Chief re­porter look­ing for a house out west.


Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -


If there was a Hitch­hiker’s Guide to Auck­land, it would have a sin­gle word on the mat­ter: ‘‘Don’t’’.

I wish the book was real and I had fol­lowed it’s ad­vice, as driv­ing across the city is what I’ve been do­ing for the past five months.

Pre­vi­ously, the long­est in my 37 years I’d had to com­mute was lit­tle more than the time needed to wake up with a cof­fee and a ba­nana and catch the head­lines.

It was also over charm­ing coun­try roads.

But this year I am on track to spend the equiv­a­lent of 30 days breath­ing in fumes.

The jour­ney from Botany to Hen­der­son takes any­where from 45 min­utes dur­ing school and uni­ver­sity hol­i­days, to 90 min­utes if there’s an ac­ci­dent on the mo­tor­way or it’s home time on a Fri­day.

The worst con­ges­tion is al­ways on the mo­tor­way. It’s a crawl and the ra­dio news starts re­peat­ing.

Some­times I tune in to Paul Henry on the prom­ise to al­le­vi­ate the bore­dom. Usu­ally I re­gret it.

I wish I was a bet­ter man, able to smile my way through. But I’m not.

I seem to spend half the time fum­ing at the peo­ple who cut me off, and the other half fum­ing at the bumperto-bumper traf­fic that won’t let me in.

I’ve learned to be­have my­self, though. I’ve had to, as I drive a sign-writ­ten car.

Decoding num­ber plates is a tech­nique I’ve de­vel­oped to re­di­rect my anger, re­lieve bore­dom and keep my san­ity by fur­ther de­hu­man­is­ing my fel­low Auck­lan­ders.

The driver of GGE371 is a gross garbage egg, for ex­am­ple.

I can un­der­stand the mad­ness that would drive some­body to risk the T2 lane with a pas­sen­ger-seat man­nequin, as one Auck­land mo­torist did this month.

I swear I would never suc­cumb to de­ploy­ing such trick­ery, but, just in case, I’m tak­ing a men­tal note that cov­er­ing a dummy’s face in white ban­dages and pink sun­glasses is sure to at­tract the un­wanted at­ten­tion of the po­lice.

As I’m tak­ing the same route most days, any small changes in the land­scape stand out.

I no­ticed im­me­di­ately when gi­ant steel sup­port­ing rods were erected to help se­cure a large bit of Water­view Con­nec­tion con­crete above city bound-lanes on the mo­tor­way.

‘‘That’s nice of them,’’ I thought. ‘‘Ex­tra sup­port to stop it from fall­ing on the mo­torists be­low’’.

Ev­ery day such things go through my mind – tiny, use­less, de­tails that are just a waste of con­scious­ness.

The mad­ness of the daily com­mute is driv­ing me to buy a house out west as soon as pos­si­ble.

If you go to you can find a web­page claim­ing to be The Hitch­hiker’s Guide to New Zealand.

There’s no en­try on Auck­land traf­fic, but there is one

north­west­ern on Westies.

‘‘They drive Hold­ens, and are typ­i­cally called Wayne or Trev,’’ it says.

‘‘They can be dis­tin­guished from Goths in that they usu­ally have axle grease all over their hands, jer­seys, etc and don’t like The Sis­ters of Mercy and haven’t heard of Bauhaus.’’

Never heard of Bau-who? Me too.

But I’m white, of­ten wear black, and have owned two Ford Corti­nas that con­stantly broke down.

God for­bid I ever have to com­mute like this in one of those.

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