Chief reporter looking for a house out west.
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 nz.com 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.