Archive for February 8th, 2007

fanatical, multi-syllabic, dramatic re-unions

I’ve always wanted to be greeted at an airport by someone with a sign with my name on it. That someone was expecting me and considered me imortant enough to make a sign and all that and make sure i’m properly greeted.

It’s never happened to me. My bro and better half arrived today in NZ. And i did consider making a sign. It could have said ‘welcome to NZ mr and mrs neel’ or something appropriately mis spelt.

But I’m a lazy lazy man.

I did manage to get out of bed at 0530 though, to wait first in the queue at the arrivals lounge, waiting patiently to see them rounding the corner from customs.

I waited anxiously at the barrier, my stomach uneasy from too much coffee and too little food. Nervous at the thought of their customs and visas and all that carry on.

I watched all kinds of people come out. There were two flights from LA and one from bunos aries. And no matter what you say, the americans have produced the funniest looking bunch of people i’ve ever seen – facially, style wise and personalities.

I watched a pair of elederly folk walk out. Greeted by a youngish couple with a toddler. Clearly it was the first time the grandparents had seen the grandchild and the poor kid was thrust about between grandparents. The child cried continuously wondering why mum and dad were letting him be abused by complete strangers.

There were the flight attendants. Two leaving together who i convinced myself were having some kind of ilicit affair. I always think air line attendants have the glamorous life style. All nonsense but i have an active imagination. Watching the pilots leave i tried to detect a stagger in their step to see if they were still a bit tipsy – pilots have a terrible reputautation for drinking on the job. Completely unfounded i’m sure.

There were emotional reunions between young couples and a fanatical, multi-syballic, dramatic re union of a bunch of south americans who blocked the exit for five minutes.

But now i’m getting bored. I’ve been there three quarters of an hour and no show. Possibilities range through my mind. Are they on a different flight? Have they had their visas turned down – NZ has a standard to keep up. Maybe they’d lost their baggage. More likely they’d been locked up and tortured for trying to bring a banana into the country. The biosecurity guys here are pretty militant about keeping foreign organic material out. Though they were happy to let  in the chinese goosberry and market it intensely as the Kiwi fruit.

So i’m still there, stood at the barrier thinking ‘yeah, it may take them ages, i could at least make it to the espresso stand and back’, when they appear.

And it’s surreal. My mind goes ‘what are they doing here?’ with sheer surprise that they actually made it. And it’s so good to see them and hug them and slag them off for being so flippin white.

So we leave auckland behind and drive south east, stopping to pick up sue cuthbert along the way. And it’s weird having other people in the car. People who know me inside out. People i’ve grown up with. And it’s different, so different to what i’ve experienced over the past 5 months.

I ask them about LA where they’ve been and how the trip was and then i just run out of converstaion. I’m not used to this presence. Having people i love around me again.

It picks up dramatically. We stop for a picnic at taupo and back in napier we get onto skype and phone mum and dad and break into fits of unstoppable giggling. I’m glad they’re here. Though i keep wondering when they’re gonna go home so i’ll have the flat to myself again.

And i get scared with that. That i’m becoming what i hate. Someone who doesn’t need people. Correction – someone with the arrogance to believe he doesn’t need people. Maybe i’m forgetting how to need people.

I think a lot about being alone. To most people that is almlost a universal negative. In Heat, de niro’s character describes himself as being on his own but not alone. That he has nothing in his life that he can’t walk away from in 60 seconds if he sees the heat around the corner. I’m a big beleiver in holding the things of this world loosely (though very bad at it) but that is going to extremes.

I enjoy being on my own. There,s lots of positive good stuff about it. Sometimes i think i’d like to be otherwise, i have no objections to being married and ‘tied’ to someone (bad term, sorry) but it ain’t happened and i am where i am. But sometimes i realise that i’m just too scared to be anything but alone. The change it would entail being too great – holding things tightly again Andrew…

Maybe it’s just the vulnerabilty of needing people that i missed. Or maybe it’s just the freshness of the experience. More likely it’s 5 coffees in one day and a Josh Ritter album. Repeat after me – melancholy is not a recreational activity…


February 2007