you know one of those nights that you just know you should have stayed at home….. but didn’t listen to your gut instinct…. mental note…. you should ALWAYS listen to your gut instinct!!!!

we were invited to a wonderful guy’s home for dinner. i absolutely adore this guy – he lived in london for many years & has now been back in cape town for the past 4 years. he is totally on my wavelength & subsequently we have had some great evenings together – this being the first at his home. but we were tired. this past week has been a very emotionally draining week…. an ill child, a hospitalised parent, a job i was 110% sure about getting flew out of the window (the MOST bizarre set of circumstances ever!) & well by the end of the week my husband & i were both shattered – bed was calling but never one to bow out of a fun evening i insisted we go!

so we arrived in ‘woodstock’. now i’ve been on the main street through woodstock & to the biscuit mill (fleamarket type thing) but i have actually never been to the residential side of woodstock. my friend lives in a stunning home with the most magnificent view of the harbour but as with most things in life nothing seems to come for free well unless of course you are one of the hoodlums who wanders the streets of woodstock breaking into anything & everything to help oneself to other peoples belongings! so we had only just pulled up outside my friends house when he dashed out to ask us to make sure that we left nothing visible in out car as it would DEFINITELY be gone when we returned….. mmmmmmm…… fabulous! so i cleared everything out & put it in the trunk….. my friend then came & did a quick ‘inspection’, noticed a jersey on the back floor & told me to remove it – EVERYTHING i said! crikey moses!

ok, so we haven’t even started the evening & i’m already on edge wondering if there will in actual fact be a car there to take us home at the end of the evening!

anyhow a fabulous night ensued, filled with excellent food, great company & what quite evidently became clear after the damage was done….. WAY too much wine! you know those kind of hosts who are so quick at topping your glasses up one is never quite sure how many glasses one actually had as your glass was never empty!!!?? nearing the end of the evening, circa midnight, after an all but perfect evening we are all sitting on the balcony (thankfully overlooking our cars & ours is still there!!!) when the conversation turns to burglaries & they all sit there discussing their recent spate of break-ins….. oh how i wish we had just left….. but we hadn’t!

fueled by my three glasses of wine (which could have quite easily actually been 10 glasses for all i knew!!!!) i brought their conversation to their attention…. excuse me….. sorry guys…. are you ACTUALLY listening to yourselves!!!???? obviously that brought the conversation to a dead halt. they all looked at me quite surprised. i think it was the ‘casualness’ of the conversation that freaked me out the most. thing is, what you’ll find in south africa, no-one will actually address the very obvious crime problem at hand, they’ll come out flaring & ranting about how the crime in the uk or anywhere else for that matter is exactly the same.  NO IT FUCKING IS NOT!!!!!!! it kills me & gets my blood soaring through my veins at dangerously hot levels. hot levels fueled with copious amounts of alcohol in this case. most people sitting at the table bowed graciously out of the conversation at this point obviously realising now that i was a bit unstable & well pretty much ready to start a witch-hunt. but sadly for all concerned two very ‘game’ contestants continued forth to take me on….. i sort of managed to keep it together citing forth facts & statistics about uk crime compared to the lack of friggin facts & statistics in this country because they can’t bloody well keep up with all the crime that is going on here. a murder case in the uk is never closed until solved. many murder cases here go unopened because no-one even knows about them. i remember when i was growing up in johannesburg we had a hijacking take place 4 streets away from our home. unfortunately for the hijackers the van they tried to take was filled with 3 ex army guys who had just returned from gun-shooting practice…. a hollywood style shoot out took place (one of the guys lived in our street so filled us in) & four men lost their lives that day…. not a sentence was ever printed in any form anywhere. in the uk it would have been front page news on every newspaper for days.

anyhow i digress…. back to the story at hand…. so as i said before i managed to keep some sort of head about me listening to these two spew forth crap when after a while i just felt like their accounts of the ‘uk’ were just not fitting. so in a moment of braincells coming together in my head i questioned the one as to when he had actually lived in the uk & where he had lived (evidently some gangland somewhere) as his accounts of crime were just not even remotely feasible….. he cleverly evaded the question, but not to be cast aside i questioned him again….. oh, in actual fact apart from a fleeting visit once he had actually never ever lived in the uk!!!!!??????? WTF!!!!!?????? i then berated him as to how on earth he could be saying what he was saying having never even lived there – his answer….. oh, so do you need to visit the amazon to know it’s a river’?????? ABSOLUTELY!!!!!! you dickwad!!!!! (as you can see i was dealing with ‘high intelligence’ here!!!) this is where my trusty husband told me i should have stood up, announced that i was no longer participating in this ‘conversation’ as quite clearly i was dealing with uninformed rubbish & until such time as they had done a wee bit more research this conversation was over. yes, yes…. if only one had the good fortune of ‘hindsight’…… but no, in true ‘moi’ style i apparently all but dropped an atomic bomb on the entire proceedings. completely annihilating all concerned, bringing one girl to tears & well pretty much destroying any chance of future dinner invites.

one of the other girls was either quite desperate to try and keep some form of peace or she did actually see my point – she just kept on trying to explain to me that i needed to understand that people behaved / thought this way as they HAD to as it was the only way they could cope with their own situation. so perhaps believing that the entire world is as crime ridden as south africa makes people think it’s ok….? interesting…..

on the other hand, please don’t get me wrong, i’m certainly not ignorant enough to think the rest of the world is crime free & whilst i can’t speak for most places as i have never actually lived there (!!!!) i can speak for parts of the usa (where my family have lived for over 20 years) and for the uk where i lived for 15 years & where i still have family & friends….. there is most certainly crime, absolutely there is crime but the difference is there is VALUE FOR LIFE and there are consequences as well. people do not sit around dinner tables discussing murders, break-in’s, hijackings etc…. because they are not common occurrences…. a wallet being pickpocketed on the subway or a hand bag stolen in a nightclub in soho….. now these criminal offences are definitely part of london society but discussing your next door neighbour being murdered or your burglary by gun-toting madmen just aren’t. they just aren’t!!!!!! if someone is attacked or stabbed or burgled it is front page news & the local community come together & don’t rest until the perpetrator is caught. it is so shocking to everyone that everyone gets involved, here it passes like another day.

we once viewed a house in newlands. the estate agent proceeded to tell us how ‘safe’ this area was….. i couldn’t help but notice the 6 foot walls, the electric fences on every wall, the laser beams in gardens, the security bars on every window, the security camera’s, the alarm systems, the private security guards, the ADT security cars on the corner….. yip, i suppose it is ‘safe’….. if that is what ‘safe’ entails… in a prison…..

i once had an argument with a very successful businessman who lives in constantia about the prevailing crime rate in south africa. he too tried to dismiss it. i then questioned him on the need to establish ‘fort knox’ around his home if there was so little crime…. oh he said…. ignore that, it’s just competitiveness…. each neighbour competes with the other to have the best security…. it’s not to do with the actual crime!!!!?????? oh i see…..

come on south africa, prove me wrong….. PLEASE prove me wrong….. show me that this is a safe country to live in…. i desperately want to believe you!!!!! but until such time as you can….. which i expect could be a while….. why don’t you try admitting to the crime, taking ownership of it & start doing something about it!!!!