THIS week, a bunch of municipal chaps have been working in very sorry conditions to make the temporary bridge into our village a little safer to use.
Of course, it's now collapsed anyway. But that's another story.
I slap irony on the word "temporary" since the billions apparently needed to repair the "actual" bridge may only be available well into the next fossil age, when I won't be able to drive a car – let alone see.
Still, these guys were standing in gushing rain, dodging daredevil taxis and out-of-towners hell-bent on hot-footing it across and generally being terribly heroic for, probably, meagre wages. I don't have air-conditioning and there's enough rust to make a mechanic weep, but it was mighty fine to be cushy behind my wheel, rather than out there, trying to stick three-metre poles into muddy, moody ground while side- stepping cars every six seconds.
And do you know what someone said after I swept into town, hardly drenched and full of good cheer and coffee? "Ja. Well, it's about time they did something, HEY?" Honest as butter, that's the response I'm starting to hear day in, day out – and not just in sunny South Africa, so do sit down.
Whether you're a have or have-not, I'll be damned if we don't find at least one piddly thing to complain about – especially after a full belly or round of golf. That's not to say life is a rosy shade of perfect. Anybody who believes that wears flowers in their hair and doesn't answer their phone, but still whacks you for a loan every week, claiming creative incompetence or spiritual paralysis for not being able to get a job.
I'm not in denial and I don't live under a rock. The state of my local roads has listed from uncomfortable to appalling over the past year or so – I've been willing to sell my wedding ring to invest in a 4x4 just to be able to buy groceries and take the kids to school. I also suspect that any government unable to deliver textbooks is in hot water – and the price of food is an international disgrace. But I haven't stood for election, filled potholes in my street or grown my own carrots.
I've spent a long time whingeing and whining because, well, frankly, it's fun.
Humans have a penchant for blame – there's nothing more satisfying than finding a scapegoat.
My friend, Esti is one of those Pollyanna positive people who gets that life isn't a bowl of cherries, but that there's zero point in sitting staring at the rotten pips.
Her attitude is simple: if it doesn't work, fix it. And if you can't, find someone who can. You can always bring sandwiches while they do it – nobody's asking you to be the expert all the time. After all, who do you remember best from the Titanic? Not the faceless, understandably glum people who were jumping ship or mouthing prayers in their final minutes. No – you remember the musicians: the ones who kept playing, regardless.