I don't know what has come over the Capetonians this week – there was a riot in Woolies the other day because the tills were not accepting debit cards, I saw a fight break out at my favourite coffee shop over table space and a man at the traffic lights threatened to f***k me up because I paused in a feeder lane to buy The Big Issue from a homeless man.
Drunk drivers are taking out scores of people on our two main highways. The Police say the 'Company Christmas Do' is a real killer. I witnessed this first-hand at a braai this week. A perfectly nice, middle-aged woman recounted an afternoon's-worth of hard 'suiping' (by her tell she'd had 18 drinks), proud that she'd still been able to drive across the peninsula to carry on drinking some more.
Cape Town folks are usually the mildest of South Africans. Getting a rise out of them usually takes graphic insults about their mother. Has this year been so hard, that our only option is spew it all out in a blurt of anger or alcohol now that it is almost over?
I was still wondering about this as I got to the Neighbourhood Goods Market in Woodstock this morning. I was there to meet my friend Evan Faull. He runs Knead Bakery and we are writing a cookbook together. We wanted to check out what other artisan purveyors had on offer: there were home-cured meats, fresh caught crayfish tails, cakes and pastries, wine, beer, cider, fresh fruit and veg, breads and pestos. Lunch was a feast: Vietnamese spring rolls and Thai curry, wild-oysters and Champers, Das Hot Dogs, Dutch Bitterballen and pizza, luscious veggie wraps and pomegranate smoothies. Even Father Christmas was cooking-up rare sirloin steak rolls. The sun was shining, the people were relaxed, the wind wasn't blowing and there was a general air of chill-out and happiness. Cape Town can be a little colour-divided, but at the Mill today, everyone was represented. We were all jostling to get around the tables, to get served, to get past each other and I saw nary an expression of irritation on any face.
Outside one of the parking jockeys was wearing a pair of reindeer antlers and a big red nose. When he came to get his tip from me, I said “Thanks Rudolph” and he screamed with delight: “you mos recognized me! You mos recognized me!”
And I thought, hey, you know what, maybe that's all it ever takes.