The removal truck finally arrived: in it, my independence.
I had had to say goodbye to some good friends, whom I have never heard from or of, since. But this was not the first time I had had to do so: we seemed to have had Gipsy blood in us, my family, and it ran its course in me for a quarter of a century.
Until school started, my BMX and my dog were my friends. Bicycle Motor Cross: one could not any more make a bicycle of a different shape simply for the sake of creativity. Bicycle manufacturers were to employ taxonomists, as it were, to classify a design before it was even validated as possible.
This thought had not entered my brain, for some reason or other. My BMX was a better design to previous bicycles I had ridden. It was small, but not childish. While being a plonk mild steel one, it was yet possible to get air-time over a camel's back. But the BMX track was now a thing of the past, where I found myself: a flash in the pan it had been.
It being unloaded from the removal truck, I strode my faithful '97' to explore the new territory.
The new territory was not new: nomads will understand. The forces which took us away, brought us back; or directly opposing forces were operating on us. I was sure to meet some of the school friends I had left on the outbound journey when school began: an intriguing consideration. But, for now, I was going to get lost, and see if I could find my way back.
For, maps are useful, but pouring over them can be a sort of divination. And thus we may find ourselves fixated on the idea of paper itself. The very thing about a bicycle is the very thing about any vehicle: to enjoy the scenery moving around us without moving our limbs. On a bicycle this obviously only happens down-hill: but evidence is, that this simple enjoyment makes the uphill ride worth while.
I now found myself at the top of a hill. The road took a sharp bend: turned back on itself entirely and went down the other side of a wall. A township!
My parents had forgotten to instil in me a fear of townships. Being only eleven years old I was not entirely at my ease. There were houses which looked to me like ghosts.
But, and I still can't figure out the meanings to be drawn, I was stopped by a boy much my age. He wanted to have a go on my BMX. "Maybe next time", I think I said to him.
And I often wonder whether, allowing him to do so, I would have made a step forward for the country by learning about trust, or whether I simply would have had to watch my BMX disappear into the floggistrom.
However that may be, I did manage to reach familiar territory again; and made it back to my suburban villa: to wonder what the year 1991 would bring.
In the time of our previous residency of the place where we now found ourselves, we had grappled with the idea of free will: we knew not the condition of slavery; have still not witnessed it. Would a man--would a person--give himself to a protector without external influences? This seems so, for the protector--if false--might excite his imagination.
What of true protectors?
Oliver Cromwell made himself protector of England when religious strife was threatening to remove law and order: it is only people whose mouths cannot melt butter, that seriously consider Anarchy. But how does one propose to remove those of us whose mouths do?
But Cromwell had a quirk: a belief he had extracted from the Old Testament: that adultery was the source of all human misery. That England flourished under his law seemed to encourage the belief.
Thus an example of a protector from within.
With Cromwell's death, England went sex mad, obviously. The arguments between Catholics and Protestants no longer had anything to do with the Bread. Or the Blood.
Now Europe was surely laughing. And crying: for the mother's love, though intrinsic, is to be respected no less. The children of Cromwell's band rose up for their blood to be spilt.
At last, recognizing that the rights of a king cannot be effaced--that the will of the King is supreme--England arranged, with William of Orange, a farce of a war.
Thus a protector from outside.
Hillcrest is like an English shire still. But it is just another town of South Africa. Are we English or South African?
What is the will of South Africa?
1991 brought on new friendships. People talk of finding their soul mate; whereas I know such friendships. Perhaps the term bosom-buddy is more appropriate.
The Internet throws a yarn at us: as if we can expect a gui app to provide the same cause that brings us to socialize. If one were to setup a website that could bring old friends together, good business will ensure that we keep the closest friends apart: ever seeking. We might capitalize on this by forcing one of the friends to make an overt act, which would in fact break the friendship forever. They would thus remain with the weaker friendships we have afforded them: replacing quality with quantity. That is, unless we are championing socialism.
Trust welcomes circumspection. A social media site which was trustworthy would allow us to make anonymous contact with people we know.
We alone can protect ourselves from bullies: pointing out bullies, one immediately questions where the behaviour comes from, and ends in an unstoppable cycle of blame.
The opportunity to prey on those smaller than us, or simply younger than us, requires resistance. Making an institution of bullies is to claim our intentions have always been the purest.
People living in Waterfall had the choice between Hillcrest High School and Kloof High School. One would think that a high school in Waterfall is warranted, but I do not regret that there was none, due to the opportunity it afforded me in the people I thus met. The estimation of one's wealth was in those days in descending order from Kloof to Waterfall; though this was often far from true in the comparison of individuals. Considering the difficulty of access to and from Waterfall, one might choose rather to forgo some luxuries. The difficulty of access itself seems to come from a lack of recognition of the shortest path between two points: in truth the path no doubt used to run through what was considered a native reservation: Kwa-Zulu.
In areas outside of this reservation--in Natal itself--an alien had to have his dompas signed whenever he intended to cross between magisterial districts: if only for a moment. No yearly passes or monthly passes: every single time.
We were only marginally aware of this past. Our school introduced a bridging class for those in former reservations who had not managed to get a half reasonable primary school education. It was an abysmal failure. Our racial affinities aside, how were the two groups--within and without that class--to make social contact? One aught to be wary of anything that smacks of overt charity.
To this day, Waterfall residents have yet to choose between Hillcrest and Kloof as routes to the outside world; and the three towns present a monoculture: neither accepted by the rest of South Africa, nor accepting it.
But the coin had been flipped and we had become the aliens. With the important exception that we had freedom of movement.
Bicycle helmets are a sore point with me: they are the masks of the previous generation.
Safety! The thought of it, that a man is not to be entirely responsible for his own safety!
And thus we became involved in politics, before we had reached adulthood.
Cycling now being political, one may well imagine that this rather took the fun out of it.
But I continued to ride: the area of Hillcrest--by which term I include the three towns as well as Assagay, Botha's Hill, Everton, etc--is wonderfully hilly. The place I had started to cycle in earnest was merely undulating and presented few challenges.
The thought of a bicycle race occurs to me. We had had one in that undulating place, but here and now they seemed to be a thing of the past, or why did we never organize one?
In thrashing out the details of this question, I find myself in a race, alone.