I've been wanting to write you for a long, long time, so long, in fact, that I am afraid I've forgotten how to write. And then I think I should recap for you. And find it impossible to know where to start. But my longing to speak to you has now become more powerful than my fear of landing on my ass with bad metaphor all over my face. And so…
I don't think you know, I'm in South Africa right now, in Cape Town. The last time I was here was right before the free elections in '94. I keep finding myself trying to capture the feeling of the difference between then and now. Hopeful is entirely too big a word. There's too much left to be done -- too much education to be fixed, violence to be remedied, housing to be built. But there is something positive here.
And yet I don't know that moving from apartheid to garden variety racism and race-specific impoverishment quite counts as positive. It's an improvement, I suppose. Perhaps I should go with something my father used to say: it's better than a slap in the belly with a wet fish. And one thing I find better is that you can have a conversation about what's going right, or what's going wrong, with a black man or woman, and they will meet your eyes. Makes me feel better, anyways. I don't do memsahib very well. It would presumptuous in the extreme for me to pretend I have a good enough overview on race politics here to tease out the implications of that little change. I hope it means things are improving. Even still, I don't think I'd use the word positive.
Maybe pedestrian will do, for the time being. From day to day, people by and large seem to be just getting on with things. And to do that, you have to believe that you can. That's what I find encouraging.
But still, there's so much more I have to tell you. I miss talking to you.
Come back tomorrow. I'll try some more.