Bree, changing taxis

Bree taxi rank, Johannesburg

I walk down the fivetentwenty steps to the right lane at the Bree street taxi rank, shout a short hello to the girl who’s selling vegetables at the corner stall (I don’t even know her name though we like exchanging some words about hairstyles) , and head on to get to the taxis running to Auckland park. As I look around I see – apart from faces who, I assume, would really like to be home by now – two guys hanging around on the steps next to the toilets, checking the scene and spreading this very air of wearefuckingcoolashellcouldneverbe that you find in those very shady discotheques with shady guys ‘who know the (shady) dj’. Well, they check the scene, as I said, good bodies, man, coolashell, and normally I would have been slightly impressed by their tsotsi-style, but this time I can’t help myself and laugh out loud right in their face. Glancing down their fine chests I read on this left one’s a line that I didn’t know, but both style and content are so disgusting (because familiar), so kirmes or worse, that I can’t help but tell him. To support him in this supposed misery. I ask: “Man, do you know what’s written on your shirt?”. He smiles, surprised by the question (probably not too many chicks with a German accent talking about shirts around at Bree these days), and gives me a “No, honey”. It’s a personal triumph when I can tell him: “Ok, dear, but then it might change your attitude to it, listen – ” and I read out loud what’s on his chest: “DU WILLST MIT MIR SCHLAFEN? VERDIEN’ ES DIR”*, accompanied by an arrow pointing onto his private region. They look stumbled and demand a translation, by which they, coolashell, smile filled with pride. “That’s even better now”, the one wearing the pick up line says, and I head on, taxi’s are running, and pressed in the last row between two guys busily talking on their phones I think of all the shady chicks in the shady places he can impress (and get laid) now with this fair knowledge of German. We all benefit from this thing called intercultural exchange, don’t we? Perhaps the Goethe Institut could pay me for stuff like this, translating all the cheesy lines written on the German shirts that travel the world (I saw a lot of them in Malealea, Lesotho) due to their former owner’s change of taste’n’style (we all hope so) or, what I’d rather assume, to their Gutmenschentum that demands a little giveaway to Africa every now and then but, please, not the nice Boss-shirt, honey, “das ist doch noch gut”.

*(the German version of telling the world that they have to earn a fuck with the one wearing the shirt by using their mouths for the shirt-owner’s satifaction)


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