The following post is based on actual events as it would be impossible for me to make this up, even if I tried.
A few years ago I was having a very masculine apple martini in a sky-bar, as the sun was waving goodbye to Manhattan. It was a bucket list thing. I blame my choice of drink on the spirit of the Big Apple possessing my soul at the time. I’ve just finished my stroll down 5th Avenue, popped into bling-central, i.e the Trump tower, as I felt very sophisticated and shit. But the sheer volume of gold and mirrors in that place provides an unnecessary opportunity of seeing yourself in reflections everywhere, shattering any self-worth you might have had prior to entry. Hence, my need for a drink.
So there I was, sitting on top of a skyscraper in the middle of Manhattan, with my best I’m-not-a-serial-killer-just-travelling-alone expression, hoping I wasn’t going to be arrested. Most people don’t like chatting to strangers, so I did what I always do on business trips, which is sit in a corner and mind my own business. Fortunately for me, the view from my table was breathtaking.
I have a wife, so I know I don’t look like the Elephant man, but imagine my surprise when the blonde waitress started speaking to me as she brought me my second drink. I tried channelling James Bond, whilst drinking an apple-martini through a straw with a t-shirt, denim and sneakers. I unhinged the huge camera from my neck and placed it on the table. Very cool.
“Where are you from?” she asked in a somewhat friendly, god I hope this increase my tip, kinda way.
When ordering drinks in a foreign country, there’s no way for a South African to hide his accent, which appears like a neon sign, flashing on your forehead, every time you open your mouth.
“South Africa.” I said, trying to get rid of the straw, which was poking me in the nose.
“Wow, like seriously, Africa. I would really like to go there one day, you know. Like it’s all wild and stuff. Like really awesome. Which country in Africa are you from?”
She didn’t even blink.
Neither did I. I was transfixed, realizing I was having a one-on-one with stupid. I remembered stopping mid-sip, my lips glued to the cocktail glass, staring at her, whilst she looked back at me with the most sincere expression ever recorded by man. Just to confirm that she wasn’t kidding.
“Excuse me?” I asked, trying my best not to come across as condescending.
“I said, like which country are you from? Like in Africa.” Ironically her tone of voice was wrapped in an aura of are-you-deaf-or-stupid.
“South Africa. I’m from South Africa.” I tilted the content of my glass, wondering if I was being drugged. Or worse.
Blonde bimbo released a deep sigh, and then something in her facial expression changed, probably regretting the conversation. As was I. Then she revealed the full extent of her ignorance.
“I know, like I heard you the first time. But I meant like, which country in like the Southern parts of Africa are you from?”
Normally I have a million comebacks ready for fire. However in that moment I was too stunned to react properly. I couldn’t believe what she was asking. I must have looked like the kid who caught his parents red-handed playing Tooth Fairy.
After a minute or two I managed to regain some composure, without laughing in her face, and proceeded with my lesson on Nelson Mandela and him being the president of a country on the Southern tip of Africa, which is actually called SOUTH AFRICA. To be honest I wasn’t sure if my information was sinking in or if I was just wasting ten minutes of my life.
In her defense, she did seem moderately intrigued and her eyes only glazed over once. When I finished my drink, she offered me another one, which I declined, a little too quickly. I paid and left.
There’s always a chance of stupidity becoming contagious and I sure as hell wasn’t gonna risk it.