I still don’t own a TV.

I’ve written about a heap of things since I started this here page. Being an ongoing project without a conceivable end-point, it’s inevitable that I repeat myself a few times at least in an attempt to find new stories to tell. If I’m ever unsure, I just use the site’s search function to scan what I’ve done so far. I spent about 15 minutes trying to find this one, but with no results, I was sure I’d written about it, but maybe I haven’t yet. I have my doubts (shameless plug). Who knows? Here goes:

Back in 2009-10 I worked down in Rotorua. It was a small town of about 60,000 people which, coming from “the big smoke” of Auckland seemed miniature. What was it? A town for ants? Anyway, being generally displeased with the layout and lack of social circles, I’d escape most weekends to flee back home. The drive was just over 2 hours, so I had time on the road. One time I got a call. I picked up the phone and answered:

Me: Hello?
Her: Hi there. I’m home, you can come and pick up the TV any time you want.
Me: That’s alright, I’ve already got one.
Her: What? You don’t want it any more?
Me: I never did. Mine’s not even plugged in. Computers exist, y’know?
Her: Well then why did you bid?
Me: I didn’t. I think you’ve just called the wrong number.
Her: *Laughs*. Oh, ok. Well thanks anyway. Bye.
Me: Bye.

And I hung up. About 30 seconds later I received another call. I saw it was from the same number:

Me: I still have my TV. That hasn’t changed.
Her: What?
Me: I don’t need your one. Mine works just fine. I think. Still don’t know if it’s plugged in.
Her: Oh, did I call you again? I’m so sorry.
Me: No worries. Have a good night.

I hung up again. 30 seconds later, another call:

Me: I guess at this point I might as well just take it.
Her: Oh shoot, did I call the wrong number again?
Me: Yeah, no biggie though. I’m driving, it’s not like I had anything important to do with my time.
Her: You’re driving?
Me: Yeah, just doing the Auckland to Rotorua drive. It’s a nice scenic journey. Company’s a rarity.
Her: Right. Okay this is gonna be kind of weird, but can I ask you a question?
Me: Sure, lay it on me.

And she proceeded to tell me her predicament. She was in her early 40s, a British woman. She’d met a man while on a business trip to Dubai that lasted a few months. They’d fallen fast and hard for each other and decided to make a life with one another. He told her that he was going to New Zealand to live, but had a couple of loose ends to tie up first. He asked her to join him. He suggested she go over, find a house and a school for her kid and he’d meet her there in a few months. A week before he was meant to arrive, he sent her an email saying that he couldn’t do it, it was asking too much of him. He skipped out on her. She was left with this life she’d set up awaiting his arrival, which was now set for never. Deciding to pack it all in, she’d been selling off her possessions, hence the television someone had purchased from Trademe (NZ Ebay, essentially). She asked my opinion on what she should do, whether she should do the honest thing and pay out the long term lease on her place? Or just skip the country and cross fingers that they never tracked her down.

I tried to give advice from my perspective as best I could, admitting that as a 23 year old male it was pretty far outside my life experience. We talked more, since I had nowhere to be and nothing to do. We came from different backgrounds, had different values and opinions. She asked me about my life and I told her as much of an overview as possible without telling her who I was. She was the one that suggested packing things in to follow my happiness rather than a career. We talked about world events and the human condition. I was cool and logical, she was fiery and emotional. We both offered one another a chance to see our lives through a diametrically opposed lens, adding depth to our views. 2 hours later the drive had finished and it was time to hang up. She said she wasn’t ready to finish the conversation. Could she call me back in 30 minutes? I figured it was too random a happenstance not to say yes to the experience.

She called back at 30 minutes on the dot. We continued to dissect each other’s lives and offer guidance when asked. We waxed lyrical about the arbitrary circumstances that’d brought this conversation into existence. After another hour I put the call to rest. She asked if she could get my contact details to further the communicative ties. I refused, saying that whatever cosmic alignment fashioned this occurrence would probably feel cheated if this dialogue were taken beyond a few words shared.

It was a weird, but organic experience that I could hardly replicate if I tried. Sometimes I wonder what happened to her. I hope she’s ok. Then again, if I really cared I’d probably trawl some “missed connections” pages to have a gander. Remind me about this the next time I say I’m bored.

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