Scary stories from a lovely place
I’m white. My husband’s white. Barring some anomaly of nature my baby will be white. Despite this, living in Joburg, moving in the circles that I move, I am seldom solely in the presence of white people. When I am I feel strangely disconcerted as if I am surrounded by a sort of familiar alien race.
Today was one such time. Stephen and I went to the Service Station cafe on the corner of 9th Ave and Emmarentia Rd, Melville. It’s a lovely, bustling cafe overlooking the Melville Koppies and various other undulating knolls of wildlife.
The Service Station is a veritable feast of whitey sub-culture. All elements of the Service Station serve the white person’s culutral needs. The menu’s smattering of words like gorgonzola, watercress, red pepper, rye bread, hommous and expensive pinotage by the glass are consumed with gusto.
The basic furniture, crafted from steel and wood, with faded floral cushions have that old-world charm which makes Whitey feel like he/she is sitting on something imbibed with history. There is a small deli selling all manner of expensive delicacies like smoked salmon, darjeeling leaf tea, basil rub for fish, real parmesan cheese and semi-dried tomatoes in lemon infused olive oil.
As for fashion, today’s patrons didn’t disappoint. We managed to look the part, but our ensemble was lacking a serious amount of skinny leg jeans, Chuck Taylor high tops, Ray Ban Wayfarer sunglasses, too much make up, checkered shirts, coifed hair and blackberry phones.
White people really are predictable. Actually, maybe everyone is, but it’s white people who I am allowed to make a mockery of. There’s a great blog called Stuff White People Like which details more of the elements of the white person sub-culture that are as curious as they are obvious. What often alarms me when I read that website and laugh at the content is that I fit so perfectly into so many of the stereotypes. I love wanky food markets, camping, being informed about the world, Apple computers and Moleskine notebooks.
I would love to open a store or business that caters precisely to every aspect of the white sub-culture. But maybe that market is already cornered. Come weekday, rain, weekend or shine the Service Station is packed. As a business they are doing something right, and that I respect.