The South African Cape Town winters are rainy, cold and wet. It’ll rain for six days straight with the whole mountain socked in with low cloud. After the sixth day, the clouds will break and a crystal blue day will emerge. Table Mountain will have waterfalls all over it, and from a distance, the water flowing down the mountain looks like diamond veins when the sun is at the right angle. Capetonians take full advantage of the break in the rain and will get out to hike, surf, and play golf.
One unusually wet winter, my elder brother Andrew had agreed to a game of golf. The gamble was that it would fall on a blue sky day. The tee time was early so it would be dark when he left the house. That morning we woke up to heavy rain. The cloud had wrapped around the mountain, it was cold, dark and the bed looked inviting. Traffic would probably be a nightmare, and the course would be waterlogged. Back in those days, texting wasn’t the way people communicated, so if no phone call came through then, it was on. I think it’s a lot easier to cancel something over text. A phone call is another bar.
My other brother, Steve, popped his head into Andrew’s room. Andrew was sitting on the edge of the bed sliding on his socks and pulling on a thermal vest.
“Are you going to play?” asked Steve.
“It’s what I signed up for” replied Andrew.
About 10 minutes later we heard Andrew leave the house. After few hours he came back. We asked him what happened. It turned out the course was closed, thoroughly waterlogged. There was nobody on the course, except three other cars, his friends that had also committed to play had all made it. He found them in the clubhouse. After warm handshakes, all round they sat down and enjoyed a breakfast together. After breakfast, they got into their cars and drove home.
It’s a simple, trivial little story, but we’ve never forgotten it. It’s become a family saying we revisit when we feel like flaking on something. “It’s what I signed up for.”
If you say you are going to do something, then commit and follow through. Knowing that you will follow through will make you carefully think before you say yes to anything. You’ll end up saying no to more requests, but for the ones that you say yes to, you’ll be there.