Monday, April 09, 2007

Two stories

I have just been at GoogleNews New Zealand reading a couple of interesting stories.

The first story didn't start out all that interesting. It was about a couple of guys who got lost in the bush, in New Zealand, and then were rescued after two days. It was supposed to be a one day tramp (hike to you Americans), and they were not prepared for nights in the bush, according to the detective in charge of the search and rescue operation:

"I don't think they were very well-equipped. As far as I'm aware they didn't have much in the way of suitable clothing with them," Mr Wingfield said.

The story continues (they were able to use the dying batteries of their cellphone to send one last text message, which saved them), and then goes back to explaining how unprepared they were.

I read:

One of the men had been wearing only gumboots,

and sat up straight in my chair.

You'd think THAT would have been the headline, wouldn't you? I mean, the cellphone-saved-their-lives story is NOTHING compared to the idea of some guy going tramping wearing only gumboots.

The other story that caught my attention was one about a Japanese family who died in a house fire in Christchurch, New Zealand. It is a sad story, but one detail has stuck in my mind and I just can't get it out. The family is described as kind, polite, generous people who were always smiling and impeccably dressed.

Much later in the story, people describe their impression of the elderly mother of the family, and I read that those who lived nearby recall her as a very short woman who often walked the streets with tissue paper stuffed in her nostrils.

That is the detail that has stuck.

On the one hand I find it a little distressing that after twenty years in New Zealand this is what she is remembered for. But on the other hand, I find the idea of this tiny, smiling 80-year-old woman walking around dressed impeccably and with tissue paper sticking out of her nostrils irresistibly charming.


StyleyGeek said...

I saw that first story in the news yesterday too, and had exactly the same reaction as you :)

Radioactive Jam said...

So... does the formal definition of 'impeccably dressed' include the tissue paper accessory, or is that NZ-specific? Also I noticed no mention of gumboots in the second story. This too is "enlightening."

Badaunt said...

Styleygeek: Great minds! (Or perhaps I should say 'bad writing'...)

RaJ: I asked The Man the same thing about the tissue paper, only about Japan. He tried to blame NZ. "It's not normal to wear tissue paper in your nostrils here," he said. His argument fell a bit flat when I pointed out that HE wears tissue paper in his nose occasionally. Only around the house, admittedly, but still. I told him it's definitely one of those Japanese things. A Kiwi would not dream of doing anything so bizarre.

(Gumboots are a whole other story.)

Pearl said...

Only gumboots could go either way as a fashion statement. lol.

I'm torn. Is it better to not be remembered or noticed at all, or for myself, to be recalled as the one with tissues up her nose. Of course, funny things are apt to come out at first memory and more memories to release gradually.