Crimson & Clover

I will take a break from the excerpts to say that it has been a day of tremendous ups and downs. I’ve ended it washed up on You Tube again, just trying to make sense of things by listening to rock music.

I got a bonus cheque from work. It was meant to come at the end of the financial year (which was March 31st) but didn’t appear, and didn’t appear. I’d actually given up hope that it ever would appear, because the contract terms were vague enough to create a lot of wiggle room… but then it did. And it makes me happy because it clears my overdraft (just a day too late to cover the interest payment for May).

However, it’s not big enough to pay for Trucky McTruckface, who now sits forlornly on our driveway. We’ve been trying (through Trade Me) to get a civil conversation going with the guy who sold it to us. We’ve offered to return it with the current, temporary gasket repair, and even wear the cost of that repair. He’d get the truck back in a better condition than when he sold it… But after a week of ignoring us, he responded today by calling us names and basically telling us to go to hell. Surely even Donald Trump knows that such unprovoked aggression only makes you look more guilty, but maybe not.

Our options are limited. It is too small a value to take it to court. The Disputes Tribunal is fairly toothless when it comes to forcing people to pay up, and that’s assuming that it would rule in our favour anyway. Auctions are notoriously unprotected in New Zealand. It would seem that our best bet may be listing the truck back on Trade Me (with an honest description of its condition) and seeing what we get for it. It’s heartbreaking to feel like we’ve been taken for a ride like this, and even more heartbreaking to know that there’s nothing we can do to name and shame the guy for doing it.

I do wish that the world was a just place. But it’s not.

Still, there is rock music…

***

The article on Donald Trump led me through to this photo gallery on Slate, showing ordinary sides of New York in the early 1980s. It is so strange to reach that point where the era of your childhood is being reflected as nostalgia. And not just nostalgia; otherworldly. Everyone seems to comment on how dirty and covered in graffiti it all was… but that’s just how the world looked. To be honest, I hadn’t really noticed that it had changed.

Living in Arizona in the early ’80s, this was the view outside of our house:

HT02

True, not covered in graffiti (although there was a lot of it around) but still hardly suburban idyll. We regularly had Vietnam veterans living in our dumpster, and that’s just the way it was. If we’re honest, that’s the way it still is in many places… just now we put some grass around it.

It’s only fitting that on the same evening I also stumbled across this story on the Auckland housing market, describing how a house contaminated by methamphetamine just sold for NZ$1.1 million. To put that in perspective, the median income for workers in New Zealand is about $45,000 per annum. A mortgage on your $1.1 million home would work out to repayments of around $1100 per week (assuming you have your 20% deposit)… so that’s roughly twice what the average New Zealander takes home in their pay every week. Two income earners, in Auckland, could spend their entire collective pay packet on the mortgage and still expect to get a house contaminated by meth… Yay Auckland!

And it doesn’t even have grass around it, because it looks like that all died…

Still, we’re probably the wrong people to get all wound up about this, because we’ve left the peasant class and joined the landed gentry now. It just doesn’t feel like it. It still feels like we’re poor.

In fact, with a dead truck at rest on our driveway, we’re not just poor: we’re white trash poor. People can ooo and ahh about the decay of the ’80s, but we haven’t really moved anywhere…

Time for some beautiful, beautiful, early ’80s rock music to make me happy and sad and angry all at the same time…

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