Mr 262’s MoleMap letter had been delivered (wrongly) to us. So yesterday, after the gale force winds and rain had died down and the house had stopped wobbling, after the passengers on the swamped harbour ferry had been rescued, and after I’d visited the doctor and the supermarket, I wandered down the street in the sun to number 262, and delivered his letter.
As I walked back up the street to my house, I looked down at the houses of my neighbours. From the footpath, I couldn’t even see house number 262. I could only see their carport, garage and mailbox. The house was below the road, hidden away. So were all the houses from number 262 to our house at number 252. It makes for a fine view across the valley, but also means it is easy to forget that there are people living there, so close to my house. I looked down on my neighbours’ rooftops, looked down at their garages and cars, often a house-height above their own houses even further below. My own house is below the street level, and John next door has a view of the valley unrestricted by our house (if not our trees), and Lesley’s house on our left is tucked in almost under our concrete driveway, cantilevered out from the hill. When I got to my mailbox, I looked back up the street, at the distance between me and Mr 262 – not even a hundred metres. I realised that on a “normal” street, on a flat street, we would see these neighbours daily. It might be like Wisteria Lane or Bridgett’s street, where we could pop into each other’s houses for a coffee, or wave in the morning or at the evening or on the weekends, or chat across the fences, something that is physically impossible to do where I live now. But on a steep street in Wellington, our houses hidden from view, hidden from each other, I’ve never even seen most of these neighbours, let alone passed the time of day with them.
I do hope he had good news from the MoleMap people.