Surfers waive the rules

In these outlandish times, the measure of all things needs to be constantly recalibrated if we hope to stand a chance of emerging relatively healthy and sane. So I don’t know if what is happening is a good thing or a bad thing.

I went surfing the other day. Don’t judge me. I didn’t drive through the suburbs spreading death and disease to get to the beach. I walk out of my gate, over some rocks and into the big wet thing. Yes, technically I broke the Law, but I, too, feel broken by the Law, and that’s all I can say about that.

I was among a handful of outlaws bobbing about in a cold, undulating ocean. A few guys and girls in their early twenties, a smattering of wild-eyed teenagers. One kid couldn’t have been more than twelve.

The waves were on the small side and there was no aggressive hustling as there usually is at this spot. Everyone was getting their turn. The sun, fat and orange like Donald Trump but way more useful, headed for the horizon as flocks of sacred ibises flew overhead in perfect formation. Then, in an instant, the mood darkened. Four police vans pulled up in the parking lot. They were about as welcome as a swarm of orcs gatecrashing Bilbo Baggins’s birthday party.

For surfers surfing illegally, there aren’t too many options in a situation like this. You could try paddling to Australia but you’d just get thrown into one of their filthy internment camps. The best is to sit tight and hope that the cops get hungry and go back to the station for a bunch of confiscated pies.

I wasn’t too worried. I’ve been arrested before – once in the 1980s under the Police Act, which was interesting. What I wasn’t keen on was spending a night in the cells in my wetsuit. A man of my boyish good looks and natural charm, wearing nothing but a figure-hugging latex rubber bodysuit, could easily find himself in trouble. Maybe they’d let me go home and change. Slip into something less comfortable. It seemed unlikely.

The younger kids, though. They were panicking. Their parents had encouraged them to get the hell out of the house for an hour or two so that mommy and daddy can have some alone time. Now look.

Unlike sex, surfing is not a team sport. Someone might paddle over and begrudgingly give a hand if it looks like you’re drowning, but generally it’s every man for himself. The coronavirus doesn’t stand a chance. You’d have to pay a surfer to get him to give you Covid-19.

The youngest of the crew was sitting near me. He had been having a great time until the cops arrived. The unsmiling enforcers of our insane new laws had spread out, sealing off the beach, and were settling in to wait for their catch of the day.

As I said, your choices are limited. You could pretend to be a piece of kelp and stay very still and hope that a great white shark doesn’t mistake you for a wounded seal. Or you could just keep surfing and wait for cover of darkness.

“What should we do?” the kid said to me, the very last person anyone should ask for sensible advice. His little privileged face was creased with concern and he seemed close to tears.

And that’s when it struck me. In the days of yore, white South Africans saw the police as allies. You’d call the Flying Squad if you were in trouble. Or if you saw a darkie acting suspiciously by, say, walking in your street after dark.

Sure, that particular kid wasn’t around in those days, but even so, it’s unlikely he or anyone in his family had ever considered the cops to be anything other than the Good Guys.

This whole fearing, dodging and lying to the police is all very new to white people. Out of nowhere (China), a virus is rapidly causing them to rethink their loyalty to an elected government and reconsider their trust in a police service which is quite clearly more of a force than a service.

Even though most whities never really bought into the ANC as a party capable of governing, they still clung to the idea that they could call 10111 and know that help would be on its way.

Now, they’re not so sure. Now the police no longer seem like the kind of people you’d want to call under any circumstances. If you had to, say, suffer an ischemic event while out for an illegal walk at 10am, you’d call anyone but the cops. Nobody wants to face additional charges of being drunk in public because their speech is slurred. Police are trained to recognise the symptoms of drinking, not strokes.

Obviously not all cops are vicious brutes incapable of independent, rational thought. But some people simply can’t help turning into instant assholes the moment you put them in a uniform. Hitler was probably pretty chilled on weekends, slopping about the Berghof in T-shirt and leather lederhosen, getting high on Bavarian skunk while painting tastefully lit nudes of Eva Braun. But come Monday, it’s on with the Schirmmütze and jackboots and suddenly it’s all, “Erschlagen alle Juden!”

People say children are adaptable and can handle anything. I don’t know about that. The kid in the water with me looked genuinely scared. This was clearly his first face-off with a bunch of angry black men with guns and handcuffs. Rookie.

He also knew that if he was arrested, his parents would discover that he was out surfing instead of doing virtual homework in his bedroom. During lockdown, angering mothers especially is to be avoided at all costs. Having had their husbands in the house day and night for two straight months, they are perilously close to cracking. There would be repercussions. Banned from surfing and without access to his phone, there’d be no point in living. I feel the same.

A lot of white kids, unless they come from a family of self-righteous snitches, are discovering that the authorities are not necessarily on their side. It’s quite an awakening. Breaking the law is a novel experience for a lot of whities and there’s a good chance they will develop a taste for it. As I said in the beginning, I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It could go either way.

I didn’t surf today. Instead, I poured myself a bootlegged gin and tonic and stood in my sand dune of a garden, watching the sun melt into the sea. I saw a dad push his kid onto a wave. He couldn’t have been more than seven or eight. The kid, not the father, although they do start young in these parts.

Life seems so much better when the police aren’t around.

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  • This column first appeared in The Citizen on 27 May. More every Wednesday. Subscribe here: https://citizen.co.za/bundle-subscriptions/

Of pork pies and piglets

Bit tricksy, this lifting of the locky-locky.

We don’t know how it’s going to work, but then again, I’m pretty sure they don’t either. In South Africa, the word ‘they’ is a bullet that’s been fired discriminately for many years.

In this case, They be the masters and mistresses of our fate. We are very much in an Us and Them situation. And for once, it’s not a racial thing. Well, it is, but also it isn’t. It’s primarily a power thing. If you command the army and the police, you can do whatever you please. Liberal snowflakes like Hendrik Verwoerd and PW Botha knew this very well. It’s no coincidence that our police  minister wears a pork-pie hat just like they did. Oink-oink.

I drove to the mall this morning after realising that if I had to spend another entire day in my own company, I’d almost certainly do myself a mischief. No, not myself. I’m too gutless for that. I’d turn on someone else. My neighbours, perhaps. I have reached Level Blindly Lashing Out and, going by what I see on social media, I am far from alone.

On my way to line up outside the supermarket along with hordes of other potentially diseased wearers of unclean masks and recalcitrant maintainers of social distancing, I drove past my local township. It looked like any other pandemic-free Saturday. The vegetable market was buzzing, women were selling second-hand clothes on the pavement, men were chatting and laughing, children played among the debris of their broken dreams.

Fine with me. What do you want to do? Chase everyone back into their corrugated iron shacks? Force people to buy masks when they can barely afford food? Arrest all 40 000? That’s a lot of paperwork, sergeant. Keep driving. We saw nothing. Let’s go harass those surfer kids down the road. Bust them for being in the ocean. Maybe we get lucky and find a granny walking her dog after 9am.

For obvious reasons, townships aren’t complying with lockdown regulations and police have given up trying to enforce pretty much anything apart from prohibition and the curfew. For equally obvious reasons, infection hotspots are more likely to develop in areas where people are jammed into taxis and pension payout queues and are living la vida loco like there’s no tomorrow. Which, as we now know, there isn’t.

Meanwhile, over in Karenville, the cops are stalking the beaches and leafy suburbs hoping to nail errant whities for violating one or other of the government’s many unhinged new rules. Covid-19 is unlikely to devastate too many white suburbs because residents have masks and sanitisers and big houses with gardens and snitches for neighbours.

The gummint says they will or might or are thinking about imposing different lockdown levels based on where the hotspots are. On paper, this means townships would stay locked down forever, while white people are allowed to roam free. It’s never going to happen. The optics would be appalling. Brutalist sociological architecture comes at a price and it took a virus for whites to pay it. Collective responsibility, collective punishment. Nobody ever said life was fair.

The mall was, at least, a brief diversion from the madness. Most shops were open and there was more stuff I was allowed to buy. I still had free will. Not entirely, but enough to not want to firebomb the building, form a rebel army and overthrow the government.

In the bakery section I spotted two illicit pies lurking in one of those incubator affairs. I demanded both and began wolfing the chicken and mushroom one right away. It was like warmed up crack. The pie lady said she needed to put a price sticker on it and, with some reluctance, I returned the half-ravaged pastry to its mutilated packet. I made sure to keep one hand on it. I was so overcome with my pie that I inadvertently made off with another man’s trolley.

On my way out I stopped at Dis-Chem for a bottle of cough mixture to wash the pie down. There was a queue of four people outside the door. I watched them for a while while they watched me watching them. Were we smiling at each other? There was no way to tell. Just a lot of weird eye action. The regular enforcer at the door wasn’t there. What had happened was this. A woman had decided of her own volition to wait for someone to leave before she entered. More people had come up and were now standing behind her.

I looked into the shop. It was virtually empty. As I walked through the door, I made big farmyard animal eyes and a baa-baa sound. I imagine they thought I was mentally unwell.

Then I almost collapsed in the self-medication aisle when my stupid mask decided to murder me. I was sucking in massive amounts of nitrous oxide, or whatever the hell it is that comes out of my mouth, when suddenly my vision went all blurry and I had to stagger to the geriatric section and sit down in a wheelchair, where I fell asleep.

 

  • This column first appeared in The Citizen. Fresh ones every Wednesday. Subscribe here: https://citizen.co.za/bundle-subscriptions/

Truth, lies and exercise

I hear lots of crazy stuff all day long and it’s not always just in my head either. For instance, I heard that the reason the government is keeping its Covid-19 modelling data from the public is because it wants to avoid sowing panic.

Fair enough. Nothing frightens South Africans more than hearing the truth. We have grown accustomed to being lied to – from the National Party warning us about the communists to the ANC claiming they are anti-corruption. We’re comfortable with deceit, dishonesty and distortion.

But the truth? We can’t handle the truth. The government is right. In this country, the truth won’t set us free. It will only make us panic. At the same time, we are South Africans. We live in a permanent state of low-grade panic.

Maybe the real truth is that it’s the government panicking because there is no data modelling going on at all. Maybe the Command Council is just a bunch of people behind closed doors eating snacks, yawning and staring out of the window. Occasionally someone sits up, shouts a random number and reaches for another vol-au-vent before slumping back into his chair, while the others chew vacuously and flick through their phones.

A lot of people seem to be worrying about their health these days, or whatever they are. Are we still calling them days? Two aeons ago, these same people would circle a mall’s parking lot for an hour looking for a spot near the entrance just to avoid walking an extra fifty metres.

Now they are setting their alarm clocks for 5.30am. Even though our state-sanctioned exercise period only starts at 6am, they are terrified of missing a minute of it. They use the 30-minute build-up to do stretching exercises and colour-code their masks and outfits while the father feeds the brats. It is the women who have claimed the exercise time as their own. The men can tag along if they wish, and the kids if they have to, but the hours of 6am to 9am belong to the women. That’s okay. Rather have them pounding the pavement than their loved ones.

I don’t have an alarm clock. They are bad for one’s health. Worse than heroin. The sound scares the bejesus out of the central nervous system and sends adrenalin coursing through the body, putting it into a full-blown fight or flight frenzy. I can’t use alarm clocks because it triggers a fight and flight response in my body. As a child, I would regularly destroy my bedroom while simultaneously fighting and fleeing the invisible furies. Eventually my mother realised it was better for all concerned if I woke up naturally, even if it meant being late for school. I once slept through an entire grade.

My pathological aversion to bells or sirens shattering my sleep means that I frequently miss our morning freedom altogether. Some days I wake up to find that I have only five minutes in which to cram three hours of exercise. Often there is no time to even put clothes on. I burst from my front gate, willy a-flap in the breeze, and run at top speed for two and a half minutes in any direction, then turn around and run home at an even more top speed because the police are chasing me. I don’t think it’s doing me much good. When I get home I have to drink rum and coke to slow my heart down. Sometimes I get the dosage wrong and it slows down too much and then I lie on the floor for the rest of the day waiting to die.

One thing is certain. The huddled masses are growing restless. Look at the state we’re in, we cry. Open the hairdressers! Let the beauticians operate! Even Trevor Manuel is saying the lockdown is turning into a bad idea, and this is a man who fought his way out of the Cape Flats with nothing more than an Okapi knife and a head for figures.

Some unions are saying that nobody should return to work unless it’s completely safe. That makes no sense. Work has always been the least safe place on earth. You can get trapped in the elevator, poisoned by cafeteria food, accused of arson and attempted frottage, hauled before a disciplinary committee and run out of town. I’m not saying this happened to me. Well, not all in one job, anyway.

A lot of people are also going a bit mental with this incarceration lark. Sure, most of them were probably mental to start with. But there’s nothing like being forced to stay indoors with people you increasingly want to murder to push you over the edge. It’s probably good for some marriages, though. There can’t be too many people still shouting, “Where have you been?” at their partners.

Living alone definitely has its pros and cons. As does living in general, I suppose.

Here’s an interesting thing to think about. In a 2014 study, participants were given a choice between sitting in silence with their own thoughts for fifteen minutes or giving themselves electric shocks. Most chose to shock themselves. It should be said that the study was conducted in Charlottesville, Virginia, home to neo-Nazis, white supremacists and, in the words of Donald Trump, other “very fine people”.

Trump is not the kind of man who could be left alone with his thoughts for very long, but only because he doesn’t have any. Well, not the kind that you or I might consider to be thoughts. I imagine if you could tap into what passes for his brain, you’d hear a rush of static. Or something like the sound of a burger and onions being fried in hot oil.

Anyway. Here I am, adjusting my heart rate with various medications, and it occurs to me that writing and prostitution are quite possibly the only two ways of making money while lying in bed. If you know of any others, do let me know.

Dear Cyril …

Dear Comrade President Ramaphosa, Defender of the Lockdown, Punisher of the Pandemic, Destroyer of the Economy, Nemesis of Smokers and Drinkers.

May I call you Cyril? I don’t mean to be overfamiliar but you have had such an impact on my life that you feel like you are a close friend or maybe a distant relative. You’ve been a good parent to us. You might even have saved some of our lives, although from what I’ve heard, dying of the coronavirus is about as rare as getting morning fellatio after ten years of marriage. That was crude. I apologise. We are all descending to the level of savage beasts. I don’t mean you, obviously. You have a support system to prevent that from happening. I only have myself and a cat who goes out of her way to avoid me.

I wish I could have seen the look on your face on, like, day 20 of the lockdown, when it dawned on you that people were still obeying your order to stay at home. We both know South Africans aren’t the most obedient people. You tell them not to rape, pillage and steal and the next thing you know, there they are, raping, pillaging and stealing. You tell them to stay indoors, and they do. It’s inexplicable. How did you manage that? Did you have our water supply spiked with Rohypnol?

I imagine you must have suspected a trap. Is this why you mobilised the army? You anticipated some kind of Dingane/Piet Retief ambush situation, right? As it turns out, we are exactly what we seem. Just millions of compliant, docile worker ants and drones paying obeisance to their queen.

It’s like some kind of Jedi mind trick you pulled. Speaking of which, I currently look like a cross between Jabba the Hutt and Chewbacca and talk like Yoda because I live alone and have lost the ability to communicate.

Also, you don’t want to see the state of my sheets. I am filled with self-loathing every time I get into my petri dish of a bed. Please open the laundromats. Covid-19 hates washing machines. Tell the hawks in the Coronavirus Command Council that social distancing isn’t a problem in laundromats. Nobody goes there to hook up or party. You drop your clothes and leave. If you like to hang around laundromats, there’s something wrong with you.

I’m surprised it has taken this long for people to start pushing back. South Africans are born fighters. We don’t take shit from anyone. We have fought the British, the Boers, the Zulus and each other and yet here we are, as disunited as ever, still obeying your command to stay inside even if it does mean losing our jobs, sanity and will to live. It’s wearing a bit thin, though. You might have noticed.

People started turning against you after that disaster with the fags. No, I don’t mean … I’m talking about cigarettes. The nation erupted in a happy chorus of hacking coughs when you unequivocally said that the sale of ciggies would be allowed when the country goes to Level 4 on 1 May.

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma angrily stamped her small but perfectly formed foot and said there’d be none of that. Who the hell is in charge over there? This is not the time for flip-floppery or jellyfishing, collective or no collective. You’re the president. You have a massive amount of power. You’re just a bit shy to use it.

It doesn’t matter. You are rich enough to pay other people to change your mind for you. I have to do that kind of dirty work myself. For instance, I often say, “I am never drinking again” but then, two days later, there I am, chucking the filth down my neck like there’s no tomorrow. That was before I ran out, obviously.

We were all very grateful when the Collective decided to let us out of our cages for three hours every morning on condition that we didn’t stray further than five kilometres. Things is, I can only walk for 800m or so before having to lie down for a bit. It’s very triggering to see people running past and getting their full quota of 5kms. If I can’t do it, nobody should be allowed to do it. Please ask your prime minister to reduce it to one kilometre.

It should also be said that I am a special needs case. I have no children who need schooling, nor do I have a dog that requires walking. I don’t recall ever having run anywhere unless being pursued by the law and I think bicycles are for children. All I ask, really, is that you allow me to get into the ocean and do a bit of surfing now and again. I had a rather poorly timed birthday recently and I don’t have many good years left.

Living, as you do, in the hinterland, you might not be familiar with surfing. I’m fairly sure your sports minister is unaware of it. For a start, it’s not a blood sport like rugby, which should absolutely be banned even when there’s not a pandemic. Generally surfers are a peaceful lot who want nothing more than to be given access to the ocean. And maybe some beers for after. Anyway, see what you can do. Next to laundromats, Covid-19 hates sea water the most.

I’m still enjoying the Command Council briefings. However, like the lockdown regulations, they can be quite hard to follow in terms of coherence and logic so I’ve started watching the sign-language interpreter instead. I’m happy to say that, thanks to Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, I now know how to tell a deaf person, “It’s your turn to roll a joint.”

The compulsory masks have made things interesting. In the old days, a smile would tell us everything we needed to know. But with our mouths covered, we need to learn how to use our eyes to convey emotions. My first wife’s eyebrows spoke a language of their own. Man, those things could express whatever she was feeling. It was mostly disappointment and anger, but still. There were nuances. This one time, I thought she was giving me the bedroom eyebrows and I whipped off my trousers and rolled onto my back but she was, in fact, giving me the I-want-a-divorce eyebrows. Reading eyes and eyebrows is not an exact science and misunderstandings are to be expected.

People are complaining that we are becoming a police state. What absolute rubbish. There is still a long way to go. Right now, we fall squarely between a nanny state and a police state. I do, however, feel the nanny could be more like Julie Andrews and less like a cross between Margaret Thatcher and Imelda Marcos. It would also be nice if Field Marshall Bheki Cele stopped carrying on as if he’s from the Papa Doc Duvalier School of Policing. More lovey, less Haiti. Know what I’m saying?

Anyway, you must think we’re quite cute, with our petitions and campaigns, waving our little fists and making high-pitched mewling sounds, all the while under the impression that the government is paying us heed. I wouldn’t listen to us either if I were you. We’re all over the place. One day we want food, the next it’s jobs. There’s just no end to it.

 

 

 

Lockdown Extended – words to make you weep

My ungovernable publisher, Melinda Ferguson, has made good on her threat to bring out a new ebook by this weekend.

Lockdown Extended is now available for download on Kindle or Kobo (links below).

Ferguson describes the book as “an incredible collection of 30 of South Africa’s most hip, most talented, most interesting and most adorable writers … it will make you think, it will make you laugh, it will make you weep, it will make your heart sing and it will give you hope that despair is not all we can feel during these unprecedented times.”

Here are a couple of excerpts from my contribution:

“We are no longer the people we were two months ago. Our inner adolescents are crying out for someone to tell us that it’s all going to be okay. That it’s fine not to shave or wear deodorant. That nobody will judge us if we start drinking at 10am. Yes, we are turning into filthy, frightened children rapidly developing an alcohol problem. The problem being that supplies are starting to run dangerously low.”

……………..

“The government has left me no alternative. I am going to have to craft a new set of bowls using raw materials and brute cunning. Tortoise shells and monkey skulls come to mind. I am leaning more towards tortoises since they are easier to apprehend and the shells would be a decent size for breakfast cereal as well as soup. Monkey skulls, on the other hand, are easier to stack and would do well as receptacles for soy sauce and other exotic condiments. They are, however, almost impossible to catch. Also, there are no monkeys where I live. I would have to drive to the Eastern Cape, risking arrest and possible death at the hands of the Pandemic Paramilitaries. Seems a bit risky just for bowls.”

https://www.kobo.com/za/en/ebook/lockdown-extended

 

Publisher goes berserk – brings out second book

Less than three weeks ago, my out of control publisher Melinda Ferguson got the demented idea of bringing out an eBook called Lockdown – The Corona Chronicles, featuring seventeen South African writers.

Now she has gone and done it again with a follow-up called Lockdown – Extended.

This time there are contributions from 30 writers, which minimises my royalties but maximises your reading pleasure.

It will be available for download on Amazon (Kindle) and Kobo as early as this weekend. Cheaper than a case of beer and way more legal.

Publisher goes mad – brings out book

Less than two weeks ago, my batshit crazy publisher Melinda Ferguson got the demented idea of bringing out an eBook called Lockdown – The Corona Chronicles, featuring seventeen South African writers. I am among this eclectic pack of cabin-feverish scribes who, too fearful of being lashed by Ferguson’s filthy tongue, produced the goods in record time.

It’s available for download from Amazon for the special death-defying price of R99, or whatever that is in real money.

It’s not like you have anything better to spend your money on.

It’s not a proper pandemic unless there are zombies

Lockdown is a prison term. It’s when there is trouble afoot and convicts are restricted to their cells. There’s trouble alright, but not from us inmates. No, sir, Mr Ramaphosa. We’re good, obedient citizens who will do whatever you tell us to do. Well, maybe not all of us.

Even though I have nowhere to go, I now feel trapped and desperately want to go out. I don’t know if it’s because I resent the government telling me what to do and how to live or if there’s something wrong with me mentally.

Before corona, I was happy enough to stay in with a cup of tea and a game of rummy with the cat. Now, forced to remain at home, I feel an overwhelming desire to have lashings of unusual sex with strangers while drinking heavily and experimenting with dangerous drugs. I think it’s something to do with the wartime syndrome – a reaction to the idea that we’re all going to die and have nothing to lose. In World War Two, everyone who didn’t go off to fight quickly turned into ravening beasts guzzling amphetamines by day and copulating like rats by night.

To be honest, I don’t really feel like death could be imminent. I do, however, feel a bit infantilised. I went to a friend’s house the other day to leech off her gin supply and she offered me a lesson on how to wash my hands. She’d watched a video, she said, and that if I wanted gin and maybe a small sexual favour then I had to cooperate. I meekly followed her hand-washing ritual and by the end of it I felt like I needed help going for a wee on my potty.

I see messages from people all the time saying they need to go to the supermarket and does anyone have any advice. It’s as if we are no longer confident enough to handle basic everyday stuff. We are going to be utterly helpless and completely malleable by the time this thing is over and we won’t even notice the Illuminati erecting millions of 5G transmitters to control our thoughts and make us slaves to the new world order.

I was hoping for this to be a coronavirus-free column, but when I began the usual ritual of pacing and chain-drinking while thinking of a topic, I found that my brain was coming up empty. Sure, that might have been the beer, but I like to think it was more because the pandemic has so completely overshadowed everything else that writing about local politics or the usual criminal shenanigans in government would seem like a wilful distraction.

On Sunday I wandered up to my local pub, careful to maintain the standard 300m distance between myself and the police. That’s the best thing about this virus. New rules of engagement insist on maintaining a gap to prevent possible arrest.

On a normal weekend, there’d be live music, laughter and braai smoke drifting through the milkwoods. The place was deserted and the gate padlocked. A hadeda looked at me as if to say, “Go home, you idiot.” All that was missing were four horsemen in black hoods cantering down the empty street.

We’ve been told to stay inside even if we are not sick. The point, apparently, is that we might catch it while we are out and give it to someone else. Someone old. I don’t know, man. The elderly shouldn’t be on the streets at the best of times. They’ve had their chance. It’s our turn now. Well, not any longer, obviously. The streets have been turned over to hamsters and chickens and dolphins. When we finally do emerge, it’s going to be quite a shock to find elephants instead of crack dealers loitering on the corner.

We are told that we need to look after the poor and the vulnerable. Let’s not forget that they only became poor and vulnerable because nobody has ever given a shit about them. The indigent don’t particularly care if they live or die, but they must be delighted with all the attention. They risk dying of exposure, disease or boredom every day of their lives, but now that people with cars, jobs and homes are affected, they have been swept up in a global dragnet of concern.

In London, people who sleep on the streets are being given hotel rooms. Here, our homeless are being given a wide berth. No change there, then. We don’t treat the destitute as real humans when there’s not a pandemic on the go and it would be cruel to raise their expectations now. Imagine when it’s all over and London’s dossers have been turfed out of the hotels. What do you say to them? “Now that we all have immunity, you can go back to your cardboard box. No, you can’t take the towels.”

Some governments are bending over backwards to help their citizens. Not ours. Not really. Yes, the president mentioned some numbers on Monday night, all of which pale against the R1.5-trillion lost in the feeding frenzy of greed during the Zupta years.

The corporate world hasn’t exactly been quick to offer a meaningful hand to businesses either. The Oppenheimer and Rupert families tossed some spare change into the effort. Telkom asked its customers to activate debit orders so they don’t risk infecting their staff who are already suffering from non-contagious ennui. A couple of banks have made token gestures. More importantly, though, nobody has asked me if I’m going to be alright. The self-employed are people, too.

They can all suck my stimulus package.