Thursday, 28 November 2013

secret: another of the best days

summer was coming, and it was warm the way other parts of the country are warm in winter. the northern tablelands never really heated up that much, and so our warm was the rest of Australia's 'meh'. 

i had worked a full day that had started with my unruly fingers hitting the snooze button on my alarm so persistently that i finally got out of bed a full hour after i had so optimistically intended to the night before. my morning routine these days was more of a slow debate in my head about whether my hair was still clean enough to avoid showering. i pretended to myself it was a water conservation issue, but i knew i was being lazy. what's worse, and sillier than that, is that i knew how much better i'd feel if i showered, and still it took a full 5 minutes for me to bring myself round to the idea.

i'm not unclean, i just think people shower a lot more often than they need to. 

once showered and clean (and feeling much better, of course) i was dressed and accessorised and out the door, with intentions towards my favourite cafe. i suspected i was going to order my regular coffee and meal, mainly because my housemate and i had already joked about this on his way out to shift at afore-mentioned cafe. i take a large flat white, apparently the most middle-aged of coffee choices. and poached eggs on toast, but i'm not sure what that choice says about me. 

people i knew, and had in fact just spent the weekend with, were at the cafe too, outside in a large group. however, i had left the house with full intentions of reading quietly while i munched, a collection of short stories i'd loved some time ago and recently gifted my copy of to a good friend over the other side of the world (which prompted me to purchase another copy, a pink one). so i stayed put, which seemed to dismay the cafe staff who knew i belonged to this other group, and made sure i was clear on the fact of their presence outside. i'd already picked my table, shrugged it off and opened my book by the time my coffee came- actually made for me before i'd ordered it, in a stream of events which everyone found mildly annoying and consisted of me trying to mix it up with my coffee order, only to throw everything out of balance. so i graciously accepted my large flat white and semi-bantered about it with the barista, in that way you do when you can't actually hear exactly what he's saying. i laughed at lot, and wondered what i was agreeing to.

i munched and read and sipped my way through one and a half short stories, a whole coffee and 2 out of 3 pieces of toast. i had an awkward interaction with this other group of people where i got complimented by some and ignored by others in favour of flirtation with cafe staff, but it didn't really matter. 

i made my way to work, meeting my mother in the carpark and walking up to our respective offices together, hearing about new kittens with names of marmalade atkins and smokey joe, sweet names that i loved for their double-barrelledness as well as their tendency to make their recipients into cartoon versions of themselves. we farewelled and trudged our way into our relative enclosed spaces. 

work is work is work. having missed the last 2 days i had a collection of emails which i read from bottom to top, which is chronological and sensical, a system i've used since i read from top to bottom once, which was backwards and induced occasional panic at comments contained within emails before i had the context to place them. there was mail to collect and auditors and loose ends to tie up and people to hassle about the trivialities of our work lives. 

this got me to lunch, which i spent with my mother for our thursday routine. i had squid salad and was very pleased with my choice. as i most often am when i choose the squid salad. yes, creature of gastronomical habit, me. we wandered out into the sun to see a moment or two of the day, which was all sunshine, green grass and birds chirping. it's hard to fight the urge to run away from work and never return, but i am proud to say i did it. mum and i spend more time than is healthy for our reality contemplating running away to the beach. this happens any time it's warm, monday, too busy at work, too quiet at work, or thursday. 

happily the working afternoon was mainly phonecalls to people of a generation who like to talk out all the things they remember before they forget them. i was researching a memorial piece, and as it turned out, there wasn't so much to talk about in terms of the person in question, but plenty to talk about with someone you've just realised you're distantly related to. we talked of being the family historian, and he told me i was the historian of my family, and i hastily disclaimed enough knowledge or free time to be that person. 

it got me thinking about keeping our stories, and telling them, and how best to tell such things when you're not sure that there's much of interest about your life. i certainly have a few tales or major events that make a good punchline now and then, but i rarely admit to them unless i've been drinking. my thought though, is that beyond the big events there is the day to day, and that's what i wish i knew about some of my family - perhaps not all the days, but a day now and then. 

and so it is that i capture today, which since work has also included a cup of tea with a very old friend, peppermint sweetened with honey, in a beautiful little treasure of a home that has pretty things tucked away everywhere, and sewing machines for projects like skirts made of sheets, and pillows, and baby blankets. it is so wonderful to see a lovely person in a happy house with a tall and beautiful husband. 

i drove away from them in my van, which i recently confessed to my mother (in fact, i may have confessed it at lunch today) is my favourite thing that i own. maude the mazda steered me homeward and we were quite warm by the time we arrived. i walked up the stairs into my house, the cicadas nailing in a constant noise that could slowly drive a person mad. the sun shone in just the right way, the flowers blew their scent past me in a warm breeze. as i turned the key in the lock of the front door of this house that i love to death and may only get to live in another month or two, i thought to myself that just now, just right now and this day i'd just had, well, there is actually a moment when it hits you, and you think- these are actually the best days of our lives. 

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