Today, after returning home from an errand, I tethered my Beagles to a post on the sidewalk in front of the house. My plan was to brush them. Leaving the front door open, I carried in my bags. When I came back down the stairs, I noticed that a woman and her baby (in a stroller) had stopped to chat with the pups. The mother’s manner was laid back and friendly and the boys seemed to like her. This made me smile. When the woman saw me, she stood up, righted her stroller, and walked away, without a thank you, g’day, or fuck off.
I know that seems like a little thing, but her behavior perfectly embodies my problem with city people and with San Franciscans in particular. It’s not the exception, but the norm.
Later, seeking support-group strength from the expat community, I trotted over to the New Zealand forum on expatforum.com. More Australians and Brits on the threads than Americans (which is fine by me). On a thread called “Please list positive aspects of NZ,” I found two posts that were unusual — and very telling — in their contrast. I thought I’d reproduce them here:
Wow, people are negative about NZ. Its difficult as a place to live because there are not enough people. They really need to subsidise job creation, i.e. tourism, and have compulsory savings scheme like Australia. No savings in that country. I found rural people very stuck in their ways, defensive and insecure. Every NZ’er I have known is predatory sex maniacs, though that is I guess a generalisation. They are pretty tough-minded people, probably have to be to deal with very intimidating Maoris and pacific islanders. Many years ago I met 2 NZ girls who I swear would have had sex with me if I bought them a bottle of wine. That said, Australia tends to attract every countries lost souls.
I swear I feel i’m in Australia when I’m there, until I talk to the people. I even presented $AU at a carpark in Auckland. he he. She was none too pleased. Basically they hate us because they are good.
Seriously some of the negativity might be Aussies teasing them. We out-number them 4x. Mind you, a lot of NZ’ers tend not to like their own country values, though most of them leave for work and places with greater population. They are very opinionated, which I like. The problem is they can be insecure and predatory. Same as Australians, except they would have bought the girl the wine, then slept with them when they passed out. Honestly, that’s the sense I get about NZ men I have known. All about conquest. Maybe that’s why little Spain and little Napoleon had to colonise or fight the world. Little England too. If only NZ could save, then they could do some real damage.
And the second quote, as if from another planet:
Hmmm… good things to say about NZ. WEll – Friendly people, cheap secondhand cars, variety of housing, lifestyle, fantastic scenery, awesome climate, great roads for driving, good education system, over generous welfare system, best beaches, best skifields,delicous foods, clean and green, safe and no 1 place for kids to grow up in, great shopping, cafes and restaurants, fejoas! and kiwifruit, bungy jumping,marmite and L & P, hi tech and up to date with technology, lots of cows!- which eat lots of green grass, loads of fresh fruit and veges, free to go to hospital,free education,freedom of speech and worship,low unemployment, shall I stop…
I hope that the first quote represents most human beings’ view of NZ because that will ensure that NZ remains unnoticed in the face of crude capitalistic overdevelopment; those seeking the rest of the West’s crushing white noise will conclude, “booooring.” And I hope that no one pays much attention to the second quote, because, well, that user kind of nailed the kiwi way of life. Tell no one.