Tuesday, March 23, 2010

True stories

Writing good fiction is all about noticing. Separating the tiniest detail from the broad brush stroke approach we take to life. While people engaged in real life are living, fiction writers sit back and notice. The cock of the wrist, the flash of anger, the species of plant and the blue of the sky. I could never write fiction. The imagination required is way beyond my bird brain. But take a look at the true stories from my last two weeks and marvel at the absurdity of the truth.

1. I received an email from Brazil describing an exciting project. "The path we have chosen is a dead end." I found the original document in Portuguese and translated it back it English. "The road is a road of no return." Easy enough mistake to make.

2. P has told me that she's really pleased I don't have to have any more of the medicine that makes me sick. "Do you remember the name of mummy's disease," I asked. "It starts with can..." Her eyes lit up. 'Canterbury' she replied.

3. The neighbour has sent another typed couriered letter in response to my latest handwritten hand-delivered note. "I do not believe you have grasped the seriousness of the matter." She is, on this count alone, right. When you are doing all you can to boost your odds of not dying a slow debilitating death (I've been researching what happens, it's not pretty) in the next 24 months, it's hard to get worked up about the $15 she claims I owe her for a packet of grass seed. The best thing is I am getting a wee lesson in the New Zealand quasi-judicial system. "There is a vehicle that provides a solution. It is called the Small Claims Court. It is set up to solve disputes such as this." I am now drafting another handwritten note to hand-deliver later. It's like an RSVP to a party. "Dear B, Look forward to seeing you there. Love from S.x" I'll likely lose in the Small Claims Court. Its decisions are usually based on a coin toss, or fall in favour of she who cries the loudest and longest. Walk away? Not fighting for the principles at stake will more likely be more stressful than fronting up.

4. I have discovered where I've gone wrong. 'The Secret" advises that for full health to be restored one must 'not acknowledge or speak of your disease or illness with anyone'. Kind of makes doctor's visits tricky.

5. I am living in the middle of a Sopranos episode. Someone (I.h.m.s) is doing burnouts outside our house to intimidate us. Through the grapevine I've heard that Black Power has been asked to intervene. I am practising my scared face. I understand that having no fear is dangerous, but c'mon. Burnouts? Black Power?I wish they'd just follow the example of my next door neighbour and courier a letter outlining their concerns and describing the legal process to me. In fact I wish all this drama had happened while I was at law school. All the plain English explanations of the system might have come in handy.

6. I have cyber-stalked an old friend from Varsity and she is reported to have been at a cocktail party to celebrate her Rhodes scholarship and someone asked her 'do you think it's Mountbatten's fault that India was partitioned so poorly?' I love this. The most commonly asked question of me at any function, after I mention that I work with Les Mills International is: 'are you an instructor?'

And the very last true story from a bizarre two weeks. My best friend in the whole wide suburb has recently separated from her partner and had a bet with herself about how long it would take for his best friend in the whole wide world to text her and offer a consoling shoulder, and a quiet drink. The subtext is sex, as it inevitably is for men of a certain age whose lives are less than they had hoped for. Incidentally, as Tiger Woods, JFK, Shane Warne, and Bill Clinton have proven, the subtext is sex for men of almost any age whose lives are everything they ever dreamed they could be and more. Anyway, when's it okay to make your move? Two weeks? Two months? Turns out, poor fellow waited exactly 7 weeks before penning the offending text.

I suggested she courier a response in Portuguese about his chances and let him guess at which of the possibilities was most probable:
a) over my dead body (and that's a bit kinky),
b) only when you are the last man alive and even then only after 7 years of psyching myself up,
c) never ; or the least likely
d) when Sacha wins in the Small Claims Court.


leona said...

Sacha you are so funny, you write stuff that quite up lifting,I like reading it.Get well soon

BeJolly said...

aaaggghhh - you didn't really read The Secret did you????