Sunday, July 04, 2010

Signs & Wonders

Headline in the Christchurch Press just last week: Sacha lifts her game. I knew it! Sacha Jones, the teenage tennis sensation was back to her best and I was basking in the associated glory. Reading the article shattered those hopes. Some old nag, purchased for a mere $10,000 was coming good at last for her owners and won the group D half a mile around the back strait and over the gallops at the Wayawayfromanywhere racetrack on dole day Tuesday. I just can't get excited about horseracing but I wondered if the headline was a sign. Time to lift my game?Require a bit more of myself? Hmmm.

The other item that caught my attention introduced me to the idea of transition societies. Whether you follow the Mayan calendar or believe 99% of the world's scientists doesn't really matter - our planet is on its way to being poked. Transition societies teach all the old crafts like stone masonry, black smithing, milling flour and other medieval type activities we would need to draw on if the global production economy collapsed. Everyone has a role to play in ye olde village and as I read through the list of jobs there were only two that I could even begin to fulfill. Useless at cooking, cleaning, sewing, handicrafts, and not busty enough to work at ye olde public bar I settled on being the town crier (big mouth) or the village idiot (I am often the dumbest person I know).

Our surnames used to tell all about our role in the village. The Taylors, the Millers, the Arrowsmiths and Cooks. I put it to my dear friend that his was a heritage of entertainment but Mr Morris was having none of that. My surname indicates that my forebears lit the fires that burnt the witches at the stake - I'm not sure who invented the torture that gave rise to those who spell their Coburns with an extra c.k. And as for my new friend Mr Hygate I can only suppose that it's simply a matter of perspective.

My dad is planning to ride a motorbike around the perimeter of New Zealand during September to promote awareness of prostate cancer. He has Harley Davidson luggage, badges and belts and won't hear of any suggestion that he's an aging cliche. He's jacking up sponsorship and will be in a town near you with a bunch of other bikies with blue buckets. I mention this momentus challenge (both the biking and the buckets) not so much as evidence of a sign, but more because it's a wonder.

I wonder a bit these days. I wonder what colour to dye my hair, and how the war in Afghanistan will go without McChrystal's influence on local decision makers. One of the journalists I follow on twitter provided live updates from the Apsen Institute Security Forum and while I most wanted to know if she was going to have botox while she was there, SachaZ (not a racehorse or a tennis player) instead totally got me thinking about the challenges facing the planet. Forget the massive advances in medicine, technology, the industrial revolution, Madonna, and donuts - the primary difference between our society now and ye olde village is the vast array of information we have at our disposal to process and evaluate. What is most important? Saving the planet? World peace? Self-actualisation? Checking your balls for evidence of what you might have otherwise happily died of? Making sure your jeans are the right cut for this season?

I envy the villagers of times past. Unless they travelled they didn't know that no-one in the next village was still wearing brown sacks for dresses. Rabbit was always fashionable in a stew and there was no awful judgement about whether or not you'd had an epidural.

For the record, in deference to Rome I had two c-sections. Too posh to push. Send your condemnation to

I checked the newspaper again this morning for a sign and perhaps not surprisingly given a readership in excess of 100,000 there didn't seem to be any messages specifically for me.

1 comment:

Ben Kepes said...

Of course the funny thing is that Mr Hygate is, in fact, rather low...

SO there you go...