Monday, November 14, 2011

The Kiwi "We"

Seeing old 'Varsity (Uni) friends in New York last week reminded me what it is to be a Kiwi.

Guggenheim's "All"
We talk with a but of an accint. And as my old boss used to say: You Kiwis never say "I" -  it's always "We." It's a crowd when Kiwis are out. If inviting one person is good, getting ten to turn up is better.

For example meeting my Kiwi friends who had just run the marathon for the CatWalk charity: as if it wasn't enough for someone to organise 13 of us to go from bar-to-bar-to-restaurant, we picked up seven more bods - and were happier for it.

The cast of characters included Helena, whom I first met at age four on my first day at Big School. We were going to be nuns together, but with seven kids between us now, maybe that's not going to happen after all. We were also pupils of the Mrs Shirley Dibble School of Ballet, Helena danced the Scarecrow to my Tin Man. Turns out her husband, James, is rather famous on Youtube for finding a cute baby Kiwi under some pine needles. As you can imagine, I was green with envy. Not being competitive, but has Helena won the husband prize?

Sipping happily at the Ace Hotel, we were all quite pleased one of us had secured a big table next door at Michelin-starred The Breslin, so in-demand with the likes of Chelsea Clinton, Liv Tyler and the Z's that it doesn't take bookings.

We were waiting for our Kiwi friend Angus who lives in New York. He's the mavericky off-the-grid sweary bloke you might have already met on my blog.

Kiwis are far from being a bunch of sheep, but we try to be accommodating. "Where should we go? Oh don't mind...whatever everyone else wants..." I notice Kiwis say "Oh yeah" a lot and even "No" becomes: "Oh yeah, better not...if that's okay." (They also say "absolutely" and "gorgeous" heaps.)

Someone might point out that we're a good target for old sheepdog Angus who arrived scattering our plans to the back paddocks. A "spanky feed" (posh dinner) was not for us, said Angus who is anti obvious-cool. Let's go. So we all hopped into a convoy of cabs down to Soho to a delicatessen called Katz's.

Kevin, me and new Kiwi cab friends Sarah and Catherine in front of Katz's
Kevin and I caught a taxi with two gorgeous journalists from Wellington, NZ. The cab ride was too short to find out if we had mutual friends and relatives but I'll bet we did.

The first thing people say to Kiwis: "Oh I met a New Zealander ten years ago - called Sue - do you know her?"At this point we Kiwis get unnaturally huffy: "Heck, there's four million people in New Zealand! Why on earth would we know this person?"  Of course it turns out the person was our cousin or next-door neighbour for 20 years.

Skiting - or showing off - is positively unpatriotic. Resulting -  in my case - in being clueless about "marketing" myself. At a recent party a literary agent asked me: "What is your blog about?"  Although people ask me this all the time, I answered as though this was the first time I'd ever heard it: "Oh, whole bunch of stuff about the rubbish I do in my day: kid nonsense, travel nonsense, oh you know usual ramblings..."

At this point the agent glanced furtively towards the nearest door.  I pressed on: "It's about nothing really...just bits and bobs about my day." And the final nail in the coffin: "My friend calls it Funny Ado About Nothing, although it's not always funny. " At which stage I could see her mouth forming the ultimately damning words: "Oh well - At Least You're Having Fun With It" as she turned heel.

Our taxi dropped us in front of Katz's Deli Sandwiches??? Under lights so bright you could have performed surgery on the tables? When we could have had a "spanky feed" and maybe spotted Jay Z and Beyonce?

Angus showing his corned beef sandwich
We noticed a sign saying this was the place in Harry Met Sally  -  there was even an arrow pointing to where Sally famously faked that orgasm. "This is a tourist spot" I said "I'm going to give Angus heaps about that."

The sign
Katz's may have survived two World Wars, a Depression and hosted Meg Ryan orgasming (is that a doing word?) but the Kiwis were a little "eh" about the pastrami and corned beef sandwiches.

Kiwis in Katz's
Helena and most of the others flew home the next morning. I emailed Angus to see if he was up for going out again: "Nope" he emailed back: " Will be staying home tonight. Just had a wee jab in my shite hip flexor and am sore as bugger."

In other words Angus was spadanged (knackered) and piked (dropped out).

Just the two of us then. Better get on the blower to my other mates.


  1. Shame you missed out on the posh dinner but sounds like you had a jolly time anyway.

  2. I have a friend living and blogging in new zeland right now. Ill need to listen for the 'we'!

  3. I love the term "spanky feed." It sounds like the exact opposite of a posh dinner! Sounds like a great evening despite the sandwiches!

    And today in my post I mention that I recently reenacted that very scene from When Harry Met Sally (while at a posh winery). And I'm wearing my Snuggie!

  4. I so enjoyed this post, reading about your fellow "Kiwis" reuniting for a great night out on the town. At a friend's party recently, we met their neighbors, the husband being from New Zealand. Upon hearing his accent, my husband asked if he was from Australia. You would have thought we shot his dog from his reaction! :)

  5. So refreshing to think there is a place where people don't have to "market" themselves. I am tired of people (potential employees, college applicants, etc.) spewing off about their positive qualities. It is all a pack of lies anyway. Whatever happened to modesty as a virtue?

  6. Can I be an honorary Kiwi? I think it would suit me, but maybe I am a hopeless romantic. Anyway, since Seinfeld was a whole lot of something about nothing I think you're in good company!

    xo Mary Jo

  7. Enjoyed reading your post! When we go abroad and meet fellow Irish the first question is usually "Do you know so and so? he/she lives in Dublin?" It often turns out that we actually do know them or some other relation!

  8. I'm sorry that you missed the dinner, but you must have had a good time. Sometimes, things can happen for a reason, you know. :)
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  9. This post *completely sums up just why I love you and your 'nonsense blog' ;).

  10. Just stopping by to say hello...looks like I need to catch your Halloween costume and everyone elses too! I hope you are doing well.

    Wanted to tell you about the giftcard giveaway were hosting on our fashion blog!!


  11. Loving the post, seems like you had an incredible time!

    style roulette

  12. I so enjoyed reading this post!You had such a great time!!Love that picture in front of Katz's!


  13. I think I'd like Angus. Off-the-grid, maverick and sweary are all pretty good character traits in my book.

    And anyone called Angus is OK by me.

  14. I have to say, you have the most incredible style. You look amazing in everything you wear! :)

  15. Sounds like such fun...and I love "spanky feed"

  16. love all of this, but especially the name of your dancing school --Mrs Shirley Dibble School of Ballet -- that just sounds like something right out of the dancing shoe books or something!

  17. i think it's amazing how kiwis always say "we" instead of just "i". :)

    <3, Mimi

  18. So funny reading Mary Jo's comment, as when I read your post and came to the part of 'what's my blog about' and your mentions I thought of the exactly same thing: Seinfeld. And that was a genial sitcom, I have the entire box set and watch it regularly. So yes, you are in very good company. :)

  19. I love the way you described you describing your blog.

    And you make Kiwis sound like the absolute perfect friends to have!

  20. You sound like a friendly lot....and did you sit in the 'Sally' seat?

  21. It's funny, all the words one might use in a day and think they are perfectly normal...until an American points out that you use the word 'brilliant' a lot!

  22. I love that you have your own language! New Zealanders are alive and well in the west coast of Canada due to the skiing season being opposite so they can ski all year. Never met a Kiwi I didn't like:)

  23. I hadn't realised that Katz's actually had a sign in honour of Meg's famous "moment".
    If I ever make it to New York that's one of the first places I'm going to visit.


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