impractical? Is something wrong with the system or with you? And do we really want these things or are we just programmed?

I blame Ogilvy and his ad for the Silver Cloud Rolls-Royce. They created the aspiration that wanting something more was okay. And while my capitalistic pursuit leaves me in marketing envy of a certain whore/genius who leveraged her amateur home made sex-tape with an ex into a big-budget horror flick, a self-titled perfume deal, and a reality TV show on Fox Network that was big in Japan. After all when you’re big in Japan you can make it anywhere as a brand. With apparently very little experience she has become a mini-economy and every plastic/porno-production gay’s hero.

But I guess it is the same with all recovering addicts – when you know better you try and do better. Whatever the previous vice, shedding it makes you a staunch advocate against it. So like Bono trying to get debt in third-world countries erased that is my new raison d’être – erase my burgeoning self-debt. Because when you think about it material consumption for the sake of cavalier amusement is becoming a dangerous thing. With a growing middle-class desperate to break in rather than stand out places like 24-Central, 44 Stanley Str. And the bistros and café’s in Parkhurst are perceived to be exclusive.

And from one extreme to the other: sushi with my editor, polo-gossip-pimp, and all round friend. It was a long overdue conversation about our converging interests and diverging aspirations. They say that nothing is certain in life – only death and taxes – but one thing is for sure: I always have a great time with her. Whether it’s drinking in some marquee while watching a boring game, falling from polo-ponies in some rural backwater, or understanding that we do what we go because we can. And because we’re good at it.

Everything else is choice.


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