I was fuming.
To understand what I am about to tell you, allow me to set the scene:
Hungry. That was my primary emotion when I drove to KFC to buy myself and Martha (my household manager (you might call her a domestic worker (screw you, she manages my household and I am going to miss her dearly when I move))) some lunch.
Now, hungry -as far as emotions go- is a very basic, raw and primal urge. It leaves a lot of space for the modern man to experience other feelings and such too. It is important to note, that all these emotions that may be added on top of hungry, are still influenced by hungry, and are therefore going to have a much more pre-homo erectus feel to it. Basically, don’t expect any political correctness, undue niceness or unwarranted patience when cave man me go food find.
Cave-me bashed through the cement jungle on tar-laid paths to enter the common feeding ground where the chickens are harvested (or whatever it is that they do to turn our feathered friends into deliciousness). When suddenly, a wild asshole appears! Then another, and another.
By the time I turned my tamed bakkie into the drive-thru, I was swamped by creatures of slightly varying age, roughly between squeaky-voice and first beard all the way up to “If I studied harder I wouldn’t be sharing a classroom with my kids”.
The marauding pack of wild teenagers were loud, obnoxious, dirty and callous. The noise I could handle, cave-me was a kid too (and kinda still is). It was the utter disregard for anything but themselves and the devices of varying technology held in their hands that got me. Empty packets were discarded along with (in my mind) empty futures on the ground. Then it happened. The proverbial excrement was flung accurately in the general direction of the hypothetical cooling apparatus, and struck mid spin.
Two of these careless wild beasts stomped around, shouting at each other (seeing as both had headphones stuffed too far up their ear canals, probably damaging whatever bit of grey matter they have so far developed), and promptly stomped a bit more, right in front of my now visibly frightened bakkie. She (my bakkie, not one of the mammals) let out a warning, a scream, a hoot if you will. The intention was to draw the attention of the strays, so as to avoid killing them.
Their reaction was not what one would expect from a subspecies whose life had just been saved by the kindness of an evolved being. No sudden jumps to get out of the way, no sheepish grins (which up until about 10 years ago was the universal indicator of admitting that you, the lesser being, screwed up). Nothing.
Nothing, except a dirty glance from the one beast, and then… gaze still fixed on its communication device, it did it. An arm lifted, hand visibly straining to be torn away from the piece of technology. From the balled fist, palm-area facing upward, extended a long, ugly middle finger.
Cave-me went wild. Cave-me jumped out and cracked skulls. Cave-me rampaged around, obliterating whatever specimens of these barely post-primordial-ooze individuals cave-me could find.
Luckily, cave-me was still held tight by Bakkie. Strapped in until modern-me got the overhand and started making decisions.
The rest of my hunt went well, and as I left behind me the herd of untamed future-destroyers, I could not help but wonder why we even bother.
Why do we bother to “leave a better South Africa”?
Why do we bother to educate, train and inspire?
Why do we bother to even think positively about our country, and indeed the world’s future?
Then I turned left, and saw a young man, of the same age and school as the previous miscreants, voluntarily running across the street to aid an older gentleman in a wheelchair. He helped the man to safely cross the street, and as I turned the next corner, my rear-view mirror showed the gratitude on the man’s face as the kid pushed him along the side-walk.
That is why we bother, and that why we must never stop.
Note: I am moving house on the 1st of December. Martha’s travel arrangements unfortunately make that she can’t manage my new living space. If you, or anyone you know, need a trustworthy assistant in the house, and you live in/around the general Moot area in Pretoria, South Africa, please get in touch.