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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Christchurch: A CIty on Edge

The sun has appeared this morning in Christchurch. After three sodden days, its fantastic to see blue sky. It's chilly however. The gauge outside says 8 degrees and dew tips the grass outside like pearls of twinkling light.

Choppers fly overhead continually and the constant "whop whop" when you wake up instantly remind you that its not an ordinary day.

After coming back from town last night, I dropped into the local to catch up with friends I hadn't seen since before the 22nd and it was a relief to see all of us and our families are ok. We decompress, have a drink and swap stories that all begin with "Christ, did you see........" or " I heard that such-and-such is trapped....... ".

An argument breaks out between the local village idiot and another bloke and a scuffle ensues. The twits are separated and dressed down for their behaviour over a trivial matter. Both gents (both are in their 50's and should know better) however continue to mutter in their respective corners.

And that's what its like over the city. Beneath a veneer of calm and control, anger and frustration seethes like oil on water. People in town struggle to maintain calm and civility while waiting for loved ones to be found or rescued or to go back to work clearing rubble. Sadness is written on every face but it only takes a wrong word or some misunderstanding to turn those features into anger.

And it's understandable. Everyone is on edge. Everyone is waiting for something. Whether it's for a loved one to return, a body to be unearthed, a cup of water at the welfare station or a building to collapse, we are all hanging on by our fingertips.

And sometimes you've just gotta wave your arms.

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