Wednesday, June 21, 2006

2633km: Growing Up

Friday was a public holiday in South Africa. It was a day for people to relax and enjoy a long week-end. I had, however, foolishly agreed to participate in a Regional Youth Leadership Summit in Worcester where I had to do a presentation on "The Context, the Trends, and the Impact of Postmodernism" to a number of young people between the ages of 16 and 30.

I had put off my preperation for this to the last minute (as usual), and I could kick myself for having agreed to do the presentation in the first place. With all my misgivings about the presentation, and the work around it, I decided to turn it into an adventure. I could at least ride to Worcester on my Gomoto!

I had done this 300km return trip before, earlier in the year, on a warm summer's day. Then my purpose was to explore and I had driven through Wellington and the Bain's Kloof Pass on a leisurely ride.

This time it was winter. My presentation was at 09:00. I had to leave at 06:30. The weather report predicted clear weather, but the temperature outside was only about 7 degrees. Fortunately previous exposure to cold circumstances have taught me that gloves are essential. I still do not own proper motorcycle gloves, but I found a thick pair of cotton and wool gloves. I wore several layers of clothes under the tight-fitting Gomoto Riding Suit that I was given when I bought the motorbike. I even wore two pairs of socks (I was not wearing boots, but the shoes that I needed to appear halfway decent for the presentation).

As I reached Stellenbosh, the streetlights created a shadow-effect in the darkness of the morning making it appear that a faster motorbike was passing me every few seconds.

The sun rose as I was reaching Paarl, and preparing to go up Du Toitskloof Pass. (Did I mention that the trip was going to take me over a 890 meter mountain pass?). I welcomed the sun, hoping that my nose could now stop running, and that my fingers would stop feeling like they were going to fall off.

The mountains were beautiful in the morning light. We had good rain in the Cape in the last few days and practically every kloof was spewing a beautiful waterfall. By the time that I had reached the top of the pass, I actually started to feel warm, but I still had 40 km's to go.

And this is where the trouble started. As I exited the kloof through which the Du Toit's Kloof pass (the main road between Cape Town and the northen part of the country) was built, it appeared that the valley that Worcestor is situated in was covered with a dense fog! No Sunlight! The last 30 kilometres were quite scary. Everything was wet (did you know that some kinds of fog is actually a kind of light rain). I had to keep wiping my helmet visor to see the road, and even then, I could not see anything more than 1 or 2 seconds ahead of me. The road was a double lane high-way with no shoulder, and my fear was constantly that some big truck would ride over me from the back.

Well, the fact that I am still writing this post, proves that I survived the trip. I stopped at the Shell Ultra City and went to the bathroom. When I came out, there were about 10 ultra modern and large motorcycles there. The drivers had the best leather apparrel (and gloves!) and seemed to have thouroughly enjoyed their ride. I felt quite proud that my Gomoto 125cc motorcycle had done what even the big-shots have done.

Anyway, this post is long now, but what I wanted to reflect on briefly is the concept of growing up. One of the senior presenters at the summit that I attended remarked that I still had to grow up.

I'm actually happy that I'm not "grown up" yet. If maturity requires me to see the world exactly as other people see it. If maturity means the end of a sense of adventure, and wonder. If maturity means that I should stop asking certain questions. Then I don't want to be grown up. I often look at my peers who are running around town with their 4x4's and living "responsible" lives looking after children and families, and wonder why it seems as though they have it all so together. I also have my family. I think I look after them responsibly, but I sometimes still prefer to feel like a student who goes through life without too many worries. In fact, I think it is a source of personal power: To choose an open, questioning, explorative, "not alltogether figured out" approach to life.

Afterall, what does being "grown up" really have to offer?


Michelle said...

Don't grow up. It's not worth it.

Weiers said...

On the other hand, I had an argument with my wife today about R100 which she had spent "indiscriminately" from my perspective. After a month of rather frugal living. And sometimes I wonder/wish that I had a more mature perspective on life, to know whether it was worth arguing about or not. Anyway... seems being less grown up means I can even throw tantrums from time to time. LOL

Weiers said...

Actually, now that I think about it. It was R186.00 to be exact! (And that is what I know about! hehe)

louisvdmerwe said...

I think that growing up in the traditional sense means filtering out more of everything around us, which is good for real motivated thought and action, but bad if it continues with no interruptions. Just my opinion :-)

And I think that children come around to teach us all about the joys of life, because they are the ultimate live-in-the-moment beings - they have not learned to filter much at all. Love your blog so far, will be SURE to comment again, and I am a proud smiling owner of a gomoto freedom.