Catch ups

Went to dinner at a friends’ restaurant in St Kilda last night.  It was in honour of the fact that I am no  longer jobless, legless, or homeless.  I invited all of the friends who had come to visit me when I was housebound and stuck in a wheelchair. 

It would seem that it had been a year since this group had seen each other, and that was at another catch up dinner held at the same restaurant.  That time had been to celebrate the fact that I had been safely repatriated back across the Tasman, no longer a roving academic working and living in earthquake prone Christchurch.

I’ve recently started working at a public library.  Some people who know me casually have laughed heartily at the idea of me being a librarian.  I’m not exactly what one associates with quiet, hard working, bookish types that are the stereotypical image of librarians.  However, librarians have changed, just as libraries have.  I was telling one of the attendees of last nights dinner how much I was enjoying the job.  When I sign a new member up I slide their new library card across the desk with much reverence and pronounce “Look after this, it’s the key to the universe.”  They usually have a bit of a laugh with me (or at me, I don’t care) and then they hop up and I take them for a tour of the facilities we have on offer.

They are often astonished (just as my friend was) that they are allowed to talk in the library and bring food in with them.  We have a cafeteria in the foyer that is run by Yooralla, an organisation that supports people with disabilities.  In the children’s area we have a PS3 and a Wii for the kids to play on.  We have computers for internet access, a quiet pod for those who need silence while studying and reading and we support community languages including Arabic, Greek, Italian, Vietnamese, Croatian, Polish and Mandarin. We also have DVDs, Cd’s, audiobooks, and eBooks available for download from the library website.  All for free.  Yeah you read that right, FREE.

So life is pretty busy.  I’m currently editing the first thirteen chapters of my novel and I started a Diploma of Library and Information Studies last week. As it’s only at Diploma level there are a lot of contact hours on campus… Which is possibly the most challenging aspect of the course so far.  That and the book talk I have to give on a children’s or teen book.  Not a book review, a book talk, to encourage children to read the title… Yeah, I think they think I will be able to dumb myself down so I can communicate with children.  The last presentation I gave was at a film historians conference… This is going to be interesting.  Just like being at the library ; )

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A funny thing happened at the playground…

I picked my godchild up from school this afternoon. I’ve been doing the occasional school run to help her mother when she’s had to start work early or finish late. It’s the least I can do as I’m staying with them temporarily while I try to get my life in to some semblance of adult like functionality… How’s that going for you? Well, being jobless and homeless after being back in Melbourne three months is difficult, demoralising, and also strangely freeing. I’m not sure if this ambiguous detachment is a segue from the previous feelings (or lack thereof) which were caused by/ are a coping mechanism of living through the earthquakes of Christchurch, my recently quitted home of 2.5 years.

If I was still living in Chch, I would go and visit Tunahau, counsellor fulla par excellence tomorrow (today)afternoon. Tuesday afternoon at 3pm was our standard weekly time for me to talk flat out for at least an hour and for him to ask the occasional question. I liked it best when he asked me to spell a word, possibly give him the definition because I would not only spill my guts about how I was feeling, give him all the work and family related gossip (which is hilarious as he knew all of my NZ family and work colleagues personally), I would also introduce him to different philosophical and critical theories someone had turned me on to. Working at a university and being a very talkative person meant I was always learning something new. None of my years of education or talking prepared me for the untamable natural force that is an energetic five year old let loose on a playground they have never visited.

I know I didn’t ever have that much kinetic force blasting through my body, at five or twenty five. I am ‘dependent’ free by choice. I didn’t like being a child, I wouldn’t force that life (truncated and transitory situation that it may be) on to someone that I’m supposed to love and care about. Tunahau always found my views on whanau (family) to be very original and quite challenging as he was a father of nine. Which in Maori families, even in the 21st century is S.O.P. My views on ‘less being more’ have not changed being around a little person but I think my views towards the big people who produce little people are swinging towards “are you quite sure you are not completely insane?” I understand that parents have special feelings and attachments to their offspring that makes all the hard stuff insignificant, there is probably a brain chemical/ neural inhibitor that helps with this process that I am lacking. I don’t know how parents have the stamina to raise children, but fair play to you and yours. I’m going to quite happily stick with being the occasional chauffeur or rarely encountered swing/ ‘whizzy dizzy’ pusher and keep doing the things I’m decent at: words, books, talking, film, thinking, drinking, dancing, cooking, laughing. Kids are hard work and I’m trying not to do that kind of work. The easy kind with boring meetings at too early o’clock is the only work I’m looking for.

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