Monday, January 24, 2011

Sweet F.A.Day

I've designated today, Sweet F.A. Day. This is the day that I don't have to do anything. I'm not due anywhere, I don't have to see anybody, I don't have appointments, dates to keep, people to see, things to do. I am allowed to sit here and do Sweet F*ck All.

If I so choose.

Which is why I'm blogging.

Sweet F.A day was organised in a knee jerk reaction to events of the last week, where it felt like everybody wanted a little bit of me. Okay, it's nice to be wanted, but it was reaching levels of the ridiculous.

So today the phone is off - actually, it's on vibrate - I can pick it up if I so choose. I haven't scheduled anything, and it feels lovely.

Back to last week, I'd got to the stage where I'd overscheduled stuff. I know I do it - I do it all the time. This was the universe's way of telling me to slow down, relax and enjoy. It was have this no schedule day or get a migraine. The choice was mine. I chose option one.

Making things slightly worse, it appears everybody I know in the midst of an existential crisis? This is an overstatement, but the world appears to be in hyperdrive and people aren't coping.

The first call came early in the week. Reindert asking if we could have a chat on Skype. I'm never going to begrudge him a moment of my time. As he's one of the most generous people I know, of course I'm going to lend an ear. In the scheme of things, he's not in crisis at all - just finding his way in his new role. It was actually great talking to him as he's the person I wish was still around the most. I also get to scoff at the fact he's entered a 20 kilometre foot race run in minus 20 degree conditions. He can keep that one. After 45 minutes, the world was a slightly better place once again.

The next call came at ten to midnight on Thursday. (This account has been fictionalised to protect identities)

In hindsight, I wish I never took the call. It was Lorelei, an old friend from London.
"Can you talk, Pand?"
"Well it is nearly midnight, Loz."
"Never been good with the time zone thing. I thought it was closer to ten."
"Daylight Savings over here. Okay, you've got me talking. Wassup?"
There was a deep breath and a sob at the end of the line.
"Loz, what's up?"
She slowly gained a modicum of control. "I dind't know who else to call."

I hate those words. I truly hate those words. More than,"We have to talk."

"I've met somebody."
"I'm thinking of leaving Ross."
"Well aren't you going to say something?"

That an old friend calls you from London is lovely. That she calls to tell you that she's thinking of leaving her husband and father of her child - well that's another thing entirely.

"Loz, why are you telling me this?"
"I had nowhere else to go. Ross thinks I'm on a work conference in Italy."
"Where are you calling from?" I asked.
"Lake Como."
"Gorgeous, actually."
I had to ask. I just had to ask.
"Is he with you?"
Silence. "He's a she."
"Oh. Does Ross know?"

None of the conversation phased me at all. I'm the first to acknowledge that you never know what goes on in other people's lives. From the outside, Lorelei and Ross seemed very happy. I'd class them as one of the happiest couples I've known. It appears that Loz met her new paramour at a work function and she was working through all of the emotions and feelings of what she was about to do.

"You're not judging me, are you?" She asked.
"No, of course not. You can do what you please. You're my friend. I don't give a toss if you're gay or straight."
"You sound a little miffed?"
"Of course I'm miffed. I was about to go to sleep and you've told me something that only a handful of others know about. I'm not comfortable keeping some sorts of secrets. This is one of them."
"You won't tell Ross?"
"Of course not. To be honest, that's your job. Besides, he's back in London and he wouldn't know me if he tripped over me."

I also explained that I wasn't angry, or disappointed. A little surprised. I offered no advice or judgement. I just listened.

I was more concerned for Ross and her son. The innocents in the whole mess. It seems this is what was concerning Lorelei more than anything.

An hour later I put the phone down and cried.

Lorelei's call put me in a foul state of mind for a few days. I really hate being stuck with knowledge like that. I'm also aware that my own family sitiation was tugging at my psyche - miserable parents staying together for the kids - that sort of thing. It was crap for everybody. I don't know what will happen with Lorelei - but extrapolating the situation.... I just can't think about it without getting sad. It's also not my place to say anything. I'm staying right out of it. Being on the other side of the world helps enormously.

Saturday took the biscuit. I truly enjoyed every minute of the day, but I was craving some alone time. Chance's swimming lesson, followed by a massage, then a client, them some cleaning, the out to Pinochet's for dinner with the girls from the gym. A fun night was had but I got home at 1 a.m.- exhausted.

The cherry on top of the existential angst came last night. My Stepdad called to tell me that a dear Aunt had been in a nasty accident. This Aunt - actually my Mum's best friend who's been like a surrogate mother to me, came a cropper while she and my Uncle were up the river on their boat. A few days on, she's still in a rotten way. She's lost an eye, she may have difficulties with the other. She's not really conscious. It's a bloody mess. My heart goes out to them. However, when my stepdad asked how I felt about all this all I could say was, "Well, at least she has another eye and this will get her off the roads - they should have taken her licence away years ago."


I'm officially out of sympathy and empathy. As healer, one of the greatest lessons you'll ever learn is knowing when you can't fix something. I can't fix this. I can't bring back her eye. I can send love and courage, but I won't bring her eye back.

And I'll book a trip to Adelaide in a few weeks to go see her.

Which is why today is Sweet FA Day. Time to get my energies back. Time to give some love and time for me.

And what have I done on Sweet FA Day so far?

Umm. Well I met Gloria and Gaynor for a walk around the Tan and a coffee this morning. My choice. I extended ithe walk out to go collect my mail and take the long way back to the car - eleven kilometres in all.

I've done some job hunting. Sent off some applications. Know I have a couple of interviews coming my way.

I'm writing this blog.

I'll toddle off to Pump Class at 5.45 and maybe do some shopping after the gym.

Later I'll get the car ready for the trip down to Mordialloc for my weekly massage session, my current money spinner, for which I have to be out the door at 8.30 am.

But that is my version of doing Sweet F.A. I've not talked to anybody. I've not given to anybody but myself. I feel wonderful that I've had some down time to do what I like, with no schedule. And I feel myself coming back to the fold once more.

My dream version of a do nothing day would involve a king sized bed, a large, fit, not too flabby man with a slightly furry chest, soft hands and willing wobbly bits. Staying power, fresh pineapple and raspberries, good coffee, some tea and tonic water and the nearness of a good shower would all be required as well. Oh, with some Jane Austen to go on the DVD between scrums. Yeah.... But I haven't had a Sweet FA Day like that for many years and I should stop tormenting myself thinking about it.

Might put that on the list of things to do for this year too.

Pandora smiles whistfully as she locates her heart rate monitor and considers going to the gym.



Kath Lockett said...

Oh man, there's LOTS to think about in this post, Pand. Your comment about knowing what it's like to have miserable parents who stay together just for the kids' sake is a telling one.

I hope that your friend L - and husband and child, somehow sort it out so that everyone is happy, fully in the loop and relieved. Not sure how that'll occur though.

Oh here's an interesting word vertification - Pandsma!

Pandora Behr said...

It was a hard one to write, Kath. So very hard. But the world appears to be normalising now. I got caught at the traffic lights singing along to the Violent Femmes...must be coming good.

River said...

I think sweet FA days should be mandatory. Everyone should have one a week. I've chosen Sundays for mine. Some Sundays don't quite work out that way, but I don't schedule anything for Sundays, so if things come up I can choose whether or not to follow up on them. Usually I don't. Sundays are for me.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Heavy stuff - not sure how I would react to be fair.

As for "Sweet FA day" I sometimes really wish I could have one. Not sure why I always seem to have no time ...