"Alone, even doing nothing, you do not waste your time. You do, almost always, in company. No encounter with yourself can be altogether sterile: Something necessarily emerges, even if only the hope of some day meeting yourself again." (E.M. Cioran)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Weekend Trip

All organised. All packed. I've got my Paris Hilton volumising lip balm on and comfortable clothes for the car trip, so off we go - stvbee and me - for a trip down the Hume to capital city world.

Bright day, fun music, dry landscape out the windows. A stop at a tiny colonial'ish settlement town for lunch at a rustic-style cafe with amazing food and cashed-up clientele.

Canberra - bunker-like buildings and the sort of creepy motel where you definitely wonder how many people have used that blanket since it was last washed. All of the bedding crackling with electricity generated by the synthetic fabrics. Good Chinese food and 'Saturday Night Fever' afterwards on some 'Foxtel' channel. Not much sleep, due to an all-night rave around the corner. I notice that the exact time the beat stops is 6.03am Sunday morning. Water and mandarins. Bleak and windy weather, with sprinklings of rain. Too rainy for the flower show. A shopping mall for fruit and yoghurt, a too-big cup of milky coffee and artificially-flavoured muffin. I'm so anaesthetised by the atmosphere that I get sucked into buying $40 worth of 'Dead Sea' beauty products. Whatever.

Then it's the drive home along the Hume Highway again which, especially in late-afternoon cloudy weather, has that low-sky feel in places - as if you could just reach up and touch it. The trees and road signs are flying past and there's lots of traffic, but something is magic about the way it all comes together.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Quotes For Today

"War is now considered a legitimate reaction against terrorist strikes."

"The U.S. government's response to September 11 has actually privileged terrorism. It has given it a huge impetus, and made it look like terrorism is the only effective way to be heard. Over the years, every kind of nonviolent resistance movement has been crushed, ignored, kicked aside. But if you're a terrorist, you have a great chance of being negotiated with, of being on TV, of getting all the attention you couldn't have dreamt of earlier."

"We can't ever abandon our personal quest for joy and beauty and gentleness."

- Arundhati Roy -

Adventures in Springtime

Thank goodness my last bout of bronchitis and cold is finally dissipating. And thank goodness for springtime.

Yesterday involved the usual fun train trip between western Sydney (I occasionally go for dental appointments) and the city and the diverse characters I never see around the inner-city bullshit zone. I sat next to an older couple. The woman looked amazing - resplendent in bright purple, her grey hair up in a bun, her tanned face covered in an incredible pattern of deep - and not unattractive - lines, which looked like a kind of aerial map. She took everything in around her, including an elderly woman with very black skin sitting opposite us, who rose from her seat and left the train at Lidcombe Station. "She's very dark isn't she?", the lined lady said to her silent partner, who nodded slightly and continued to grimly keep his firm hold on a walking stick. He wore the type of slacks that I've noticed many older men on this train wear - greyish beige in colour, synthetic fibres glistening in the light. He never said a word during the entire journey, but his wife chattered continuously about everything that came her way.

She fell silent after the train pulled away from Redfern though and, upon arriving at Central, asked him what he'd like for dinner that night.

He didn't say a thing and they both got off the train.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Narcissists I've Known

The good thing about growing older is that we can look at our experiences to date and analyse them, with a view to making wiser decisions in the future (well ... one would hope, anyway). This particularly applies to our choice of intimate partners.

Looking at my past relationships, many are people who interpret and judge the world - including people around them - according to whatever point they themselves have reached in life, or philosophies they associate themselves with, at any given time. For example, their current realisations are the ones everyone else (especially you!) should be adopting; the food they have decided is the best for them is the best for everyone else; their knowledge and perspective, to date, is the most relevant etc. etc. They move through life constantly justifying their own actions and habits, whilst judging those of other people, inadvertently revealing a very deep and hopeless insecurity. For them, the notion of empathic understanding - an interest in and sense of how others may experience or feel things - is an impossibility. It is a notion that simply doesn't occur to them. They feel no responsibility in regard to how they may affect the feelings of others. It is as if the world exists for themselves only and if everything else doesn't fit into place around them - including people - then it is an obstruction, an antagonism. I have learnt, through years of therapy, that these people are narcissists.

Disturbingly however, I have been noticing that many people become more narcissistic as they age and am starting to think that it is almost inevitable - perhaps a 'side effect' of the individualisation of a society in which self-centredness rules. Yet, on saying this, I suspect that mothers are probably far less likely to be narcissistic, though I'm not sure whether I'd extend this exemption to women in general. Surely, we owe it to ourselves and those around us to try and understand what the concerns of others are - how they feel, what makes them tick, what might be of benefit to them and how we can perhaps help? However, given the way the world is going right now, including attitudes, in general, towards 'the other' in situations of conflict and the greed and selfishness of those of us living in affluent societies, I don't feel particularly optimistic.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I'm sick again - 10 days so far. (When have I not been over the last five or six months?) It's actually getting ridiculous. Since March, there have been three onslaughts of full-on cold - with all the trimmings - that have lasted for 3 to 4 weeks, but always with a smidge of 'chestiness' remaining, which eventually (usually 2 or 3 weeks later) flares up to the point that I feel like crap for a couple of days and then it subsides. And so on, and so on...

But the chest infection is really nasty this time, so I went to the doctor's last Friday. I'd seen him a month earlier - after enduring 2 weeks of the previous cold - and had left a sputum sample for pathology. He was surprised I hadn't returned to see him - telling me the pathology had revealed bronchitis bacteria (and here I was thinking he'd call me if there was any cause for concern!)

Anyway, I've been on antibiotics since Friday for bronchitis, even though it developed into another full-on cold and there's no improvement. I am sooooo sick of being sick! Nothing I eat tastes right. I feel like crap. I look like crap. Everything hurts. I cancel a scheduled appointment with my acupuncturist and express concern that I've had to start a second course of antibiotics that I'm worried won't work. She reinforces all my fears by saying "Well, antibiotics aren't what they used to be ... it could be a different bug to last time ... " and advises me, as does everyone, not to do anything, stay in bed and eat nourishing, easily-digestible foods. OK, so how am I supposed to prepare this food and get the ingredients? And, being a member of the 'new workplace' world (ie no sick leave etc), I have to actually produce work (albeit part-time) in order to get the money to pay for this food - and my life in general. So what now?