Tuesday, August 15, 2006

a study in colour

My friend Anthony pointed me to two pages, linked to here, and here, that really depressed me. I certainly have my moments when I wish things were different. I hate that I have to take the long way around because I don't feel safe driving through the city center on my own, but I also love that I live in such a beautiful country. I love that I can walk around campus and see a view over a really green suburb, or blossoms on peach trees in the middle of winter, people in colour within the grey walls of the varsity buildings, and people who greet you in an elevator. I love walking out doors in what is technically still winter, with snow falling on the southern Drakensberg, and be approached by a beautiful woman wearing a pink floral dress with short sleeves and a hem-line attractively high above her knees. In winter. I love driving with my windows down through a leafy suburb. I love South African sunsets, and South African diversity. The diversity was what I missed most when I was in Argentina in 2003. I felt a bit afraid, looking so similar to everyone else. I like the contrasts. I like that on a school field, I can hear children singing, and at a political event, I can hear people singing, and when the supercare workers go on strike, you can hear them singing from the computer labs. I once stopped at a traffic light beside a car whose passenger dropped a cigaret packet out of the window. I opened my door, picked it up, and dropped it back in at their window just in time to pull away as the light changed. I couldn't see their reaction. In June, when I was travelling down to my parents house, the driver of the bus I was on opened his window to toss out a polystyrene cup. I took it from him to dispose of appropriately, and my reproach opened a rather interesting, and very friendly conversation. He was a good man. But no one had ever taught him any differently. You need to appreciate a place before you take responsibility for caring for it, and it is only through the upward gazes of others that we learn to look upwards ourselves.

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