In the neighbourhood

Last updated 10:36 21/06/2012

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?

Normality is a trumpet whenever you feel like it, even in the middle of winter

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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viffer   #1   11:08 am Jun 21 2012

Um... we're not at all dependent on our local BP petrol station, actually. Y'see, it's right next door to the local supermarket, which is open pretty longish hours anyway, so if we have a sudden Chocolate Emergency, or a craving for an ice-cream confectionery (usually after suggestible ads seen on TV), we not only have a better choice, but at a cheaper price.

We used to have a Caltex service station right at the end of our street, which was handier in that we didn't have to double-back in the wrong direction like when we went to the BP one, but it closed a few years ago. It's now a tyre place with an independent early-morning-only drive-through espresso. I don't mourn the disappearance of the Caltex at all. While it was handy and I subsequently ran out of petrol three times because the others near my route to work weren't as handy, the troll who worked there was surly and several times (including twice in a row) refused to give me cash out on an EFTPOS purchase. Why should I care if he'd "Just balanced the float" (whatever that was)? Whatever happened to customer service!?! Maybe he went bust because he lost my patronage, or maybe I wasn't the only one who was treated this way. Maybe it was because they weren't available for emergency ice-cream confectionery buying? In any case, the closure wasn't a cause for grieving, more a case of, "Huh... not surprising..."

Good One   #2   11:09 am Jun 21 2012

Ha, you're 'pumped' about the petrol station. Quality pun there!

TK   #3   11:43 am Jun 21 2012

My local neighbourhood petrol station closed several years ago. It has been replaced with a Coplands Bakery, Curry Pot restaurant, Asian grocers, Locksmith, Cafe with free wireless internet, and a couple of yet to be filled small shops.

Big improvement :-)

sydneykiwi   #4   11:46 am Jun 21 2012

Since moving to Sydney, I didn't realise how absolutely dependent I was on my local BP to supply my 3am-after-a-night-out steak & cheese pies... Damn.

Niri Tacen   #5   12:05 pm Jun 21 2012

Were we live, the nearest petrol station is a good 10 minutes walk away.

Far closer is a small bunch of shops including a dairy, a fish 'n' chippie, and a place that sells roast meals. There's a liquor store and a bakery as well, but the bakery is shut in the evening, and I don't drink liquor like I did in my halcyon university days.

Unfortunately, to reach there by foot involves crossing a four-lane highway OF DEATH. Okay, so there's traffic lights and a pedestrian crossing, but it's still a 50/50 chance as to whether the cars will actually stop.

For us, it's quicker and safer to jump in the car and make the two-minute journey to the supermarket, which is open from about 6am to midnight. Death is still an option, but only to anyone getting between me and the chocolate racks.

&rew   #6   12:58 pm Jun 21 2012

"By way of celebration I bought a Trumpet for myself and the Silver Fox". Just the one between you? Oh wait, you're holding two in the photo. Did you eat one before you got home, and tell TSF they only had one left?

I can't remember the last time I went to a petrol station (except for petrol during long inter-city trips). My local Pak n'Save is open from 6:00am - 11:00pm, and that's where I get petrol too (thanks to those 25c/litre vouchers) and if I desperately need anything in the seven hours a day it's closed, Countdown is about three minutes down the road and they're open 24x7.

KC the 2nd   #7   01:03 pm Jun 21 2012

Hahah..oh Niri Tacen you make me laugh out loud.

The service station where I live is even further away than the local supermarket...and the local supermarket is next to a 24/7 McDonalds. I find this quite dangerous.

Good times though.

anabels   #8   01:24 pm Jun 21 2012

Having had some pillock rip the circuit breaker off my meter board, I would ahve to agree how important electricity is! Especially when it disappears unexpectedly. I don't have a petrol station but being in mid-town Auckland I have 3 convenience stores within 5 minutes walk plus 4 supermarkets the furtherest 15 minutes away. So late night snack attacks can always be answered. If all 7 of these outlets were closed there are about 10 other convenicen stores to chose from - I jsut don't like them as much! :)Happy that your neighbourhood is starting to come together again!

Caroline   #9   02:54 pm Jun 21 2012

Oh - True Blood this evening - I had it in my mind it was next week - thank you.

T   #10   03:09 pm Jun 21 2012

I missed St Martins New World terribly when it had to be demolished after February. It was so nice when my grocery shop was mere minutes away. If I forgot something, I could dash back quickly. Whenever I'm over that side of town again, I check in on how the rebuild is going. And all this from a 23 year old. Convenient food is a far more exciting prospect than a new bar.

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