A thriving industrial strip of car dealerships and automotive accessories is a sickeningly impressive sight to behold. Shiny and new, it should be apparent to all that it cannot last. The slums of West Cleveland or Midway St. Paul in the 1960s could hardly rival the rotten splendor of the Moorhouse Auto Mile on the edge of Christchurch, New Zealand, in this fantastic year, 2010.
Triton Security, complete in their too white jeeps patrol the Moorhouse Auto Mile as if guarding state secrets from Ze Germans, always lurking, behind every corner. They chase down stray sheep and lost tourists with impressive efficiency, if lack of style. They were ruthless killers in another life, misguided idiots in this one.
Moorhouse is dead by the evening hour, the dealerships and their cafes are closed, not even junkies roam on this side of the world, at this time of night. It’s just me and a Triton Security guard who seems to be following me. I’ve gotten at least one good look at him, mid-30s, pale, dangerous mustache. He’s the type that opens a bottle of wine and then pulls the wings of flies in pursuit of a good time. Twisted in a passive aggressive nature. I want to throw a rock at his jeep, just to shake him up a bit. Let him know that I understand the nature of his game.
Every dive bar plays American Classic Rock. And I love CCR. Down on the corner, out in the street. It makes me feel like I’m in Alabama, regardless of the distantly sick reality. The girls behind the bar would be at home at any honk-tonk in America, only their accent gives them away. I’m still new enough to be enamored with every slurred tongue cutie that I come across. That will fade.
All the cars have steering wheels on the right side. And they drive the wrong way. I want to drive them to The Edge. Or maybe push them off a cliff, convince the people that walking is better for the soul if harder on the soles. Not to spoil this island paradise that they take for granted.
Everything closes before ten. What the fuck am I supposed to do with myself? They make it hard to get into trouble here. Whoa, listen to the music. Sometimes the music plays tricks, it makes you think you’re in some western America frontier town on steroids, instead of the South Pacific. A place where El Caminos never went out of style. In the last two days I’ve walked 17 miles.
All the tourists here come from Germany and the UK. Rigid types, with pale skin and fish eyes. They say my name in a rather interesting fashion though, and I can dig that. But there are no tourists on the Moorhouse Auto Mile, only tumbleweeds, and used car salesmen locked away in backroom offices, drinking gin, trying to calm the nerves. Telling themselves that it’s all worth it. That it’ll be okay. That they’ll find happiness, humping this twisted perversion of The American Dream. Maybe they should go abroad. Someplace like Detroit or Gary, Indiana, or Buffalo, New York and ask around. See what the American Dream has done for them. It’s never worth it, and it’s definitely not okay.
But tomorrow is a new day, all you used car salesmen of New Zealand, tomorrow you’ll make it big. Buy that house on the beach, and a couple of immigrants to go with it. Put your fat children in private schools, because that’s what’s expected. Maybe take some Chinese language classes, as the future, at least in this portion of the world, appears to have a Red tint to it.