IT MAY BE BORING DOWN SOUTH, BUT IT IS SAFE
AS I AM often wont to do, I was extolling the delights of my home town, Fish Hoek, to a visitor from “up the line”, as we say down here in the deep south.
Anywhere north of Muizenberg is simply “up the line” to us.
“Just look at this,” I said, sipping a glass of red and waving at the sea, the mountains and a passing whale.
“Could you imagine any place more delightful?”
“Actually,” he said, “I must admit I find Fish Hoek just a little bit boring.”
“Boring!” I snorted, almost spilling my shiraz.
“How could anybody find this boring?”
“Well, Muizenberg has the surf and all those sexy young girls splashing about in bikinis, then there’s Kalk Bay with all its pavement bars and souvenir vendors and antique shops and restaurants. No wonder it’s a major tourist destination.
“Then, on the other side of us is Simon’s Town with its rich naval history, yachts, quaint pubs, souvenir of Just Nuisance, the buskers playing marimbas, it’s vibrant and alive.
“Fish Hoek just has shops and a beach. Dead boring, man.”
Once I had recovered my breath and refilled my glass I considered his opinion of my beloved town and said: “Maybe it is, and maybe that’s why we love this old place. It may not be a tourist trap or a street bazaar, there may not be clowns and jugglers in the street, but it’s a comfortable and relatively safe place to live. Unlike Muizenberg, Kalk Bay or Simon’s Town, Fish Hoek is a home town, not a tourist destination.
“Ours is a town rich in schools and also wealthy in retirement complexes. School kids and pensioners can walk our quiet streets happily. We have no arm-waving parking attendants in our Main Road. We know our shopkeepers and greet them when we pass. We chat to the barber and the postmaster and the pharmacist and they know who we are.
“If this is boring, so be it. It’s a family town that is celebrating a century of peaceful life this year.
“Some people want to change that and seem to believe the sale of alcohol will improve Fish Hoek. Frankly I don’t see that adding a bottle-sucking vagrant or two to our streets will make it a better – or safer – place to live.
“I’ll happily settle for boring, thank you.”
Please call, I always like to acknowledge messages, whether on my email, phone or answering machine. Even abusive messages get a grudging, “message received”. I think that’s only polite. But I received a call on my answering machine recently from someone who left an incorrect call-back number. I feel guilty about being unable to call back, so Diedre, if you read this, please try again. You left out one digit.
Overheard: “How many typical pessimistic South Africans does it take to change a light bulb?”
“It doesn’t matter. The new one will probably be just as useless as the previous one.”