Viv asked a relevent questions of me at Dream Group on Wednesday.
Do I ever sit still?
The answer to that is sort of. Okay, no. I don't sit still very often. I normally have about five things on the go. I get up in the morning and it's normally full steam ahead until I got to bed 18 hours later. I like to try and be active, walking to work when I can, running, getting out and about.
So, at the moment, I'm cooking, writing, editing, painting my toenails, watching a DVD... at the same time. That's normal.
But sitting still. Nah, I can't even watch television without either knitting or sitting on the computer.
Yeah, I'm one of those people. If I was born twenty years later I'd probably be on Ritalin.
One of the girls in Dream Group piped up that my Mars is in Leo - they don't tend to sit still ever. Maybe there is something in this. Something about always wanting the best and persuing it, the fiery energy of Mars being extenuated by the showiness of Leo. I don't know - I'm only an amateur astrologer. Besides - I have a moon in Cancer. Any fire is washed out by the sookiness of this combination.
Thinking about it, as a child, the thing I remember being told by my mother most was 'Sit still and stop fidgetting."
Okay. I don't sit still very often.
So it goes to pass that in not sitting still, I'm not home much. And this week, I've found myself in some funny places.
Let's start with last Thursday. Normal enough day - especially after the day before where I was considering feigning a migraine or slitting my wrists to get out of work. Thursday was a better day. Thursday I knew that I had to be out of the office for 5 pm so that I could give Em a hand.
Em's my Melbourne kid sister. We know each other from the gym and as she lives nearby, she's a regular movie mate, Pump class companion/adversary (let's see who can pump the heavier weights), confidante and drinking buddy. I feed her cat when she's away. She drops by with milk when I'm sick.
Em got her car licence about six months ago and decided to buy a car. After a trip to Car City a few weeks ago, I left her to it. A week ago she said she'd bought a twenty year old 3 Series Beamer - and she asked could I come with her to pick it up after work? Of course I could. Early night, gets me out of the office - no worries. I asked where she bought the car from.
Somewhere in West Footscray. From a dealer in West Footscray. Make that a car dealer in West Footscray. One has to discern these things.
I wanted to ask two things. Why would you buy a used car from a car dealer in West Footscray (or Footers-cray as it is known to locals)? Secondly. Why would you buy a used BMW from anybody that side of the Westgate.
I should not cast stones. Mea Culpa - I'm a suburb snob.
"You take me to the best places, Em." I said as we alighted the train to a suburb south of purgatory.
"I know. I have another favour to ask."
"Can you please drive it home for me. I'm a bit scared."
I had no issue with this as all. Em's lack of confidence was fair enough. Going over the Westgate in peak hour can be a little scary at the best of times. She's been driving for six months. Me, I've had a full licence for over twenty five years.
"We're going over there. " She pointed out a car lot, complete with banners and flags across a very busy road about fifteen minutes later as we got off the train.
"Oh. You take me to the bestest places."
"I know," she smiled."Wait til you meet Dim."
Dim, the car salesman, was obviously a Dimitri. Coming from that area, one summises that he's of Greek origin, spends too much time in the gym and probably still lives at home with his mother. I was certainly right on the first to pieces of information. The tattoos snaking up his arm were interesting. Works of art tattoos rather than prison tatts.
Em showed me her car. A bottle green, old-shaped beamer. In reasonable knick, spotless interior. Looked okay from the outside. Would I buy it - no - but then again I have a ten year, clean, protected rating one insurance history and a two year old Mazda two named Neville. Besides, the beamer is a bit big for me, but it's what she wanted.
After a quick look about, Em and Dim finalised the paperwork and we were on our way home. Over the Westgate, I asked her a few questions.
"So, what's the car's name?" I always ask this.
"Cool. So what does it cost for a woman in her late twenties on her P-Plates to insure a twenty year old car with 200,000 kilometres on the clock."
She told me. Third party, fire and theft was about the same as what I pay for my comprehensive insurance on Neville.
"So, I'm covered to drive Justin?"
"I'm not sure. I'll sort that out when I get home."
"I'm driving an uninsured car? Across the Westgate!"
"Yep. I'll fix all that tonight."
Paid extra special attention to what I was doing. We got back to Richmond half an hour later in one piece. I left Em trying to work out how to lock all of the doors at once. I had to get going. Pinochet had a whipping for me.
Friday night - another completely different scenario, was called back to the Freemasons Hospital to visit a friend who'd just had a baby. I know Max from a job a few years ago - and as she lives around the corner and the hospital is on the way home, popping in was a must.
First stop on the way was Beer Club at Tin Can, String and Whistle for some liquid fortification.
As the ex-president of the Beer Club I have loose visiting rights. I like popping in ever few weeks. It's where I get to hang out with Glen Waverley, Merijn and a few others I've known for years - a simple, social beer before trotting off home. It's also nice dropping by as I appear to get a months quota of blokey bear hugs from old friends.
This evening, I found Wozza, Ding Dong and another old friend sitting about, beers in hand. There were also a couple of others I'd not met. An intense Belgian, a happy Pole and a rather dishy Pom.
I miss Tin Can, String and Whistle. I miss communing with engineers. I miss the utter rubbish they talk. And I really miss the gentle cameraderie of the joint - especially that which is found Beer Club - a gathering spot for every race, creed colour and engineer around. And non-engineers as well.
Besides, I needed a bit of Dutch courage before going to see that baby.
I delayed leaving as long as possible. Finally, I kissed the old friend on the head and watched his ears go pink. This is a natural engineer response. Besides, he deserved it. He looked at me funny when I walked in - in a good way, that look somewhere between pride and attraction that this friend gives me when I walk in the room, but still... one must not think about things like that. Getting out the door, I walked to the Freemasons Hospital.
Ten minutes later, Max's two-day-old daughter was asleep in my arms. Max was sitting on the bed looking rather tired but happy. It appears having a newborn is much preferable to being 42 weeks pregnant. The not so little two-day old (nine pounds) is the spitting image of her three-year-old brother.
"Hello darling (she's yet to be named), this is what beer breath smells like."
"She'll get used to it." said Max.
I love holding babies, especially the really new ones. You never get to hold such potential at any other time. They're so pure and uncorrupted. It's rather unfortunate I'll probably never get the chance to hold one of my own - but like cats, kids are nice to borrow. And you can give them back when the start screaming, puking or get smelly when they're not yours.
Had a lovely chat to Max. I think she's looking forward to being able to have a wine again. We chatted until some more visitors turned up, then I made my way home.
The next juxtapostion was Saturday night. After a day of girlie admin, meditation, a much needed massage, I met Blarney for a film at Crown Casino. Not my choice of cinemas, but convenient for the both of us. Gold Class to see "The Help". Great film, great company. Shitty location.
After the film, we went for a glass of bubbles to discuss life, the film and everything - but we were distracted.
I almost never go to Crown Casino. I can't stand the place. I gamble - I buy a lottery ticket most weeks. I don't mind the odd hand of social poker. But I HATE the casino. Trash, scum and bogans at their worst. However, the people watching is astounding. The sights are incredible. Never, in my life, have I seen so many crimes against fashion in one place. Why is it that women of all ages go out, skirts up around their fannies, cellutite on show, strutting around on too high heels which make them look like trannies in training? It's amazing! Seriously, more orange peel and cottage cheese on display than in a supermarket! Don't these people have friends to tell them where they're going wrong? Oh, hang on - the friends are just as badly dressed as the fashion victims. Lots of Oompa Loompa tans too... The crimes against fashion just went on and on.
So along with the obvious security with the ear pieces and the scowls, the men on bucks nights who really don't give a toss, the hard core gamblers who slink into the casino with the furtive looks of those who are hooked, and the hens nights, and the children - like who the hell brings a child to the casino?
It was all a bit too much.
After half an hour of not knowing whether to shake our heads or laugh, Blarney and I caught respective cabs home.
Sunday fared better. After pump class and a coffee with Jay, I raced home, changed out of my hobbit shoes (Vibram Five Fingers) for a pair of old ASICS and made my way out to the Dandenongs to meet the girls.
Kez and I decided to walk up the Lyrebird Track rather than take the stairs. Caught up with all of her news on the way up between gasps for air, then chatted with Trin on the way down, then had yet another coffee and drove home.
And then the most surprising juxtaposition of all. After I don't kow how many weeks, I had the afternoon at home to myself.
I've worked out it's been over three months since I've had an afternoon off. No visiting Blarney, no heading somewhere for a run, no meeting friends for a film, no being interstate, no helping people with things.
I had the afternoon all to myself.
Okay, it's a bit obvious. I'm not home much. I keep really busy. I spent the time dusting, writing, cooking, catching up on Big Love and Being Human. I cooked myself a really nice dinner. I finally watched Million Dollar Baby (superb film). I went to bed early.
And strangely, I didn't feel like I've often felt having such a day. I didn't feel lonely.
I'll admit it. I don't always like coming home to an empty flat. But sometimes, having the space is wonderful.
After a few days filled with so many varied experiences, knowing I have a messy flat to return for a bit of solitude is a lovely thing.
I just hope it wont be another three months until I get the chance to do this again.