When it's hot and humid like this the first sign of my body's reaction is the slime of sweat between my bottom lip and just above the stubbled cleft hacked into my chin.
Here, in the shop window, like a trapped fly, I started a blog post. Didn't save. Lost it. Must be disciplined and start again. Must write, or die. Die in the throes of my self-inflicted complacency, remain then, there, for the rest of my life, the living fucking dead. This very thought turns my stomach, revolts me.
Sometimes, only sometimes, I experience guilt about the money I spend on food when I'm out. I remind myself that's it's my one great pleasure, passion. I hardly spend on alcohol and never on drugs. And it's my best friend; I spend a lot of time alone in coffee shops and restaurants. Hello Sailor, Observatory, I love this place.
Guilt? Yes. Why don't you try and live, without conscience, in one of earth's most unequal societies. I am privileged. It's obvious: I'm white. My every step taken in my skin (you can try get out of yours) is a blatant advertisement of my privilege. I had to do nothing but be conceived and born to wear this mantle.
I especially love Observatory on this busy Sunday night after a hellish day while sweltering alone in my apartment. Now I'm sweltering here in the alone window seat right in and against the window on Lower Main street. Here I'm comforted by the steady stream of mostly unpretentious and artistic-leaning life. Unlike swathes of uptight central Cape Town.
Alone but not alone at all. So grateful for the inconspicuous, anonymous company. Thronging with life.
Four middle aged gay guys at a table outside; three of them just arrived on bicycles. One of the cyclists with an intricate tattoo splayed across his slender calf is bearded, blonde and I don't think from here. Maybe staying at a backpackers? The fourth, bearded and bald, was also scribbling at a table in the window table opposite mine; his is a full black beard sprayed with silver beneath a friendly, open face and intelligent black eyes.
Two Dutch girls, beautiful and sun tanned, smoking, sit outside on the smoker's bench on the pavement. They're enthralled by a smooth-talking and handsome black man also, judging by his features, not from here. Their body language is fascinating to observe.
Feels like the summer holidays, which numbs SA, started tonight. It's a sexually-charged night, not for me. A toad-like older man tortoises past just two steps behind his tall slender-legged and proud model-like partner: I've seen the combo way too often not to know she's a prostitute. He's a wealthy-on-the-appalling-exchange-rate foreigner, Greek or Italian, maybe Croat. I crinkle my nose at the thought of him on top of her later, as I attempt to put myself in her shoes.
This section of the street is, as always, literally a red light district because it's tinged by the surreal bright blood neon hue of the Stones' signage. It's the pool bar that spreads across the entire top floor of this chocolate box of an Edwardian building at the top end of the street.
I often end up here drunk. Or to get drunk and temporarily wash away my stresses. Ihe only one upright on a bar stool Unlike the many asses mostly bent over green baize, white and coloured billiard balls, I'm the only one upright on a bar stool, not playing. This while cheap diesel-like brandy and vodka with coke is pedaled to, among others, the beautiful but threadbare youths, students, junior lecturers.
Plump green olives, poison-green pesto, hummus like thick paint, flat white bread, a side order of grilled veg, a glass of chilled chardonnay. Should've worn shorts but I didn't; it's damn hard to predict the weather from my crow's nest, especially when it's wind battered.
Some nights are a happy blur.