Sunday, 30 September 2007

Unexpected published Sept 30

There are some events which happen in life that we are completely unprepared for. You think about such catastrophic happenings but you doubt that they will ever really take place. You use phrases such as “pigs can fly” or “I’m Marie of Romania” with reference to these things occurring and you go about your daily business confident that they won’t. Sure that in the ways of the universe it would never happen to you.
One of these events happened last week. To be fair I had been warned, and it should have been expected. But I just didn’t think it ever would.
My husband stopped smoking. After thirty years of devotion to tobacco he smells like a different man. Our house is smoke free for the first time and I’m looking forward to having him around ten years longer than the smoking version. It’s the coolest, sexiest most wonderful think he’s ever done. He’s told me to increase our mortgage payments by the $100 a week he’d normally spend on fags, but I’m secretly putting it into a savings account so that he can fulfil a life long dream of visiting Antarctica, something being a smoker would be difficult to do.
As it turns out it was quite the week for unexpected events.
We had a tyre blow out on the southern motorway and we didn’t swerve across the road into oncoming traffic at 100 km an hour and die. In fact within minutes a nice man stopped to offer help followed by a fine police officer who had the tyre off and spare on before you could say thank you very much. My husband nearly started smoking again from the stress but didn’t.
I caught my first fish in two years. It was only 20 cms long and requested that it be thrown back in the sea. I acquiesced, but only after securing from it a promise that it would send back a bigger member of its species next time I was fishing.
My best friend had her birthday. Which wasn’t unexpected but she did manage to eat her lunch while my Kumfs shoes, which she had previously declared she would not allow within a 100 metres of her own Miu Miu’s, had a nice rest under the table directly beneath her calamari.
My novel which is half written and has sat grumpily in my computer for the past few months untouched, put its hand up and requested a month in Venice to be completed. Apparently as half of it is set in Venice it needs to revisit the light, the churches, the canals and the food. It claims to have been inspired by watching the movie Don’t Look Now again, and denies it is obsessed with the sex scene between Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. I’m delighted the novel is ready to be finished but unsure if I could stand a month in Venice away from my family nor am I prepared to filch the money out of my husband’s Antarctica account, even if he doesn't know it exists. My novel tells me to harden up.
My five-year-old huntaway/golden retriever cross decided to reveal her latent ability to kill possums. We’re not actually sure if the possum died but it was last seen swimming out to sea. The last time the dog showed any interest in wildlife a possum ran for dear life across a patch of grass and up the nearest thing which looked like a tree, which was me.
Oh and then to top it all off a frippery of a memoir I had tapped out over the summer more for my own amusement than anything else never left the warehouse where it was sitting eagerly awaiting a day out at the book stores.
I heard from friends and colleagues I hadn’t spoken to in years and we discussed themes of censorship, the defence of truth and we recalled our early years as fearless journalists when we got stories out there, no matter what. And then we laughed my old friends and me. Because with such a fuss I wished my book had died an honourable death having brought down a corrupt political party or some hidden truth like who really killed Princess Diana and where Madeleine McCann is. But instead it is still a frippery of a memoir which in its short life made people laugh and cry. My husband nearly started smoking again from the stress, but didn’t.

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