Footpath

I walk these city streets, man. I see things. The pavement under my feet, it tells a story. Oh bollocks, the only story the footpath tells is “Hi, I’m really dirty and I have a bunch of chewing gum and cigarette butts on me.”

What this is really about is various amusing anecdotes that have occurred to me as I’ve trod down the many footpaths of this city. And places that the footpaths lead to. (And other non-footpath related things, but it’s nice to pretend there’s a theme).

Tablecloth
I was in Wendys and there was this really fat – obese – family eating at a table near me. There were three huge women, probably two sisters and a mother. Running around and eating was a bunch of overweight children. One kid packed a mental and one fat lady smacked it. Fat gran was wearing a t-shirt and what looked like a table cloth wrapped around her waist, although I doubt it was because surely table cloths aren’t made that large?

Funny Boat Name
I saw a boat down at the wharves with “Scandinavian Reefers” painted on its side. Ja møn.

The Lame Side
You know what there’s too much of? Cartoons in the style of Gary Larson’s “The Far Side” cartoons. One panel, a picture of something kind of wacky, and a caption like “Mildred did not remember leaving a squid in charge.” The difference being that Gary Larson’s cartoons were funny where as the crap copies aren’t. If someone gives you a birthday card with one of those cartoons on it, hate them.

Accidental
There’s that ad for RNZAF recruitment and in it one of the happy Air Force members says “I joined the Air Force by accident, but it’s no accident that I stayed.” I’ve seen that ad many times at the movies and every time there’s always been someone in the audience who says “How do you accidentally join the airforce?!”

Reinvention
Arse to the concept of reinvention. Whenever Madonna gets a haircut and wears new clothes people say, “Oh, she’s reinvented herself again!”. The concept of reinvention seems big with women in their 40s. Once the divorce is final they change their name from Shona or Margaret to Rae or Lene, take up yoga, switch to soya milk lattes and organic foods and join the exciting world of real estate sales.

Comedian
Overheard in Atomic Cafe, Ponsonby Road: “I’ll always remember this woman in Paihia who said, “Oh, you’re a comedian. My son went to school with Michael Havoc!” because he’s a comedian!”

Glitter
Madam, do you approve of your eight-year-old daughter dressing like a fa’afafine?

A Man
There are those women’s magazines like Cosmo and Cleo who have articles about how to get “a man”. Not a boyfriend, partner, husband or lover, just a man. Adult male, that’s all that required. Do you know how to pick the right man? You’ll know ‘cos he’ll have this indescribable quality (i.e. he cried during that movie you saw) that makes him The One. Magazines then set out to describe what you need to do to get you a man (i.e. not be a fat slag who dresses bad). There are also articles about freaky mutant couples (“He’s a 37-year-old street sweeper, she’s a 19-year-old tax accountant. It was love at first site.”) Go away.

Cornwallis
It’s 3.30 pm. It’s so cold my hands are numb. A mere three months ago it was so hot that me and my flatmates jumped in the car and headed to Cornwallis Beach. It was a lovely afternoon. Cards, potato chips and beer. The warm water of the Manukau harbour washing upon the gold and black sand. Cool things, like driving past the water reservoir dam on the way there, and the noise of the aeroplanes taking off at the other side of the harbour. I need something the opposite of that to do on a day like today.

Zero
During the bright pink and hap-hap-happy Hero parade, where everyone kept reciting the “Love who you are” slogan, I thought it would be choice to have a Zero parade (to which no one shows up, of course) with the slogan “Be mildly disgusted with who you are”. So true.

Chamber of Silence
I went to the Auckland University sound lab once when they had an open day a few years ago. We went in two rooms. One was The Chamber of Sound, which had all concrete walls at funny angles, and it was so noisy. It was excellent to sing “The Banana Boat Song” in there. The other place was The Chamber of Silence, which was covered with foam wedges. Above the floor was a metal mesh, so below that there could be wedges. We all sat down on the floor and the guide turned the lights off and it was so black and so very very quiet.

Bi
There was a sign outside a strip club that read:

Sexy men
Hot women

And in little letter above “men” and “women” someone had chalked in “bi” twice. Obviously just being sexy and hot were not enough to get the punters in.

Wicked
Overheard in David’s Emporium (a legendary Hamilton bargain store): “The prices have gone up something wicked! The screws are ten cents each!”

Joules
Two women were sitting near me at the movies. One skinny, one fat. The fat one was eating from a bag of family-sized lollies. The skinny one was sipping on a bottle of flavoured mineral water. That’s how it works.

Drug Bores
You know what’s really lame? People who brag about drugs they’ve taken. “Ya ya, so I dropped a tab of acid and then the ceiling turned into symphony of love.” I was at a party and there was a bunch of people just sitting around talking about how many rad drugs they’d all taken. Then my friend and I started mocking them, like, “Oh yeah, I snorted five grams of marijuana, and I have tractor marks on my arm cos I’m a hard core E user, eh?” In conclusion, shut up about your groovy drug experiences because a) no one cares and b) you sound like a boring hippy.

Critique
Upon leaving the theatre after seeing “Hannibal,” I overheard two girls having this conversation:

“That freaked me out cos it challenges your definition of evil.”
“I thought it sucked.”

One Liner
Also, you know that movie “Chocolat”? Plotwise, it’s just like “Footloose”, but with chocolate instead of Bacon. (Ha ha).

Zoo
You know how people talk about how zoos have improved so much since the bad old animals-in-concrete-cages days, when animals were put on display for the amusement of humans. And how it’s so much better these days, because they are in natural conditions and can partake in breeding programs. Well, um, y’know most domestic cats have more room to move than the lions at the zoo do. And what is natural about transporting animals halfway around the world to a different climate? It’s still the same. It’s just animals put on display for the amusement of humans, only with better conditions. Tee hee! Look at the funny monkeys!

Education
Also, why is it deemed so important that children learn about animals? Why do parents and teachers have this obsession with exposing kids to animals? I grew up on a farm. We had cows and chickens. I hated it and I wanted to live in the city. You know what it taught me about life, etc? That people kills cows and eat them. Yeah, you can say I had a fairly hardcore upbringing.

Arse
Also, this was from the entrance to the Auckland Zoo aquarium:

“Our liquid planet glows like a soft blue sapphire.”

a) Someone wrote that.
b) Someone else approved it.
c) Someone, a human being, wrote that, with no apparent sense of irony or expression of shame or regret.

Culture Jamming
In the “McDonald’s Rainforest” there was an info board with “Who Causes Deforestation?” and under it “We all do!” but between the two lines some crafty culturejammer had written “McDonalds”.

Waitemata Plaza
There’s an area down by Freeman’s Bay/Viaduct Basin and the walkway along it is called “Waitemata Plaza”. I think that sounds like a suburban shopping centre. The sort of one that would have been built in the early seventies with the best intentions, but the neighbourhood went downhill and all the shops have roller doors now. And no one ever calls it “Waitemata Plaza”, it’s just “the shops”.

Small Print
“I bought it without really reading the label. It says it should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet that’s low in saturated fat. But from the ads, I got the impression that you could eat as much of it as you like.”

A fellow sitting near me at a food court discovers the horrible truth about a low cholesterol spread.

Destroy
I was walking down the steps in Myers Park. On a flat, terraced part someone had spray painted “DESTROY CAPITALISM” and the anarchy symbol. Coming up the steps towards me were two bros. One stopped and looked at the graffiti. “Anarchy…. Destroy Capitalism….,” he said to the other. “Well, I know what destroy means, but I still don’t know what capitalism is.” And that, my friends, is why the revolution will not be taking place any time soon

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