Monday, August 29, 2011

In The Real World

Today I saw a dog wearing spectacles; a real dog, wearing actual spectacles. This is the kind of thing that makes me glad to live and work in the city.

I also went to an exhibition that is part of Auckland's Heritage Festival, and saw some beautiful pictures of the city from the early 1900s. At first I felt sad, seeing places and a way of life that no longer exist. I thought about how we are just a blip in the space/time continuum, and how insignificant we are except in that we are a link in the chain. Then I saw my building, where Vincent and I live, and all of a sudden I felt happy. I realised it's not so much that the city is part of our lives but that we are part of the city's, and I tried to imagine how it is for our building, and all the changes that have happened around it, and how beautiful it is that it is part of what was the future (when the photos were taken). Then I thought about how landmarks like my building make me feel connected to the city, and how Christchurch doesn't have that anymore, and I felt sad again. In the end, it's really just the land, and for some cultures, the rising sea means that may not even be something to rely on. Which means that in the end, it's actually about us, even if we are just a blip. Christ that's sad! And possibly nonsensical; I'm very tired.

It struck me on the way back to work that I spend most of my time in heritage buildings; I've always been attracted to them, probably from having a Mother who loves everything that is old. The building where I live was built in 1914-1918, and was one of Auckland's first high-rise office blocks. Both Vincent and I were so excited to move here, and I never come home without being struck by the beautiful lobby. The building where I work was built sometime in the 1930s, and like home, has gorgeous steel framing. When I look at it from a distance, I fancy I can hear typewriters humming. Finally, the pub where I spend my Friday afternoons is in Auckland's oldest commercial building; a two-storeys of stone where once upon a time Kiwi shoe polish was made.

I have to go now. But if you have a chance, go and see the exhibition, and pick up a Heritage Festival booklet. Or, next time you're walking down Queen Street, or Customs Street, or anywhere in the city, do look up. I frequently forget, being distracted by people and thoughts, but Auckland is a beautiful city.

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