I’ll say this for Auckland, whether it be somebody building a road – and thus slowing commute times by 15 minutes – or a faceless government bureaucrat changing school zone boundaries, they sure have their fair share of crises – and yet, they survive, despite predictions of large-scale panic.
As I wander this power-deprived city I can’t help but think there’s something very resilient about all the generic buildings (I call it ‘Australasian-insurance-company-chic’) scattered all over the place and all the various crises they’ve survived. It’s almost cockroach-like in a way. After all, a cockroach may be one hell of an ugly insect – but it’ll survive the nuclear holocaust outside your hermetically sealed nuclear bunker and still find a way to crawl into your bathroom.
The air of exclusivity created by ‘leafy’ suburban cafes that are too snooty to have actual customers, has now been increased ten-fold by ‘CLOSED’ signs over their entrances. Even the ‘leaves’ – that tired journalists have been overusing as an adjective in their desperate search for some sort of word other than ‘White’ that might describe Remuera – seem to have taken a break. Or at least that’s what I assume since I saw hardly any leaves during my tour of the place. I saw lots and lots of Range Rovers though, with classy licence plates like ‘MRKTG’. Certainly there weren’t enough leaves in these suburbs to justify the adjective ‘leafy’ being used as the sole descriptor of these places since there are just as many leaves in say, Tokoroa, and I doubt we’ll be hearing the adage ‘leafy’ being used to describe the pride and joy of South Waikato anytime soon. Although to be fair when I did see a tree in these suburbs it was a big tree with lots of leaves on it – and I also saw some parks with several leafy trees in them – so perhaps it’s a sort of law-of-averages thing.
Needless to say, the work of Auckland’s sort-of-leafy suburbs of Auckland continues despite the hardships of the powercut. Half-empty ‘high class’ suburban cafes are now fully closed, creating the effect of exclusivity that’s been a feature of Auckland cafes that have been closing at awkward hours for a number of years now.
In fact, you could almost picture Auckland adapting to this state of affairs permanently through a mix of self-delusion and rebranding. Just as some in Wellington appear to be attempting to rebrand the act of reading a book as ‘slow reading’, so Auckland could easily rebrand itself as the ‘Show that Never Starts’. While this might not actually sound like a good slogan, I’m sure it would sound good if it was repeated a number of times on television (which seems to be the logic behind most of Auckland’s other ad campaigns). No doubt, Metro Magazine would eventually fall in with the general trend by releasing an issue featuring the “5 best ‘no-power’ schools in Auckland”, followed by another issue featuring “10 tips for MAKING SURE you buy a house with no power”.
Indeed I think we should all hope that Auckland’s power supply really does get turned on for good at 5AM (as is reportedly going to be the case), before they try to convince the rest of us that life really is a whole lot better without a reliable electricity supply. After all, they already seem to have done a pretty good job of convincing us – and themselves – that life is better in an overpriced, under-resourced, and relatively generic Australasian city, just think how trendy not having electricity would suddenly be if they had less electricity than everybody else too.