Yes I know it's officially been 2012 for a whole month now, but this is New Zealand which operates on an eleven-month calendar starting in February. Businesses shut down during the off-calendar period, news programmes are off the air, and people's lives generally go on hold (or on holiday). Back when I really enjoyed tennis, I used to despair when club days and interclub competitions took a break over January, and often a good chunk of December and February too. Apparently it was for the school holidays. Well for me, the only significance of school holidays was the amount of traffic on the roads. And anyway, does everybody really go away for the whole six-week period? I somehow doubt it. In the UK, closing down tennis clubs for six weeks in midsummer would be laughable - there wouldn't be any summer left!
Last night I met up with Julie, who has recently moved to Wellington and is renting in Hataitai after going through a very tough patch. It was great to catch up actually. My real estate agent rang me while I was there (more on that to come), then at 9:30 I did quite a big shop at Pak 'n' Save - it's quite relaxing to go at that time and I should do so more often. I felt like I'd had a productive evening.
But then I couldn't sleep. I slept through my radio alarm yet again, and woke up at five to eight. In my rush to leave for work I left my mobile at home. Normally this would just be a minor annoyance but I needed to email the leaseholding tenant at my flat and she'd texted me her email address. So I had no choice but to walk home mid-morning in the pouring rain to pick up my phone. I also had to visit the bank and my lawyer. Due to all that farting around, as well as my tiredness and lack of motivation, I got absolutely no work done today.
I take over ownership of the flat tomorrow but I won't be moving in then. I did ask to take vacant possession but after some negotiation the tenants agreed to move out on the 12th and pay me rent for those ten extra days. The tenancy on my current flat expires on the 18th. I had to sign a bunch of stuff today. I decided to put just over half my loan on revolving credit. I'd asked to fix the rest but the bank put me on floating instead. I signed it anyway - I can choose to fix at any time if I want - and I suppose there's a certain irony to that mistake given the title of this blog. Buying a property is so damn complicated - imagine if I had to sell one as well.
I read (or skimmed, rather) in the sports section today that a certain amount of hatred now exists between Djokovic and Nadal. If that wasn't the case, so the article said, they wouldn't have slugged it out for nearly six hours on Sunday night. I'm not sure how true that is. What is interesting is that successful tennis players often do develop a hatred of the guy (or girl) on the other side of the net. Even at my club in Auckland, those who made the finals of the club championships tended to have a higher-than-average AQ (that's arse quotient by the way), and in the tournaments I played in as a kid, the nice people I played against were usually the ones I could beat. I suspect that a high AQ, an inflated ego, and utter contempt for one's opponent go hand-in-hand.
Not totally leaving the subject of big egos, Fred Goodwin, former CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland which collapsed in 2008, has been de-knighted. All I can say to that is good.
Continuing vaguely along the same lines, there was interesting article on the Guardian website two weeks ago about Francesco Schettino, captain of the Costa Concordia, the huge cruise ship that ran aground and then sank, with the loss of up to 33 lives. I thought this was an interesting and insightful comment about Italian society:
The issue of being prone to panicking or not has nothing to do with this story. Instead, this story has to do with the consequences of the complete lack of meritocratic selection on Italian society. Italy is full of "Schettinos" holding prestigious professional roles without having the necessary educational qualifications and skills, and stealing those roles from all the higly qualified but not "well-connected" Italian young people who are forced to emigrate. This story is a great metaphor of what is leading Italy into its grave, and this is the interpretation that the healthy part of Italian public opinion is giving to what happened.