When calling within New Zealand, I use a dumb cousin rather than a smart phone. I haven’t a clue why Kiwis call basic cell phones dumb cousins but they do. I’m fond of my dumb cousin; it might not have all the bells and whistles of a smart phone but it gets the job done. Furthermore, it never, ever, corrects me. I appreciate that small kindness. It may take a while to tap, tap, tap on a number, in order to select the desired letter when sending a text message but brevity is the soul of wit. You can rest assured, that any confusing or amusing text was organic and not machine generated. Eager to please, smart phones rush in, where angels fear to tread, completing a word after a few letters. Sometimes the supplied word is right and sometimes, it is oh so wrong. ‘Acting like smart phone’, would be a great update for the old adage, ‘jumping to conclusions’. I wonder if our phones were designed to sometimes interoperate new information incorrectly in error or in solidarity?
A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. New surrondings ignite the smart phone side of my brain and I have received some strange cranial texts, while exploring Ohope. When something seems a little bit familiar, my mind soars on flights of fancy, as it sorts and categorizes the new observation. It takes but a fragment of something that is known and expands it exponentially, into the realm of the unknown. And much like pounding a square peg into a round hole- it doesn’t quite fit. Eventually, the sensible dumb cousin wakes up, corrects the absurb misinterpretation and my imagination returns safely to earth. Sometimes the reassertion of rational thinking happens quickly and sometimes not.
Magical Thinking happens every time I cycle the spit of land, that is Ohope Beach. By the time I reach the junction of earth, sea and sky at land’s end, the wind has emptied all rational thoughts from my mind and Magical Thinking rushes in, filling the void. How else can I explain my fanciful friendship?
One day I was deep in the weeds, after cresting the last hill on Harbor Road. My mind had drifted a million miles away, when it was brought back with a jerk. My friend Lois, was driving toward me in her baby blue Jaguar. This was fantastic! Lois and her husband had said they were coming to visit and here she was in Ohope, coming to say hello. Mind you, my brain didn’t sweat the small details. The fact that it would be a mighty long drive across the continental United States from Connecticut to California and an even longer ferry ride across the Pacific Ocean, was inconsequential. Lois drove a blue jag, this was a blue jag, ergo it was Lois. Smarty Pants, smart phone had it all sorted in a jiffy. I waved to beat the band. Not only did I startle the pheasants in the bush, who rose flapping and squawking but the car’s surprised driver as well. Oops! Not Lois. The friendly, albeit bemused driver, returned my wave and thus our friendship began. At least in my mind.
Quite often, I would encounter the blue Jag, on that same stretch of road and we would wave cheerily to one another. I never learned who he was (besides,’ Not Lois’) until New Year’s Eve. Mr. Bill and I were having dinner at The Quay with our friends (real ones not imaginary ones) when the blue jag rolled up to the curb and parked opposite our table. I nearly jumped out of my seat, I was so excited. I blurted out, “That’s my friend! We wave to each other all the time”! Gavin, who knows everybody, said, ” that is Sir____ (using name suppression to protect him). He is a retired Minister of _____ (now using title suppression). Oh my stars! I am friends with a knight! Never mind magical thinking, this story is now a fairy tale!
Dear Readers, whether your brain sprints like a smart phone or strolls like a dumb cousin, enjoy the ride- don’t dial it in! And may all your fairy tales come true.
Post Script- My friend Lois did indeed come to visit but she sensibly came by Air New Zealand. While visiting us, her husband, Nick, drove from Ohope, all the way around the East Cape to Gisborne and back via the Gorge Road in one afternoon, which is no small feat. It it well and truly astonishing. Nick even had two flat tires from his encounter with a wee landslip but they made it back in time for dinner.