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Stress and The City

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Samantha Lee
Samantha Lee

I remember the first time I knew I wanted to live in the city.
There was one thing, besides the tall buildings, besides the busy, sophisticated people, besides the skyline at night.
Yes, those wonderful flying rats that congregate in Aotea Square and try to intimidate you by sheer force of numbers into giving up your Subway.
You may think this is an odd thing to sway a person in the all important Where Shall I House Myself When I’m Older question, but cut me some slack.
I was five. Remember how you used to be able to buy bird seed and then you could feed the pigeons? And then half of them used to come and land on you?
And this was before bird flu, animal rights, and germophobia?
Okay, well, we did this, smack bang in the middle of the city, and quite frankly it was Seriously Cool. It was like being a pigeon whisperer, and I remember thinking that if I lived in the city, I would get to do this do this all the time!
Now, this was not in fact an accurate representation of city life, but that’s okay.
The decision was made, and I’m now a five-year city dweller (badge and everything), points for me.
Haven’t fed many pigeons, lately, but still I feel confident in calling myself a card carrying member of the Big Little City. I haven’t been given the key to the gate yet though, but I’m holding onto to hope.
However, the dream has been somewhat crushed recently…not enough to consider moving to a place where they have parking you don’t pay for and at least two metres between houses, but enough to consider moving to an apartment not the size of a shoe box.
So this week my neighbours, lovely people most of the time, decided to extend their usual 4pm to 5pm karaoke session to the entire night. This would not have been a problem as I don’t mind a little karaoke with my sour cream and chives pasta, but they decided to play Madonna.
Repeatedly. Loudly.
And there are only so many times you can listen to Mads before you seriously consider going postal.
3 a.m. came, with much door slamming and Drunk Laughing. Drunk Laughing, which is so much worse than normal laughing, don’t you think?
I couldn’t take it any more, went next door in my sexy nana jumper and fluffy uggs and had a confrontation.
But, it’s okay.
They started on Bruce Springsteen.
Not ideal, but an improvement.
To make myself feel better I decided to indulge in some retail therapy, which was not so much retail as therapy, considering the pitiful state of my bank account after two small purchases. Go, the recession!
But, feeling marginally better and working my Borders and JB Hi-Fi bags down High Street, I hit a slippery patch of concrete.
 And fell head over heels, and not in a good way.
The worst thing about falling on High Street with your shopping is not the potential damage to your stuff, but the collective, horrified “Oh!” uttered by the crowd. (Did I mention there was a crowd?)
But, it’s okay.
One of the staring masses helped pick me up and put my phone back together, which I’d smashed, and so I managed to recover with a modicum of grace and dignity and proceeded down the street, phone, shopping and pride relatively intact.
Then I encountered The Smoker.
This is not to say there is only one smoker in Auckland, who has managed to gain status equal to The Rock.
Nope, The Smoker embodies all smokers, everywhere, who, really, don’t give a rat’s that you’re trying desperately to avoid lung cancer.
Instead, The Smoker moseys down the street, in the middle of the lane, so that no matter how many times you politely cough or attempt to pass them, the moron continues to puff away. I mean, if you want to be addicted to something, go for it. I don’t care. But I don’t go round forcing other people to drink caffeine, don’t force me to inhale your second- hand smoke.
Okay. Rant over.
But, it’s okay.
Even then, I was determined to recover. I was Going. To Be. Happy.
So, having successfully ducked and weaved around The Smoker, on the way home, I went to my dairy, conveniently located about twenty seconds from my apartment.
I loaded up on the most sickening comfort foods you could possibly hope to find, in anticipation of a happy couple of hours spent systematically destroying all recent efforts at healthy eating, and watching DVD’s in which George Clooney is a cad…but a lovable one.
10 seconds later, I’m waiting in my apartment building for the lift.
The door opens, and out steps…Mr Male Model.
Now, this guy lives in my building, we’ve had a nice friendly (possibly flirty) Pointed Look or two, and yes, he is pretty hot.
He took one look at me, laden with half the Potato Chip section of the dairy, and the Pointed Look became a smirk.
All hopes, (real and imagined) completely dashed.
But, it’s okay.
The chips were really nice.
Clearly, I’m not enjoying my week.
 I’m not enjoying almost getting run over daily by various idiots that cannot grasp how to use an indicator, the crap weather is making all attempts at walking anywhere a military style exercise, my daily commute to work is already darker and seems to be getting longer as winter continues.
Is anyone else feeling the blues? No? Seriously, even the bloody pigeons seem to be in a foul mood. (No pun intended… maybe intended.)
My apartment is cold.
I have a hole in my favourite stockings.
I. Am. Not Happy.
At this point in time, City Living can be a pain in the ass.
But, it’s okay.
Some people have real problems.
Enjoy the rest of your week!

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