zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
Once upon a time there was a bus-stop four minutes' walk from my house.

Then there was an earthquake and there were no buses at all. Then they started running for part of the route but the nearest stop was ten minutes away (and my erstwhile 30-minute commute became a 2-hour commute due to omg the traffic, but that's another story). Then some many months later after various permutations of the route My bus-stop started being used again and I might have cried a little.

Then roadworks came to the street. Even before the recent "[image of a roadcone] = progress" propaganda posters went up I've always believed in the sentiment, and the challenge of trying to find a new route across the road every time I want to visit the supermarket is all part of the fun of living in a post-apocalyptic society. (Another is jumping over the semi-filled-in ditches they dig across the footpath away from every house when they're fixing the sewers. It's like playing Super Mario in a virtual reality system.) But it did put My bus-stop out of use again — at least the one I go to on the way to work; the one I get off at on the way home was unaffected.

But tonight! I was on my bus on the way home, and I pressed the buzzer and started collecting my bags. And the bus started slowing down at the lights. And I'm all, "Wtf, driver, don't you know those are flashing orange lights because of the roadworks, you don't need to stop at them!" And then the lights — wait for it — the traffic lights turned red.

So I'm all, "Zeborah, play it cool, this is just a thing traffic lights do." But, I mean, they turned red, so when we reached my bus-stop I said to the driver, "Did those traffic lights just start working today?!"

And he said, "Yeah! And I was like, where are all the roadcones?!"

Which passed me right by like it was just a figure of speech, because pff, you can't have roadworks without roadcones! That's just logic! So we said goodnight in good spirits and I hopped off the bus (carefully so as not to sprain an ankle on a pot-hole). Then, just as I was about to turn into my own street, I chanced to look back the way we'd come and I saw that the roadcones were gone.

(Okay, there are still several scattered at various spots, but it's less in the way of someone having set up roadcones to delimit roadworks, and more in the way of someone having missed picking them up. It'd be pretty easy to overlook a few bright orange cones with reflective stripes, because that sort of thing just blends into the post-apocalyptic landscape along with the "Safety is no accident" hi-vis vests: you only notice them if you're really looking for them.)

I... I think the roadworks are finished?

At least on that side of the road.

And I think that means I'm going to get My bus-stop back.

And you know what that means?

Poll #13405 It means I have 5-6 extra minutes every morning!
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 8

What shall I do with this extravagance of free time?

View Answers

sleep in!
1 (12.5%)

eat breakfast!
3 (37.5%)

brush my teeth!
1 (12.5%)

do a modicum of housework!
0 (0.0%)

follow more links from Twitter!
2 (25.0%)

other (please comment!)
1 (12.5%)

zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
I passed through town late this morning and saw families going in for the memorial service, and hugs between friends, and old rubble and brand new buildings, and everywhere flowers in roadcones.

When I cut some lilies from my garden to take to the roadworks at the end of my street, their stems wept.

Road cones on Cashel Street
"Road cones on Cashel Street" by Christchurch City Libraries, on Flickr; licensed Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
zeborah: Vuvuzela concert: This is serious art. (art)
I read Artist's road cone Easter makeover and I had a spare empty milk bottle, so I made this:

Easter Bunny

There's not as many roadcones in my neighbourhood as there used to be, but I still didn't have to go very far.

Cheryl Bernstein also writes about Easter bunnified roadcones and public art. (I also borrowed from her post the idea of affixing the bunny to a stick before putting it in the cone: the original instructions say to cut a hole big enough to fit over the cone, but the top of a roadcone is actually too big to make this practical.)
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
Today I:
  • slept in a nightgown in my own bed
  • woke to an alarm clock and not an earthquake
  • used and flushed the toilet
  • took a shower
  • talked to people on the internet
  • knew without checking that my friends and family were safe
  • baked with electricity
  • received a phone call
  • went outside without a dust mask
  • walked on asphalt rather than mud
  • bought some things I needed from the local supermarket
  • caught a bus that goes straight from home to work
  • worked at my own desk in my own building with my own phone number
  • didn't leave work until my scheduled end of day
  • came home to find my house and contents as I'd left them
  • got a bill in the mail
  • put my emptied rubbish bins back in their spots
  • fed my cat
  • drank water from the tap
and spent a lot of time on or past the point of tears, because I remember.

Because we all remember.

When we had none of this. When we had only fear, and the kindness of strangers, and rumours of destruction and death - rumours replaced by news of worse. Waiting for an ambulance that never came, not just because the traffic was impossible, but because a minor motorcycle accident doesn't rate compared to the CTV building and others.

The official number now is 185 dead.

My memories are the most vivid for me; but for me it's the wider context, the "we", that for joy or sorrow makes me cry. I didn't go to the memorial, because to be confronted right now with that "we" remembering -- I just can't. But I made biscuits for my colleagues, and watched out the window of the bus at the roses, sunflowers, lilies and agapanthuses in roadcones along the way. When I got to work my colleagues who hadn't gone were streaming the ceremony, and I just couldn't, but I brought up the #eqnz Twitter stream and watched the dots mark the 2 minutes silence.

I also spent a lot of time today not thinking about tears, because I had emails and customers and websites and books to deal with. Because, despite being aware that large chunks of the city remain broken, of its people in dim and dire straits, and despite all the new habits formed (by so many of us) from the bone-deep knowledge that any moment the world might turn upside down again, my own life is essentially, weirdly, weirdly unweirdly, back to normal.

But not and never the same.

Because I remember; because we remember.


zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)

September 2017

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