Grafton Residents Association

Some injured people are very rude

I didn’t see the Grafton Residents Association newsletter in the mail slot until it was too late.

The single-sheet circular announced a General Meeting on April 13th, which had already passed.

Jacquie and I weren’t too disappointed to miss out on the fun.

Me and the old-lady just moved to the neighborhood, so we had yet to accumulate a list of grievances of sufficient length to warrant the meandering, slobbering public harangue we’d always looked forward to making as proud homeowners.


You can bet your life the GRA will get an earful from me next meeting, when I excoriate their tardy communications, no matter how indifferent I am to checking my letterbox.

Who the hell wants to check their mailbox? It’s either a bill, an advertisement, or a letter from your grandma without a check inside. It’s all bad news.

I’ll probably lead with that in my remarks to the GRA at the next meeting. I’ve got 20 minutes of material already. I haven’t even gotten past complaining about my grandmother yet.

In retrospect, I started looking forward to addressing one of the agenda items a week too late, after all. Bummer. Item 4: Local Issues was right up my alley. It read, I mean It still reads (ie, I haven’t twinked it yet):

A number of local issues have been taken up with Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and others. For example, we have received complaints about some helicopters going to and coming from the hospital, taking short cuts across the residential area. This has caused noise problems, especially at night.

Having mistaken myself for a journalist in the past, I instinctively put out some feelers. Communicating with the inside sources was very deep throat, very cloak and dagger, very click-here-for-more-information. They helped me to clarify to myself, in time for the next GRA meeting, in what direction I will publicly spew my bilious indignation.

They confirmed that Westpac Rescue Helicopter had received complaints, Westpac apologized, and their pilots are once-again faithfully adhering to flight paths designed to mitigate noise in residential areas. So, no darms. Another bummer.

Speaking strictly for myself, I thought,

Man, it takes a bit of cheek to complain about a rescue helicopter making noise. Aren’t people in rescue helicopters literally at death’s door? Isn’t that, like, their main qualification for being in the helicopter in the first place? Doesn’t bad shit happen all the time? Isn’t it better to land a patient as quick as possible so that they don’t die, or end up a vegetable that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer funding to maintain its oh so special existence? Did I amend my will to make sure Jacquie DOES or DOESN’T unplug me if I end up in a coma? I really should get that will sorted out. Maybe I’ll bring this up at the next GRA meeting.

Then my thoughts trailed off to something else entirely.

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The point is, at first, I thought the complainers were being assholes.

But then I remembered what a light sleeper I am, and how cranky I can be without at least a solid seven. What if a helicopter rushed over my house at three in the morning because someone in Dargaville let their kid stay up all night drinking Jack Daniels and riding their bicycle into telephone polls. Is that any reason for me to be irritable and tired the next day?

You may think that’s a really mean thing to write. I used to be as naive as you. Look at all the benefits to society that delaying medical treatment to a head trauma from Dargaville—or any place. I’m just picking names out of hat, really. Do we really want that drunken kid mixing his (demonstrably undesirable) DNA with the old national gene pool? No, because he’ll grow up to sire kids that will get drunk and ride their bicycles into telephone poles. You see what I mean?

That’s how I started coming around to the other way of thinking. I live across the road from the hospital, and though the helicopters don’t fly overhead any more, these hospital people and me, we don’t see eye-to-eye all the time, as you can see from Episode 3 of my webseries Let’s Get Fixed.


And really, at heart, I’m all about being a good neighbor. I look forward to fighting with all of them.