Sunday, September 05, 2010

All shook up

Reducing weeks of my life to a series of bullet points seems like a lazy way to spend a Sunday afternoon. But if sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, brevity is the highest form of truth. While some are prone to drama, hyperbole and lengthy explorations of the meaning of every nuance, I currently prefer the bald facts.

1. I have been to Fiji with my husband and without our children. It was very hot and very nice. I am very brown. My husband is very hot and very nice. He is not very brown.

2. My Dad has started his ride around the coast of New Zealand to raise awareness of Prostate Cancer. His blog is Dad is very funky, fun and forgetful. Most days when he leaves for work you can set your watch by the 10 minutes it takes before he returns to collect his office keys, phone, wallet, sunglasses, diary, or other miscellaneous item inadvertently left behind. Mum and I had a bet to see how long it would be during his one month mission before he set off in the morning without his bike. I won. She gave him a week, me just the first 48 hours. He left his cell phone in Cape Reinga on the second night and due to his exhausting schedule the courier company can't meet up with him until Palmerston North on Thursday.

3. My friend R was very impressed with Dad's ride until he found out it was on a Harley. "What?" he exclaimed. "I thought he was doing it on a push bike."

4. I have been to the Disputes Tribunal to explain my actions regarding the fence. I was in the waiting room. Patient. Nervous. In strolls neighbour with a support person. I felt supported, by the chair I was sitting in. Wee hobbit lady, just a bit taller than me pops out of the wee rooms and explains that every case is running late, there's no referees, she's terribly sorry, Gandalf's on his way, but alas, we won't possibly be able to slug it out today. "What do I do now?" asks neighbour as supporting man supports her. Wait til we get sent a new notice with a new date for a new hearing. I support myself by standing on my own legs and graciously allow neighbour to exit before me. Less graciously I am tempted to yell after her ' justice delayed is justice denied' but realise she feels this more sorely than me.

5. Christchurch has been shaken by an 7.1 earthquake. Go to for pictures of the devastation. The central city and some suburbs will take a long time to recover. It's hard to comprehend the scale when our sleepy seaside village is almost unscathed. The quake itself happened in slow motion. As if inside a washing machine on spin, the house shook and vibrated and rattled and hummed. The noise was powerful, going from fast asleep to wide awake in a heartbeat was a rush and the ride down the stairs to be with the children was treacherous. C bruised his ribs. He's not brown but he's tough. "I can't feel a thing."

6. The aftershocks are now strangely normal and it's hard to remember which of the many civily minded actions to take. There are exhortations to save water. I was composing a post about this while I showered. 10 minutes later I'd finished my blog update,in my head, but was still in the shower. When we heard that the water might be cut off for a period of time, we rushed to bath the kids, get the dishwashers on and do a load of washing.

7. School is closed for the next two days. P has already written a story about how her heart slept during the earthquake because she was scared. Another dear friend had a panic attack during the quake and couldn't breathe. Stranded on his bed like an upside-down starfish he thought he would die, not from the quake but from his seeming inability to get air into his lungs.

8. In Fiji I read 7 books including Margaret Attwood's Year of the Flood, winner of the Commonwealth Prize - The Slap, and my personal favourite Christopher Hitchens' memoir 'Hitch-22'. It contained the first literary reference I've come across to a 'one-titted woman'. Just for a minute, imagine my delight. It was found in a letter from Kingsley Amis to someone else famous and wordsy wordsy.

9. In Fiji I read that Christopher Hitchens has cancer, likely terminal. And that's a shame. My favourite Vanity Fair columnist writes so well about so many things, he's a million zillion times cleverer than me, almost as tall and so now I'll probably never mention cancer again. He is chanelling me and transforming my thoughts into his words. I understand the arrogance of such a comparison but his two most recent posts at suggest he has a direct line to me. I've been thinking for a while about the language of death and death notices. People apparently 'lose their battle' with cancer but not with heart disease, dementia, obesity, or diabetes. If cancer kills me it won't be because I lost the battle. CH will tell you all about it. He goes on to explain how he, one of the world's most vocal atheists, deals with the news that people are praying for him. I've been troubled for a while now by 24 hour prayer chains established to support women with breast cancer. I'm not sure we need more tired mums setting their alarms for 3am to pray for their friends. What kind of God would decide not to cure someone because their mate slept through the 5am shift?

10. And so to the significance of the quake? Guests of the planet, Mother Nature has forcefully reminded us of her potency. There will be weeks of literal and figurative muddiness as the city struggles back to life. Tomorrow I am due to further my own revolt against MN and her forces with a preliminary visit to the plastic surgeon to discuss rebuilding my twin towers. This is one area where my account will outstrip Hitch every day of the week.


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Sacha Coburn said...
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BeJolly said...

Is C "the bald facts" that you prefer? No offence intended C.

_Morgan_ said...

I really like how you refer to "Death notice language" and how people say they have lost their battle with cancer, but your right...are other illnesses not battles?