It was supposed to be a nice weekend away. Instead I had a meltdown halfway there, and stormed off in a very fine fury.
I’m not normally a tantrum-thrower. I’m too much of a results-orientated person who prefers to find a resolution rather waste time on having a tantrum. I do realise that throwing a tantrum is a way of getting a result via manipulation, but it’s not normally my style. On this weekend, though, I had a mighty once-in-ten-years (in a manner of speaking) tantrum. Well, it was mighty for me, but seeing as nothing was thrown at anyone and there was no blood up the walls, it may have been tame compared to some.
We were going to Blenheim¹, up near the top of the South Island around four hours’ drive north of Christchurch, for a gymnastics competition my grand-nieces were competing in, and to catch up with an old friend. It was going to be a nice getaway for me, Sis, niece and grandies to somewhere I hadn’t been for a long time. Then we got to Kaikoura², a bit over halfway there, and I had a meltdown pretty much out of the blue, and refused to go any further. Luckily, I was driving my own car, so could indulge in my drama without affecting anyone else.
I won’t go into the details of what my meltdown entailed – who really wants to hear that, after all? In hindsight, however – oh, the wonders of hindsight – I can see it was the culmination of a prolonged period of stress that erupted over something which in isolation seems unfathomable to anyone else. Anyway, it happened, and I parted company in Kaikoura with the others, stayed overnight in a motel there instead, and headed home the next day. And, most unexpectedly, it was very a pleasant stay and trip home. Who’da thought?
The woman on reception at the motel – maybe the owner, or co-owner – of a similar age to myself or thereabouts, must have had a sixth sense that all was not well with me, even though I thought I was keeping a lid on it for the booking-in process. She kept asking indirect probing questions about where I was going, where I was from, what I was doing, until it became impossible for me to prevaricate any longer, and I told her that I was in the middle of a meltdown. I didn’t have enough presence of mind right then to make up a different story. When Sis turned up briefly to collect a bag from my car, before they proceeded onto Blenheim – and just taking a wild guess here – the tension between us may have been unmistakable.
That prompted a wee lecture from the motel owner not to let the situation fester, as her own sister was dead and she missed her sorely. Point taken, and noted. I don’t know what the woman’s name was, but she enquired again the next morning how I was, and I thanked her for her words the night before. The kindness of strangers. Sometimes it sinks in more as time progresses.
As it turned out, the next day was brilliant weather-wise. The trip home along the Kaikoura coastline was sensational and soothed me in a way I needed. It’s a rugged and wild coastline which lives its own life, and doesn’t care about human trials and tribulations. Its detachment from my concerns was perfect.
I stopped at a couple of places to take it in more fully, and tried to see if I could spot any changes to the coastline after the huge earthquake of 2016. Personally, I couldn’t see any right then, probably because it had been too long since I’d been that way for good comparison, but apparently there were significant changes in some parts.
Kaikoura, a tourist town, got cut off by land after that earthquake, and tourists had to be evacuated by air and sea. There are structures in place here and there along the road to contain rockfall from the cliffs it runs alongside, and I’m picking they will always be there now.
It was a good morning – and by the time I got home I was calmed enough to help my nephew with the issue he was having with the drains in the flat he’s just bought from me. Great home-coming, but happily I was in better form by then. Needless to say he’s feeling a tad stressed over this baptism-by-fire with his first home purchase, even with me footing the cost of repairs. Like me, he’s not a tantrum-thrower generally speaking, but we all have our limits, don’t we? Even quiet copers can have a sleeping volcano within 🙂