hitting the road
So I posted these pictures in first, hoping the words would come after. Sometimes it works like that. A visual jolting or something. An anchor. A way to enter through the side door and maybe somehow end up in the right place. Or if not the right place at least a place worth inhabiting for a bit. Oh, that’s all so oblique. (But I guess that’s what happens when you enter through the side door.) Let me try that again.
I’m listening to the new PJ Harvey album with noise-cancelling headphones because it’s better than overhearing the wrestling… seriously. I didn’t realise what the album is called until right now. Let England Shake. That’s unfortunate. I’m not sure anything with the word shake in it is safe right now (apart from milkshake — that gets special dispensation because milkshakes can never be bad (unless they’re made out of spilt milk, that is)). It’s a beautiful album cover though. The music is sort of, well, odd. I feel weird about it. Although there are a couple of early crankers which might just keep me hanging in there long enough for all the weirdness to rub off and phase two — delayed wonderment/hidden depths of appreciation — to kick in.
It has been a truly awful week. So bad I don’t even know how to tackle the talking about it part. Maybe I just shouldn’t.
Now I’m listening to Turin Brakes’ The Optimist LP for the first time in lots of years. We saw Turin Brakes in Wellington (back when the San Fran Bath House was still Indigo, I think) the day Pavlova was put down. I cried all the way through. The mirror ball and my tears combined created a rather otherworldly effect. It was like being inside a giant illuminated glittery puddle, sad but ultimately sparkly. And sadness is all the more poignant with a bit of sparkle to it, as we all well know.
Tonight I met a guy who’s heading down to Christchurch tomorrow morning to attempt to patch back together some kind of satellite TV network (at least I think that’s what he called it), with eight of his friends gone and another 50 colleagues looking unlikely to have made it. What the fuck do you say to that? I wished him luck. He told me he didn’t need luck. He said he was scared, and that he didn’t know how to stop crying. I told him to keep crying. I was just saying dumb old words, really, because what else is there…
Tonight we met Christchurch family as they got off the plane. My uncle still has a walking stick from the last earthquake. They all seemed tired and moved gingerly, like people finally stepping out onto terra firma after a long and treacherous time at sea. 10,000 aftershocks. I think I felt a grand total of two of them. Plus the two main ones, which I felt up here in Wellington (the first in bed in a wide-eyed night stupor, almost as if I was expecting something, and the second in a meeting room on a phone interview).
We drank and ate party food and half-watched the muted cricket on the hotel TV. It dawned on us that this is really only the start of things. And that everything has changed. It was good to be together and to reminisce a bit. It’s hard to know what else to do, other than just to be together. We’re lucky. My uncle is missing toes and his body is still a bit crumpled underneath his clothes — although he carries it well (he was determined to play golf again, although the doctors said he never would (and being the determined bugger he is he has played two full rounds already), and to walk his daughter down the aisle) — but all that’s far far away now, a trifling dress rehearsal for all this new horror.
That seems like such a sombre note to end this on. It’s the weekend. The weekend is always a good thing, just like milkshakes are never (or mostly never) bad. Tomorrow will be awesome, in its own way.
Filed under: mortality, New Zealand landscapes, things I don't like, travelling | 1 Comment
Tags: Christchurch earthquake, PJ Harvey, Turin Brakes