Supersize me

Reuben had simple values and basic needs.

(I have decided that I have to start writing fiction, and liked this very much as opening sentence for a short story. The rest of the story will come, I hope. But never mind that.)

Yesterday, for about ten minutes, I actually wondered what it would be like living in Boksburg.

I was driving with my folks down a road called something like Noordrandweg from Game to Builders’ Warehouse. From the right, aeroplanes of various sizes were flying in at 90-second intervals to land at OR Tambo. It is always a thrill to see a huge aircraft descending from fairly close quarters. And there, over Noordrandweg-something, they were coming in as if a really big person was shaking out his aircraft piggy bank in slow motion.

Earlier we had lunch at the House of Ribs Family Restaurant, where you can have eat-as-much-as-you-can carvery for R80 per person. Even the more modest version for R55-a-plate meant you could have soup and bread to start, as much salad as you like, and then as much food as you can pile on your plate – and it was quite astonishing to see what was possible – and then, just in case you were still peckish, a couple of slices of pizza. The pyramids of food that were carried to the tables by people of all sizes were really impressive. It was impossible to imagine that people could actually go back for seconds without keeling over of a heart attack en route. Impossible.

The carvery is the earliest version, I think, of “supersize me”. I don’t know if anybody else who grew up in a small town remembers going to the local hotel for the Sunday lunch buffet, and seeing evidence for the first time that if you keep on giving people food, they will keep on eating it way beyond any bounds of decency or reason.

Not surprisingly the place was abuzz from quite early on. I would guess that it seats about 250 people, and I thought that they turned their tables about twice while we were there. Seven hundred and fifty plates… I think they make a lot of money.

But that was not the amazing thing. What I really liked was the loud swooshing of jet engines that powered towards the landing strip while we ate. That and the electric train that did continuous rounds near the rafters right around the restaurant.

Anyway. The House of Ribs and its toy train is not a reason to live in Boksburg. The aeries passing very close overhead and the shopping you can do at supersize-me versions of every supermarket experience you can dream of, these might be reasons. I think living in Boksburg must be a little like living in middle America.

It was a thought. But it did not last very long.


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