In the neighbourhood

22:36, Jun 20 2012

Verily, I am filled with excitement. The genuine, non-sarcastic kind.

And what has me so filled with anticipation? Is it my Flight of the Conchords tickets for next week's Christchurch show? No. Is it the prospect of perhaps spying a semi-naked Skarsgård when True Blood returns to Prime tonight? No (okay, well maybe a little bit). 

Believe it or not, I'm kind of excited about my local petrol station being open again.

I know. When you take into account that I personally never buy petrol this would seem a bit of a strange thing to be excited about.

But it's funny the things you take for granted and it's even more surprising the way you can find yourself feeling about them when they return after an absence. 

Initially after the earthquakes of February 22 last year (aka The Day The Earth Did Not Stand Still) it was electricity. At least for me it was. For others it was most likely a safe roof to shelter under and food to eat. After that it was running water and being allowed to flush the toilet without thinking twice about it.


In terms of progress it's gratifying to be at the stage where it's the return of something less fundamental that's making me happy.

I'm not going to lie to you. It's not like I used that petrol station every day when it was open. That's not really what petrol stations are for. But it did save my bacon and egg breakfast more than once when I'd forgotten to purchase the egg portion of that meal. Or when I'd run out of milk.

For over a year the service station just around the corner from my home has been fenced off. Large pieces of machinery dug up the forecourt exposing the underground "doings" of tanks and pipes. There were no lights. There were no emergency bottles of Coke Zero. There were no Trumpets.

And then as we drove past the other night I saw lights. And a distinct lack of fencing. Could it be? Was it back? So that's why I made a completely unnecessary trip down the road and around the corner to the petrol station last night. Just to see. Was this a tiny part of my neighbourhood that had found its way back, post-quake?

By way of celebration I bought a Trumpet for myself and the Silver Fox and chatted with the staff member there about how happy I was they were open again.*

This, along with the fact that the rebuilt Briscoes a block away seems to be coming along nicely (Buckets! Duvet covers! Kitchen appliances!) and that my local supermarket will be opening tomorrow after a long demolition-followed-by-rebuild process is giving me just a tiny bit of hope that things are improving. Every new service or facility in the neighbourhood is a victory.

And on a personal note you know you've reached a level of "maturity" (aka decrepitude) when the idea of a supermarket opening is more appealing than that of a new club or bar.

Look, when nightclubs start stocking mini cheesecakes I will be all over that like...well, me on cheesecake.

But for now I have the satisfaction of knowing that if we run out of bread, I can just pop down to the Mobil Mart and get some. The distance is short enough that I can make that trip on foot in pretty much any kind of weather. To paraphrase Scarlett O'Hara, "as God as my witness, I'll never go without toast again".

How "petrol station dependent" are you? Is it weird to be this pumped about something as mundane as a petrol station being open? If your local supermarket was out of bounds suddenly, what sort of impact would that have on you (I can testify to the fact that it kind of sucks).

Oh, and happy Matariki!

* They've been open for a week but he thought that most people didn't realise that they ARE open now so, people of north central Christchurch, THE MOBIL MART ON THE CORNER OF BEALEY AVE AND BARBADOES ST IS OPEN NOW. AND THEY HAVE TRUMPETS.

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