The rest of New Zealand is this side of Paradise. Auckland is on the other side, and it's called Hell, c/- Level 4.
Locked down for four long weeks brings about that deadliest of the seven deadly sins: sloth. The city feels like it's on meds and not merely because everyone's in pyjamas. Do we wake or sleep? A drowsy numbness dulls the hours.
But through our opiate fog, our lockdown lethargy, we're aware that the rest of New Zealand is there for us, cheering us on, acknowledging our sacrifice of freedoms for the good of the country! You're welcome.
It's great that the rest of New Zealand is sending Auckland its thoughts, its prayers, its kia kahas and all that kind of thing. It's good for the soul of every imprisoned Aucklander in Level 4 to know that we have friends north and south of the border. We say thanks. We say cheers. We say yeah anyway what else have you got?
Best wishes are awesome. When someone is crook, and Auckland is crook as a dog, it's really good to receive condolences. Sympathy cards are a nice touch. But hospital visitors, and Auckland is a hospital case, always bring more than just a card they bought at the gift shop in the lobby.
As follows, a handy list of things that Auckland could really use, and appreciate, from the rest of New Zealand right now.
Food parcels from the deep fryer
Neighbours throughout Auckland are busily, generously ferrying baked good and hot meals to each other. I have a famous neighbour who brought over carrot cake yesterday. Gee it was good! I didn't have the heart to tell Paula that I don't like icing, and scraped it off with huge and ungrateful distaste.
But what we're all hanging out for is fries, fries, and fries with that. There's a reason that the first thing thousands of people do in Level 3 is storm to McDonald's, KFC, and the other franchises of salt and fat.
The food tastes like freedom. It tastes like capitalism at its finest. It tastes like the end product of an automated system of bells and honks in the boiler rooms of a dark satanic mill – it tastes like nothing anyone could ever cook at home. Anyway, please send us a Serious Angus, a Wicked Lunch, and fries, fries, fries. Plus fries.
The weather in Auckland throughout Level 4 has sucked. The gray, dull, cold skies drag their feet across the hours, like some kind of satire of Level 4. I write satire for a living and I don't appreciate the mocking that's going on. It's mean.
Also it rains a lot. It's nice to get some fresh air but there's always the hint or threat that we're about to get drenched; in that weather, everything looks kind of shabby and squalid, even the Waitematā. Anyway, please send us whatever sunshine looks like. No one here can remember.
A map of south of the border, and north of the border
Every day I see the 131 and 132 bus going hither and yon, keeping to the timetable, but without a single passenger. There's nowhere to go.
The thing about Level 4 is that you can't move. You're stuck, and so is everyone else on the isthmus; stuck at home, but also stuck in the province of Auckland, the borders guarded by Alsatians and men in khaki, probably. We're under lock and key. We're access denied. We're in the twilight zone.
Anyway, please send us a map of what it looks like beyond the fortress walls. Street maps of, I don't know, Cheviot or Herbertville welcome. It's that bad.
It's obviously very appealing. So appealing that the worst two people in the entire province of Tāmaki Makaurau broke Covid regulations and moral codes that separate homo sapiens from beasts to sneak out of Auckland and visit it.
I wrote a satire about the hapless duo on Tuesday and received several very angry emails from readers in the South Auckland who thought I was serious in my treatment of the couple as freedom fighters.
The clue to my feeling about them was in the lines comparing them to "primordial ooze…slime crawling from the swamps of privilege… creatures from a black lagoon where conscience and good character have never seen daylight." Yes, very subtle.
Anyway, please send us the damned Lake to discourage other rebels from breaking out of Level 4. They can just go around the corner and ooze themselves into it.