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July 30, 2012 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Mulled Whine With H.G. Beattie

I have never lived anywhere other than Wellington. I consider it my duty to defend this place from thieves and plunderers, by which I mean, from those who grew up in Hawke’s Bay and constantly bitch about our bad weather and lack of aquarium.

In seventh form, once I had established that my lack of practical skills precluded me from entering the trades, I remember being set on going to Auckland for university. September saw me applying online for a hostel. I carefully crafted 200 words of no-criminal-convictions, interested-in-the-community, naturally-straight-haired self-propagandizing bollocks. Clicking ‘Next’ and being told to rewrite this because the session had timed out was the first and final straw. In a spectacular display of laziness masquerading as spontaneity, my decision was made: I was going to Vic.

I missed the opportunity to be smug in departing what my schoolfriends considered our “tired” hometown. In conversation with my parents’ friends the summer after I finished school, I heard, more times than I could count “Oh, you’re just staying here? Not quite ready to leave? Don’t you want to experience student life?”

It was quite hard not to flare up defensively with “The only reason your daughter is leaving is because she has run out of Wellingtonians with whom to have a destructive relationships. Plus she has a tramp-stamp that you don’t know about.” I said things like “Vic will be good for that which I wish to study”, “miso content” and “I hear it’s cold in the Dunedin.”

A whole bunch of the Wellingtonians I knew left for other parts of the country to “experience life” (read: drunkenly critique neo-liberalism with other ex-private school kids.) A whole bunch of people came to live here. University holidays bizarrely invert things, just when you have become accustomed to them. All the friends you’ve expended time and effort in making leave, and all the ones you’re guilty of sub-standard communication with return. They tell you “Nothing’s changed here”, “My mum got upset today because I referred to Dunedin as ‘home’” and “I slept with my neighbour.” This kind of shit really casts my enrolment at Vic under the fluorescent light of self-doubt.

People that aren’t from here, or elected to leave, seem put out by Wellington’s students. In case you’re unenlightened, we—plus a select group of skillful fakers who “just weren’t understood back at home”—roll up our (camel, not maroon) pants, swan around drinking Chemex all day, and generally miss out because we don’t live down south in a flat with sixteen other people where one of the walls is missing and the standard excuse for promiscuity is, “It was freezing and our dads are both QCs, lol.”

Once I told someone that I was from Wellington and they said “Oh, that’s why you’re cool.” WRONG. Regardless of where I live, I am cool because just spent five minutes crafting a gag about the difference between Unbridled and Bridled Power being not so much MMP as BDSM. I am cool because when ordering the post-ironic mocha, I make sure the barista knows of my self-awareness in boldly deviating from the much safer long black and pinched expression. I am cool because I’m unconvinced that departing my hometown will automatically ensure my worldliness. Although I may write to the Mayor about an aquarium


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