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The Starfish

May 11th, 2010 by the_lifer

“Get in the car! I said, get in the car! Get in the car NOW!” Helena Hutt takes the deep breaths familiar to any mummy trying very hard not to scream at the children. Right now she is driving them all to an ear specialist doctor, 30 minutes and a parking nightmare away in Newtown. After a week hauling them up hill and down, they are all frazzled and carsick. She takes another breath. It’s not their fault. It’s not even her fault. She blames what she has named The Starfish.

Wellington’s geography has its center in, not surprisingly, downtown Wellington. But it’s a small center, and other neighborhoods extend from it where the steep hills and crevasses of Wellington geology allow. The result is an entire region split into separated valleys, as if you were driving around the interior of a starfish, and you had to go back to the center to get to another limb of the starfish.  In response, Wellingtonians take on a neighborhood parochialism and a dislike of driving that seems strange to those who dwell in other parts of Aotearoa – until they, too, try driving hill roads in a Wellington storm, or finding a parking place downtown.

Meanwhile, deep in another limb of the starfish, louche cad Wayland is similarly irritated by Wellington’s psychogeography.  It makes it easy to “see” a couple of women at once,  without worrying about them meeting up and exchanging confidences. But the petrol bill and speeding tickets are adding up. Bored with his current paramour, he is texting around his exes to see if any of them are in the mood for a reconciliation. ‘hi what’s up thinkin ‘bout you lately’, sent to six women, brings three responses. One reply text uses perfect grammar and punctuation. Wayland reads it thoughtfully. “Bought a house in Hataitai, eh?”

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  • […] with bugs that go around. What’s interesting in Wellington is that you can track them against The Starfish geography of the region. How long has it taken That Cold to get from Island Bay on the west coast […]