On the golf course
South Africa is littered with some of the most amazing golf courses I’ve ever seen. Curves that look so smooth and precise, you wonder if little Gillette elves were here. Exquisitely manicured lawns and maybe a few birds of paradise even, completing the picturesque scene. The smell of freshly cut grass opens a well of memories and your mind wanders and wonders. Golf courses are like little havens right? You’ve earned the right to be on this course; you’ve worked hard for this opportunity and you’re going to make the most of it. Even as the Sun sends waves of heat directly to you, you can’t complain because you wanted this. You read an article once that you thought would do you good, even though it wasn’t meant specifically for you. Your arms ache as you lug your equipment from one area to another. You have a system on the course and sometimes you get distracted but you adhere to it like your life depends on it. You know that your livelihood does. A cold glass of Water would hit the spot right now but there’s nothing close by and you want to finish what you started so you press on. Your family is waiting for you to come home but you need to do this first, balance is important.
Suddenly, you hear a shout and see someone waving their arms at you, angrily. They’re telling you to get out of the way and you realize that this is one of the club members. They want to play golf and you’re in their way, which is bad if you want to keep your job as a grass cutter. Your brother got fired just the other day after his cutter displaced one of the balls and the player was so furious that the only way to keep him happy was to get rid of the problem. You knew that the ball lay poorly but the player lied well. You wanted to keep your job so you kept quiet. Sometimes, you think about what Africa must have been like. Before this artificial piece of land was created, your ancestors most likely roamed this very land freely, hunting and gathering. Now, you clean it. You make sure that the people who “own” this land are happy with it. If they’re not, you’ll be out of a job and then you might have to start begging for money again. You look at the man who’s starting to scream at you. He’s turning red in the face from anger and you wonder if he knows that you’re actually trying to keep the course nice for him. You also wonder if this was what they call a Choke Down.
You find it funny that you both have similar tools. You’re both on the golfer’s diet, living on the greens as much as possible, smelling the freshly cut grass and feeling the Sun on your skin. The only difference is, the other man pays a lot of money to be here and you get paid to be here. The other man comes here to exercise and you come here to etch out a living. A tiny white missile flies past your head and a group of teenagers laugh at your reaction, it’s time to get out of the way quickly. You can finish cutting the grass after they’ve gone. You know better than to mess with these ones, you can read the grain of the green in their minds. Sometimes, the men who come here are black/coloured too. Not that it makes any difference, they all expect you to be out of the way when they want to hit the balls.
Somewhere, in the back of your mind, you think about the word “equity” but you don’t entertain the thought for very long. Hope is a whiff when the grass needs to be kept green for the members.