Carnivorous Cow was smsing Gramsci to exchange polite silly season greetings, like millions of other South Africans intent on enriching the hellphone networks. After exchanging pleasantries and regrets that Father Christmas seemed to have omitted World Peace from both of their Christmas Stockings, the talk turned to more substantial matters.
"How's the hangover?" asked Gramsci, sympathetically. Like millions of other South Africans, Christmas dinner for the Cow was traditionally a braai. And, like millions of Capetonians, these plans had been scuppered by a persistent gale-force south-easter. Somehow, standing around an oven with an emptying glass lacked the ambience of standing around a fire.
"Aaaaaaaaarrgh!" moaned the Cow softly. It wasn't the Wallace and Gromit reruns that left a sandbox in her mouth. "Still, today was better. Danger Beach wasn't *that* packed, and the Ice Cafe had plenty of Belgian Chocolate ice cream left..."
Still, the crowds on the beach weren't what stressed the Cow. Even the long queues of standstill traffic along the Main Road. Rather, it was crowding of a different sort.
The intrusive smses. Followed up by phone calls when these were not answered immediately. "How *are* you?" demanded the caller. "What's wrong?" "Fine!" snapped the Cow, through clenched teeth. "Just busy. Bye." Followed by sympathetic smses. And more intrusive ones, probing what was *really* wrong.
"What is it," the Cow asked Gramsci, desperately, "that leads people to see stalking as the inevitable next step after attraction? Why is it that the minute you turn down someone's advances, you become the centre of their universe, the sole purpose of their existence, and the top of their To Do list? Why do they think that, because you turned down their civil, polite offer of carnal cavorting or romantic recreation or whatever it was they were selling, you'd somehow become interested if they were in your face all the time?"
Gramsci reflected a moment. "I think it's an Eros and Thanatos thing," he ventured. "When they say, 'I can't live without you,' they're giving you permission to kill them should you reject them. And, since most people's morality prevents them from indulging their murderous longings, these people feel the need to drive you to it, to overcome your own taboos about killing."
"Sort of, justifiable homicide, then?" asked the Cow. "Exactly!" confirmed Gramsci. "Courts have always been softer on crimes of passion, because even judges know how trying all this can be!"
It being Monday, the Cow forgave him the pun, and pondered on what he'd said. It was just possible, she thought, that she could lure the perpetrator to Sunrise Beach on New Year, where they'd be sure to be trampled in the stampede. Or, at the very least, develop an appreciation for solitude and space.