Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I was a bit better organised again this year.

Sure – for the second year running I'd had to cancel recording a Christmas show for Hope City FM, but this year it was because I'd been asked to produce a sketch to go out on NewstalkZB.

Somehow I'd done all my remaining lessons, chased around buying Christmas presents and souvenirs, backed-up all my computer files and even found time to – unprotestingly - pack.

Usually, I hate packing. This time, although I got to bed at 5am, the thought never entered my head once. For some reason I was completely unaware of, this time it had struck me as an achievable task.

After five hours of sleep – again an improvement on usual – I hauled myself out of bed, into the shower, through breakfast, and buzzed around the flat doing last-minute laundry and packing. Flatmate Cathy – my lift to the airport – was about as silent and patient as I really need another person to be in these circumstances.

Freezer meal in the freezer for my return – check.

Bye-bye Pauline and Sue – check.

Bedroom vacuumed and bed made for similar reasons to the freezer meal – no and still in the tumble-dryer. Oh well.

So we left later than planned and, laughing at the GPS' creative advice (as you do), we got to the airport later than planned too, but as I said to Cathy, it was still much earlier than I usually make it.

This trip it had been Cathy who was, arguably, the first person I saw, and the last.

My single bag was over 22kg, but Cathay Pacific accepted it, proving that they could have done so for a much lower weight four years ago instead of charging me $300 for it. As I raced around checking-in, paying the departure tax and picking up some last-minute souvenirs, I repeatedly failed to locate my phone in time to take Phil's many attempts to call me. Finally he got through, gave me the good news that I would finally get my voice on a national NZ radio station again on Christmas Day, and we said our goodbyes. Phil's been a good mate since 2004 – believing in me over a long period of time when others didn't – and I felt a certain sense of irony when we hung up and I realised that I was standing on the exact same spot where I had stood for literally about half an hour saying good bye to New Zealand the first time nearly four years ago now.

That day in March 2004 I had been running very late. Many things had stood in the way of my departure – leaving Matamata so late, my overweight bag, a packed security area, and a guard who didn't want me to join the fast-track queue even though my name - "Mr Gobble" – was being repeatedly called over the tannoy. I mean I actually had to argue with him to let me go through and run to gate 5 to catch it. That time, apparently, New Zealand had not really wanted to let me go of me. And I certainly hadn't really wanted to let go of New Zealand. But I was a people-pleaser.

Over the years, I've noticed how those tannoy announcements for Auckland Airport’s latecomers to hurry up have changed. Initially they developed this house script of listing the names and then chivvying them with "...and all other passengers are waiting for you." Later this seemed to subtly change to become "...and all other passengers are waiting for you." It conjures up a mental picture of all these other travellers standing around by the entrance to the plane and greeting you with a mixture of worry and relief: "You're here! At last! But... why are you so late? Was there an accident?"

This year the announcement had evolved a little bit more, and inserted pauses between the final three words, which in this blogger's humble opinion, gave the impression that today's other passengers were ever so slightly more disgruntled: "...and all other passengers are Waiting. For. You."

Well, today I found quite a few of them waiting when I got there, and they were certainly waiting for a long time.

After all that rush, the flight was delayed by nearly three hours, scoring each of us $10 of free food at any shop not displaying the DFS Galleria logo on the voucher. (I still can't believe that system)

Weilding my Marco Polo card, I decided to sit this one out in the Qantas lounge, where there were free showers, free food, free drinks, and a whole lot of empty airy space.

Flatmate Dave rang. A third long-term mate, who I hadn't known when I'd first come here.

As the afternoon dragged on, I mused about how New Zealand now, as four years ago, still appeared curiously determined not to let go of me.


2 comment(s):

At 11:27 am, Blogger Eldon said...

I like the paragraph starting with" Over the years, I've noticed how those tannoy announcements for Auckland Airport’s latecomers to hurry up have changed..." We've been thru this airport a few times and also we found this exhortation to passengers rather memorable.

At 4:43 pm, Blogger Steve Goble said...

Thanks Eldon - it makes me feel like a five year old holding up the class! :)


Post a Comment

<< Back to Steve's home page

** Click here for preceding post(s) **

** Click here for following post(s) **