shake that cola drag

The office-block persecution affinity.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

I love home. I was so relieved to get here. I feel lucky (punk). This is the kind of decade in which you're glad to live thousands of miles away from anywhere vaguely significant. As I get older and consequently more timid and frantic, I have come to the conclusion that I prefer my nation-states tiny and manageable. (Until an earthquake swallows New Zealand whole or a volcano buries us all in burning ash, of course. Pretty places = inevitable doom: a correlation which has become horribly clear to all of us in the last week. Sigh. But as I gazed fondly at the still-in-bloom pohutukawas in my garden today, I decided the risk might be worth it for the lifetime's-worth of nature porn.) (Of course, our manageable, tiny nation-state would never have invented the mp3 player, so I can't be too uncharitable about big unwieldy consumerist countries either. I have a cheaper-but-still-pretty-jazzy iPod competitor hard at work at the moment, and all I can say is yay! The longest compilation for the bus commute EVER! I could work in Perth and not run out of songs!) Erm, anyway. My increasing mental fragility necessitates a fairly well-established comfort zone: I like weatherboard houses and extraordinarily green grass and a dog sleeping in a ball at the end of the bed and my mum in easy walking distance and that wonderful feeling that you're at the utter ends of the earth.

This feeling of extreme relief is a bit excessive, I realise, and could have something to do with my having grown a fear of flying in the last couple of years. Well, not a fear of flying exactly: more a fear of take-off. I'm fine after about twenty minutes when we reach cruise altitude; I'm (mostly) fine coming in to land, but that first lift-off actually had me tearful a couple of times during the six flights I've taken in the last month. My brain had a visceral 'you're in a tiny metal tube! INCREDIBLY HIGH! There is NOTHING between you and the ground!' reaction which was both illogical and terrifying. I am, against my better judgement, turning into every other female member of my family, most of whom have to be drugged in some way in order to make it through the long-haul jet travel necessary from NZ, or even on shorter flights within it. I once flew, hilariously, with my aunt from Auckland to Christchurch as she swigged gin from a child's plastic drinkbottle and wept. (Oh, you bet your ass we're part-Irish.) My mother's reaction to imminent plane travel was usually silent and wan and involved enormous whiskies in the airport bar and a well-manicured death-grip on the seat armrests. (I find it astounding that she lived in about 15 countries without having a nervous breakdown.) But how can a *phobia* be hereditary, for pete's sake? Bueller?

I want to talk about some other things, like my extraordinarily belated discovery of the wonderful prose of C.K. Stead, and my rampant consumerist frenzy in America's malls, and the joys of San Francisco, and how much I already miss Aunt Wanda and Uncle Ted and all my Simmesport Moreaus (Moreaux?), who are all so achingly, Cajunly funny that a humour-off between them and Brent might actually kill me, and the AC/DC car air freshener that Gary found for us (cinnamon-smelling, which I find humourously incongruous), and all sorts of things. Maybe I will, at some point. Not tonight, though.

Happy New Year. (I suppose for millions of people in the world right now it's already the worst year ever. But I'm not sure what else to say...)


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