Sunday 1 June 2008

I walked my dog earlier. It was sunny but a bit chilly. I like seeing my breath fog up on the air. It always makes me feel like a bit of a kid. I have been walking Lester in the mid afternoons over the past few days, earlier than I would normally do if the sun stayed up past 5 pm. My strange body clock shenanigans in the past have seen me not really enthused about exercising until late afternoon at best. It's been kinda nice to feel like I can get out mid afternoon to exercise. This is a good thing.

I would like to be like my Mum. She gets up and goes walking at 7am. What a lovely way to start the day. All I can do at 7 am (not that I ever see it) is to walk from the kettle to the computer. But hey, we can only work with what we've got, right? My body clock shifted to teenage status and never shifted anywhere else. But being a night owl has charms of its own.

But walking earlier means I see more people, out and about. Today, I saw a man in a park I have never been to before, over the Western Highway and down a side street. He was practising archery. I listened to see what the arrow would sound like hitting the board. It wasn't as satisfying as I would have liked. The makers of archery boards should ensure that their product produces a satisfying thwocking noise when the arrow pierces the material. It's only right.

I walked Lester in the sun and pondered deep philosophical questions, exercising my brain and body at the same time. I posed myself this question: if I had to choose whether to go blind or deaf, which one would I choose?

It was a hard decision. I'm still not really sure which one I would pick but in the 2 minutes I was pondering it hard, I decided I would rather go blind. At least then I could still listen to new music, and of course I could still write. And I would have the memory of colour and shape and faces and beauty and trees to aide my writing.

But now I'm not so sure, because imagine never being able to see trees again, or to drive my own car places, or see the faces of family and friends. If I was deaf, instead, I would still be able to listen in my head to all the music I have loved before (not Willie Nelson). I guess either way you decided, you would probably regret it and wish you'd chosen the other.

Yesterday, I walked past a woman who in her yard, standing where her little 2 year old daughter could see Lester but be safe (just in case I was in the habit of walking a child-eating dog around the streets). And I said to her,

"That's a cool bunch of toadstools you've got growing there". They were a dark yellow/light brown colour, growing in a patch around a tree stump near where she was standing with her daughter. And the woman said,

"I hadn't really noticed them before. They're not really much use for anything", or something like that.

And I said, "They're good to kick." There are toadstools growing everywhere lately. I noticed a pile of them outside my back door before, and in the street, growing in people's nature strips.

And she said, "Oh, she's a bit too young for that."

And I thought, "I wasn't talking about her, I was talking about you." But then I thought, maybe kicking toadstools is something you should grow out of by the time you're 37. Not that I have kicked any myself recently, but my toe itches to every time I walk past. That is what they're there for, after all. For people to feel the satisfying squelch as they collapse all over the ground.

But then, I have ample time with which to kick toadstools. Maybe she felt like she doesn't have time for such impracticalities, being the mother of a young child.

The day before I walked in the afternoon and came across a woman sweeping her driveway. She bemoaned the council's unwillingness to cut down a portion of the tree on her front nature strip, a rather ugly thing that was apparently spewing its pods all over her front yard.

"Don't know why I'm bothering," she said to me rather glumly, about sweeping up the leaves and pods. "They'll just be there tomorrow."

Indeed, I thought. I wouldn't be bothering either. Is a bunch of seed pods gonna keep you lying awake at night worrying about the mess? Well, possibly. Us humans are rather inclined to lie awake at night worrying about things which in the morning seem rather more inconsequential. Seed pods on your front lawn can loom awfully large if you are of a tidy gardening persuasion.

I know a great deal about the tidy gardener already, just from our 5 minute relationship. I know that she is one of 11 children (2 dead now, old age ending this portion of their lives). I know that she is a twin. Indeed, her mother birthed 2 sets of triples and 3 sets of twins, an amazing statistic. She died in childbirth, when the tidy gardener was only 18 months old.

"When I heard my girlfriends say nasty things about their mothers, when I was a teenager, I wanted to hit them," she informed me, going on to tell me about her own children, a son who lives in Queensland, a daughter living somewhere else. Informed me about how the woman in the newsagents' told her that she was a racist, because she had named her Tattslotto syndicate thingymyjig "Nigger". But that was in honour of her dog, Nigger, who in turn was named after a dog she had had as a child, in a different age when calling your black dog Nigger wasn't so much of an insult as it is today.

"I think they're the racist ones for noticing it," she said. "I'm not racist! I don't care if you're black, white or blue. Doesn't worry me."

I got the rundown on all the nicknames her family had and has for each other. "My grandson has always called me 'The Old Dear'," she said. Obviously a name she enjoys immensely, if her smile was anything to go by.

Everyone's got a story, don't they? Two sets of triplets and three sets of twins. What are the odds of that?


  1. Sue, I just love reading what you write about. Before I got to the last line I was thinking: Isn't it a lot of fun when we slow down enough to engage in a conversation with people? To just connect long enough and notice that the person we are passing by has a story to share.

    I enjoyed the peek into the conversations this morning.

  2. It is a lot of fun, definitely :) I think lots of people go through their days feeling like they're not heard by anyone. It was nice to chat to that lady for a while ... although I did need to cut her short and leave in the end, and I was late for my uni class anyway :)

  3. That's so cool. When I go out walking I don't talk to anyone...wouldn't want to slow my pace as I'm training...isn't that selfish?

    I need to get out and take some slow walks.

  4. I would pick deaf, definitely. The reason why may be a bit telling though. I can't abide the idea of losing my independence. Losing the ability to drive, being unable to run...I don't know. I love music. I was a music education major. But, I think I can recreate the sounds more easily in my mind. Finally, I think I am terrified of living in a world where all is dark. I can appreciate the charm of darkness. But, give me a string of days without sun and I am fit to be committed. I need light. So, I would choose to lose my hearing. Like I have any say.....

  5. The other day, when I returned with groceries, I encountered an older gentleman with a French accent, who struck up a conversation. Seeing the groceries, he invited himself and his 11 children to dinner the next evening and proceeded to dictate a quite elaborate menu, down to the choice of wine. He was most charming. I hope I run into him again. Thank goodness they didn't show up for dinner!

  6. Blind, no doubt. To never hear my sons and husband say they love me would be torture, to never hear laughter, oy! This way everyone would be beautiful to me and I could get rid of the evil proclivity to see people as beautiful vs ugly.

  7. Erin - I don't know if I'd call it selfish. When you're trying to walk to work up a sweat, stopping and talking kinda defeats the purpose :)

    Shelia - I'm a lover of the light, too. Seasonal affective disorder girl and she's thinking of choosing blindness :) Duh :)

    Barbara - that sounds like some cool dude. A good dinner party guest if he left his 11 kids at home. 11!! He's been busy charming his wife, ain't he ;)

    Tyler - That's what went through my mind, too, that you wouldn't know what anyone looked like so they could all be beautiful to you :)


Newer Older