Going home always urgent business
It’s happened again. Nearly a year after Iwas first stuck on the hill for hours I’m back, stuck, furious. Wellington is rainy, which means all roads are cut off except for ones we’re told to avoid unless it’s urgent. I amindeed on urgent business: I urgently want to go home.
I’ve been stuck here on the Akatarawa Rd for an hour and, with no wi-fi, resort to cleaning the car. I read the manual and don’t understand aword. I review my receipts and my parking ticket; the latter I fold into a paper plane and shoot into the back seat.
I’m hungry. The only edible thing I find in the car is an alcohol swab from the first-aid kit and a crust tossed gaily over my shoulder in happier, less hungry days. I wave my phone out the window then get out and brandish it at the bush. There’s still no signal, and I’m still hungry. Now I’m also wet.
I find a bottle ofwater under my seat and, with nothing else to do, drink all of it before realising my incredibly stupid mistake. I’m hungry, wet, bored and the only signal I’m receiving is an increasingly urgent one from my bladder. I’ve been here for nearly two hours and Iwant to go home.
So I have a tantrum. Bloody Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and its cursed Transmission Gully, stupid drivers who just had to ignore the agency and go out today, damnable parents who gaveme no say in whether Iwas born or not. Waving my arms around like Elmo, I slump against the steering wheel, my head hits the horn and the van-man in front shoots me the finger out his window.
We’ve been here forever. The lady behindme is either screaming or playing screamy music very loudly. I look at her in my rearviewmirror to find out which it is, and it’s the former. Our eyes meet; I look away first. A policeman wanders past, and I palm my alcohol swab.
A dog appears and I chat to it awhile before its owner turns up: she is awoman who has taken control.
‘‘Move to the side!’’, she barks.
‘‘I can’t see!’’, I scream back inexplicably. It’s inexplicable because I can see, there is nothing wrong with my eyesight, I don’t know why I’ve said it. I drive forward a car length.
‘‘More!’’, the hell beast yells. ‘‘Thank you!’’, I scream back inexplicably and lock my door.
We’ve been here for three hours. Traffic crawls past the other way and a friendly bloke in a car covered with freedom signs leans out and offersme a biscuit. I’m too hungry to tell him I’m a journalist.
Suddenly the van-man gestures for me to stay stopped, and drives away. Now I’m sitting in my car with a hundred vehicles behind me and nothing in front, but aman said to stop, so I have. We wait, all of us. I can feel the screamy woman staring again but I don’t look. I want to go home.
The cop is back, now yelling at me to move, so I drive until
I’m behind the van-man once more. He gives me the finger again, and slowly I follow him and his digit until we’re off the hill to where my phone finally dings. Now I can scroll news that hasn’t changed, read emails I didn’t sign up for, and discover nobody’s called.
And when I’m home I pull into the driveway, sit in my car for 20 minutes and wonder what the rush was for anyway.