The Street Where I Live

Elvis has left the building, but The Boss visited these shores recently. So, instead of making the trip to Heartbreak Hotel, let me tell you something about my new hometown.

Thabo was an African. Me, I’m Africanis. So I need land, lots of land, and a home where the buffalo roam, but, as Uncles Keith and Mick put it, where I live is compromise solution. I had to settle for suburbia.

So, in the late afternoon or early evening, we reclaim the streets of the area. I check that three parks are safe, although I have been prevented thus far from really cleaning up; the Maltese poodles are still around.

The parks have some of these self-help kiosks that are to die for. You won’t believe the quality and variety of interesting items they stock. Alas, however, I’m not allowed to make use of the facilities. On the one hand, I’m worried that lack of support may drive the kiosks away; on the other, it won’t make any difference to me.

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Two noisy, fat Labradors live at the entrance to the second park. They often yell at me from the balcony. I take great pleasure in ignoring them while I mark the shrubs in their front yard.

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This wall protects innocent eyes from the ugliest mongrels in the hemisphere. The rat-faced one is somewhere between black and brindle. On second thoughts, calling it “rat-faced” is being unfair. No rat could ever be as ugly. The other one is white. Enough said. Other than bull terriers, no dog should be seen in white. White is for toilet paper and Maltese poodles. These two characters have been very generous with their comments since we walked past their place the first time. They’ve called me a son-of-a-she-dog once too often, though. One of these days, they’re going to have the opportunity to check which of my bark and my bite is worse. Until then, they’ll just have to live with watching me write my name on the tree next to their driveway.

A Cape dikkop (Burhina capensis) couple breeds in the garden just opposite the mongrels. They’re not too anti-social during the day, but come dusk, the male has a lot to say. I suppose he is banking on us being aware that no bird tastes worse than dikkop. He probably hasn’t noticed that my left eye is there for decorative purposes only, so I often don’t even see the spotted bugger.

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Sometimes we take a different route, just to annoy the two asthmatic Rottweilers or the hyperactive Huskies. And when these city boys with their Bob Martin’s coats and Hill’s diets hurl their educated insults at me, I have to grin in smug superiority. My vocabulary comes from the Cape Flats, gents, and my teeth were cut on township bones … “have some sympathy, and some taste, use all your well-learned politesse, or I’ll lay your soul to waste …”

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