Looking Into the Past

Clifton, just outside Cape Town, South Africa ca 1992
Last night, when I was supposed to be wrapping up and going to bed, I happened across a folder on my computer that contained a bunch of my writing and stories from close to 20 years ago.

Many of the Clarisworks (olde skewl!) files had mysteriously converted to terminal files somehow but not all of them. I opened as many of them as I could and am going to re-save them in, hopefully, more future-proof formats.

Among the things I realized even from just reading the file names of files that were no longer openable is that I used to write. I used to write a lot. I used to write stories regularly on a wide variety of subjects. Some are interesting and some are not. Most of the writing isn't especially great but there are passages here and there that actually make me remember where I was and how I felt when writing them. And that's a power that I'd forgotten words had.

Michelle above Clifton, Cape Town, South Africa ca 1992
A few lines into a story about riding my motorcycle along the waterfront road between Cape Town and Seapoint where I lived and I could close my eyes and be there again. And I feel the rush of memories cascading down upon me from my time there so many years ago. There's my rat trap Suzuki Katana with the dash of red on the seat parked outside of my Kings Rd. flat I shared with an attractive though barmy accountant. The even more rattrappy Honda CB500 "Bushman" I had before it that hated rain and would strand me in the lightest sprinkle. There were the weekend trips to beach houses with friends. There were late night bike rides along the coast road until my calves locked up completely and I'd have to limp home. Working downtown at the Health & Racquet and all the shenanigans that went on there. Michelle. Ronnie. Adrian. Renzo. Sebastian. Rory. Storm. Keith. Dozens and hundreds of others. All these names that came and went and people that came and went. I wonder where they are today. The two motorcycle accidents I was in, the night of agony after the second one and not being able to sleep even on the meds because it was Guy Fawkes Day and fireworks were going off non-stop. The winding down of aparthied and rising up of the ANC, the taxi wars, the random totally hammered hill dude wandering down my street lazily pissing this way and that. Calling trucks Bakkies, stoplights are robots, sneakers are takkies. And those amazing South African accents. The fruit hawker I'd walk by often shouting "Hannepoot-ah, one rand!" (Grapes for a rand). The beggar I saw once who was so scrawny he was pretending to play his emaciated leg like a flute because it was so skinny. The pack of young kids wandering around completely high on modelling glue and incoherent. The drunk guy on the taxi talking about killing white folks until the rest of the taxi pulled him and beat him up. The trip down the Fish River Canyon in Namibia with some loony South Africans. Drinking in bars with Aussie and Kiwi nutters. So many scenes and memories and probably hundreds that have already slipped away forever.

I left Cape Town more than 20 years ago and much of my time there is still vivid.

I'll sift through the writing to see if there's anything worth reposting here or whether the files just get shuffled into a new format to keep getting carried along to the next computer and the next.

But it was a nice little trip down memory lane.
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