I used to drive an old, beaten up Opel Corsa Light. We called her Daisy, and she lived a good little life, being my around-town run-about. She would have coped with long distance, had we asked, but Alex’s car was always going to be more comfortable for that. Daisy had no power steering, the radio only worked if you asked it nicely, and there was definitely no aircon. The sort of car that drove really well, despite all of its less-than-ideal features. I always said that she was a tractor that was just pretending to be a small car.
This song is a good summer jam. It would make a great driving song, hands on a steering wheel so hot you have to keep shifting them. This song reminds me of going on adventures around Cape Town, with the windows down all the way (otherwise it hurt my ears), roaring along in my little tractor, with seldom a care for anything.
We would drive over Kloofnek down to the other side of the mountain, to the Atlantic, dipping our toes in the cold ocean before running back up the beach to laze under the umbrella. The vendors would yell their colourful rhymes; “a water for your daughter, a lolly to make you jolly” – and they were delicious, bright yellow passionfruit lollies, which stained your tongue and lips. Very jolly.
Or we would drive the other way, down to Kalk Bay, for an early morning run towards Fish Hoek. Running around the roadworks that seemed to be in place for the better part of ten years – maybe longer. Running back towards the car was always better, because you knew that waiting before the trip home was the Olympia Cafe and bakery – a buttery, flaky croissant that you had totally deserved, and an extra big cappuccino to wash it down.
Otherwise, we might spend the day driving out to the winelands, leaving the heavy air of the city behind, driving into the haze of the farmlands. Heat making the road shimmer, and making you glad of the big hat and protective long sleeves to ward off the South African sun. Stopping at Polkadraai to pick some strawberries – so many you can barely balance them on the punnet… they should know that if you charge per punnet, rather than by weight, we’re definitely going to get our money’s worth.
In the evening, we would sometimes drive into the city bowl, crawling slowly up Long Street and down Loop Street to find a parking spot for the evening – various high-vis-vested, self-appointed parking attendants attempting to inveigle you into their spot with wild waves. Does anyone get a fine for parking on a loading zone on Long Street after 5pm? I never found out, because I’d always do another loop around, or be happy to walk that little bit further to the evening’s venue. “We’ll keep it safe for you, ma’am,” the man used to say, and you’d have to fish in the bottom of your handbag for a R5 coin when you returned, and hope you remembered which guy in a high-vis jacket was your car guard.
At the end of a hot evening, we’d drive back over the M3, hugging the mountain, with the lights of the Southern Suburbs twinkling to our left. Not a bad way to spend your early twenties – roaming your city with the windows down and your music up.
Lightning blog 44.