Uber Tales (37)

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My Uber Day Off

The thoughts of taking the day off begin with the delay with my bail refund. I was told to be at the Newlands Magistrate’s Court at 8am sharp and true to my punctual nature I was there at 7:50. I can wait 10 minutes. What was I thinking? I was not thinking at all. This is the SA public service we’re talking about. At 8am sharp they tell me to amuse myself until 8:30. I didn’t even bring my laptop.

My plan is simple: I’ll collect the cash, go and do my wheel alignment, have the car washed and hit the road by 10am at the latest.

The lady who makes the payments, does so in pairs. She randomly calls out two names, counts out the money, make them sign papers and then she busies herself by walking from her desk to another where she looks disinterestedly at something or other only to walk back to her desk to sit there. She repeats this process over and over. 

By 10am, I finally have the 1000 bucks. By 11am, my wheels are aligned. It is 12:03 when I drive out of the car wash. To work or not to work, that is the question?

It is not easy for me to take a day off while in Joburg. I’m in a constant argument with myself about what we should do with such a luxury, for a luxury it is and we all know luxuries are expensive. He nags on about whether we can afford it or not. No work, no pay.

I consult #NotMyJax who says I could take the day off if I do something else that is productive. She wants me to write. I know the subtexts of her texts.

Experience has taught me that starting later than 10am, in the middle of the morning drought, can be a frustrating business. Even while you tell yourself that any money you make on such a shortened day is good money, it is hard to convince yourself that making R250 or R350 at the end of it was worth the effort. I decide to take the day off and do something else that is productive.

Here I am. I tend to the pool. That is productive, not? I have a haircut. It is part of ‘essential maintenance’. The other day I was standing behind a man in a supermarket queue. His hair was unkempt at the back and from my viewpoint he looked like the last of the big time losers. Many people have the opportunity to study the back of my head every single day and I can’t afford for them to make such assessments of me.  It just won’t do.

I also plan to have a walk. A walk may also be part of ‘essential maintenance’ in view of my sedentary lifestyle behind the wheel. An article in a reputable magazine I recently read suggested that the sedentary lifestyle of most westerners might well be a greater cause of death than what most people think.

Although I’m not averse to death, I don’t want my epitaph to read: Here Lies Chuck. He Sat Himself to Death.

The walk, I know, will take me past Nuno’s where I will have a beer, I know myself. He will have gotten over his earlier affordability concerns and enthusiastically employ cliché after cliché about Jack the dull boy and the importance of the ‘work/life’ balance. 

It is now past 2pm and we agree that starting working now would be utter nonsense. We are also in agreement that the walk will be more productive if we take it earlier rather than later. Furthermore, Myself and I agree that finishing this piece at Nuno’s will greatly enhance its tone and structure. A brisk walk and a cold beer have had that salutary effect often in the past, we agree.

“Carpe diem!” shouts myself. “Seize the day!” says I and we set off on a brisk, purposeful walk after briefly considering taking the car so as not to interrupt the flow of the writing for too long a while, while it was flowing so well. It is the writing that matters most now, we agree.

The first taste of beer explodes cold and clear, foamy and near fantastic in my parched mouth. Myself and I agree: We didn’t take the day off at all, we did essential maintenance.   

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Chuckv

September 14th


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