Being without a car as long as I have, after having a car and being dependant on one for as long as I was, has really brought me down to earth in certain ways. It’s quite a mission to try and get on with my day-to-day grind relying on my feet, public transport and other car-possessing-friends as means to my ends. Last night I walked from my flat to my radio show. It’s a little more than a thirty-minute walk and it was cold and raining. There was something very humbling and refreshing about walking on the mostly pitch-black dark road, with the occasional blindingly bright headlights of the passing car, in the cold and rain.
My jacket was zipped up tight and I had a hood on. I wasn’t really worried about safety because I am pretty sure I looked like the kind of guy I would avoid on a dark, cold, rainy night. Plus I’m rarely worried about safety. A few minutes before I reached the radio station I heard a voice of a young girl call out, “Hey baby!” I ignored the voice, assuming it was not speaking to me. She seductively called again, “Hey there baby!” I glanced over to see a girl, no older than fifteen, a girl I know from a neighboring impoverished community, a girl who comes to the Muizenberg to sell her body to support her expensive drug habit.
My face sat deep in the shadow of my hood. She didn’t recognize me. I quickly turned my head away from her and continued walking. “Hey sweetheart! What’s your name?” her young voice, with intentions way beyond her age, echoed in the empty, quiet street. I continued walking. I didn’t look back again. I knew she would be devastated to know it was me she was calling in that way. When we meet, usually in the light, we interact as if I do not know what she gets up to in the dark of the night. I felt sad. I felt dirty. And I was grateful for the rain, because even though it was cold, the shower was refreshing, and it washed me.