The City and The Country

On Saturday, B and I woke up super early and drove to Orange for the weekend, mostly because one of my friends was christening her daughter, but also because we haven’t been to Orange since Christmas and my younger sister was there with her daughter, Cordelia, so we thought it would be nice to catch up.

B and I spend a lot of time discussing city versus country, having both lived in small country towns and the urban planning horror of Sydney and while the city is where we’ll be for some time yet, when we drove up Mum and Dad’s driveway, we met this guy:

roo1

It was amazing how close he let us get in the car and we hung out for a while, pondering one another. Turns out he’s a super old ‘roo and has been hopping around the paddocks for a few months now and Mum and Dad have decided to let him retire there and see out his old age like a funny old bachelor who just drops by for a meal now and then.

Besides the great expanse of land and the brilliant wildlife, another draw of Orange is the amazing local food and we went to a place called The Agrestic Grocer on the outskirts of town. It was jam packed with delicious produce, from local veggies and wine to blood orange cordial and herbs and spices. We had lunch, part of which was a delicious iced chocolate, served rustic-style!

choc

Sunday marked the first time in probably ten years that I have darkened the doorway of the Catholic church affiliated with three of the Catholic schools I went to, an event made even more strange by the fact that my friend teaches with a lot of the women who taught me in infants and primary school and for the whole christening, I sat behind my year three teacher, wondering how she still looked so young, and resisting the urge to tell her that I not only know how to spell ‘Sydney’ now, but that I also live there.

church

The rest of our weekend was spent with family, most notably Cordelia, the only woman I won’t chastise for spewing on me, because she’s adorable and talks loudly to herself at 3am and has eyelashes so long they reach her eyebrows and perpetually looks like she thinks you’re an idiot. I love her times one million.

deliah

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When we left, we came upon our friend, sleeping in Mum’s garden. He slowly rose to his feet to farewell us as we made our way back to the city.

roo

On Migraines

I get ocular migraines all the time, maybe two or three times a month and have never been able to pinpoint why or what triggers them.

Once I went to an optometrist on Crown Street to see if there was a problem with my vision that might be causing them. The optometrist put drops in my eyes to expand the pupils and found nothing of interest, leaving me to stumble back to work down Cleveland Street, tears streaming from my poor dilated eyes, passers-by assuming I was one of the local meth-heads.

I spoke to my GP about them, earnestly explaining that when I felt one coming, I tended also to have an intense craving for Minties, which he put down to a crash in blood sugar levels that often precedes a migraine. For a long time I saw Minties as the solution to my migraines, except that two weeks ago I’m pretty sure eating Minties caused a migraine. Nothing is sacred.

The first time I had one, I was about 15 and working after school and on weekends at Best & Less in Orange. It was the beginning of my time there and I was still too young to relate to my manager as a peer, plus he’s recently called me a wench, which I knew from a recent English class on Shakespeare, just mean ‘woman’ but I wasn’t sure that he know that, and suspected he thought it was an insult. I’d also been recently accosted at the registers by a strange new workmate who wanted to know when I’d first seen a dead body. Also I’d caught a woman shoplifting and after eyeballing me while letting the plastic wrapped shirts she’d stuffed under her clothes slide to the floor, she’d followed me around the store singing Nine Inch Nail’s infamous ‘Closer’. Piece of advice right here: that is one hell of a way to ensure a scared 15-year-old will not call the police.

Anyway, when I started feeling car sick and the vision in my right eye started strobing, I didn’t feel like I could ask to go home, so instead I lay on the dusty blue carpet of the lingerie department, surrounded by cheap, synthetic bras, hung on thin plastic coat hangers which were forever getting tangled when women rifled through them to find their size.

I lay there and I thought I was dying and I thought to myself, ‘This is not how I thought it would end!’. Keeping in mind I was 15 and living in Orange, I had grand hopes of one day maybe dating one of the guys from a local band, Bongrot and finding the perfect mix of cheap vodka and lemon squash. I had all that to live for, I couldn’t die there on the floor. Plus I’d never seen the carpet vacuumed so it was maybe not the best place to lie.

In summary: I now know that my vision comes back after an hour or so, but I will feel car sick until I’ve has some sleep and I still don’t know what causes them or how they get triggered, but an ocular migraine will not kill me and ‘wench’ just means woman.

Like a kidney stone, this too shall pass.

Twitter has been horrible in the past few days, have you noticed?

It made me reassess how I’ll use it, or whether I still want to use it at all. I feel like it’s come to a point where you have to firmly plant your stake in the ground and it needs to be way over here or way over there and if you’re not over here you’re a misogynist or an apologist of the most horrendous magnitude, or blind to patriarchy, or maybe just plain unintelligent and so rather than feeling like I can say, “But I’m somewhere here … about a foot away from you but suddenly it feels like asking any questions or expressing any reluctance to join you on this one issue is going to lead to all kinds of trouble …”, I’ve said nothing.

It’s been really frustrating, questioning whether not wanting to go balls to the wall makes me a bad person but I think I’ve come to the conclusion my life has built me a moral compass and I know when I follow it and when I don’t and mostly I follow it and mostly it makes me an okay human being and I like to know as many sides of any argument as there is to know, but not in an atmosphere where I feel like that alone is enough to have me labelled as something I’m not.

I don’t need to advertise where I stand right now in my life, but it would be nice to feel like I could if I wanted to.