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Speaking of birthdays, I forgot my old – not a good choice of words, she’s my age – friend’s birthday.
We hit the 50 target together a decade ago, just differently.
I chose a hippie party with an old lover and his band playing us into the new decade with boerewors rolls; she went the hoi-polloi way of designer tent, gold plates and making an entrance.
But we still love each other, just differently. Her Muslim, me drinking. Her losing her partner recently, me an old hack at that.
She had a “tea” on Saturday to celebrate her 60-something birthday. I wasn’t there to wash my cup. And I knew she wouldn’t be washing her wine glass for mine.
My crowd can be a bit rowdy after “tea”. You know, the “noogy” kind: pinning a head under your arm and koeking the poor man’s hair terribly with your quick fist strokes until tempers flare. Or glaring down the perceived “racist” across the table and letting rip after your fourth glass with “who do you call a coolie” while chairs fly as we jump to keep the guests apart.
That sort of rowdy.
Don’t worry. She wouldn’t get it either.
Her crowd waltzes to the beat of viva and amandla and the odd snippet of “comrades should heed Kgalema Motlanthe; the elders” and words like “RET”, “graft”, “party” and, above all, “money” – because that’s what RET, graft and party personify.
In her world. And mine. And my hooligans’.
We just choose to let our hair down one night; forget, one night.
No clever analysis; no clever words. Just rage, because that’s what we are – all of us – angry.
We rage about the taxman taking too much because, on paper, we make decent money; we rage about banks taking us down although they know our rands just don’t touch sides.
We rage about hikes that we can’t control: petrol, food, electricity.
We share laughs, drinks and anger – the sort of anger simmering to boil over with one wrong word.
But we know who to blame. And it’s not us.
Stop being cross and make the right cross – or no cross at all.
It all counts. Like friends.