Day 27 : A problem that you have had
My Pathology examinations took place on Friday and they were exactly as I had expected them to be: horrible, horrible and (wait for it) . . . absolutely horrible ! I shook my head in disbelief for the first ten minutes of written my paper. When that ordeal was over, I had to subject myself to the practical examination. I’ll have you know that Histology is the bane of my existence. Everything looks the same ! I hope that I miraculously acquire magical abilities that allow me to correctly interpret them in the near future.
My exams, however, are not the problem in question. The events leading up to them yesterday morning are what would be classified as disastrous and at the root of these events is the actual problem : my unlicensed state.
My unlicensed state ( I do not currently have a driver’s license which would enable me to drive a motor vehicle) is often instrumental in causing a significant amount of trouble and hardship for me . Not having a drivers license means that I have to make sporadic use of the train when my parents are unable (or unwilling) to transport me to my desired location.
South African public transport is far from the luxury experienced by those travelling by rail in Europe and the Americas. It’s rough, it’s tough and completely unreliable. The unreliability of the train is often due to theft along the railway line of cables. I find it incredibly astonishing that people would actually consider risking their lives and possibly be electrocuted just to steal copper that might not actually amount to all that much in monetary value. That’s not the point though.
The point is that I’ve used the train regularly enough to know that the possibility of being delayed is pretty high. I, however, did not expect it to happen yesterday: the day that I had to write my pathology exam at 9 o’clock in the morning and the day that my padre was halfway across the Atlantic in Belgium.
I arrived at the station very early, at approximately 05:30 am. I am incredibly punctual and am only late when I have to rely on others to take me to places- others namely being my parents. My parents operate on African Time which is a couple of hours behind everyone else’s time. I waited for a half an hour before the train officials sent a crackly message through the megaphone.
“Aaah, ladies and gentlemen, we regret to inform you that all trains running on the Northern line ( the line that I have to take in order to reach my destination) have been delayed for up to two hours ( it was 6 o’clock then which meant that I would only be able get a train at 8 ) due to vandalism and cable theft.”
I was crestfallen. My journey on the train lasts no longer than ten minutes but now because of this unforeseen delay, I had to find an alternative manner of travelling to campus. My madre was at work so the option of asking her to give me a lift was not a viable one. Panic was beginning to set in.
I walked in a state of suspended panic before finally deciding to call a cab company that I make regular use of when I go out. I specifically asked them to send a female driver because I felt that given the statistics of abuse in this country, driving around in a car with a male driver on my own was not the smartest thing to do.
The driver arrived half an hour later and lo and behold , it was a man! He drove off in an angry huff when I said that I would not get into the car. He tried to guilt me into paying for his used petrol but I refused , considering the fact that they had transgressed against me and obviously not listened when I specifically requested a female driver. He tried by all means to coax me into getting into the car but I was not budging from my original stance.
That left me still stranded on the road and it was already 7:00 am. In order to travel using the bus, I had to travel to a depot to purchase a ticket in order to be allowed to board. The closest depot was in another suburb , many kilometres away from where I currently was. The only option remaining was for me to take a taxi. Taxi’s are minibuses that can carry up to sixteen passengers. They shuttle between neighbourhoods and are a cheap manner of travelling.
They are however, death traps in disguise. They often transport more than the required number of passengers in the vehicle all in the name of capitalism and profit making. The more customers they transport, the more money they get. They break all the rules of the road and completely disregard safety. They also stop regularly to offload passengers and pick up more, making them a most inconvenient manner in which to travel.
The train delay had resulted in all the taxi’s being incredibly full. The conductors of the taxi’s ,who usually have to perform a song and dance to woo passengers onto their vehicles , were relaxed today as their vehicles were all filled to capacity ( and beyond) and ignored me. I finally flagged down a reasonably empty looking taxi and paid my fare ( I suspect that I may have paid double as a result of my lack of experience in using taxis) .
We travelled at break-neck speed for a few minutes and then we stopped. A traffic officer had stopped the driver. I wanted to bless him ( my life was no longer in jeopardy or danger of crashing violently ! ) and curse him simultaneously ( my exam was in less than two hours !). We were delayed for thirty minutes before the driver received his ticket , which he promptly tore up as soon as he was back in his seat.
I was offloaded near a shopping centre close to my campus. It was 07:45 and all I wanted to arrive on campus on time. I had quite a distance left to walk and it was then that my left began to ache tremendously . I had to stop and massage it before limping onwards.
Relief and tiredness flooded through me when I made it through the gates. I had to go up to the fifth floor hall where my exam was going to take place . I desperately wanted and needed to take the lift but there were maintenance people doing in the lift and I was forced to take the stairs. My bag which really wasn’t that heavy before , suddenly became a great load and I lumbered up the stairs in immense pain.
As I got to the stairs of the third floor, someone behind me called out. They didn’t call my name, they just shouted “Hey” really loudly and I had no option but to look back. It was LH7H ! I was so shocked. The temptation to run away was strong but my exercise induced asthma and angina had me rooted to the spot. My left foot was not particularly helpful either.
My heart did a back flip ten times and my tummy cartwheeled . After months and months of wondering when I would bump into him again, he decided to show himself on the day that I had to write my pathology exam , was covered in a sheen of sweat and tears and rasping for breath after exerting myself on three flights of stairs (I had two more left).
I was elated that I had caught sight of him again but I was annoyed that I was so unsightly at that moment in time. We conversed rather strangely for a few minutes. I finally learnt his name and we went our separate ways soon after. With my luck , I will probably see him the next time I write another major exam next year or two years from now. This could have been avoided had my problem of not having my license been solved.
Lots Of Lily Love ❤ (LOLL)