Saturday, September 19, 2009

In praise of the solid citizen

Ohhh, sweet Caroline, good times never seem so good
From Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond

I've had a bloody awful week.

The awfulness has come as it usually does, from the place of my birth, Australia. Personal problems. Family problems.

And what do I do? I pick up the phone to call my Australian friends. Remind me, dear reader, if I have a problem with you-know-who - tell me - DO NOT pick up the phone. I'm relying on you.

Last night, when I received news that I was $1,100 poorer and had not paid for anything, I did the WRONG thing. I picked up the phone. And dialed.

And from then on, FRUSTRATION reigned supreme.

Friend #1 "Well she's only stealing from you because she hates you."
Me: "NO. She's stealing as she wants to buy Horse. To stick in her veins,"

I take some sort of sick pleasure in using the junkie-speak for heroin. But Friend #1 should face the facts. Nevertheless I feel really bad after her comment and get off the line ASAP.

I start to feel like I'm losing my grip on reality. Why would friend #1 say that? Was I dreaming? Is it a cultural thing? An American would be more sensitive. Have I been away from Australia too long? Or not long enough ...

Well THAT was helpful. Great. With friends like these.... And I dial friend #2.

Friend #2 - husband of - Me: "Is M there?"
Friend's husband (FH) "This is a terrible line."
Me: "I'm sorry, is M there?"
FH: "This is a terrible line."
Me: "I know but is M there? Just say 'yes' or 'no'"
FH: "No she's gone to .. to to, to ... " (is he thinking? I'd better not interupt and disturb his thoughts or I'll NEVER find out. But after half an hour has passed my self-control fails me.)
Me: "Where has she gone?"
FH: "This is a terrible line."

I call it a day.

Me: "Nice speaking to you."
FH: "This is a terrible line."

Friend #3: "Well you can't be sure it's her. Wait till the banks open."
Me: "Good advice but I'm depressed."
Friend #3: "Don't be, but I must go now as I want to walk on the beach".

What's the matter with these people? I go to bed and watch crap TV. I sleep and dream of beaches, men who are hard of hearing, and daughters who hate. Fun fun fun.

I wake up. It's only 5 a.m. I eat and go back to sleep. The phone rings. It's C, an old friend from Australia. I've known C since school. She's the most solid of my friends. A good citizen. C is no artist, no drug councilor. She hasn't written a book, dined with Melbourne's upper echelons. I've known her forever. She's a Friend.

When We Were Very Young
We talk about nothing much. The weather. Her daughter. My son.

"How's E?" she asks. I hesitate to speak. Then it comes pouring out.

"I bet you didn't expect to hear THAT when you asked," I laughed. She giggled back.

I tried to relate the story with humour and we both had a good laugh. She listened.

And then

"Don't worry, Kate," C said. "You've done all you could. You've done more than most would do. You've nothing whatever to be ashamed of".

"Thank you C," I said. That's really nice of you to say that."

And I say it again.

Thank you Carolyn, from the bottom of my heart.


Anonymous said...

Yes Kate. We don't get a manual on how to raise 'em. And even if we did, it is a matter of luck; who they hang with, what they see, what they hear.
You've given it your best shot and that's all anyone can do.
Hang in there.

tim said...

Love the photo!

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