Walking in the CBD at lunchtime, you usually get an overwhelming amount of Life Experience. Experiences such as having your Blackberry liberated from your pocket, tripping over loose cobblestones, having a guy shout ‘Ow, girl!’ at while you scowl at both him and the wind trying to knock your skirt up in the air for his amusement, presumably.
But that’s only a fraction of it. I wish I could remember all the delicious experiences I’ve had just roaming about the CBD at its busiest hour. A smile from a friendly stall-owner on St Georges Mall, getting to help out a lost tourist, the smell of the fast food huts, the little kids in their school uniforms smashing soft-serves into their tiny mouths.
My favourite thing is overhearing snippets of conversation between people on their lunch breaks. Sometimes it’s boring financial stuff (usually from the Suits), but often it’s salacious tidbits from chuckling & Experienced Lunchtime Conversationists with a cigarette or a coffee in the one hand while the other is used for non-optional gesticulation – lending a far more dramatic tone to what it often turns out is hardly that salacious at all.
A Capetonian can make ‘I really didn’t think that that was the best move for her to make’ sound like ‘MY GOD, she has just ruined her life & those of her future children, not to mention the entire neighbourhood will now be drowned in its own misery because she dared to do THAT’ – all with carefully-used intonation & a violent pointing of the finger.
Today’s tidbit came from a ten-year old girl, though. And it was far from scandalous.
I was walking across Strand Street, weaving between cars which had no business being stopped on the pedestrian crossing and I overheard a woman bemoan, exasperated, to the traffic in general: ‘Kan jy nie sien nie ons loop hier?’, and then switch immediately to, “Sorry my skat. What did you say?’. This last query was for her daughter.
“I said, I am Sweet, I am Sensible, I am Kind and I am… what was it now?”
“Unique” her mother laughed.
“Um. No.” she answered.
“Definitely not unique. I’ll think of something else.”
And she skipped happily off into St Georges Mall & they disappeared among the crowd.
Little girl, you couldn’t have been more wrong.