Our behaviour at traffic lights offers a rare insight into the human condition at the best of times. Now Aucklanders are 66 days deep into lockdown, things are starting to get weird – and Brian Tamaki isn’t helping. James Elliott on the news of the week.
It’s Labour Weekend. As a Level 3-confined Aucklander I will be simulating the traditional Auckland Labour Weekend experience by sitting in a stationary car for several hours with the windscreen wipers on. Ironic then that the PM Jacinda Ardern has just announced a new traffic light-based Covid management system under which we’re all stuck on a red for the time being.
I’m assuming the PM didn’t get my email suggesting Auckland be recategorised under Alert Level pi – that’s a base alert level of 3.14, but wait there’s more. With pi currently defined to 31.4 trillion places and still counting, you can use Alert Level pi to account for any number of consecutive lockdown days at either Level 3 or Level 4 without any part of that numerical sequence repeating. For example, in the 66 days since August 17, Auckland has been under Alert Level pi 3 . 1 4 1 5 9 2 6 5 3 5 8 9 7 9 3 2 3 8 4 6 2 6 4 3 3 8 3 2 7 9 5 0 2 8 8 4 1 9 7 1 6 9 3 9 9 3 7 5 1 0 5 8 2 0 9 7 4 9 4 4 5 9 2 3 0 7. And counting. If you’re reading this on Saturday add an 8. On Sunday it’s a 1.
I tuned in early to the PM’s TV announcement this morning so I caught the last few minutes of Suzanne Paul spruiking a treadmill. My initial assumption was that it was an infomercial but it then occurred to me that it might have been a public service announcement – being stuck on a treadmill listening to Suzanne Paul for the duration of Alert Level pi could well be the fifth sign of the apocalypse. If so, then just another PSA reminder that the fourth sign of the apocalypse is when any attempt to play music or a podcast on any platform automatically defaults to the Mike Hosking Breakfast Show.
My reckon on the application of the traffic light Covid system to Auckland is that it must have been devised exclusively by Wellingtonians, a well-meaning and sensibly-dressed group who have no clue whatsoever as to how Aucklanders actually behave at traffic lights.
And a further reminder that even under apocalyptic circumstances you won’t hear Jacinda discussing traffic light levels with Mike. Because he’s Mike, and we’ve been over this before. Which isn’t to say that his Breakfast Show doesn’t have its uses. If you’re home schooling under Alert Level orange 2.whatever and one of your children asks what constipation sounds like you can tune in to Mike Hosking Breakfast to show them.
My reckon on the application of the traffic light Covid system to Auckland is that it must have been devised exclusively by Wellingtonians, a well-meaning and sensibly-dressed group who have no clue whatsoever as to how Aucklanders actually behave at traffic lights. In Auckland, a red light is a reminder that you’re entitled; part of that entitlement being that you are entitled not to stop for red lights. An orange light is actually the prompt to cross the intersection because a green light is the reminder that you’re an influencer and you need to stay stopped while updating your multiple social media accounts as to the number of red lights you ignored on the way to the North Shore influencer party at the weekend.
Under the traffic light system, Brian Tamaki will now be charged as a jaywalker, and a serial offender at that. “Why is Brian Tamaki courting the condemnation of the courts?” is a good question. “Why is Brian Tamaki?” is an even better one.
Another challenge presented by the traffic light system will be rejigging a number of words and expressions that we’ll be using to describe our new response to the pandemic. For example, in the last fortnight, Brian Tamaki has been charged twice with breaching Alert Level 3 restrictions. Under the traffic light system, Brian Tamaki will now be charged as a jaywalker, and a serial offender at that. “Why is Brian Tamaki courting the condemnation of the courts?” is a good question. “Why is Brian Tamaki?” is an even better one.
The speculation that Brian Tamaki is making a martyr of himself is probably accurate, and also consistent with his penchant for making up titles for himself. Having appointed himself a bishop and having anointed himself an apostle the only gigs left higher up the ladder of theological self-advancement are martyr, Pope and deity – and at least one of those is already taken. Of course the prerequisite for sainthood is the performance of miracles but he’s got that covered – it is indeed miraculous that so many people are prepared to fund his lifestyle to the extent they do. Behold Saint Brian, the patron saint of direct debit tithing.
There isn’t a patron saint of vaccination, and yes I did ask Google that exact question. Right after I asked Google to define pi 68 decimal places. So, in our quest to reach the traffic-light triggering 90 percent vaccination rate we’ll have to rely on Saint Sebastian who was shot through with arrows, and survived! Geddit? Sure, he was clubbed to death later, but he survived the arrows. No wonder then that St Sebastian was regarded as a saint with a special ability to protect from the plague.
I’m giving you a green light to share the obvious metaphor in Saint Sebastian’s story with any anti-vaxxers you intersect with.
Have a peaceful long weekend.