NZ Woman's Weekly

Kerre McIvor: You’ve got a friend

Kerre McIvorOh no, she’s at it again!” my daughter groaned, rolling her eyes at my husband – half in amusement, half in exasperation. “The Labrador’s up and bounding!”

We had been sitting in a beautiful hotel in the city of Fès, Morocco, watching the sunset.

The guidebooks Kate had researched all recommended visiting the bar at the Sofitel for a gorgeous view of Fès under the setting sun and it was worth the cost of the cocktails.

Numerous other tourists had obviously read the same guidebooks because there were groups of older travellers, families and loved-up couples, all jostling for chairs by the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Of course the cameras were out as people took advantage of the glorious panorama to get fabulous photos. And Kate’s right – I just can’t help myself.

If I see a dad positioning his family just to get a wonderful group snap of a magical holiday, I’ll always offer to take the photo for them.

Far better to have a shot of the family complete than always have one member missing in action, behind the camera. The same with couples. Surely they’d like at least one photo of themselves, happy and in love, than return home with endless images of one or the other in a spectacular spot.

I don’t just offer when I’m overseas. One of my favourite runs is through Western Springs park in Auckland. The lake and the green open spaces attract all sorts of visitors, so if I see a group of tourists taking snaps, I’ll always stop and offer to get one of them all. Truth be told, I’m happy to take a breather on any run I’m doing, but I also like that people are pleased

I’ve offered. I get very few people who say no, and if they do, that’s okay too.

That’s why my family call me the Labrador – I bound up to people, all goofy and friendly, wanting my ears scratched (metaphorically speaking) and seeking human interaction.

My daughter and my husband – indeed, a number of my friends – are different creatures entirely. When my daughter remonstrated with me for engaging in a lengthy chat with our waiter at one of the restaurants we visited,

I told her I couldn’t help it and just like talking to people and find them interesting.

Kate’s as happy as a clam, sitting reading a magazine in a doctor’s waiting room, but

I, on the other hand, will glance desperately around, hoping to catch somebody’s eye to spark up a conversation.

Long train journeys and plane flights are very happy hunting grounds for we Labradors – I inherited my Labby tendencies from my mum, who can turn the most mundane trip into a fabulous story, thanks to striking up conversations with all sorts of people.

It’s just as well, really, that I find talking to people so fascinating.

Given my primary job is that of a talkback host, I don’t think I would have lasted long in the chair if a person’s recounting of a life-changing moment merely induced a jaw-splitting yawn.

Still, it’s good we’re all different. It would be exhausting to live in a world full of needy Labrador types, all wanting to give affection and receive attention, and I concede there are merits to being aloof, mysterious and selective.

Sometimes I’m forced into silence. My school girl French wasn’t enough to converse with the people of Morocco, so I had to take a back seat and let Tom do all the talking while we were there. “Isn’t it just as well I’m not multilingual?” I whispered to Kate in the back of the taxi.

“Imagine if I could be a Lab in three different languages!” She blanched.

“That might be a bit much, Muzz – I’m not sure if I could bear it,” Kate replied.

She may have to. I’ve just signed up for French lessons at the Alliance Française.

Like Kerre’s column? Listen to her on her return to Newstalk ZB, Monday to Thursday, 8pm to midnight.


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