Coming Down for Air

There is a billboard on Ponsonby Road with the tagline ‘come down for air’. It’s advertising a little bit of Australia that no one knows anything about. 

Sometimes I feel like I am coming down for air when I walk through the park at the end of my road. Western Park has dogs, nappers, abandoned supermarket trolleys, and, if you know where to look, the greatest urban slides you’ll ever find. 

I decided early on that one day I’d start a company and it would sell slides to offices because they increase efficiency, and because it would amuse me to see a man in a business suit sliding into a meeting. This is when I decided that advertising was probably for me. You can come up with ideas like this and call it ‘The Work’ and get paid for it.

When I come down for air in Western Park, which is essentially a hole in the ground, I sometimes find good ideas. 

My slide company was before Western Park, but it is Western Park-worthy. I got caught up in the romanticism of skiing. When you are skittering down slopes all day you can’t help but think about doing it everywhere. 

It costs $10 plus GST to reserve a company name in New Zealand and my dad’s birthday present to me was SLIDE, the company. Which means it was the only present that didn’t get lost by KLM when we flew to England. My mum bought me undies and they didn’t make it. 

Every day Dad writes a message to KLM like this:

“Hi KLM. Nice plane. Where is my luggage? It has been missing since July 9”.

In this case, a bag came down for air and never came back up.

When you lose your suitcase, they sell it 100 days later. It’s like Storage Wars, only I’m not sure there is one for luggage. If you bought my dad’s suitcase you would find running gear and a crime thriller. 

In June, I lost my job. I decided I might as well apply for the SCA, but I was worried that I wasn’t creative enough for it. The idea of shaving my head didn’t appeal and I can’t cook eggs. Mainly what I do is go for bottomless brunch and silly little walks in Western Park. 

Around that time, the whole flat got COVID and I annoyed them all by walking around agonising about what it meant to be Creative and how it might be possible to have an Idea.  

The concept of coming down for air when you are in a state like this is a useful tool, even though it really is just a tagline. It made me think that sometimes you can just walk around a park and see an idea in the grass or bump into it coming off a slide. 

I think what I’m saying here is that it’s important to remember to go outside sometimes.

Once I got stuck on a ski run at Mt Ruapehu and my mum had to get the chairlift back up to tell me it is easier to go downhill than up. This is common sense but people do have to tell you. 

There are a lot of situations that are stressful or scary, like looking downhill if you are skiing, or downslide if you are a businessman, or at KLM’s Facebook page if you are my father. For me, it’s moving around the world and leaping into the career I want, rather than the one that’s safe or easy. It’s leaving my family and possibly my suitcases behind me and breathing in new parks with new people.

So, I’m trying to remember that it feels better when you go for a walk, or do whatever it is that helps you come down for air. 


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