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Some pretty good Capetonian excuses!

How to say NO in Cape Town

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Sunday, 20th November 2016

Dear readers,

We all know how difficult it is to say “NO, I am not interested!” to people. I am sure sometimes the excuses you hear from people are true reasons and sometimes not. It is up to you to believe -or not – what we, Capetonians have to say (It doesn’t matter if it is a party, a class, a charity, a wedding, a baby shower, a dinner or a tour or whatever)

My BEST excuses, I have heard/used in the course of the years in the Mother City. Have you heard them too? Have you started using them?

EXCUSE 1 I AM SORRY I CANNOT MAKE IT! 


It is the best ever that’s why it is my number 1. It is the excuse used when we don’t have an excuse. We make you believe that we cannot come to your event, not because we don’t want, but because an Almighty Force, a natural disaster, an uncontrolled and unforeseen event, prevent us from actually making an effort and just come. I wonder if an Italian from Italy would just say “I just don’t feel like, don’t break my balls!”

EXCUSE 2 SORRY, LIFE IS TOO HECTIC / DEURMEKAAR AT THE MOMENT!

Come on guys, are you kidding me? – you would probably say. In a city like Cape Town where the pace is not like in Johannesburg but rather a Sicilian pace, where we can afford to stroll instead of walking, how can we be so busy and hectic to not join you for something meaningful to you? You will never believe it if I tell you that, we sincerely feel “snowed under with work” even in summer.

EXCUSE 3 I’VE CLEAN FORGOTTEN!

I must say, being a linguistic myself, I love this Afrikanism and this clean added to the excuse. Without that, the guilt would be much bigger but with that clean forgotten, guilt is cleared away, like a Cape Doctor. Can you blame our lack of memory? You will hear this excuse from someone from an Afrikaans background or a mother tongue.

EXCUSE 4 SILENCE

Unfortunately it is one of the most common excuses here: that’s the excuse you will never find out. You will receive no text, no Watsapp message, no email, no Facebook message, no phone calls but when you next see us, we will blatantly say to you: Darling, how was it? Despite me, feeling very Capetonian, after living here for 15 years, I haven’t got so far yet but I must be honest, I have heard it often. Yes the silence.

EXCUSE 5 SORRY, I HAD NO AIRTIME AND NO WI-FI

We would have loooooved to let you know we were not going to come to your “do” but unfortunately we had no more credit on our phone and we couldn’t find a place with Wi-Fi to be able to inform you through social media. And then …we clean forget… and we are back at square one, with a double-whopper-excuse – see excuse nr 3)

EXCUSE 6 I WILL LET YOU KNOW CLOSER TO THE TIME

And we never do it. And you all know that. This one is the best way to “buy time” and see if there is anything better than you, coming up. Which is always the case and you probably feel like the “no name” product at a Pick & Pay supermarket, if you know the existence of it. We feel great because we are sure we have accurately found the best event to go to.

EXCUSE 7 THE WIND IS TOO STRONG

To blame the South Easter wind or nature in general is so Capetonian. We react as if we promised to come to your event with our vespa but probably we have only been to the hairdresser in the morning and we don’t’ want to undo our hairdo. Other times the wind is really really strong and even our cars move while still. Why would we expose ourselves to that?

EXCUSE 8 RAIN

Indeed the best excuse in winter! Just that you know this word will never be mentioned to you as an excuse, because we would feel ashamed to tell you that we cannot or better we don’t want to drive in the rain and prefer a glass of vino in bed. Winter in Cape Town makes us very lazy and even short distances put us off. Moreover, accidents are more frequent when it rains because we are all over the place and we don’t know where to and how to drive.

EXCUSE 9 I WILL CHECK WITH MY HUSBAND

I really love when you have a family member to “use” to buy time again or to blame for not being able to join an event. You all know that we will never ask him, right? Because he may actually say: Honey, let’s go! and then we don’t want to start an argument with him about you.

EXCUSE 10 I AM BROKE

Pay Day seems to never arrive in Cape Town. It is like a mirage. Often we run out of money on the 15th of the month. I know you would love to give us the phone number of your financial adviser but it wouldn’t really help us. There are so many cool restaurants and bars in the city that we struggle to say no to our own things. Then your invite arrives and we are punctually broke.

EXCUSE 11 I HAD A DOMESTIC

That is what a British would say, indeed, when they have arguments behind the four walls. We, Capetonians would think they talk about their domestic helper and because we refer to family issues, probably by saying “I had major issues at home”. Family altercations are such a sensitive subject you don’t even dare to ask more questions. I reckon an Italian would have no problem in saying “That ball breaker of my husband frantumated my balls big time last night!” I know frantumated doesn’t exist but he would try to say it any way because “frantumare” is way better than “crush”.

EXCUSE 12 SORRY, I WAS SICK

We would prefer not to specify what sickness we have otherwise it wouldn’t be a white lie anymore. If we do, we would say one of these classics: “ I have been vomiting all day” or ” I had food poisoning” and you would be forced to react to our story with a shame man, even if we are women. When I grew up in Italy, I had no idea food could be bad to the point of being poisoning and that Italian food was only excellent.

EXCUSE 13 THE EXTRAVAGANT EXCUSE

I actually love extravagant excuses. I have once heard :
” I have a phobia of balloons” or “I am scared of clowns” or my even own real phobia which is “I have phobia of cats” because I do, especially mono colour cats versus multi colour ones. I cannot attend any function where cats attend as well.

EXCUSE 14 I HAVE AN EARLY START THE FOLLOWING DAY

Who told us we have to be the very last guests to leave the party at 5 am, not remembering anything that happened to them, like in the movie “Hangover”?
I know, we could still come and go home earlier but we prefer not to be tempted so we don’t need to test our own discipline. Yes, we are weak and pathetic!

EXCUSE 15 I HAVE THE IN-LAWS WITH US FOR THE WEEKEND

You will never know if that is true unless some family shots are posted on Facebook.
If you dare suggesting us to bring them along, we will promptly say they are very old and they cannot be left alone. One of the very few cases where a mother-in-law is actually beneficial.

EXCUSE 16 I DON’T LIKE THAT VENUE

We will wait to confirm our attendance until you post the venue and then you would get this reply from us because we don’t want to spend money for the sake of doing it. To like the venue is paramount for us. If we had food poisoning in that place, 20 years ago, we wouldn’t return. If we know that, that “bitch” always goes there on Friday night, we wouldn’t come. If last time were were there the waiter ignored us to rather serve a more popular guest, that’s it! No more us, no matter what.

EXCUSE 17 MY SON HAS JUST STARTED UNIVERSITY

What’s got our son’s education to do with you function? It is a good question. We may just want to brag that we sent him to Harvard and they need our support from South Africa on a Skype call. If the university is in South Africa, ne may need to be taken to his first lecture with a lunch box prepared with love and dedication. Therefore, we cannot make it.

EXCUSE 18 I DON’T SPEAK ITALIAN

We live in Cape Town, not in Rome or in a small village in Calabria. The probability none of the guests speaks English is as likely as to find an Italian person who talks without using hands. Said that, I have heard it often, like I have heard the same thing about French or Spanish or German. I have to pull out of this one but I have to admit that once, I did attend a dinner party where everybody spoke Afrikaans and I felt like a fish out of the water ( as we say in Italian).

EXCUSE 19 I STILL HAVE FOOD IN THE FRIDGE TO FINISH

So, the story goes that the shabby lettuce and the saddened tomatoes in the vegetable drawer in the fridge, cannot be resuscitated the following day and have to be eaten before it is too late. Nobody would argue over a wise domestic decision. It did happen to me quite a few times and I could not enjoy myself at the same time while my food was deteriorating in the fridge.

EXCUSE 20 I HAVE GOT THE BUILDERS IN

Don’t we love when the builders take over your social plans? It is a fact that in Cape Town we build everywhere and everyday so to use the builders as a scapegoat is actually clever and very realistic. Nobody would leave a labourer alone, even if he only needs to touch up some paint on the windowsill.To plan a project at home is pratically impossible as we know and the probability that everything goes wrong is so high that we are silly when we underestimated. When the builders are in, we don’t go out. Finish & Klaar.

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Hope you enjoyed my blog. If you feel like sharing it, I would be delighted to hear all your friends’ comments.

My list of Capetonian excuses is far from over, more to come soon!

In the meanwhile….do you fancy reading about my Travel Blog? Click here

Or are you interested in reading some blogs about Italy and Italians? Click here

Perhaps you are curious to read the first 2 pages of my upcoming novel “Afritalian”? Click here

2 Responses to “Some pretty good Capetonian excuses!

  • This is brilliant and too true! God forbid one would actually say it like it is. 😉

  • You’ve hit the nail on the head Fede, how excruciatingly “lame” and funny – these excuses. My worst are those people who actually commit, and at the same time wait “for something better”. Then they cancel at the last minute saying they double – booked, or whatever . . . SERIAAS!! Such intellectual insult. Unfortunately these species can’t be “unfriended” or dropped if they’re in the family. Now I say EISH man, yo yo yo!!

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