Tilt Republic. Johannesburg. New York. Cape Town. London.

a fluff piece on walking

There comes a time in every existential crises’s life that requires an ordinary hobby. Collecting stamps or peak caps with zaney catchphrases has never made more sense to me than now.

Understanding that life really is a collection of things to be done before a terrible thing happens. Doing things seems to be the basis. There are however two kinds of things that we get up to, necessitous and aesthetic, things that we must do and things that we want to do. Very often we try and confuse the two and get ourselves to a point of only doing the things we want to. This requires a fine measure of self deceit and some excellent P.R.


It isn’t, of course, a terrible thing, if we don’t get all of this right. The least comfortable scenario has in fact nothing on the inevitable one that is death. People get very comfortable near the middle of their existence and think very little of it but it’s all I think about. I can’t get it out of my mind, that I’m going to die and it‘s going to be terribly unstimulating. I am not a hardened enough cynic to be indifferent about not being able to feel indifference any more.


The problem with everything ending is that I can’t think about everything ending and that makes me a little annoyed, I’ve grown attached to the tumult. Tasting the blood from a slow healing cut is better than tasting nothing.


Whenever the sheer misery of it all closes in and I stop being able to see the edge of things, stuck tumbling in this little nest made out of bits of dead hope and sadness, I go for walk.


I step out of my office on Lower Main road, and walk up past the Macdonalds. I like the idea of a 24 hour Macdonalds, it gives me hope that there are so many people uninterested in cooking. Not that I find it a terrible pastime, I just don’t find it very interesting. Kind of like Sea Horses, interesting in a very insignificant way. As rewarding as watching food brown could be I have higher expectations for the return my time is to have.


It’s a terrible injustice to the potential of human agency, this apathetic consumption, but I’ve morphed in into a consequence of a creative configuration and not a desire to do evil.


Just a little way on from the MacDonalds, over the bridge, is where Mowbray starts. A breeding ground for expat discontentment, if you’re following the migratory patterns of those vociferous chicken shit headline making wanks.


A stretch of thrift stores follows me all the way up to the Shoprite. With their window displays of skinned hipsters that smell like hospice and remind me dying again.


Then it’s a little turn up Cecil avenue, a pleasant walk that slowly sucks the road noise out of my head. Two kilometres on I can barely hear the guardtjies, hustling away, keeping BP executives and working class slave owners in business. Horses need fuel and production lines need punctuality.


But that all slips out of my mind the closer I get to that little forest, the one Rhodes cordoned off all those years ago. A true visionary, not for his service to her majesty’s irretrievable semi for African resources but for his anticipation of the cluttered cement mess that would swallow Cape Town if he didn’t make his claustrophobic prediction.


I walk over the little bridge that steps over the M3, passing that stupid little windmill that looks like it’s posing for a postcard, then through the gate holding up a sign reminding cyclists that the municipality prioritises dirt paths above toilet doors.


Stepping into that little forest at the foot of the mountain is a little vacation from all the bullshit, all the noise of needing to and having to and forgetting to, to just walking in a forest. The steeper it gets, the more I breath and sweat and the closer I get to the reality that sometimes a solution isn’t the answer, sometimes I just need to go for a fucking walk.


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July 10, 2012 Early Tilt