smiling dude in the rain

“…but that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turning RED!”


Look at this guy. Walking down Fox street in Joburg just doing his thing and BOOM. Outta nowhere, the rain comes. Comes down HARD. But hey, shit happens. Africa’s like that. People don’t stress as much about a lot of stuff. It’s refreshing. And enlightening. And fucking aggravating when I want them to be as stressed about what I’m stressed about so they’ll do something about what I’m stressed about so they won’t be stressed anymore, but they’re not stressed to begin with, so they have little to lose by ignoring me. 

Aaaaanyway, as I said, it’s enlightening. In this installment of “Focus”, or “An Asshole’s Guide to Turning Forty-Nine”, depending on your preference (there’ll be a vote at some point) I’d like to remind you all, as I will likely remind you in the future repeatedly, that it’s all about focus. Pretty much everything. Eleanore Roosevelt said, between bouts of Civil Rights advocacy, traipsing about with AP reporter Lorena Hickok and occasionally reminding people that fifth cousins are hardly related, “The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds wherever we go.”. 

Wait. Shit. That was Martha Washington.


Martha Washington said that between minding the slaves, spending her dead first husband’s money, and not bearing George’s children. 

Aaaaaanyway, some people (me, for example) would be freaking out about their clothes, their shoes, THEIR PHONES getting soaked. They may be concerned about being cold. They may be thinking about what idiots they look like. Not this dude.

johannesburg-9281February 25, 2018RAIN JOBURG CART DUDE back.jpg

He’s enjoying the rain. Feeling the energy. Feeling alive.  Knowing he’s getting wet, knowing he's being watched, not really caring. Because what are to going to do about it? Not a damn thing, It’s happening. And in the end, you can dry your clothes. And the sun’ll come out Tomorrow. So what’s really the big deal?

Speaking of what’s really the big deal, a few days ago I left my money belt with five hundred U.S. dollars and a credit card tucked under a blanket when I checked out of my hotel room and it was never recovered, and the only clue as to its whereabouts is the attempt someone made today at 1:58 PM to withdraw cash from an ATM with the credit card. I kinda feel sorry for the hapless thief who walked up to a machine equipped with cameras and attempted to withdraw cash using a credit card. A credit card. Not even a debit card. He/she tried to withdraw cash WITHOUT A PIN. Clearly this person is not going to be earning their daily bread in a profession which requires brain cells, so I’m writing the theft off as a donation to “The Onnosel of South Africa”. The IRS will likely not know that “onnosel” is Afrikaans for “stupid”. 

So yeah, learn from this guy. Focus on the positive. Can’t stop the rain by complaining? Hey, go with it. Money’s replaceable. Credit card too. 

OK, I cannot tell a lie (just did), even one of omission. Here’s actually the first picture I took of the dude:

johannesburg-9272February 25, 2018RAIN JOBURG CART DUDE GRUMPY.jpg

Taken before I yelled out to him and he saw my camera and became this guy.

johannesburg-9274February 25, 2018RAIN JOBURG CART DUDE smile closeup 2.jpg

It didn't fit the narrative.

So I focused on the happy picture. And he was focused on his own misery until he saw there was attention focused on him, at which point he got his don’t-give-a-shit groove on, much like I did for the writing of this piece, wherein I imagined you all reading it and got MY groove on. Prior to the writing I was ready to off myself out of sheer disgust. If you’re gonna die in a hotel, Joburg’s a pretty solid place to do it. But I just got my new passport with about fifty pages to fill with visas. Hate to waste all those pages.

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