Arrowtown book buyer Miranda Spary continues her regular
column about her recommendations for a good read and life as
she sees it ...
It's always appalling when something terrible has happened to
you and the rest of the world carries on regardless of your
pain and sadness.
This week has been so full of tragedy for so many people.
I can't stop thinking about Julianne Kramer's and Emma
Taylor's family and friends, and I can't even imagine how
Argentinian Carolina Patron Costas' family are coping after
the news their beautiful daughter died in a car crash on
Sad times indeed.
But there's been good news as well.
I'm still on cloud nine after Barack Obama's win last week.
Honestly, I couldn't see how he could have lost unless every
black American, every Hispanic American, every gay American,
every immigrant and every intelligent woman failed to vote.
That doesn't leave many people on the other team!
Jim Bolger, the former New Zealand prime minister spoke at a
United World College meeting at the Queenstown Resort College
a few years back and commented that every year, less and less
of the world power is held by old, rich, white, Christian,
English-speaking males, and while the younger generation
already knows it, the older one struggles to accept it.
We were in Dunedin at the weekend picking up the two
stragglers still at Otago. If you ever have a day thinking
your house is a bit messy and dirty, a quick trip to a
Dunedin student flat will straighten out your worries. If any
family lived in houses as grotty as these, the landlords
would be in terrible trouble. But students love it.
I suppose it's nice knowing however dire the straits you find
yourself in in the future, you will never live in such
primitive conditions again.
Although with the job market for graduates getting weaker and
weaker, the upgrade to more salubrious surroundings might get
slower and harder.
Of course they could copy my darling and me and just move
back in with the parents.
Flatting with the pensioners is proving jolly good fun,
although given that my darling and my parents are all a bit
deaf, it's often tricky following a conversation.
It's a lot like the hilarious stories in David Lodge's
Deaf Sentence, one of my favourite novels.
The Wakatipu is just getting better and smarter and more
exciting all the time.
Ginger Meggs, the Christchurch hairdressing icon, has come to
town in a sexy little space at the back of Seletti in Beach
St. Do go and look at the ceiling - it's fabulous! And clever
Jane Shaw, whose Provisions cafe has made so many Arrowtown
locals happy, is now going to be doing her cheery thing at
the Frankton Marina for everyone on the other side of the
And it's been great meeting Adam Feeley, our new council CEO
- I've got the hugest respect for anyone who puts themselves
in the public firing line and I feel really confident having
someone with his qualifications and experience will make the
elected officers' jobs and everyone's life in the Wakatipu
happier and easier.
I've realised that one of the biggest things I've missed
while I've been away is daily trivia and gossip and nonsense.
I don't speak anything like enough Turkish to eavesdrop
effectively and hearing everything in English again is a joy.
At the dentist on Monday, the receptionist was giggling as a
lady had rung and just as the phone was answered, a pneumatic
drill started up in the street outside. The patient had to be
reassured it wasn't the dentist making that noise. Jamie
Hopkirk is the gentlest dentist on the planet and the thought
of him frightening patients makes me giggle as well.
Eavesdropping is only one of my numerous bad habits, but I'm
not going to give it up any time soon - I'm addicted to other
Habits are what make us the people we are, and habits are
also what help lots of businesses make lots of money. The
Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg is all about why we do
the things we do, and it makes for alarming reading.
Harnessing customers' habits is lucrative and the case
studies are fascinating - we really are creatures of habit. I
hoped there would be some hints on how to change bad habits
into good ones, but I'm not convinced that my brain would
consider a nice brisk walk or a cosy chat as a replacement
for something sweet at afternoon tea time.
This book is no match for Malcolm Gladwell's brilliant The
Tipping Point about how trends start, but it's still