Get over yourself Georgie Girl

So Georgie Girl is broke. She’s pulled out of the race for Mayor for Masterton saying that now her financial backer has passed away she can’t get the ten grand together to launch a Mayoral campaign. I always really liked Georgina Beyer – New Zealand’s first transsexual mayor and later MP and was amazed that she could have come to represent the people of a place like Carterton, a place I thought would have been extremely conservative and leaning fairly heavily to the right in its preferences. She was elected Mayor of Carterton for two terms so she must have done something right in those early days because I hardly think the old boys on the farms round the district would have put up with too much of a flibbertigibbet even if she did used to be a bloke too. Her undoing seems to have been to become an MP, and having imbibed the rarefied air that seems to turn the most centred heads engendering illusions of grandeur she assumes that any other job is now beneath her.I guess you have to do more than be special when the novelty factor wears off in politics and that’s what Georgina seems to be struggling with when she says that she can no longer work for only $500 a week in a real life job. I hate to break it to her but lots of us have to work for that amount and there are forestry and agricultural workers who do back breaking dangerous work for the same. If Georgina is saying that they should be paid more and there needs to be an increase in the minimum wage then I can see her point but I think what she was really saying was that having worked in publicly elected office for over 14 years the world somehow owes her and surely she should get one of the cushy jobs for the boys even if she no longer technically is one. Georgina now says she’s going to sign up for the dole or head off to Australia to look for work which goes to show that although she’s left the drag queen days behind the drama queen in her is alive and kicking.

Mayoral campaigns either seem to attract the hard-nosed business or developer contingent or the status hungry show ponies who go for the bling and the ribbon cutting highlights of it all. The odd few (and I had thought that Georgina Beyer might have once been one of those) who go into local politics who are already financially stable and genuinely want to contribute to the community seem to often lack the pizzazz or even the mongrel determination to weather out a mayoral campaign. Perhaps it’s just a case of the long economic good years we’ve had that have made a whole generation forget what it is like to be out of work – I still don’t think this recession has affected employment levels like the one in the early nineties did.

I remember leaving university for six months when I only had a year left because I could no longer afford living costs. I applied for a job as a receptionist for a government department. The work was dreary, brainless and very badly paid. Over 170 people applied for that job. I lied about my experience (everyone’s answered a phone haven’t they?) got it and then watched as a department of over 300 people got whittled down to less than eighty in a Rogernomics spring clean. I learnt to love the job that I’d loathed simply because it paid my rent and let me save enough to get back into uni. Surely as a former working girl Georgina should know what really hard work is and that unless you’re very privileged or have led a ridiculously sheltered life, there often comes a time when a girl’s just gotta roll up her sleeves and do what she’s gotta do to put food on the table and keep a roof over her head. Just ask all those immigrant architects, oncologists and pharmacists that are driving taxis round Auckland every single day of the week.

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Grey Heron

He’s back. I didn’t see when he got in. Usually I’d be waiting for him he’s so punctual I could mark my calendar by his visits but I’ve been so busy – not really taking stock. I should have known it’d be around now that he’d show up – the winter is practically interminable – I’ve been looking up real estate in places where it never rains, (Spain, the salt plains of Bolivia) and my family have that slightly pallid mossy look of Siberian exiles. I’d missed all the other signs too: tuis - the equivalent of aerial boyracers round the wild cherry trees, the high tide marks of yellow pine pollen in the puddles of rain – winter is slowly veering off her indefatigable course and meandering towards Spring. This Winter seems to have been a Long March or rather a Manic Morris Dance of busyness where there is an unspoken rule that all slackers, backsliders, fluffers or dilly dallyers will be summarily executed.

There is no time to smell the roses because they need to be pruned fertilised harvested and exported to Japan as part of a business development project on which you have to write a 3000 word essay. Every now and then I have a ‘Truman Show’ moment where I suspect the director of Speed is secretly documenting a B grade version of the movie which is my life – except I’m no Sandra Bullock and I have no idea of how to drive a bus.
Life comes in a series of rushed lists of things to do:
Wake up and consider that if Time really were money I’d be borrowing a whole lot more of it right now.
Try to remember to look hot.
Get real.
Revise and check cardigan is not inside out.
Spend ridiculous amount of time looking for hairbrush and vow to have it surgically attached to small person’s body.
Tell small person that eating breakfast with roller skates on will not make her eat faster. Remember fluoride and give it to kid – wonder if she will grow two heads and decide that’s better than tooth decay.
Think vaguely ahead to dinner plan for after work – check emails and find there are 568 and are overwhelmed so delete all and thank the universe that I’ve never signed up for Facebook seeing as I never see the real friends that I actually have.
Vow to shag husband sometime in the next millennium who then yells as leaving driveway for me to do six different jobs in town that involves a degree in strategic management to accomplish between finishing work and picking child up.
Revise shagging idea and resolve instead not to think evil stabby thoughts re: partner in life. Decide to re-read ‘The Art of Time Management’. Flick to the Chapter on how to say ‘no’. Decide I have no time to read it.
Remember back to those distant days where I spent weeks on end doing nothing but riding horses or mucking round on boats and can’t remember ever actually making the decision that I was wasting my time and that I should get a job. Or house. Or partner or kid for that matter. Trip over rollerskates as dashing out the door and am just about to go completely nuclear when the small person grabs my hand and says: “Stop Mummy Look!!!!” And there he is.

Composed as a Chinese emperor, yet lackadaisical in a cocky kind of way. Long legged and skinny with a rolling gait. An avian Sam Hunt remembering his lines. We hold our breaths and wait and watch. He measures out our garden in long slow easy strides this grey heron. Like a property developer surveying his investment after an extended vacation overseas - he comes back in the same week of every year to start making his nest. He also reminds me to slow down - and that winter is almost over.

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Something about elections

There's something about election hoardings that make the people whose photos stalk us round the town look like someone who has just escaped the lunatic asylum.

Perhaps it's the determined grins emanating stalwart trustworthiness and wholesome values or the faultless hair and the leaning forward posture or the pensive pose which could signal warmth but somehow suggests something more sinister. Who are these people with the fulsome grins?

And, more importantly _ why should they get our vote? Like many people dog-paddling hard against the current economic climate, I haven't had a lot of time to carefully analyse exactly who is offering the best dance card for the next few years or who I want putting their face forward to the rest of the country to represent me.

So I did what can only be described as politically irresponsible and invited some friends over plied them with alcohol and food and asked them who I should vote for.

The results were varied and entirely without any rational base as could only be expected. There were mutterings of the importance of delivering on infrastructural improvements. I had no idea what that meant except it caused the other side of the table to erupt in boring outbursts which included phrases such as `not at the expense of putting rate-payers in debt for the next 50 years' thereby restricting, apparently, the options on what we can do with our poo. Yawn. Then there was the contingent who insisted that Whangarei needed to concentrate on the 4 F's. This was met with lots of silly and fairly lewd suggestions until it was established that this meant: forestry, fishing, fruit and foreigners. We needed a mayor who would have some kind of vision which included this, rather than one who'd go haring off after oil or mineral resources _ unless the local populace was going to get a decent slice of the pie by being offered better work options_ at which everyone laughed cynically. Sigh. Someone suggested it would be nice to have Mayors who did not confuse public good with their own good or have trouble with differentiating legality from morality. The conversation was going nowhere fast and my cunning plan to forsake any kind of decision making and follow my lunatic friends’ voting behaviour thereby safely abdicating on any form of politically responsible role- taking was in danger of being abandoned entirely. It was at this point that we decided to play `Breakfast Cereal' whereby you say a name and then decide if that Mayoral Candidate were in fact a breakfast cereal which one they would be. I know. Immature, irresponsible, highly unlikely to produce any form of a sensible outcome, yet entirely diverting. My favourite kind of game. Unfortunately New Zealand’s libel laws suffer from a serious lack of a sense of humour which prevents me from printing the conversation that ensued. I’ll therefore leave you to decide which mayoral candidate, if they were a breakfast, would be ‘Hair of the Dog’? Who then, was the honey puff? Who was weet-bix and who, according to over two thirds of the table – was a certified fruit loop? And who – if you are going to wake up to them in the morning – would you want for breakfast? For the next few years? Someone wanted the fruit loop because at least he wasn’t boring and could be counted on for colourfully arbitrary quotes. Someone else wanted ‘Hair of the dog’ because it’s never a good idea to get sober too quickly and as far as he was concerned this political party was just getting started. Someone else wanted to know what happens to honey puffs if someone else was mean to them. Would they stay fresh, stay crisp, stay good all the time?

Bugger. My friends are obviously morons. There’s only one thing for it. I’m going to have to go and listen to the candidates and make up my own mind.

I just hope that while I’m being submitted to the power of fulsome grins and posing pensiveness that I won’t be singing ‘keep looking for that funny honey bee.. honey puffs are yours and mine’ while I’m trying to come to some sensible sort of a decision.

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