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January, 2009

  1. Lefter 7 ~ fear

    January 21, 2009 by emweb

    What are you afraid of? It strikes me that wealthy people have an inordinate fear of other people and are incredibly over protective of their misbegotten gains. 

    I live in an area in Auckland that used to be a humming hotbed of racial intermix, a favoured abode of musicians, hippies, lefties, poets and writers. 

    Used to be. 

    Now that it’s considered desirable – in many ways thanks to the community efforts and creativity of those aforementioned dwellers – it’s becoming a white suburb in which wealthy people move in and rebuild the once working-class medium-sized bungalows and villas into multi-storied mansions, almost inevitably with big ‘f__k-off’ gates in the new high walls surrounding them. 

    Since wealth is tied to the right, and as I have mentioned before, the right seems to rely on fear and loathing to build solidarity, I guess this makes sense.

    But what are they afraid of, actually? If a person is robbed, it’s bad. No one enjoys being robbed. But rich people can not only, presumably, afford to replace items much more easily, they inevitably have really good insurance policies as well. 

    So it must be more than fear of basic theft. It must be related to sense of self, and self worth.

    A bizarre thing happened a couple of weeks ago which brought this phenomenon more to my attention. I went to a little bay near Takapuna for a swim, driving the little old family car with two teenagers in it, plus my partner. As I turned into the street leading to the beach, one lined with extremely expensive big houses, I noticed a new VW Beetle following us. There were no parking places left so I went down to the end of the cul-de-sac and, OK a little naughty I guess, double-parked while everyone jumped out. This was a speedy process. I would meet them at the beach after parking the car. 

    I heard a toot and looked up and the VW was aimed amidships of our car, engine idling. 

    “Just be a moment, sorry!” I yelled out. I waited a few more seconds so my family could grab their towels and what not and prepared to drive off.

    But this guy wasn’t having any of it. 

    He jumped out of the passenger side of the Beetle (a woman was driving) and yelled “M-a-t-e” (which I most certainly was not), “It’s my driveway.”

    “I know,” I said pleasantly enough, “I’m just going”. 

    “It’s not good enough, it’s my driveway,” he wheedled.

    My partner, always positive, said something like “Relax, it’s a beautiful day, isn’t it? We’re just going.”

    But he made an angry retort. So did I. Anyway, I drove off, shaking my head in disbelief, and parked around the corner. As I walked back, I noticed this guy stalking about with a pad and pen writing down the number plates of every car he thought infringed his, or someone else’s, property in some way. How galling it must have been that part of his driveway formed a portion of the public access to the beach – but he must have known that when he moved in and rebuilt his fortress, surely?

    For the amazing thing is (he scurried off when he saw me coming) I saw that he lived in an absolute stone-block-constructed several-storey mansion with amazing views out to Rangitoto, fronting the black rocks by the cute little beach. It was surrounded by a high block wall and every few metres there was a sign stating that trespassers would be prosecuted and the house and environs was under constant surveillance. It was more like a castle than a house. 

    Nice life, huh? What an idiot. 

    My daughter thinks it’s guilt at having what you shouldn’t have.