The Triangle of Weirdness
I have a flight to London in two hours. I haven't been above the clouds for a long time. So much so, that I begin to wonder if anything has changed up there.
T and I took La-di-da, his mother's devoted Honda, and drove back to Cape Town.It was a journey that was initially meant to be simple and very enjoyable, but instead, our plans changed one by one. All we had left was a triangle of weirdness.
The first weird episode happened when we passed through a women's salon. I told T I wanted to cut my ends, but little did we know, that was only the beginning. We stopped there. It was the most surreal salon I've ever been to, and the weirdest thing about it was the owner. As soon as we entered, he asked about my accent. I explained that I was Israeli without realizing that I was inviting ongoing chatter. He said how much he loved Israel, asked questions and narrated stories. Only going out for a cigarette gave me a break from the smile-and-nod routine. Later, he was talking about their products, the brand itself and that everything was entirely natural and that they weren't just a beauty salon but a head-spa. At that moment, my head ached so much from his chatter that I felt I needed a good head-spa. If this was a sales strategy, it's genius.
From the moment I sat down on the chair to have my hair washed, the two hairdressers stood behind me and admired my hair. I'm blessed, I have long, streaming, black hair that for women who work in the hair industry, it's like a palaeontologist who finds remnants of a Tyrannosaurus-Rex. You'd think I'd enjoy the attention, but no, it's awkward. You sit there, surrounded by admiration for something you were born with.
The guy explained how I'd be, most likely, sleepy during the treatment, because their products contain anaesthetics, but even for a moment, I wasn't allowed to feel these wonders. He stood over my head, blabbering, blabbering on deep, to the root. I had nowhere to escape to.
Then T came in with his phone and informed me that our flight to London had been cancelled. We had no choice but to leave one day later.
The second episode happened later that day. We decided that since our flights had been cancelled, we might as well stay somewhere for the night and travel restored tomorrow. At the last minute, when it got dark, we found a backpacker lodge. There are as many backpackers in South Africa as there are languages.
The manager of the place was a character. First of all, he completely ignored my existence. It happens to me a lot here in South Africa, that men ignore my presence and speak directly to T. At first, I thought it was due to the language since it never happens to me in Israel. But then I noticed it was always men who did it. Secondly, he had such a defeatist way of speaking, with a pitiful expression throughout. We asked to pay by card, but he didn't have the right app. We paid him half in cash and promised that by the next day we'd settle the rest, and asked him to please download the app by tomorrow because we'd like to leave early.
We went to a local bar that night, and that's when the third episode occurred, and the triangle of weirdness was complete.
We met two men. They started chatting with us. One of them, also, was in love with Israel. Asked me questions about the military and Krav Maga. Like everybody does. It happens to me so many times that I start making up different stories, just for fun. I used to be a military teacher; I used to be a tank driver; I once was a sniper and even a jailer in prison six. All depends on my mood. T loves those moments, and I'm considering hoarding these stories for my next book. The other guy was a whole different kettle of fish. He talked about his mental problems, and then out of the blue, pulled out both his arms and showed me the dozens of cuts covering them. It was an endearing sight, and I thanked him from the bottom of my heart.
We drank a lot and crashed very late in our room. We woke up a bit late. I ran down the stairs with the bags and card to pay the manager, but the idiot hadn't downloaded the app. Before his morning coffee, T had to drive to an ATM where there was a queue of ten people while I waited with the manager as a deposit.
While I waited, the manager learned to acknowledge my existence. Although I'd have preferred to have been ignored because from the moment he opened his mouth, it turned out that in addition to being a sexist, he was also a black hating racist. There's no shortage of such kinds in South Africa, but I'm still amazed time and time again. They talk about it loosely. Almost as if being white is a fundamental reason to believe that you'll agree.
"The blacks are a problem," he said.
I asked, "What?" not believing I heard correctly.
"The blacks are a problem." he repeated without hesitation.
"you kidding?" I asked.
"No. They're vengeful, and they don't like us."
I laughed, and he asked me what's so funny.
"Maybe people, in general, don't like you 'cause you're a racist."
Luckily enough, T arrived at that moment.
We left so late that we didn't have more than an hour left for whale watching and hit the road again.
Arriving in Cape Town, seeing the family again, staying with Neuron, having our goodbyes from La-Di-Da and South Africa, feeling the city vibes, all of those made up for the disastrous journey we'd had. We needed closure, and we got one.