Jozi Hearts Us
by Roxana Bouwer
Most of us have a love-hate-love-love relationship with Johannesburg. For the most part, things evolve in a predictable and entirely doable manner. It begins with meeting, mating and perhaps a puff of Mary Jane in high school, differentiation and drug dabbling in the tertiary years and then, rather unfortunately, reconciliation and responsibility-taking for the latter as we inhabit our mid-to-late twenties.
The wonderful thing about our city is that amid the high-speed rush that is growing up in a flux of intense passion-pain experiences, Joburg provides us with ubiquitous incidents that allow for a certain sense of security.
Here’s a list of the top seven experiences Joburg uses to provide us with a (sometimes disguised) sense of belonging and stability.
1. OMG, my car is still here
There is something superior about that overwhelming sense of relief one feels when walking out of a bar/restaurant/shop and seeing your car still parked, windows intact, where you left it. *This experience cannot be put into words, it has to be felt.
2. Cardinal points
If you dare drive further than 10km from your house it is as if you have teleported to some dodgy, overseas destination. You know people are speaking English but you cannot understand them, they dress funny, listen to bad music and their goal in life is to own a Tuscan Villa cluster in Lonehill. Vom.
3. You are always beautiful
Whether you’re dressed to the nines, still in last night’s clothes, or in your pajamas, sick as a dog, and on the way to the doc, you will be hard pressed to find a robot to stop at where you won’t be recognised as Miss South Africa or Mama Africa (although I’m not so sure about the latter, I thought it was reserved for Miriam). I do realise we all own the same title and that it would still be bestowed upon me if I was a troll but it’s kinda nice in that I-know-you’re-talking-crap-but-I-like-it-so-do-continue way.
4. Nobody is a stranger
You have at least one mutual friend (sometimes even a family member) in common with everybody that you come into contact with. It is pretty rad, if you don’t think about it to deeply, and allow it to just mean that you have a piece, however tiny, of common ground to kick-off a conversation from. If you are a thinker though, you will quickly realise that this also means that most of us have shared spit, among other things. Eew.
5. Ever present encouragement to do better
There is always somebody that’s cooler than you. Somebody that makes you make yourself dress better, improve your taste in music and try form your own, educated opinions on current matters, be they politics, music, woman or one night stands. It is cool to have your own opinion, and most people (the intelligent ones – the only ones who matter really) are always keen on hearing it.
6. Perfect balance
Truth be told, Joburg isn’t the easiest city to try and make it in. Sometimes our efforts are in vain and we become as disillusioned with life as politicians are with people who tell the truth. But the wonderful thing is that in the very moment we are buying our ticket to down-and-out-ville somebody is busy remembering why life is wonderful and they are generally just the pick me up one needs.
7. The shock-factor has been reversed
Pink hair, piercings and a plethora of tattoos wont really get you a second look (unless you go to Lonehill – but why would you do that?). Dare step out in a faded tracksuit and boring hairstyle and everyone will wonder. People want to know that you’re having fun and the deduction that if you dress boring then your life must be boring is quickly and irreversibly made (old folks shopping at PnP are exempt, of course).