Saturday, April 2, 2011

Snot and the City

I hab a code id da doze.

Or more to the point, I have a cold in the nose - and a sore throat - and really I don't feel that bad, even though I'm emitting snot at a rate of knots and this is not pleasant for anybody, me included.

Waking on this rather dreary Saturday to the early alarm, I knew I should be getting my sorry bum out of bed to go meet Trin to do two laps of the Tan - but I can't force myself  to run when I'm teeming snot. I have a cold. The rules state that I don't run when I get a cold as it only makes things worse and I'll have bronchitis in a matter of days. However the rules say nothing about walking if I feel like it. Or doing easy exercise for the day.

Trin had been warned the night before that I was having an early night and that there was a good probability that I wouldn't go for the run - but I'd be there at the 1000 Steps later in the day.

In between the missing run and the steps, I had to make a trip into the city. I was to meet up with somebody I went to primary school with. The joys of facebook reconnected us a year or so ago, now it was time to meet face to face for a coffee - see where we were at some twenty five years on.

The thought of this meeting has been scaring the sweet bejeezus out of me for a week.

I walked into the city with some trepidation. Thinking I was taking my time over the four kilometres I made very good time. Bummer. Taking my time I relished the stroll down Flinders Lane, marvelling at the Adelphi roof pool, checking out the menu at Ezard, looking in the trendy shop windows, watching the coffee set drinking their teas. And there she was. On time. Kylie McDonald. She hadn't changed at all.

The last time I saw Kylie McDonald was probably the last day of high school. I remember a few things about Kylie. She was one of the popular kids at primary school - I wasn't. She made a crack when I had to go to school in a wheelchair that they should kick me out and race around the playground in grade six. It never happened. Thankfully I only had to go to school in a wheelchair for a few days - then it was a couple of weeks on crutches. It's funny, but I do remember that - and I don't remember that much at all from primary school - I recall next to nothing if I'm truthful.

You have to remember that I went to a primary school where there were only a hundred kids - composite classes. In my grade seven year there were twelve of us. I've obliterated these years from my mind - I know I was miserable.

From what I recall, Kylie was smart, like me. Kylie played netball. I didn't. Kylie's Mum worked at the school. Kylie had two pretty older sisters. Kylie was Myponga establishment. I wasn't - moving to the town when I was in grade three. When I was at primary school I thought she had a pretty great life. I rather envied Kylie Martin.

Through high school, things were a little better. Thankfully neither of us were bullied. I was strange enough to be left alone, Kylie was close enough to the popular kids to be unnoticed. I always admired her ability to make friends - something I never mastered until university.

Kylie and I shared many classes. Both of us were in the academic strand  - we suffered a Yeti for a physics teacher in year eleven - the only two girls in the class. We were both good at Maths and Chemistry, and generally we ticked along okay. She was always far more popular than me, friends with the Willunga Kids - something I never was - I was a weirdo at school and had a few misfit friends to hang around with. Things got easier by the final years. I was smart, I would be okay. Kylie was smart and fairly popular so she was in the same boat.

A thoroughly lovely time was had today. The thing that struck me was we've had parallel lives in many ways. Both of us worked our way up the chain the hard way - now we're both professionals in our respective fields. Both of us have travelled the world, been about the place. Only recently, she moved in with her partner, later in life than most of our school friends who were married with kids in their twenties. Both of us have had the indignity of having relatives ask "So when are you getting married?". Both of us know the half pride, half shame of walking into the store at Myponga and greeting Mary-Frances Scarpantonio - a year above us at school, married to a local guy, mother of six, grandmother of one, and telling her of our latest overseas jaunt. She tells us about how her brood are getting on. I had to remind Kylie that Mary-Frances has sisters in London and Rome working professional jobs. She made her choices. And how do I know this? My parents live next to Mary-Frances' parents. At Myponga. Kylie's parents are still in the district too.

It's funny what you remember and what you don't. It's even stranger how you get remembered. Kylie said I should try to come to the high school reunion they had last year. I flatly refused. Why would I want to see people who never really liked me from twenty years ago? She then told me of how, when they were organising the event, one of the popular kids - one of my main academic rivals - Robert Rose -was asked to get the word out. His response to this was "Where the hell is Pandora Behr when you need her?" I never thought I would get a second thought from the Willunga kids. Ever.

She also mentioned how she and I were pulled out of class in year seven and asked if we wanted to sit a test for a scholarship to a prestigious Adelaide girls school. How different could life be if we had taken that opportunity? At the time, she didn't want to. I wasn't allowed to sit the test. As I said, strange what you remember.

Will I see Kylie again. I hope so. She comes to Melbourne occasionally for the football - I might join them - save me the indignity of watching the Crows lose to St Kilda with Alice and Dougall.

Walking home the long way, I collected some magic, green, horse pills from the naturopath - the ones that kill colds quicker than any other medicine the doctor gives you, came home, changed and waited for Gloria and Gaynor to collect me for the walk up the steps.

There is something to say for losing weight and getting fit. Even with a head cold, I made it up those sodding stairs without stopping, without actually stressing that much at all - though much slower than I would normally do - in just over thirty minutes. Tracey and Sienna both finished today too - which was excellent.

And now, I'm home, about to go to bed, taking the cat with me to keep watch.

A good day was had.

Despite all the snot.


Elisabeth said...

Well Pandora. This is a great read. I enjoy hearing about reunions, bit I'm not so sure about how I find them myself.

When I was reading your post I found myself thinking about the play/film 'Shirley Valentine'. Have you seen it?

Shirley V is a bit of a dag at school, popular but mixes with the slack kids and drops out as I recall. The goody-two-shoes of the year she hates.

I can't remember goody-two-shoes's name but they meet up many years later and turns out Shirley's married, living in suburbia with two kids and a hard working but absent, unloving husband and her friend is a glamorous, never married and without children, high c;ass 'hooker', as she describes herself.

It's funny how things turn out. Shirley was sure her friend would wind up married to money, with several beautiful children, a gorgeous house and an interesting life ahead.

The 'interesting ' life yes, but nothing else. And what would the teachers say?

Great post Pandora. Get better soon.

Pandora Behr said...

Thanks, Elisabeth. Shirley's friend/nemesis from school was Marjorie Majors (played by Joanna Lumley in the film). It was a little like that - though Kylie is a lawyer now - not a hooker. Funny - I've lived on the island on which the film was taped. She's one of my favorite characters in popular culture - I really get her.

River said...

I can't think of a single person from school that I'd like to reconnect with.
I'm glad you went along to meet up in spite of your cold.