Tuesday, 5 February 2019

What happened today; or, evenements a la longue duree

Time, ah, time: it's like one of those accordion-pleated vinyl doors that you see in old caravans. You can stretch it out flattish or fold it up smallish: but either way it doesn't really do what you want it to and you're definitely fucked in the end.
(I'm not sure this analogy really works, but in the spirit of what it came out as, I'm not going to try to come up with a better one.)

1. I got up at a quarter to six and I was out on my bike by six. It's dark in the mornings now.

2. I was getting on the Upfield path just by the entrance to Anstey station (ie where there are people walking in and out of the station) and someone dinged their stupid bike bell at me and rode round me, so I chased after her. I said 'did you ding your bell at me because you wanted me to get out of your way' and she yelled back 'You cut me off' so I said ' Oh well good luck in the Tour de France, is that why you're wearing a yellow jersey' So this was my first major human interaction for the day*, so extremely adult of us both. I am not proud of myself.

3. Forgot my goggles so instead of freestyle laps at the pool I did sidestroke and kickboard. That was actually really nice, looking at the curled clouds in the grey sky as it gradually got lighter.

4. Two poached eggs and an iced latte for breakfast in Carlton. I walked into Brunetti, picked up the Herald Sun and set it on the table with my bag, went and ordered, when I got back to the table someone had taken the paper away which I consider to be very bad manners and unnecessary. At the bottom of my bike bag, under the rolled up wet towel, under my clogs and the two sets of clean clothes I packed the night before because I couldn't decide which would be better, and the five pairs of underpants I more or less accidentally packed because each time I added another it was because I could not remember whether I'd put in any yet - well, under all that stuff I had a tupperware container packed full of a kind of food I had invented the previous day which is called a Gallipoli biscuit. This is an Anzac biscuit with a chunk of Turkish Delight pinning it helplessly to the ground by sitting on it. A sort of siege of afternoon tea time. I thought I could dig out the box and show it to someone in authority at Brunetti and sell them the concept, but for some reason I couldn't make my body do the movements.

5. Went to my doctor's place and talked with her for three-quarters of an hour. The analysis is moving fast at the moment. The aftermath of a phase of horribleness is clarity and insight. She is a very important person in my life. I don't know how anyone can do that kind of work and survive it, frankly.

6. My bike brakes locked as I was crossing Queensberry St and I almost came off over the handlebars, but the right one caught me pretty hard in the lower belly and instead of falling off I let out a kind of James Brown whoa and a couple of people walking over the pedestrian crossing came to help me off the intersection, which I needed. Not really hurt, just surging with adrenalin.

7. With dread in the pit of my stomach, rang a series of CBD bike shops and talked unsatisfactorily with bike shop dudes. The first shop where the phone was answered by a bike shop woman was the one where I ended up taking it. This meant half-carrying, half dragging stupid, heavy bike with wheels that would not roll, laden with heavy Gallipoli biscuits and excessive underwear, from the eight-hour-day monument to right up past Pellegrini's.

8. Had to get horrible trams to work from there, made a little better by the unexpected pleasure of receiving an emailed draft of an interesting piece of writing. Still shaky with adrenalin though.

9. Got to the door of work and had to face the fact that I had forgotten to bring my security pass with me. Rummaging through my bag this is when I found out about the five pairs of knickers mentioned earlier. On the plus side they don't take up much space and now I won't run out of pants at work, although possibly there is the danger that I will get used to having a supply of undies at work and not remember to bring them from home.

At this point in the story, it is not even ten o'clock in the morning yet, what have I done?

Oh well, 10. Sat down at my desk and wrote for two hours about this poor woman then ate lunch and went to collect a box someone said Officeworks had brought in for me. In the box, instead of the hundreds of sheets of gold and silver paper I had asked for, was six bottles of Dishwasher Cleaner - if there was any thing in the world that did not need cleaning you would think a dishwasher was it. So that was disappointing. I answered that email and wasted some time on social media and then

11. Went off to teach some volunteers how to do the education program I have cooked up.

12. Afternoon tea for a much valued colleague who departed today to a very different kind of job. When I came in the speeches had just concluded and there was a momentary stillness and hush across the dozen people gathered round the tea table. I thought at first they had fallen silent because of being overwhelmed by the Gallipoli biscuits, which were almost all eaten. I ate one and it was surprisingly OK.

13. Tried to work, gave up about 4:30 and left

14. Went to get my bike. The tram was full of people grossly breathing on each other. I am unused to it, ie being on a tram, and I don't really know what to do. I am not proud of myself. Tomorrow morning I shall practice it again, and do it better this time now I've had a little trial run and some time to think and get my head around it all. One of the things I talked about with my doctor this morning was how I often need some time to think. I'm in the habit of letting panic dictate my first responses when the unexpected happens. It turns out that thinking it over is still possible after the panic subsides, and if I can't change my response at least I can gain a measure of understanding of what it was that actually happened. I stood in the aisle and hung on a yellow strap and from behind my sunglasses I stared at a very handsome man sitting a little distance away. It wasn't that I found him attractive, rather I was looking for clues. Why are some people so incredibly, perfectly good-looking, and what must it be like to go through life being so beautiful? He had a weird lapel pin which I will not bother describing. Please draw your own conclusions about what it might have signified.

15. Usual terrible interaction with bike shop dude. My bike is still in the shop and won't be ready till tomorrow. That's OK. The man wanted to joke with me, I think he must be bored. There is a big FOR LEASE sticker on the shop window.

16. Got on the 86 instead of the 96 and didn't notice until Atherton Gardens, so walked all the way back to Nicholson Street. Had many opportunities to feel displeased by things.  It was a nice enough day but I was pretty over everything by that stage.

17. Finally got home, ate, bathed the child, tried to stay awake past 8pm but passed out briefly on the couch.

18. Woke up and wrote this beautiful account of what happened today.

*unless you count singing along with Eddie Francis and his backup singers

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