Close your eyes. Imagine a street lined with cars, haphazardly parked bumper-to-bumper. Some wheels occupy sidewalks while other cars are parked perpendicular to the curb. Litter, leaves, sand, and debris collect like snow-drifts between the wheels. Men in rubber boots haul buckets over cars, bathing tenants’ vehicles in precious Nile water. In the animated version, the water sloshes over me as I cycle up 84. I peddle through countless puddles in the cracked tarmac, hovering over my seat as I ride to minimize the muddied rim on my skirt and adjusting my hemline to hide my conspicuous legs.

I count: 1, 2, 3, 11 bowabs washing cars. I practice: etnein, arbaa, khamsa, sabaa (2, 4, 5, 7)  sweeping the street. The billows of dust engulf me, anime style, as I cut through the streets. Up at Port St Johns Road, buses poot dense parcels of black soot. I run through the light, passing the man selling roasted sweet potatoes, the cloying aroma filling my nose. Passing Victoria Midan with speed, I enjoy the one long stretch of road before work with limited interruptions and scarce potholes. I have arrived.

Advertisements