REPORT A PROBLEM
I have skipped a few months. I decided to skip March to have a break, then forgot to join April until about five days into the month so decided to let that one go also. May slipped by too but now I am back. I had been enjoying the daily ritual of writing 100 words. I make it my first task of the day. Winter has finally begun this year, making a very late appearance now it is June! I have a tree with leaves just begun to turn, and another tree bare and with buds developing. No jonquils yet.
I saw bunches of jonquils in a flower shop in Newtown earlier this week. I always think of them as a September flower and they come up too soon in Sydney for me. With Winter so late starting this year I would not have been surprised to see them coming up in garden beds already. The past has been unusually present of late, and this morning coming to work with the past clouding up my head I thought, right here, right now, right here, right now, right here, right now, right here, on and on (thank you, Fat Boy Slim).
Activities and experiences slowly building up to a tiring end of week trail off. Nothing achieved that will be remembered in a year's time or even a month's time. Going through the motions. Filling in the space before there is no one to fill the space. Small pleasures and routines. Wearing down as time goes on until there is almost nothing left. Overdoing in relief and celebration of the end of a cycle of wearying nothingness. Too much paper, information, choice, or too little choice. Starting something is hard. Starting is the hardest thing, harder than going on and achieving.
Are people social animals? I would say so. Generalising again, but certainly people need other people to an extent and I would say that is the case for everyone. A dream of happy solitude with a significant other to ward off the need to keep friends as all you need is with each other. That's a nice little fantasy! Surely the only way is to fall into things because then you do not over-think and talk yourself out of it as each reason not to do it pops up in the thought bubble. It is easier to be alone.
A big storm hit Sydney yesterday and today. Two days of pummeling rains and punishing winds. We were OK. The chickens were bedraggled and wet. Their coop leaked in spots and now has a tarp strung over the top keeping them cosy and dry. The cats stayed in sleeping just like cats are supposed to do and I cancelled an outing. I would have felt sorry for the dog if I had one, and brought it inside. Some houses are in danger of falling into the sea, trees are down of course and there are transport delays and power failures.
He comes to the surface of sleep. It is dark. He sleeps on, it must be near dawn. The alarm sounds softly through the ear plugs. He reaches out and sets the alarm to sleep. He seems to sleep on until the alarm sounds again but he is not really asleep and this time presses the stop button. He looks at the time and thinks ten more minutes in bed will be fine. He reads the news on his phone until 5 o'clock and gets up and uses the light from the phone to put the phone on the charger.
The lifts were slow and a crowd had gathered when the doors opened. Ready for a crush she moved to the back, but only half of those waiting entered. Her eyes locked with one of the men still outside, a group of three with a guitar in a case. They must have wanted to wait for the next one to travel together in comfort. The doors closed and the tall woman next to her breathed down "It is very cold today". "Yes", she said, "About time". "I like winter", the woman continued. "The vegetables are nice - they are very sweet."
The vegetables are sweet comment really happened to me. I took that thought with me when I went on my way when the lift doors opened. Of all the things to admire about Winter, it has never occurred to me the vegetables are sweet or sweeter (I presumed they are sweeter). It would have been good to ask questions such as which vegetables in particular, and are they actually sweeter than in Summer. Or is sweet just another way of saying nice. Anyway, interesting comment and not the usual chit chat. There is normally no chit chat in the lift.
My bed was at its most comfortable last night. I looked longingly at it when I left this morning, looking forward to three cosy sleep-ins in a row. I am practicing restraint and self control. For the most part it is working, but it has only been a couple of days. I have a bingeing nature. And I forget. How to not binge and how to not forget. Write notes, be aware, avoid temptation, plan ahead. Don't worry about the odd binge as long as it is not the only way! I hope to get things done this weekend.
I make a diary entry each day Ė yeah, I keep a Dictaphone on the dash. No, I donít. I think about doing that but I canít. I donít have anything exciting enough to diarise. Itís a teenage thing or a public office thing or a person who actually does something thing. I could keep a fake diary. Maybe thatís what this is, a fake diary. She made a diary entry each day Ė yeah, I keep a Dictaphone on the dash, she said. No, she doesnít. Itís more interesting in someone elseís voice.
She found it hard to get anything done. She would look at her list and be overcome with lethargy. She would notice something that needed doing, ďI really should do that,Ē but the lethargy would kick in and she would do nothing at all. She used to hear about mothers who stayed in bed all the time and wondered how the family coped. Now she did it and the family coped, besides, she got up to get meals, do washing and the things that must be done. Most things however fell by the wayside. She just could not be bothered.
The 2 am wake up. It is dark and there is no way to tell what time it is - look at phone hoping it is almost morning. 2 am! That is a surprise, I would have bet on it being 4 (but hoped closer to 5). Lie awake for a while and become too hot, take off socks. Push down blankets and become cold. Cover up and slowly drift back to sleep, hopefully not as late as 4 or even 5, or it will be hell trying to wake up and get out of bed when the alarm goes off.
Morning hotel. The sky lightens quickly once it starts. The colours are wonderfully soft this far south. A couple of seagulls seem incongruous swooping above the deserted autumn-leaf strewn street, too early yet for traffic. One alights a lamp post and scratches its eye with a foot. A stack of plastic baker's trays sit outside a door up a short flight of stairs on a small landing. An aproned woman props the door open with a trolley and loads it up with loaves of bread. A walker not warmly enough dressed and laden with bags crosses the main street.
The 4 am wake up. I wake up and look at the phone. It is the usual insomnia hour of 4 am. I will not sleep again until about 6 when it will be time to get up, so I play some games on the phone. I know that is the worst thing I can do. Sometimes I lie there, eyes closed, and rest. I always go back to sleep just before the alarm, I know that because it wakes me. Sometimes I drop the phone on my face and I know I'm ready for sleep and put it down.
The 5 am wake up is a curious one. It is rare. It is about one hour before the alarm will go off, so not a complete disaster, but still there is enough time to wake and then feel very tired and want more sleep. I will sometimes play a game on the phone or will doze until the alarm forces some action. It is still pitch dark, so much the same as 3 or 4 am. At this point I wonder if I ever wake at night and do not check the time. Surely I must. Anyway, I look.
Another airport (the same one each time actually) and another true crime story. Almost finished it in a day even with hours of work in between. They have rearranged the seating in my favourite bar, The Fly at Melbourne airport. No longer is there the bench along the back wall so I slumped on a backless bench and drank my Peroni. Then to the gate via the book shop (there's always a book I fancy) and on to sit down and start reading the new one and ignore the one I brought with me. I think I saw Canberra tonight.
The poor chickens spent the night in their outdoor pen, with no food, water and no shelter. Luckily with no ill effects, but it must have been very frightening and uncomfortable for them. It was a cold night. I found them there when I went to give them breakfast, and last saw them the day before at breakfast time. The coop door was opened to let them out to free-range, and the door was closed again at night, but the poor hens couldn't get to the door. I always check on them after work but this time I didn't.
The track led up a slope and around a rocky outcrop, the only way to the top of the mountain. Beyond the rocks lay a way unknown, for no one who had ventured this far had returned to tell. The three friends silently took stock, and as one made their way forward, each entering the trail with determination. Their village would not be free until they had challenged and killed the terrible beast they knew to be at the top of the mountain. Their plan was to track and kill the beast before a raid, not rail in anger afterward.
The trio walked on with the aid of the waning moon, anxious to find and kill the beast that had long terrorised their village, always in heavy darkness when the moon hid her face from them. They heard again a mewling wail and their hearts chilled. They followed animal tracks up the mountainside not knowing whether they heard a wild cat or their quarry, knowing they may truly be the quarry. They spied a huge dark opening in the side of the mountain. Something large and ponderous moved inside, hissing and sparking flashes of fire. They had found the beast.
The men watched for the remainder of the night as the sun began her journey to the land of day. A knife edge of light crossed the entrance to the cave. All had been quiet within for some hours. Feeling safer and bolder with the coming of day, two of the men slowly approached the cave, with the third keeping watch. The two adjusted their eyes to the still gloomy interior of the rock fissure. They would venture as far as they could with the natural light, hoping the beast lay asleep close to the cave mouth, for easy escape.
What is the secret of being charmed by what is happening around you? Anything new or different or not seen for a while, if you look for it. Having time to smell the roses. Rushing along you don't see anything. In a car you see less than on foot. This morning was beautiful and I could have taken some lovely photos had I my good camera. The moon and clouds were in the right place, the morning pigeon flock flashed their white wings over the typical '50's Sydney red-rooves. Little Rainbow Lorikeet fighter jets flew, and jonquils coming up.
Sue arrived early, purchased her ticket to the cinema and went in search of dinner. The adjacent cafe looked good, and there were plenty of tables free. She chose a table against the wall next to the door and sat down. At each of the tables along the wall sat a person alone. Sue thought, I would not have been comfortable doing this at one time, and now look how many lone diners there are. Sue ordered risotto and a glass of wine and read until dinner arrived. She put the book down to eat her meal while people-watching.
The 6 o'clock wake up is really waking with the alarm. The alarm goes off before this but for some reason I delay getting up until 6. That can make me a teeny bit late depending on what I have to do in the morning. On rare occasions if it's been a 2 am or 4 am wake up as well, I will tell myself I will sleep on and ignore the alarm, I will go to work late; but I almost always still manage to catch the same train, without time to eat breakfast and by not packing lunch.
Waking up late. Let's call it the 8 am wake up. I wake up at all sorts of hours on weekends. It can be early, especially in summer (too hot), or lateish, but usually never beyond 9 am. I like to get up and go back to bed with a cup of tea. After that I might put some washing on and go back to bed with breakfast. Weekend breakfast in bed with the cat is one of my favourite things to do. I get up and put on the next load of washing, then back to bed. Up eventually.
In the end he slept for ten hours. He woke several times fleetingly and picked up his mobile to check the time and check out an app, might as well while awake. He closed his eyes and out of the darkness ugly twisted faces and figures rushed at him as though he were riding through a tunnel very fast. He was afraid and steeled himself should the images become too terrible, but they did not. The images slowed and he fell asleep. The next thing he knew it was morning. He remembered and swore he was awake and not dreaming.
The walk to the station. The first walk of the day is up the hill from the house, turn left and walk down hill, keep heading down hill until at the station, then up a ramp and down some stairs. It can be a hard slog up the hill first thing in the morning. I like to leave early so I don't have to rush. I also like to be ready early so that any last minute things that crop up don't make me late. When I left less time for the walk I used to sometimes miss the train.
The walk from the train to work. The walk takes about the same time as the walk from home to the station, that is it is not very far. I exit with the crush down the steps, through the gates and into the tunnel that goes under the tracks. There are buskers, usually very good ones. On a day I have missed breakfast, or feel like a second breakfast, I will buy a coffee and something to eat on my way through. Otherwise I keep walking through the gap, the next tunnel and the old rail corridor on to work.
The walk to the kitchen. I walk to and from the kitchen many times most days, to make a cup of tea, prepare lunch, fill my water bottle, or pick up some printing. I used to try to multi task but often forgot one or more of the errands that would send me to the kitchen, so I decided to walk there each time I needed to for each individual thing. I thought I could use the exercise. It is a boring trek up and down but it is good to be more active. Thankfully there is a closer printer.
The walk from work to the station. I can go very early or late if I want to get a seat on the train. I used to go late, but have switched to early. It is a joyous thing to be out of the office before the sun goes down. I walk fast. Faster than in the morning. Everyone walks fast. The good buskers have been replaced by buskers younger, weirder and usually not as good. There are more beggars and sometimes political groups. Catch the train via Sydenham and there is daylight all the way, if you leave early.
The walk from the station to home. Usually dark but getting lighter all the time, this is the walk when I wish I was there already. Up the long slow incline and then down the shorter, sharper hill, sometimes laden with meat or fruit and vegetables from the local shops. It's dark by the time I arrive at the house. I often walk on the road because there is no footpath on my side of the street. It is a street without much traffic, but many parked cars. Weird. I think some park there to work in the main street.
The Tip Jar