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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blog - It's Life Jim But Not as We Know It (Moata)

It's life, Jim, but not as we know it

Last updated 11:56 03/03/2011
Let me say from the outset that I am incredibly grateful to be alive today. I'm also grateful that my friends and family are safe. I'm grateful for only being without power and running water for a couple of days. I'm grateful for all of these things that a couple of weeks ago I would have taken completely for granted.

But that euphoria of simply continuing to draw breath can't last and hasn't lasted. Yesterday I found myself getting very grouchy about the patchy cellphone coverage at my mum's house. In fact I was well and truly ragey about the little dance it was performing - 4 bars show so I try to call but call fails. Phone changes its mind and decides it has No Service. 10 minutes later it has 4 bars again. Repeat until incandescent with fury. Send Vodafone angry tweets about coverage and then feel really guilty about it.

I had my first bout of crying on Tuesday night. It wasn't about Eric or any of the people still trapped beneath rubble. It wasn't over my broken wine glasses (I've decided to drink wine out of tumblers in future, plastic ones). It wasn't anything really. After some cuddles talking it out with the Silver Fox I came to the conclusion that it was just that I'm not very good with change, and it's fair to say that everything in my life (and the life of everyone in Christchurch) has changed rapidly in the last week or so.

I had a pretty good life by any approximation but I found it particularly snuggly and comfortable. I am a person who doesn't so much feel stuck in a rut as cosy in one. There I was living in town in a nice if somewhat rundown house with admittedly quite ugly carpet but heaps of space. My workplace was five minutes away. The CBD was minutes away on foot so I could go to bars, cafes or boutiques with ease. I had a circle of friends whose homes were a short bike ride away. I had constructed a life almost completely within the four aves.

And now I've moved in with my mum. And she has a dolphin-themed toilet seat cover. And many windchimes. Oh, and I've moved in with my boyfriend who is also living here. With my mum. And her toilet seat. Heck, even without the destruction and loss of life, having to move in with your mother when you're in your mid-30s is worthy of a bit of a blub, I reckon.

If I want to go to my house (which still looks like a bomb has hit it) I have to ask a soldier nicely and show him my papers, well, phone bill. Yep, I'd say things have changed a bit. My life is barely recognisable from what it was two weeks ago. But given the massive upheaval that everyone here is going through it seems almost wussy to cry about it. But cry I did. It might seem whingey but I liked my life the way it was.

But then again there are weird ways in which things are the same. I'm still working both writing my blog and doing my day job from home (well, my mum's home). I still talk to my mates on Facebook. It's just that photos of people's cats might also include said cat being patted by a Singaporean soldier guarding the cordon. Last Sunday, I, the Silver Fox, and my mother all sat down with dinner plates on our knees and watched Grand Designs.

In some ways it seems like we were in a routine that we'd always had, even though we'd never done that before. Who hasn't sat and watched telly with their dinner on their lap? Remember that shot at the end of The Shining when you see the old photograph of Jack Torrance on the wall, taken in the 1930s? "You're the caretaker. You've always been the caretaker." It was a bit like that but without the descent into madness and familial violence. Though I'm sure that'll happen eventually, dependent on the amount of aftershocks and associated windchime activity. And, my God, the dolphins.

So I guess what I'm saying is that my life is currently a weird mix of the strange and the familiar. It's a bit like how I feel looking at footage of the cathedral or Colombo St. These are places I have seen and walked by my whole life and now they just look wrong. Every time I see that ruined silhouette of the cathedral, or Colombo Street full of bricks and masonry, I just shake my head.

So basically what I'm saying is that things are really weird and sometimes I come over a bit grumpy about it. Not especially profound but just what I'm feeling like at the moment. Though I have to admit that the reaction of the Irish cricket team to their victory over England cheered me up no end this morning. You have to take these small moments of joy where you can.

So that's where I'm at, how are you doing?

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