Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wheels Within Wheels

....."As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of a chrysolite and the four had the same likeness, their construction being as it were a wheel within a wheel." - Ezekiel 1:16

The phrase "wheels within wheels" is of ancient origin and has generally come to mean something that is not easily understood; that there is more to the situation than may appear on the surface. The quotation above, from the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel, is part of a mystifying biblical passage that has led many to believe he saw a UFO

The phrase denotes complexity, that one must look past the superficial to see deeper into a problem or situation. I know that you know, that I know that you know, that I..... Like the Russian matryoshka dolls we open one only to find another, and inside that yet another, etc., etc. The phrase can also have a more sinister connotation, that there are ulterior motives behind seemingly innocuous actions - all part of a larger and less obvious plan.

This photograph appears in the current New Zealand Listener Magazine. It took my fancy because if you have been reading my Blog over the last few months you will know that I have just returned from 6 weeks cycling in The Netherlands.

When writing Blog postings about The Netherlands I mentioned a couple of ways for a solitary cyclists to elicit conversations with the locals / other tourists - One was to pretend that I was lost and ask directions, the second was to offer to take a photograph of a couple if I saw them taking pics of each other. Afterwards I thought another cunning idea would be to wear cycling gear with New Zealand emblazoned all over it - I know this would elicit contact because foreigners really do like to hear the Kiwi accent and many Dutch people have connections with New Zealand (there was a lot of immigration from Holland to NZ in the 1950s and 60s.

So when I saw this photograph I thought .......Hmmmmmm.... here is yet another way... this would be the conversation eliciter par excellence - a paragon of conversational prompting of epic proportions - In fact I could busk with this bike. All I would have to do is parade it in the local village square, stand next to it with a hat for the money at my feet and nod slowly over and over again, thus answering the questions before they passed the lips of the viewers (yes I do ride it, yes it is a bicycle, no I am not a nutter, no you can't have a ride on it today, no not all Kiwis are crazy bastards only some of us are, yes paper money will do just fine if you don't have any coins) .............

Hmmmmm...., sometimes we just can't think of innovative ways to solve a problem or find a fresh way of engaging with the ordinary. But look! there is always a way, if you keep your options open and your mind thinking outside the square and contemplate a circle in a different way, well, you might find wheels within wheels .................. in fact I am building one of these at the moment in my blokes shed - I wonder if Air New Zealand will fly it to The Netherlands for me? I have some unfinished business there.



sheeza said...

nice and so eloquent.

you describe nicely the wheel within wheel.

i like it

Ben Bongers said...

Alden, you have been very productive since you returned home again.
Interesting to see how you will be steering the wheel within wheels.
Your daughter is very talented and beautiful indeed. Looking at your picture, she must look after her mother :-)
News in a Haiku:

Autumn, New Zealand
See now how cheerful we are
Spring becomes summer

In december my wive and I will be loopies during 3 weeks in NZ. Lateron one week in the Sydney area where our son studies.
(I have the luck to be inbetween assignments).
I am looking vorward to comment on the Kiwi habits to you.

Alden Smith said...

Thankyou Sheeza for your comment. I will take the time soon to visit your blogspot.

Alden Smith said...

Ben, I am not sure what you mean by the word 'loopies' my Google -Dutch/English translater option doesn't help me at all - is this a Dutch word??

Ben Bongers said...

Hi Alden, this is funny. Our guide book indicates that loopies is Kiwi slang for tourists; (are you pulling my leg?)

Alden Smith said...

I have never heard of that word as a slang term for tourists, but if your guide book says so then..... which is unfortunate because loopie is a bit of a derogatory term... it means 'crazy' or 'a bit nutty'.
Having said that some tourists do come here and hire cars and campervans and end up driving on the wrong side of the road because we drive differently here (left hand side)which is maybe where the term got its genesis.
When you are in NZ perhaps we might meet for a coffee some time, that would be gezellig.

renee said...

Hi Alden, how beautiful and tricky foreign languages can be. Never learn slang from a book! My association was: tourists make tours, loops along the island, therefore they are called loopies. In Dutch as well a loop in the head (literally translated) means that you are quite nutty.
You used the word "gezellig" in the proper way. Unfortunately the most nortern place we will come is Auckland. So no gezellig coffee in Whangarei. It's a pity. (Because it is our first visit to the new continent, we choose for a predetermined route by camper van to find out what it is like.).
By the way how it all started: I found new information about the Ngataki. The last owner Debbie Lewis donated her to the Tino Rawa Charitable Trust. See Seaport news blog archive.
I keep on reading your blog.

Alden Smith said...

Ben, I will be in Auckland 'house sitting' my sisters house while she is overseas. I will be there 28th NOVEMBER - 20th DECEMBER. My cell phone number is 0212332415

Auckland is a big place but meeting is easy - you tell me where you are and I find you.

If you are in Auckland during that time it would be very nice to meet you both, but don't feel under any pressure or obligation, I know from my own recent wanderings that all sorts of things get in the way of best intentions.

renee said...

we are december the 4 th in Auckland, the complete day and we will be the 5 th at night in Coromandel. It would be very nice meeting you indeed. We will see how things work out.
Carpe diem!!!

Alden Smith said...

Ben, Carpe Diem indeed. I will make sure that the 4th December is kept free and keep my cell phone in my pocket - have a good flight to New Zealand - it will be nice to meet you if possible.