Thursday, April 22, 2010

Does anyone still work in Wellington?

I flew to the capital yesterday to meet a friend at 5.30 p.m. at Queens Wharf. I was about 40 minutes early. I asked myself, what would my father-in-law do? (He is my role model in situations like this.)

So within minutes I was sitting in Dockside with a glass of Neudorf chardonnay. The place was buzzing. Four men in late middle age were at the bar, clearly all well on the way and all talking bollocks (sample quote: “The Morioris got here first and then the Maoris came along and ate them all”). There was a large party of large, red-faced men down the other end who had clearly lunched extremely well and were ordering more bottles of wine. There were three or four smaller but otherwise similar groups. Probably thirty or so people in all, pissing up large on a Wednesday afternoon during office hours. It was like Marbles restaurant in Kelburn in 1985, or the Marble Bar in Cable Car Lane in 1986 (as described in my book The Dirty Decade: New Zealand in the 80s).

Twice this year I’ve been to Wellington for meetings that start at 9 a.m. I’m always early (flights from Hamilton are awkward), the office doesn’t open until 9 so I go to a nearby cafĂ© to wait. It is always busy: almost all inside and outside tables are occupied by professional-looking types since we are in the heart of the business district. But at 9 a.m. I am the only person to get up and walk purposefully away – the others stay on chatting, drinking coffee, texting and, if outside, smoking.

I don’t know. I suppose it’s all right but it’s not what I’m used to.


Anonymous said...

I bet none of them were talking about ck stead

Stephen Stratford said...

I was reading the Economist so wasn't really attending to the conversations - apart from the racist bollocks at the bar - but I believe you may be right.

bk drinkwater said...

You should have been here this afternoon: there was a power cut between 2:00 and 4:40. Whole streets of offices emptied, and the few bars and cafes that stayed open were packed. Or so I'm told... my workplace has a generator :(

Stephen Stratford said...

"the few bars [. . .] that stayed open were packed."

I rest my case.

Keri H said...

here are very good reasons I never - now- go into cities, of any kind, anywhere-