Hey, you all right there? Sorry to disturb you, I just thought . . .
You're all right? Oh good. Christmas Eve today, and I'm in the mood for some charity, so I'll give you a hand.
You're hungry? Of course you are. You look half-starved. Let's start at the south end of town.
I know, it's all a bit much. Wall-to-wall restaurants can have that effect on a starving person.
No worries, let's get you to the Coffee and Food Establishment in Hood St. It has coffee and food - really good. Well, I'll take the word of others about the coffee, as it all tastes like bones and ashes to me, but I've had its eggs benedict with the house-smoked salmon. (That's salmon smoked in house, not over the smoke from a burning house.) It's amazing. Yum.
You're all fed up? In a good way? Good. Right, let's get you a shave. I know beards are in at the moment, but yours looks are, well, a bit seedy. There's a good barber in Ward St. He's the old-school type - sells tobacco in the front and cuts hair out back.
You can't actually see the tobacco - it's behind curtains, but you can check out all the pipes and such on display still. You say you don't smoke, but you've got to admit they look pretty neat.
Right. Shaved, for just $5 and - what's that? Why is everyone rushing around buying things and looking stressed? Why, it's Christmas tomorrow, of course.
That word doesn't mean anything to you? How strange. Never mind. Look, it's Christmas. You've got to buy people things at Christmas. I got my dad a pair of socks and a joke mug that says "World's greatest golfer". (The joke is that dad is terrible at golf.)
I got my mum a book and some fridge magnets. I got . . . no, look, I'm trying to explain it. You just get people things. I'm not really sure why - because they are family and friends and you love them, I guess.
You can hang on to this novelty iPhone case. It's for you! Thank me later. Well, you'll have to get an iPhone to go with it, won't you? OK, maybe you're more the Trade Aid type. Righto, where to next?
Mark One Comics and Games. Just picking up a few more pressies. Getting a Dalek and a few comics for some mates.
That guy on the cover? That's Superman, of course! Man, where have you been?
I know. I'll show you some local icons. This here is the Riff-Raff statue. It's of a transvestite.
Just across the road is one of Hamilton's several brothels. Look closely and you'll see the badly written sign on the door asking "girls" if they want to make "$$$".
Hey, don't get distracted, I'm trying to get my snark on . . . oh, you're looking at the river?
Yes, I suppose it is beautiful, isn't it? I guess I stopped thinking about it, but it is really.
Let's run you around some of the sights. This is Garden Place. There's plenty happening here at the moment. The local council puts on events all summer. The singers? Not sure who they are, but they're doing carols.
What are they singing about? Well, Christmas, I suppose, or Christ - the reason for the season and all that, unless you're Jewish or one of about a dozen other religions, then you . . .
Oh, you are Jewish? Sorry mate, we don't really have a setup for Hanukkah here, but you know. It's all in the same spirit.
OK, so this bit of town gets a bit less fashionable now. Lots of chemists and internet cafes and pornography shops, and, yeah, it's a bit rundown and sad - people in stained tracksuit pants waiting for the bus.
That's the Founders Theatre fountain. Yeah, some people go for a dip on hot days.
Wait! Jesus, don't run in there!
Well. You're back. That was embarrassing. First time I've seen you crack a smile all day, though.
Wait. What do you mean, "How do I know what your name is?"
I don't know your name, unless . . . Oh.
Happy birthday for tomorrow.
Joshua Drummond is a Hamilton freelance writer.
- Waikato Times
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