Public Key (xxxiii)

I slept until four in the morning. My sleep schedule was good and fucked.

There was a weak internet signal. Probably coming from a house down the street. I decided not to pursue it.

What could I learn? Either that I was being hotly pursued by the hounds of hell, or that I wasn’t. If the former it would just give me nerves. If the latter… what?

I found dubious consolation in the fair certainty that it wasn’t going to be the latter.

Instead I took a thirty-minute shower, changed into fresh clothing, unpacked and repacked my suitcase, counted every dollar and euro and rand in my possession. I really wanted to hit the six-string. But I knew I couldn’t wake my fellow guests.

I really needed to get my own place.

Around eight o’clock I went downstairs. The woman, as I predicted, was already up and about. A continental breakfast was laid out in the foyer. Bread and sweet cheese. I made sure to leave a little for the other guests, if there were any.

I chatted a little with my hostess. I told her I was heading to Kokstad, because it was in the opposite direction I was going, and because I got to ay Kokstad. I asked her if I could safely hitchhike in this part of the world. She said, oh, certainly. There weren’t many black people in that neighborhood, so the change hadn’t affected them as badly.

Change, I asked – trying not to let my eyes twinkle.

Yes, she said. Oh, she knew apartheid was a terrible thing. She hated to think about it. But it had ended so suddenly – things had changed so quickly – that the country hadn’t had time to adjust. As a result South Africa had among the highest unemployment rates in the entire world, up to sixty percent among black people specifically. And when people couldn’t work, they got up to all sorts of trouble.

It was their fault, she said. White people. They’d treated the blacks badly for centuries. They had a responsibility. They should have handled things better than that.

I asked her to take a cup of tea with me. Then I took my leave.

 

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~ by davekov on 15 February 2011.

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