A tale of progress and distress
Unbeknownst to more people than I’d realised, I’ve been in Europe for eight weeks. The reason it’s been unbeknownst is I haven’t been sharing much online and if you Google-searched ‘where has Lydia gone?’ nothing about going to Europe would have come up — which basically means my holiday never happened.
Believe it or not though, I was away (see proof below) and now I’m back, and on coming back I’ve inevitably noticed a few things. My slow old brain has been bemused this past week — enough to elicit more than a few one syllable sounds from the vocal chords. Enough to turn my head and furrow my brow and even retell some of it to bored work colleagues who politely listen because they are PR practitioners — real ones who find it difficult to be socially imperfect.
What’s bemused me is this: You, me, any of the other eight people reading this who hail from New Zealand — we love things to go smoothly (“Gross generalisation!” I hear some of you say. Well bear with me rare lovers of disorder).
I’ve noticed that we’re happiest when people move in an orderly way, not a chaotic way. I love it when you respect my space, my right to walk here and drive there. You love it when I respect your place in the queue and get in behind you. We love it when the traffic moves nicely and we get places quicker. It’s great, it means we get stuff done — which is massively important.
But what it also means is, if you threaten to disrupt my progress or if I don’t respect your space — well that’s it. Ground zero. I’ve made a crater of your ¼ acre and you’ve wiped out my overvalued Auckland house in the mutual explosion of our heads.
Expletives aplenty! Horns honking loudly! I wish you’d never been born and I’m rolling all over the road in severe emotional resistance to your actions! These are some of the things you can expect from me. I might even flash my lights and then you’ll be sorry.
This is what happened the other morning as Jeff and I dozily made our way into work. Someone a few cars up ahead pulled into our lane. We didn’t see them do it. We wouldn’t even have known our trip had become a few seconds longer if it weren’t for the poor unfortunate car they’d pulled in front of.
Oh the agony of that poor driver! Expressed only as one bearing the pain of having a car pull in front can be expressed. Our hearts broke from back in the queue. I tell you, to see them writhe in pain all over the road — swerving this way, swerving that way. Their horn wailing like a lost soul on a lonely West Coast beach. It pulled at the heart strings and played them like an untuned violin.
The car that’d caused this terrible wrong tried quickly to amend things. It also swerved this way and that, trying to reign in the writhing vehicle, protecting it from other traffic and lanes until eventually, further up the road, the distressed driver who’d been so wronged settled down. Likely realising how little progress they’d made, they whizzed past the puller-in car and off into the proverbial sunset of life and its mad learnings.
“And what’s the point of relaying this dramatic tale?” I hear some of you ask. Well, take a learning from it if it makes you feel your time spent reading this is justified — that you’ve edged along the path of understanding and cultural awareness a little further. Think whatever will make your return on investment a good one. For me the purpose was alluded to earlier — I’ve exhausted the polite ears of my colleagues, so now I’m telling you.