Bear me a slight indulgence here – hey, it could have been worse, it could’ve been a photo of what I’m having for lunch (a peanut butter sandwich, btw) – but this is a great story, and might entertain some people, mostly members of my family familiar with the force of nature that is my mother.
THROW MOMMA ON THE TRAIN
Not since Livingstone himself hacked his way into the darkest heart of Africa has there been a more epic, more tumultuous journey – the single most extraordinary expedition in modern recorded history – than my mother taking the Gautrain…on her own.
This is a woman, my dear old mom, who never drives more than a kilometre at a time if she can avoid it, a woman who gets more than a little uncomfortable in enclosed spaces, particularly if it is an enclosed space that is a designated non-smoking area.
A woman with an inordinate fear of large crowds, most modern technology and above all else escalators, she is more at home in a kitchen or reading a good book or entertaining a small group of friends or enjoying an occasional golf tournament on television, than willingly travelling on the mass transportation grid of a fast-paced, high-maintenance modern African city.
She is, simply, a lady living on her own in a small town, doing pretty much anything she damn well pleases.
And yesterday she called me to tell me that she damn well needed to visit her sister –my aunt – in the big bad city, and insisted that, considering the high price of petrol these days – I was not to ferry her to her destination by car, but that she damn well wanted to travel on the Gautrain, just her, on her own with her immovable bloody-mindedness.
And so, after I took the photo you see here – necessary if anything, god forbid, might happen that required recent photo identification … (needless to say, her kid, her only child: me, was more than a little apprehensive about the whole exercise)…she climbed onto that terrifying escalator that took down into the bowels of the earth where the Gautrain picked her up and swept her off to Sin City.
An hour later, she calls me from my aunt’s house, a well-deserved, much-needed drink in hand, safe and giddy with exciting tales of the entire experience.
Well done, mother. Since I myself have yet to use the Gautrain, consider yourself a braver man than I am. Happy Mother’s Day…
(*apologies for the photo, mom, but you know how much you hate having your picture taken, you always refuse to keep still…)