Some days you need to wake up with a sense of humour, otherwise the day is going to get to you. This is such a day.
I need to clear out my office at UCT (University of Cape Town) – even though I didn’t spend a single day at work this year my office remained mine since I was on unpaid leave. So yesterday I went and bought an external hard drive to dump everything on my computer onto and this morning I grabbed some boxes and hit the road.
We live in Brackenfell and UCT is built against Table Mountain. See – ri – ass. I worked at the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and that building is built in the second highest row against the mountain. I am sure I will get the details wrong, but the gist of the story is that Cecil John Rhodes, the diamond king of South Africa, owned most (all?) of Table Mountain and left it to the people of South Africa. He donated the land that UCT is built on as well. But there were provisions. Among these were that no building may be built above a certain height, otherwise it will revert to the Rhodes Foundation. Because of this you will find that the upmost buildings on the Upper Campus of UCT (that lies against the mountain) are all conspicuously of the same height – if any building exceeds the proclaimed height above sea level the whole of UCT’s land will become the property of the Foundation. As far as I know that proviso stands for all the Table Mountain land that he donated. But like I said, I am sure I got the details wrong. I’ve never been much of a historian.
Back to today. It is 37km from our house to UCT. And every one of those kilometers groans under peak traffic. Here is a Google Earth view of the whole route. We live on the right (huis = home) and UCT is on the left. This photo shows the largest part of the Cape Peninsula, ie Cape Town.
The white line measures 5km. The cooling towers are a landmark in Cape Town. Everyone knows about the cooling towers.
Here is a closer look.
This morning I drove all the way to the cooling towers before I remembered that I left my office keys at home. So I had to turn back. If I’d known what the rest of the trip would hold I would’ve stayed at home after that!
My office is at the back of another office, if that makes any sense. The first bit is more open to everyone, but mine is private. When I got to work the door to the outer office wouldn’t open. Someone locked it with the Yale lock that is never used. And like my luck would have it there wasn’t a spare available anywhere. Which is a bit of a problem since spares to all the locks in the building are kept in an emergency box for … wait for it … emergencies!
So after spending an hour trying to find a key I returned home having done nothing of what I planned to do. I did spend my time in the car listening to the Susan Boyle CD – what an experience! That, if nothing else, almost made the day worth while.
It seems amazing that I drove that road every day for 7 years. That is a very long time, especially considering that I am 34 years old. Percentage wise I spent close to 20% of my life at UCT. Now that is just plain scary.