Opinion: bliss, while the world goes mad

The Age of Reason

By Peter Carr

By virtue of wandering around the North Island over the early part of January we have been able to interface with many Kiwis enjoying both their country – and the glorious weather that never seemed to cease. Sweltering afternoons, covering up those fragile areas, ensuring the ice cube container stayed stocked, cricket with the kids on the lawn, the squeals of even younger ones in the surf – and the longed-for return to summers that most remembered from their younger days.

Picking fruit at the roadside, the chimes of the ice-cream van in a coastal settlement, digging large ‘sit-in’ holes for hot water, real fish and chips of the non-city variety where the fish is, actually, both local and fresh. All this potpourri of enjoyment was layered with lingering outside in the evening to appreciate the cooler air, time to actually fully read (and sometimes enjoy) the morning paper, decisions needed to declare the preference of salads with the never-ending slices of ham in the fridge, sand in your toes – also layered with spending really useful time with the grandchildren. No school pressure, no alternative recreation – just an abundance of free time to appreciate and understand each other more deeply.

In case you think I am going a little away from my mainstream theme of taking an interest in those of a more advanced age, well, I was, For the sight of three generations of families was everywhere. Grandpa looking for a quiet corner, grandma showing teenage (and younger) off-spring how to create culinary masterpieces, the middle generation appreciating that they did not need to spend all day hankering to the wishes of their phone-clutching children. God was in his heaven and there was peace in the world. At least that part of the world that holds dearly onto the landscape and sea-girthed boundaries of Aotearoa.

Somewhere, but who cared where, there was conflict even without the COVID virus strains. The United States was developing into a cesspit of ridiculous internal bloody-minded conflict. The UK, led by amazingly inept politicians, was fighting what appeared to be a losing battle at the doors of their National Health System. India was becoming the epicentre of vaccination production but siphoning off the front end of supply to ensure that they could look after their own. Who can blame them? And airlines were ceasing services – or at best the more direct ones – thus ensuring those who really wanted to fly had elongated journeys timewise.

It all seemed a long way away from the gentle sound of willow hitting leather on sun dappled grass-topped grounds and the superb escalation of the Black Caps to new and glorious international heights. And a high number of charter planes flying direct to Melbourne to permit the escape of their precious racquet-wielding passengers from a portion of appropriate lockdown. Who cares? There is still a cold beer in the fridge, the sun will still come up in the morning and the pension will be in the bank next Tuesday.

But if there is a message here in ‘NuZelan’ let it be this. There is an appalling number of people who are not following the government’s dictum to use their phones to register with the yellow-ringed code at the door of every business in the land. We know who you are. I have no doubt that people will be publicly ‘called and shamed’ soon as those that do abide to keep the country safe watch the ridiculous uncaring attitude of what used to be intelligent people.

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