Yeah, I thought you would.
Well, turns out that once I actually exit this here house and go out into the real world - its streets and grocery stores - there might just be a few things that I do that make South Africans think that I am either a) mentally unbalanced, b) stupid, c) mentally unbalanced and stupid, d) not to be fokked with, or e) an American tourist on her way to a safari.
Us whizzing past the richy-downtown of Joburg called Sandton.
Befitting the above categories, I give you these glimpses into useless expat existence:
- I often accidentally use the windshield wipers to signal that I am changing lanes or turning instead of employing the actual turning signal. Levers confuse me, and I think they keep changing functions for kicks.
- I refuse to wear fleece. This one cannot be explained any further. I just don't accept of fleece. I don't.
- I insist that there are other kinds of coffee than instant. One maid actually laughed when I told her I didn't have instant, because who would ever do a crazy thing like that. Who?
- I giggle every single time I see the sign by our gate that reads "DON'T HOOT USE MIRCELL". It makes me laugh. Also, because driving onto the estate there's an 'owl crossing' sign. Honest.
- Sometimes I wear my Birkenstocks with socks. Since mine are of the thong-persuasion I purchased special socks all the way from Taiwan with a separate 'compartment' for the big toe just to wear with my Birks. Don't judge.
- I sometimes accidentally sit on the passenger seat of the car when I'm out by myself. This always leads to complicated maneuvers that include 'I am looking for that important paper here by the door and/or the glove compartment', or 'I am waiting for the driver of this here car and if he doesn't show up in the next five minutes (signaled by looking at watch and shaking head) I'll have to get on the driver's seat and drive away', that I doubt really fool anyone watching, but make me feel better.
- I huff and puff every time someone doesn't arrive on time. Or on the correct date.
- I hesitate every time I'm supposed to make a right hand turn with the car and occasionally resort to what I call the 'You thought I was going to drive into oncoming traffic, you totally did, but HA! I didn't' -move that involves sudden braking followed by a U-turn like action and some visible shrugging behind the wheel. The move seems very popular with truck drivers. Or at least they smile at the stupid woman.
- My jaw still drops and I find myself unable to speak every time I complain about service some place and whoever I'm complaining to poses the question: "Was the person black or white?"
- I chat up the guys at traffic lights who sell things or hand out fliers, and one blind guy called Mike, who knows I'm coming by the sound of my Daihatsu (Although I think he just knows it's me, because I might be the only person on the estate who doesn't drive a huge honking monstervehicle 4x4, or a snazzy Audi/Merc). Me and Mike often shoot the breeze about God and the weather (he doesn't think Google controls it, and is rather baffled by the concept).
- I have the following discussion, which I can keep looping as long as I say good instead of fine. I don't know what the magic is, but I've done it more than once:
A South African person: Hello. How are you?
Me: Good. How are you?
A South African person: Fine. How are you?
Me: Good. How are you?
A South African Person: Fine, How are you?
- I wear khaki that isn't at all worn. Like, at all.
- I pack my own groceries. Or interfere in the packing of groceries, by using such foul language as: "Put more in that bag. I don't need no ten thousand bags," while I can see the poor packer-woman think: "What is wrong with this lady? Does she understand she can carry her groceries home in the bags? Americans are funny. I'm so glad Obama won. He'll make them see the light."
- I wrinkle my nose when someone talks of hunting. No, please don't explain to me about killing the meat that I eat. I know there's a connection, but I still prefer to pretend like there isn't. Thank you. Also, all fish are born without heads, because otherwise they could look at you.
- I go weeks without opening the door to the back yard, which is crazy because that is part of my 'entertainment area'.
- I think townships have a certain rugged beauty to them.
- When I say taxi, I'm not talking about a lethal van packed with people, that whizzes by me at the side of the road, going the wrong way, and then cuts me off, I mean a normal car that you can call to come and get you or flag down by just raising your hand, not one that can only be flagged down at certain spots and by using complicated hand signals telling the driver where you are going. I only know how to signal that I want to go downtown, and well, what am I going to do there?
Go read her.