Friday, March 18, 2011

Greeting the Christchurch Office, Nervously

Outside the Green office
It is one of life’s ironies to pillage your own office.  But that is what the gods of wrath have done to us. I trust we do not do time for our discretionary executive action yesterday.
The cordon around the Christchurch CBD has shrunk, and my office now sits just outside it, one building north of the Durham/Armagh intersection.  Thursday we were given approval to approach and enter.
We walk over the remaining liquefaction at the entrance and go into the main room.   It is totally trashed
Our Green MPs have not come crashing down but they remain frozen in contorted relationships on the wall.
My office is reasonably OK but its internal wall has bowed menacingly towards my desk and chair. Things lie in pieces on the floor, with Living within Limits calmly surveying the carnage.
Army personnel move the fencing and we bring our cars through the barrier to the office.  The USAR team come by and instruct us to park in the road away from the building.  We go in, unplug everything with a prayer to the god of all things electric, and remove our electronic equipment.  We may be in for the long haul – literally in our camper-van – dubbed yesterday the Green-mobile– temporarily resplendent outside my home in Ilam.
In for the long haul for our office intersection is a compromised piece of real estate.  On the northeast, effectively opposite us, are the law courts and we all know how important they are.  The courts seem intact and might be expected to be functioning before long.
But, on the southeast are the Provincial Chambers , which resemble Dresden after a bad night.
On the southwest the Amuri Court car-park audibly groans through aftershocks, and is, we understand, likely to be demolished.  And on the northwest, adjacent to our office, the Contours gymnasium has a dejected lean, not against us but the neighbour down the side-street. It is, we are told, also likely to be demolished.  None of this, of course, is official.
Two doors up the street lies the tragic Methodist Mission Church.

Methodist church
It is just a matter of clearing away the rubble.  Two doors further up lies the Copthorne Hotel, up for demolition, it appears.  Across from it lies the massive Crown Plaza – rumours swirl whether it is salvageable or will be condemned.
Notwithstanding considerable enquiry, I have no clear idea when we might re-enter our office which is green-stickered.  It is not only an engineering matter but also legal-financial.  We wish to go back, but not in the midst of demolition.
In the midst of reconstruction, perhaps?  Perhaps.  Maybe we can lobby for a green-space, professional and personal interests merging to a point of singularity.
I pick up a handful of moon-dust – Liquefaction Grade D – and let it sift through my fingers .  I pour it into a glass and take it home.   It can adorn the Green-mobile. As I take it out of the car, it slips and smashes on the driveway.  I consider salvage but then just sweep it vigorously into the garden.
If I should flee,
Think only this of me;
That there is some corner of a foreign garden, that is forever the CBD.