Thu Aug 17 09:58:06 CAT 2017

Good try, but I'm no fool, fool

By unknown | 2008-08-13 00:00:00.0

One of the most embarrassing experiences for me is to bump into an "old friend" whose name I hardly know.

One of the most embarrassing experiences for me is to bump into an "old friend" whose name I hardly know.

I had the (mis)fortune to run into one such fellow at a funeral recently.

Initially he irritated the crap out of me, but as we warmed up to each other, I decided to relax and enjoy the comic relief he brought to the sombre mood of the funeral.

I had decided to dislike him when he tried to kiss me when we hugged and shook hands. I am no homophobe, but sorry, I do not kiss men, even if they are long-lost friends.

I gathered from his talk that we grew up in the same township and went to the same primary school. It was clear, though, that he was traversing a rough patch in his life and was trying his damnedest to keep the chin up.

His multi-coloured suit looked like it had been chewed and spat out by a cow, his tie dangled down until it almost reached his knees and his yellow rugby socks all but burst out of his badly worn, green John Travolta boots. He wore a Moroka Swallows cap which he doffed to expose a greasy perm that desperately needed a redo.

He insisted on speaking English with me, and my attempts to respond in Setswana did not help. I speak too much English at work, and when I am off I appreciate some normalcy, but he would give me none. At the graveyard I tried to shake him off, but he stayed on my tail. And he talked - almost out-talked the priest.

And then it came: "Skuif ..."

I do not smoke, so I bummed a ciggie to give him. Moments later: "Make two."

Perhaps this would get him off my back, so I gave him enough to buy two beers.

It worked for a while. He disappeared, probably to a shebeen in the neighbourhood.

Just when I had forgotten about him, he reappeared, obviously sozzled. Traipsing next to him was a skinny woman in an oversized dress 'n coat outfit that reminded me of the queen mother. She sported a wig that was famous for its outrageous price when we grew up, dubbed the R-Fifty. Her thick lips were smudged with red-lips and her make up was as thick as peanut butter. She too was not too sober.

He introduced me: "This is my brother. He is a World reporter."

Damn it, did I look that old?

There was no point in correcting him. I nodded and shook hands,

"Give me a boost ..." He was going for an interview on Monday and needed taxi fare.

Well tried boet. Skuif, make two and boost all in quick succession ...

I told him that the World was banned, so I was not working. He pretended to laugh.

Before he could argue, I "answered" my un-ringing cellphone, and bolted from the scene.