I have started a new habit. Every day, I aim to do one good deed for someone else. Not only will others benefit from my newfound source of selflessness, but it will also enrich my own life.
I begin this new regime yesterday. My first good deed was for my sister-in-law. There is still some friction between Marie and I. You would think it would be difficult to do a favour for Marie from across the state border, but I had just the thing in mind. It was easy to remotely organise for an air conditioning service in Sydney.
We had previously had a fight about her air conditioning. I wanted her to get it fixed so I would not be uncomfortable on my visit, and she would not budge. She did end up getting it fixed, begrudgingly. I realise now that her opposition was likely to be motivated by her hip pocket. Sydney is notoriously expensive, and money is always tight for Marie.
Fortunately due to Pat’s salary, we do not have that problem. So I thought I would make amends by paying for her to get her air conditioning serviced. We have enough money that many of my good deeds will involve charitable acts, I think. I know maintenance is crucial for air conditioning in Sydney, the reason on that the air conditioner was on the blink in the first place is likely to be related to her failure to get it regularly serviced.
My efforts at extending the olive branch to Marie have once again been misinterpreted. She was on the phone to me this morning after an air conditioner maintenance technician knocked on her door. She locked him out and yelled at me to mind my own business. I explained that her air conditioning is my business now that I have turned over a new leaf. She did not let the maintenance person in, but I called and made another appointment for tomorrow. I think she will come around once she realises the power of positive deeds.
Today my therapist asked me to write down my three biggest questions that I feel I need answered before I die. So I came up with a list I’m pretty satisfied with:
- Why don’t more animals wear hats?
- How do sandwiches become more delicious when they’re cut in half?
- Why don’t humans have wings?
That last one has always been a bone of contention for me; in fact it often keeps me up at night. Flying is one of the greatest activities there is, as evidenced by my multiple dreams in which I’m a beautiful fruitbat and I’m soaring through the trees of Madagascar in pursuit of the Nacho King. I ALWAYS update my therapist when I get that one. It’s a majestic feeling like no other.
But really, I won’t accept evolution as anything more than a theory if someone can’t explain why we haven’t grown wings. There’s so much SPACE up there, you know? It’s why I got a job in construction, to be all around those big, lovely, tall bailey ladders and piles of strong scaffolding. It’s not flight, but it gets you right up there with the birds and to me that’s basically the same thing. That was my job for a whole…two weeks or so. I was kicked off the job after I tried to build a set of wings to jump off the top of the scaffolding and say hello to the sun. Something about breaking all the health and safety rules at once. Well, yeah…probably…but you see, I really thought those wings were going to work. It wasn’t like I tried it out on a day that wasn’t windy. I’m not an IDIOT.
So there you have it. I still maintain that aluminium work platforms are the closest we’ll ever get to the sky where we belong. That’s why I had a set of trestles set up in my back garden, which I kept jumping off into the neighbour’s garden, who called the police who eventually set me up with this nice therapist. Don’t know what a therapist is, but I imagine it’s like flight school for your mind.
So here I am, in the lowest rank of Over-Botch. Interesting place to be, since it’s the only game in existence that rewards you for failing and getting yourself killed (hence the title), but that requires a great deal of skill and it’s skill I don’t have.
I’m stuck in the Grandmaster level, a badge of shame that states I’m way too good and don’t fail enough. Maybe I’m just too naturally successful for this game? I succeed at everything I try, so perhaps this experiment in failure is too abhorrent for my skills. Clearly.
One mission has you defending the harbours of Melbourne, where outboard motor servicing is taking place that could decide the fate of a great future war. Over-Botch certainly has a rich setting, although they need a few more lore bites before I’m willing to accept that outboard motor servicing is what’s going to swing a world robot war in humanity’s favour. Whatever…anyway, these good mechanics are under attack by robots, who want to kidnap them and use them to build anchor winches and outboard motors for the robot cause instead.
Obviously, obviously, the aim of the mission is to fail. But you have to fail splendidly, you see. You have to do it in such a way that people think you’re trying to succeed. That’s how you get the gold medal in failing, and I’ve never managed to procure the coveted gold medal because I just keep guiding my team to victory. Which is to say, I’m guiding them to defeat, which is also victory…but that’s bad.
Why am I so obsessed with this game?? Is it because failing is the one thing at which I cannot succeed? What a conundrum! Maybe I’ll just have to accept that I’ll always fail at failing. My apologies to the Melbourne boat trailer repairs people of the year 2080. I’m trying to screw up my mission, but I simply cannot.
Dan is the worst. Not that I expected anything better from him, because even before he was handed the position of boss (without doing anything to merit that) he was a bit of a layabout. He’s a fun guy, and really good at heart, but SO bad at his job. And I’ve never even seen him at his job; I just inherently know, because he’s Dan and he couldn’t unscrew a jar of peanut butter without moaning for a few minutes and asking someone else to do it for him. Some people are just like that: no initiative, unless you give them a shove hard enough to send them through a wall.
Here, I feel like I made the right call. This situation called for nothing less than a professional conference speaker to visit their office and…do their thing to talk some sense into everyone. And I’m serious, that place was dead. I’ve picked Dan up from the place a couple of times, and I guess everyone is friendly enough, but no one seems to be DOING anything. It’s a listless place. Pretty sure Dan’s PA was reading a romantic novel about hormonal horses, and she wasn’t even being subtle about it. She had a page up on her computer that I’m pretty sure was fan-fiction, right there in plain sight.
Compared to where I work, the place was practically a cemetery, and here’s Dan complaining over coffee about how no one ever gets motivated. Yeah, I could smell the break room from the door last time I visited, so I guess the cleaner has the same ethic as everyone else. So I put my foot down, found a motivational speaker right there and then and now I’m just hoping it does some good. Usually I wouldn’t, but this was dire, and hopefully there’s a Melbourne keynote speaker somewhere who can do some good. Seriously, they need it; things can’t exactly get worse.
Move to Berwick, they said. It’s peaceful without the hustle and bustle of the city, they said.
That may have been true five years ago, but things have really exploded in the last few years. I liked it, at first. It’s on the edge of civilisation, but close enough that you can drive into Melbourne for a pleasant day of writing and drinking coffee. And now…now…I can’t even find a seat at my favourite café any more. That’s rather important to me, since that’s where I do my of my fiction writing and I need a good atmosphere. Pleasantly-full is perfect. Heaving? It’s just too much stimulation.
All I want is to finish my novel, which incidentally is about a man who learns to communicate with invertebrates. I’ve used the setting of Berwick as inspiration, so now he’s gone from being a generic pest control agent to a Berwick pest control agent. I hear there is actually an active industry in the area, so I must take care not to represent them in a negative light.
Not that there’s going to be much of a problem there…Benton is the main character, after all.Personally, I think this presents a very interesting moral quandary. What must a person do when put in such a situation? He’s a pest control person, but now he can understand the language of insects. He can hear when they’re making plans; he can ascertain their hopes and dreams; he can sense when there’s unease at the thought of being removed from their home.
Hopefully, this causes feelings of uncertainty in the reader as well. What would you do in such a situation? Is there anything to do? Maybe I need to conduct interviews…yes, find myself some people in Berwick, maybe Dromana, who do pest control. Really get a feel for how they do their thing. Wonderfull…
Taking a night history class was seriously the greatest decision of my life. I’ve been learning practically everything that I feel like I should’ve been taught in class, such as how the crusades were caused by some guy spilling his friend’s drink at a party and how Australia was actually settled by the Icelandic peoples, before they ditched the place. Too many spiders, and people from Iceland are famously afraid of spiders. Only ten dollars a class! It’s a true bargain, and we always have great fun.
This week we learned about plumbing, Melbourne’s history and how the city was founded after a local tribesman became tired of there not being adequate piping in the area. That’s why he sold his land to the settlers; they brought plumbing technology that the natives had never seen before, and everyone lived happily ever after with their proper water distribution services and flushing toilets. And the legacy of those first Melbourne plumbers has continued unto this day.
I had questions, of course. I always have questions; it’s my natural curiosity that led me to take this class in the first place. Like, how did the natives know that they needed quality emergency plumbing if they’d never experienced it before? Apparently their leader was a visionary, by which I mean that he had visions. He saw a day when his people would no longer have to make trips to the well for drinking water, or boil water over a campfire when they wanted to wash dishes. No, there would come a day when Melbourne would be a great city, with networks of pipes and sewers in every suburb, and the only thing people would have to worry about was the occasional blockage and maybe the boiler breaking down. And even then, the blockages would mostly be their fault.
And that’s the truth, folks. Nowadays around Melbourne, emergency 24 hour plumbers can attend to you at all times of day. How fascinating to look back on where we came from!
When I first moved to Australia from New Zealand I was a lost soul. I had a few hundred dollars in my bank account, a suitcase of clothes and an address to go to in Melbourne. I had arranged to stay with a distant cousin of my Dad’s until I figured out where to live. For about two weeks I didn’t do much.
I worked on my own projects which were mainly medical development orientated and tried to apply for various physical therapy jobs around Melbourne but I didn’t get anywhere. My personal projects had taken a back seat because I didn’t really have the right skills developed to be of help to people who needed pain relief.
About a month after I arrived I saw an online advertisement for dry needling courses based in Melbourne. I looked into it further and found out that it taught a lot of the skills that I was missing. I needed to enroll in this course in order to fulfil my goals of helping those in need.
I attended an open day in the next week and the study options offered meant I could get a job and work on the side to fund my studies. The distant cousin turned out to be distant in more than one way meaning I could continue to live there hassle-free.
I think he liked knowing someone was there as he spent three out of every four weeks abroad. My life finally came together. I had some direction and momentum and I even made some friends. The dry needling course was fairly social and we had a couple of projects that forced me to interact with others. I might even get in touch with a few of them in the future about employment opportunities. Once I finished the dry needling course and was able to stand on my own two feet I thanked my distant cousin for his generosity and set out on my own.
I had spent all afternoon yesterday trying and failing to study. I knew that it was going to be difficult as I’d spend a sleepless night in my apartment. The heat in the house was almost unbearable, I had every window open and it wasn’t helping. There was no way that any study was getting done without the air conditioning. Regardless, I felt like I was wasting what could have been a productive day of study, so I did my best to soldier on. I was finding it hard to grasp the basic concepts of what I was studying due to the heat. I felt like the words were suffocating me and I could concentrate on nothing else. I’d come to my wits end, having a slight tantrum in the kitchen when I realised I’d re-written the same line of words, eight times in a row.
The air conditioner was out of action and it was my own fault for not getting it serviced when I should have. My parents had reminded me several times last summer that I should get it serviced because the cooling unit was making a funny noise. It was a struggle to admit my mistakes and make the appointment for air conditioning repairs, Brisbane was my own personal oven of shame. I knew things were going to be ok once the apartment cooled down. Although my afternoon was not very productive, I did a lot of thinking about my research topic. I also did a lot of daydreaming, often drifting off with random thoughts that lead me away from my goals.
I didn’t know if the heat was affecting my brain, but I was pretty sure that my walls were not supposed to be moving. The sooner the air conditioning repair guy arrived the better. I had a pretty tight deadline, my assignment had to be done in just under a week. I was confident I would make it, but only if I had air conditioning. Brisbane was annoying hot and the forecast was for more of the same. If the air conditioning service technician was unable to fix my system, I would have to either toughen up, or find somewhere cool to study. The latter was probably the most likely. I thought about taking my books down to the school library, but decided to go swimming instead.
I’m not one to panic, but sometimes…you just have to. The time to panic is now. It’s panic time.
It wouldn’t be so much of a problem if we hadn’t had so many storms recently, what with all those stories about windows being blown in and glass going all over the pavlova. Not that I’m worried about that, because we simply don’t do pavlova in this house. Still, I’m paranoid. Our windows are old, from at least the seventies, they could come crashing in any moment.
You’d think there would be some kind of massive drive for window replacement. Melbourne would be all up in arms about how many windows are being ruined and there would be advertisement all over the place. Like…got a storm brewing? Come get some windows replaced! Best decision you’ll ever make, especially since the alternative is standing there and feeling cold as the water pours in through the broken window frame!
Do you think that might work as a business strategy? It’s all about pre-empting the market these days, keeping up with the changing trends and also keeping the water out of your house as it floods in and ruins the linoleum and floods the bottom of the fridge and sweeps away all the good china just like in my nightmare. So yeah, someone really needs to get on this. We need really big billboards, bigger than the usual billboard size, telling people that window replacement services are there and available for the use of the general public if they find themselves in need. Because there are storms coming…at some point. It’s been a very humid summer and windows everywhere are in danger. People needs to know and be reassured that Melbourne replacement windows are available, and they need to keep their homes secure in case a branch comes through, or someone kicks and ball in the wrong place, or…really big birds. Sometimes they just don’t look where they’re going.
You know what they say: the end of one adventure is just the beginning of another. I’d just like the adventures to last a little bit longer, if you know what I mean. So I just got lightly booted out of my rental property because the landlord wants to sell. That’s her business, of course, and all part of the contract. But really, only six months after I moved in?? This one was across the street from the park, two minutes’ walk from the pool and just seclude enough to miss all the traffic. The one before that, I was forced to move because the neighbours dug into a gas line and we were all evacuated. And then before that, we found out that the roof was infested with about fifty possums that had formed their own little society.
They called in the emergency roof repair people from Melbourne, and I don’t think they’d ever seen anything quite like it. I’D never seen anything quite like it. The whole thing was wrecked beyond belief, and when they opened up the hole to get inside (naturally, it was carved above MY kitchen), the smell was…well, I’ll never, ever forget it. The things people who do roof restoration have to deal with. Hopefully that was a one-off.
Oh, but it would be me, wouldn’t it? It’s like the universe is conspiring to kick me out of anywhere I settle, and by this point it’s getting creative. What’s next? Maybe lightning will strike the electrical box, causing a fire that consumes my entire property. Perhaps there’s going to be a heavy fall of snow (in Melbourne summer, of course, because it’s me), and I’ll be cut off from all services, and all my pipes will freeze and break and then when I turn them on my house will be flooded into oblivion and my roof will collapse, because why not? Then the Melbourne roof repair people will come along and keep their distance from me because I’m basically cursed. Can’t say I blame them.