I totter around the Pick n Pay in Germiston with my fresh platinum rinse and a trolley as my perambulator. Octogenarians overtake me with their sneaky leopard-crawling techniques, beating me to the till… writes Viv Vermaak (who had double knee surgery a few days ago).

Viv Vermaak and a Pick ‘n Pay manager this morning, on Reconciliation Day

“Are you a pensioner?” the cashier asks me.
“Excuse me…?!” I gasp.
“A PEN-SIO-NER…!” the cashier accentuates slowly as if it was not only my knees that are buggered.
My first reaction is: “Ek het nog nie eers erken dat ek ek jou fokken ‘tannie’ is nie, nou is ek al op pensioen!?” (I haven’t yet acknowledged that I’m your f***ing aunt, and now I’m a pensioner!?) Then I think again.
“What happens if I am a pensioner?” I ask.
“You get a 5% discount.”
“Yes, I am a pensioner,” I conceded, tottering off with an exaggerated limp. The shame of being such an advanced age.

The manager interrupts me mid-hobble.
“You don’t look that old. You still look fresh,” she says.
“Yes, I am still young,” vanity replies, simultaneously basking in the compliment and cringing because I am busted.
“It’s okay, we’ve already given you the discount,” she says. “What is wrong with your legs. Did someone hurt them?”
“Well, yes,” I reply. “A Bulgarian debt collector dislocated it a while ago. It was by consent, really.” Her eyes widen. “It was a martial arts incident, karate?” I hasten to explain, doing shadow boxing as clarification. “My knees will recover,” I laugh.
The manager looks at me like a concerned doctor would a patient: “You are not going back to (impersonation of some kind of kickboxing) after that, I hope?”
“No, I am definitely going to go back!” I declare. “Thanks for asking, though.”
The manager shakes her head. She’d already done more than expected and extended a kindness on a public holiday.

I guess reconciliation is difficult. Reconciling with becoming old, for instance. Coming to grips with aspects of your past. A cease-fire of expectations of your future. Old resentments, new outlooks. To compromise, to accept, perchance to find peace.

Good luck with finding some reconciliation today, in whatever form it might present itself.
You might even get a 5% discount.