There are some aspects of winter in the Cape that are rather tiresome. The rain is one of them. The brain-melting effect it seems to have on my fellow Capetonians is worrying in the extreme. The vehicular mayhem that inevitably results from a light drizzle is one of the more obvious examples, but there are subtler, more insidious effects. I’ve seen people dash across busy intersections without so much as a glance left or right, because they would (apparently) rather be roadkill than get wet. And of course, people continue to buy umbrellas*.
Closer to home, my wife becomes forgetful when it rains. Our conversation this morning is a typical illustration: Mrs Kyknoord asked me, “May I use your raincoat?”
I responded (not unkindly), “No. I need it.”
“But it’s raining.”
“Indeed. That’s why I need it.”
“But I’ve left my umbrella** at work.”
“What about your raincoat?”
“That’s also at work.”
“Ah. Dear heart, please don’t think me unsympathetic, but if I forgot my raincoat at work, I certainly wouldn’t expect you to loan me yours.”
“But you NEVER leave your raincoat at work.”
This may seem brutish of me, but if I let her use my raincoat, not only would I get soaked today, but she would forget the damned thing at work and I would get soaked tomorrow, too. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. Frankly, I’d rather be dry and have her pissed off at me than be a sodden martyr.
* An utterly pointless waste of time and money in Cape Town. The wind blows a lot here in winter. The only way to prevent your umbrella from blowing inside-out is not to use it at all. Umbrella-wrestling is something of a local sport, not entirely unlike kite-surfing.
** Umbrella #3 for 2005