This morning I ran across the road to Checkers to get a lemon for supper.

I put the lemon on the scale and clicked the ‘lemon button’ to generate the price sticker. Error message. A Checkers worker tried to help, but did what I had, so failed. Like how a shark can sense a struggling fish, her floundering alerted another staff member who came and did pretty much the same wrong thing. Then a third worker, then a fourth, then a fifth. No-one was leaving, we were all very invested. Everyone was smiling, moving, buzzing, chatting, pushing buttons. Finally the Manager did something magic (plus we waved wands at each other) and the sticker machine started printing.

This is a very important lemon” I said, holding up the labelled fruit for everyone to admire – and everyone laughed and I thought how much much much I love South Africa. Then another customer, a white woman, smiled, looked at me conspiratorially, and said “At least we’re providing them (these black workers) with employment” and I thought “That’s not funny” and “These attitudes run so deep” and “Can I escape from being like her just because I don’t want to be?” .

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