After a Sunday spent working at macpac (tramping, camping, and alpine... not burgers), I talked with a devout, slightly absentminded, conservative christian today. We conversed for an hour and a half rejecting, reflecting, and explaining ideologies. It was a damning and judgmental God against an all-loving and appreciative Creator in the center of a shopping strip sitting under the Arch of Remembrance. A series of disagreements and we both split after our final says on homosexuality.
I sat with a hippie for a bit after that. He played his classical guitar with blues riffs out of the southside of Chicago and a bit of jam band influence. Duct-taped shoes and recollections of trucking from Christchurch to Kaikoura, eased my tensions from the fire and brimstone fearing christian with auto-tint glasses, you know the ones that shade as you go into the sun. A quick walk around the corner and I hopped on the number three bus towards Sumner. I found a wallet skimming over the flats of the downward escalator. It was full of credit cards, but I did not check for cash. A walk with the folded leather above my head through the rows of asian tourists and I handed it over to the only RedBus employee on duty. The bus ride was interesting. I took a seat towards the back, on the raised level of the bus, french tourists on my right and a man with a yellow Pak n' Save bag took a seat in front of me. We traveled a bit and then the man in front removed his shirt, moving as if he were switching to a shirt from the bag. Not thinking much of it, I focused on the passing houses and trees. They rushed pass, not bothering to look back. He had a rough tattoo on his back, not rough in what it was, for I could not quite read it, but rather rough like it was done by hand. He seemed amped up and pretty angry, rocking back in forth in his seat, rolling a cigarette. He looked like a washed up Val Kilmer, "researching" his next roll based on a script that has yet to be written. As he yelled at the bus driver to let him off the bus, his tattoo read "100% white pride". I was shocked, but not surprised, if that makes any sense. My eyes scanned to the door as he left and back across the bus as he left. A group of asian tourists sat chatting a few rows up, oblivious to the hate from the seat in front of me.
For the life of me I could not think why these two people had pushed me out of my comfort zone, why they had the views they did, or why they were in my life today. Walking the two km up the hill, I felt the wind blow against my arms and face. The taste of wild tomatoes and the smell of roadside jasmine tingled my senses as my muscles started talking. I marveled at our ability to sense. The red leaves on a trimmed hedge seemed brighter and the air fresher. Finally the reason for the preceding events materialized. They are who I am not, therefore I can be. They are them so I can be me. And so my life in New Zealand continues.