If you get irritated by personalised number plates, take a look at this… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TlS_S9idHU&NR=1
It’s unorthodox to say the least, to compare economic eggheads and taxi drivers when it comes to perceptions of the economy, but let's take a shot. Eggheads say it's improving… but some of these are the same Jeremiahs who predicted a fifteen year downturn just last year. Many taxi drivers in Auckland and Wellington just shake their heads at predictions which indicate any improvement.
So in the end, you have to resort to your own observations...
In Auckland last week on what would have been a buzzy night out on the town just a few years ago, traffic on Hobson Street - one of the major city routes - was almost non-existent. The cab driver explained this was the way it had been since the recession bit hard: Less passengers, empty restaurants, more people staying home. There was however one place just off this road which was always packed around dinner time - the Auckland City Mission. Taxi!
Talk about staying home - sometimes it's for good reason, like watching the All Blacks once more turn grey playing test rugby. The game was on Sky, its natural home since the administrators decided to turn tests into what they call 'revenue streams'. This time viewing for those who didn't have Sky, was by invitation.
The Bok-Blacks contest was being played at Hamilton where, 28 years ago, the South Africans and the Waikato team had to abandon the game after the field was invaded by protesters. So it had all sorts of memories and a fascination for young people who were just babies at the time. The oldies talked about the tour, some telling a little shamefacedly how they'd slipped into a venue; others describing the protests outside Eden Park where one of the most commons sounds was the thwack thwack of police batons against marchers' three ply shields.
Just for a moment rugby was once again a widely shared experience - not a business. And that moment also showed how much we had lost from the days when everybody could see the games free - and feel it was part of us…
The Bathtub test During a visit to the mental asylum, I asked the director, "How do
you determine whether or not a patient should be institutionalised?"
"Well," said the director, "we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub."
"Oh, I understand," I said. "A normal person would use the bucket because it's bigger than the spoon or the teacup."
"No." said the director, "A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?"