I’m sure it shouldn’t be allowed: a long distance bus company that pipes sermons and C-grade God-TV for the duration of the journey. Still, if one’s to get from George to the bright lights (two or three of them, arranged along the highway) of Riviersonderend and one doesn’t trust one’s car not to disintegrate along the way, long-distance bus it must be. Going to visit mum is a labour of love, and it starts here: five hours in the flatulent interior of a city-liner with only one smoke break – and god TV.
It was in full spate when I boarded. You can always tell, even before you hear the words, when an evangelist is holding forth. He might have a microphone in his hand, but that doesn’t stop him yelling. You can tell its not prize-fight commentary, because there’d be more cheering in between if it was, and no commentator would dare to harangue in quite such an aggressive tone. Someone might punch him.
The sound of roaring and rowing became intelligible (if not intelligent) as I made my way to the top deck, found my seat, balanced my computer bag on my feet in the limited floor space between one seat and the next and began digging frantically for my MP3 player.
Angus, the darling of those South Africans who need evangelists to shout at them, was holding forth: microphone clutched in one hand, throat swollen like a bullfrog from high-decibel projection, ten-gallon hat perched manfully on thinning hair and with the light of fanaticism (or spiritual inspiration, depending on how you feel about this sort of thing) gleaming from his rheumy eyes…
You mightn’t be listening, but by God, you’re going to hear it courtesy of Intercape Mainliners (don’t they know what a mainliner is? I checked the driver, but he looks ok. Stewardess is a bit skinny though).
At the time I took my seat, Angus was exhorting us to go to our closets and cry out to God. He even looked up what a ‘closet’ is: ‘a small room where you retreat in complete privacy’. Nice one Angus, haven’t you heard of a ‘Water closet’ aka ‘WC’? I’m assuming this is the only sort of closet you or anyone in your congregations have at home.
He went on to admit that he has a closet at home (just as well, really – eternal torment without relief is supposed to happen only after death), and that he speaks to God in it every day. Oh, I know about that. I’ve spoken to God in the closet loads of times, I’m sure that many people would know the sort of occasion I refer to and have done the same. There are lots of things that may cause one to call out to God while in the closet. I’m glad to hear its such a devout exercise, I really am.
At this point I get the MP3 player working and Archenemy start yelling at me instead. As far as I can understand, they aren’t exhorting me to go to the closet, which is good because the closet on a long-distance bus is, indeed a place of penance and to be avoided if at all possible. I smile up at Angus who now appears to be doing a rendition of ‘Silverwing’ with great gusto. Onwards, then! The road beckons.