How I love my little rural village. Two traffic lights, one shopping centre, eye contact, greeting, lots of parking, open spaces, friendly smiles... all so different from the city.
I lived in various cities for many years and I used to love it, but no more, I have become accustomed to better. At one time on Saturday, I was waiting for Liz (my daughter) outside a shop and as I watched the passersby, I realised that they do not make eye contact, they all try their utmost to ignore everybody around them.
Then I purposely tried to catch their eyes and when they did make eye contact, I smiled at them. Their reactions were quite amusing. Some started smiling back (oh, here's somebody who knows me), then a sudden, penetrating look (oh no, I do not know this person) and then a really artificial smile (but just in case it is someone I should know...). Others just looked away quickly. Well, anyway, I am back home in my little friendly town where friendly people live and where we greet one another, even if we do not know the other person.
Shopping went well and I did find a pair of lovely soft leather shoes for wearing with slacks to work and I also found two long-sleeved shirts. However, my good intentions of actually buying decent slacks went by the wayside and I came home with another pair of jeans. You will remember that I intended for some of my shopping to land on Liz's account, well that never happened. Instead a lovely scarf that she liked ended up in her bag and the charge ended up on my account. ("No fool like an old fool" comes to mind. I get caught every time.)
What went even better than the shopping was our visit with old friends. We stayed with them for the weekend and even Liz ended up spending the weekend. Nineteen years ago our two families moved into the same street on the same day. We soon became friends and although they moved away three years later, we remained friends. We still see each other regularly and speak on the phone at least once a month. If it were possible for friendship to grow into kinship, we would have been it.
Something else that I did notice while driving around Pretoria was the progress that has been made with the Gautrain (a new high speed train service between Oliver Tambo Airport, Johannesburg and Pretoria) in preparation for the Soccer World Cup next year. I am not a soccer fan but could not help feeling excited about the tournament coming to South Africa.
Driving on the freeways in and around Pretoria and Johannesburg at present is hell. There are road works going on everywhere. All the main roads are being widened and upgraded which causes bottlenecks every few kilometres, but when I think of the improvement it will bring in the end, I do not mind suffering a bit of inconvenience and frustration. I do however feel sorry for drivers that must endure this everyday.
Okay, that was feedback on the weekend and I think that is enough of my boring little life at the moment. I promise I will write something more interesting in my next post.