1987, man

Two teenage boys got on the 006 bus at Mt Eden. They happened to sit across the aisle from a guy probably in his late 30s who was decked out in motor-racing-logo-emblazoned clothing.

Almost straight away, he started telling the boys his plans for the day (going to visit the girlfriend, then over to his mate’s to watch the footy), and then started reminiscing about the golden days:

I used to be involved with stock-car racing. 1987, man. 1987. I was in a car down at these races one night, and there was 10,000 people there. 10,000. The atmosphere was electric. You could cut it. That’s how electric it was. I mean, they weren’t all there to see me. There was actually this fella from the USA who was there, but when we came out, all the lights were on and there was 10,000. I thought, “Shit – this is it.” It was pretty tough in those days. You had to hang on. You let go, you’re gone. 1987.

Holden on

I was down at the shops early today when I overhead a small boy and his mother who were waiting at the pedestrian crossing.

Boy: “That car’s been through the mud.”
Mum: “Which car?”
Boy: “That one.” (He points to a gleaming, spotless red car.)
Mum: “The shiny red one?”
Boy: “It’s a Holden.”

Oh, yes. One of those Holden fans. You can get Holden bed sheets, which I pray don’t come in any size bigger than single. But if NZDating is anything to do by, they probably do.

Yes, Holden lovers, for whatever reason, are all over NZ Dating. I once saw the profile of a nice young man who had been forced to put a warning on his profile that he would not respond to any lady who had “angel” or “Holden” in her profile.

A quick search reveals the following number of NZDating users have “Holden” somewhere in their profile:

Men: 230
Women: 140
Trans*: 0

* NZDating offers “trans” on the gender drop-down list, but I don’t know what it means. Transsexual? Transgender? Trans fatty acids? Oh, we can laugh, but if some Holden-loving trans fatty acids created a profile on NZDating, they’d have no shortage of replies.

I don’t suppose putting “public tranzport luvva” on your NZDating profile would do much.

Popcorn and choc-tops

It’s a late Saturday afternoon in the toilets at a multiplex. A woman in her 50s has entered and gone into a cubicle to have a wee. Soon after her 20-something daughter returns from the ticket area and also enters a cubicle.

Daughter: Mum? Mum?

Mum: Yeah.

Daughter: King Kong’s on at 5 o’clock, so that’s quite good cos it gives us enough time to get something to eat.

Mum: Is it on at another time?

Daughter: Well, if we see it at 5, that gives us an hour to get something to have for tea. And the movie is quite long, so we don’t wanna stay up too late, especially after having a late night last night.

Mum: Yes, we were up late last night. Don’t want to stay up too late tonight.

Daughter: Yeah, or there’s this one with Jeniston Aniston in it.

Mum: Eh?

Daughter: You know Jenna Aniston?

Mum: Oh, that one from Friends? Is she in it?

Daughter: She’s not in King Kong. She’s in another movie. We could see that.

Mum: Oh. Well, what one do you want to see?

Daughter: I really wanna see King Kong. I’ve heard it’s quite good.

Mum: Ok. We’ll see that one then. I’m going to see if I can get this muck off my jumper with a bit of toilet paper.

In a nearby cubicle a stranger heaves a sigh of relief that the pair have decided against the Jeniston Aniston movie.

At the bus stop

He was sitting at the bus stop wearing a pink raincoat and holding a bunch of daffodils. He had agreed to meet her there at 6.30pm. He said he’d wear his pink raincoat so she’d be able to identify him easily.

He’d been there a while and she hadn’t shown up yet. Nervous, fidgety, he started to tell his story to the guy who was studying the bus timetable next to him. He didn’t notice that the guy’s responses soon turned into detached mms.

She was from Thailand. He’d met her via one of those email things. She said she was in her 30s, but he reckoned this probably meant she was about 40, but he wasn’t going to rule out that she was actually 30. It was hard to tell from the one photo he’d seen of her.

Maybe she was waiting for him at one of the other bus stops down the street. He quickly checked, but she wasn’t there.

She wanted to marry him and move with him to China to be with her son and other family. He asked the guy, still looking at the timetable, how big China was. About 1.2 billion, he replied. Right, enough said. A lot bigger than New Zealand, then!

Maybe she got confused and thought he was wearing a white coat instead of a pink one. He’d seen a fella in a white coat walk past. What if this fella had walked off with his lady?

She had a strange surname. He wasn’t sure how to pronounce it. He asked the timetable guy how a name spelt H-U-S would be pronounced. The guy suggested Huss or Hoos. The man asked if he know what country it was from. The guy suggested Europe. The man looked at his cellphone and realised it was actually Hsu. The guy knew that was pronounced Su and that it was probably a Chinese name.

Maybe she was setting him up. Maybe this was all a scam. But she wasn’t really all that late – only half an hour.

A woman came along to the bus stop. The man insisted she take a seat, noting that he didn’t bite. She laughed and sat down. They engaged in pleasentries – how they each were, how their days had been (Hers was not too bad; his could have been better, could have been much better). But soon he started talking at her and she shut down into mm-mming, just like the guy had.

He wasn’t really sure whereabouts Thailand was. He knew it was in Asia somewhere, but he honestly couldn’t even tell you what time it was there. He had seen a photo of her and knew she had slanty eyes, like Chinese or Japanese girls, so she probably was just a normal Oriental.

They were supposed to go to Hamilton together that night to meet her son and the people she was living with in New Zealand.

Then something showed up a little bit late. It was the #274 bus. Within seconds his audience had transplanted themselves onto the bus, leaving him sitting all alone at the bus stop with his daffodils and pink raincoat and without his slanty-eyed Thai lady.

He told you not to massage his back

Today I was at St Lukes when I overheard the following part of a conversation between two teenage guys.

“That guy, the guy who always comes to our practices – the pretty guy, the guy who’s real pretty – he’s gay. I know cos his cousin told us that this nephew walked in on him and Johnny and they were both naked and they were both lying there naked and when they saw him they both jumped and he was, like, “I told you not to massage my back!” He’s gay even though he’s got a girlfriend even though he’s been going out with her since third form. He’s probably bi. He’s at least bi cos he was like, “Don’t massage my back!” and his nephew saw him do that with Johnny and they were both naked.”


Yesterday I was in the bathroom when I heard my neighbours come outside for a smoke. The husband was telling the wife about his exciting plans. He wanted to organise a gig in a park. He wanted to get a bunch of bands playing, as well as a reasonably well-known and successful pop band. There’d be a gold coin donation “at the gate” or “there’d be a collection bucket passed around”, and a hot dog stand. “We’d get the city council in on it,” he explained, so it would “be all legit”.

Obviously there’s more to organising an outdoor concert than just booking the bands and food. There’d stuff like the sound equipment, security, crowd safety, and other stuff that probably only seasoned professionals know about. But just from his excited rant, it did seem that he didn’t really know what he was talking about.

The wife could tell this. She never once responded with anything positive, but instead went to neutral responses like “Uh huh” and “Oh, right”. He kept repeating his idea, seeming to want a bigger, more encouraging response from her, but she remained distant, probably not quite wanting to tell him that his idea wasn’t all that solid. After he repeated his plans for the third time and again got a lack of response from her, he finished with, “well, I think it would be a really great idea and I reckon it would work really well,” almost as if he was saying what he wished she’d say.