More about life in a small town in South Africa

Remember I said that in Fish Hoek when you walk into some shops your soul shrivels?  A couple of weeks ago I’d run out of library books to read and traipsed to the library, only to find it closed for stock-taking for a whole week.  Muttering imprecations I walked back to the village, and – aha! – saw a 2nd hand bookstore I’d never spied before!   My spirits rose instantly, and I skipped inside.

Whoo.  Something hit me in the solar plexus.  Not nice in there.  The women who worked there looked mean.   Nice books though, so I steeled myself against whatever weird feelings I was having, chose a couple and swore I’d never come back.

But, I can’t live without a book to read at night, and sometimes it’s a mission to walk to the damn library, so when those books were finished I found myself back in the shop.  Same horrid experience, same promise to myself.

I know, thick as a brick.  Slow learner.  The problem was, when I got home I realized I’d read one of the books.  Why can’t I remember these things?  Never mind, I thought, I’m sure they’ll exchange it.   Completely overriding my gut, which was in yelling mode Don’t go back there!

I went back there, sure they’d just exchange for me, laugh at how easy it is to forget you’ve read a book.

Yes well.   Three wrinkled, soul-deadened women descended on me at my request, eyes flashing, angry gnarled spirits lashing out, small-town type sarcasm dripping from tongues.  In short no, they wouldn’t exchange the book, because clearly I was a liar and a would-be rip-off artist.   But they would buy it back from me for a third of the price.  I could feel my blood pressure shooting through the roof.  Do I look like a criminal?

I took it all with great dignity, which made them all ashamed.   Bullies don’t like feeling ashamed – not that they’ll admit it, though.   They had one last weapon in their arsenal of spite and heavy-handed superiority.  “You mustn’t take this personally, you’ve got to understand – ”.  Seriously trying to flatten me into submission.

Ha.  I smartly interrupted with  a cheeky “no I don’t, I don’t have to understand anything.  I’m the client.  And I take it very personally.”  They didn’t like it.  I was laughing at them.  “You just accused me of being a con-artist, a liar.  You saved the bookstore R23 and for that you’ve lost my business forever.”  Then I brought out my big gun.

“Plus I’m a journalist.  Think of all the people I’m going to tell about my experience.  By the way who owns this store, can I have their number?”  Ooh ooh, how they huddled together in fear, which made me laugh out loud on the inside.  Gotcha!

I swanned out.  Well that was fun.  So what if I’m not really a journalist?  I’ve written some news articles.  That counts, doesn’t it.  Oh dear, life in a small town, it’s getting to me.

In general this blog is about the pursuit of dreams.  If you like this blog and want to contribute something towards the upkeep of the author, click the donate button.   To read more my dreams and what I specifically need help with, click here


6 thoughts on “More about life in a small town in South Africa

  1. Hope you feel better Jennifer. Sounds like a little karma thing going on. Did you not receive the reaction that you expected to get upon entering the store? Maybe there’s a part of the story that I am missing, but it sounded from the beginning of the story like you received the reaction that you intended to get. You deserve to be treated better than that you know? I do.

    Have a wonderful day sweetie.

    • Yes, David, I knew I shouldn’t go back after that first visit, but I was lazy, didn’t want to walk to the library, and I didn’t take my gut feel seriously enough. As for deserving to be treated better, you are a darling, thank you.

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