03 March 2008

The Move

Just over a year ago, I left the Eastern Cape to live in Cape Town.

Now, I don’t pretend that this is a drastic or unexpected move. People leave the Eastern Cape all the time. It’s one of those things. Some hypothesize that the prospect of leaving the Eastern Cape is the only reason that anyone moves there to begin with, but I digress.

The real crux of the move was that it was the first time in twenty-three years that I had lived anywhere besides the good ol’ E.C. - either growing up with the folks in Port Elizabeth or bumming around in the student/settler town of Grahamstown; a gorgeously buzzing little town of equal parts academic intellectualism and hedonistic nihilism.

The move brought with it the inevitable changes. The small town awe was eventually swallowed up by the everyday humdrum of sitting in traffic (something Western Capers and Josie Goers would tell us stories about like scout masters telling urban legends around a campfire) overpriced drinks and rolling blackouts. The esoteric life of Fine Arts and red wine exhibition openings was replaced by the fast paced world of advertising; all early mornings, late nights and cut-throat deadlines.

And inevitably I changed.

Not in any drastic, personal way, in so far as I can tell, but the basic make up of my day was altered significantly. Something as previously foreign as waking up at seven each morning to beat traffic became routine and in that subtle but significant way I became changed. The way I viewed the day shifted – mornings were now for work and late afternoons were for driving, sweating, swearing, hooting and screaming obscenities at the BMW yuppie and his store-bought license.

For neither better nor worse, Cape Town has marked me. I walk its streets, I drive on its roads, I greet its people and I breathe its air. I wear its traces on my clothes and on my skin and in my head and the crease that I’ve worn into its fabric grows more pronounced each day.

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