I swear to go God every time I’m at this place I encounter a conversation that begins with “When I was in India…” followed by a pseudo-spiritual monologue about how enlightened the Vans-wearing tattooed copywriter/director/actor/yoga-instructor/stylist/artist is. Anyway it’s home in a way and the conversation over rollies and Miami Vice shots is always interesting. This little Johannesburg bar/restaurant adorned with coloured light bulbs and bananas is the only appropriate place really for me to bid a close friend farewell before I join the other language colonisers in Asia.
So at one point we’re insta-story-ing in the bathroom and having a conversation about how one of our friends needs a picture just like they have on the wall here for her new living room because it’s so kitsch-cool. It’s a massive acrylic painting of a herd of white horses galloping majestically through some kind of pastel green… ocean?? It kind of gives you the feeling that they’re about to burst through the gates of heaven. Or they’ve had a big night out on some E and decided to go skinny dipping at the beach for sunrise. It’s got this ridiculous Rococo-esque colour scheme topped off with a bright pink frame reminiscent of something you might find in your Afrikaans grandmother’s sewing room… like, in a cool way though. The liberated frame of mind I’m in at this point due to my near and indefinite departure from this city gets my mind working in all the rebellious and childish ways.
We go back to our wine and conversation for a while and get swept up mingling, once again, with creatives hiding their insecurity and depression behind Pina Coladas and killer Instagram accounts… in, like, a cool way though, you know? I think we’re being hit on at one point when a dude is telling us about what a feminist he is… and another time when another guy brags about how he hangs out in Soweto all the time. “Woke” = laid here I guess.
Anyway, When it’s time to leave I tell my fellow Kween to, “get the car, pull right up outside and be ready to GO”. I thrust the keys into her hand and tear away to the bathroom (context: it’s right at the back of the bar). There’s no one in there which totally accommodates my crime. I take the painting off the wall and catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My lipstick is all fucked up. I put the painting down beside me and stop to fix my lips because if I’m going to steal I at least need to look ok while doing it. I pick the painting up again and casually walk out the bathroom with it. I’m more than half expecting to be stopped, there are customers and waiters everywhere and the bar is tiny. I keep walking with the thing under my arm; horses now majestically galloping up towards my armpit. I keep going, right through the bar, more surprised with each step that no one is stopping me. I walk right out the front door. Right past people gathered outside whose conversation consist mostly of hashtags.
My confused companion is there with the getaway car. Just before I’ve nearly made it I drop my lipstick. For a split second I consider just letting it go and getting away while I can but no childish crime is worth sacrificing my Mac in Russian Red so I stop. One hand on the painting I bend to pick it up. Still nobody stops me or asks questions. Russian Red now safely in handbag I pick up the majestic horses, stuff them into the back seat, jump into the passenger and demand “go go go!” My companion aghast, she screeches away while, by chance, ironically and hilariously, Icona Pop wails through the radio “I don’t care, I love it!”
Moral of the story: have people in your life that you’ll rob bars you frequent for/ it only takes 1 glass of wine to turn me into a klepto?