Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sorry I Forgot to Return My Books

Don't you love public libraries? Don't you love how you can be a member of a couple in your local area? And how each one will let you get a card for yourself and each of your children? And how on each card you can borrow something in the vicinity of 14 items? Yes, yes, yes! Libraries rock.

Oh, but hang on. What about how some of them charge you 20 cents per book per day for overdue fines? Let's see: 84 books x 0.20 cents per day x 16 days = $268.80. No, no, no! Libraries suck.

Okay, so this is a little bit of an exaggeration. But despite the fact that the libraries send me a friendly email reminder to let me know that my books are almost due, and despite the fact that I can renew my books online or over the phone, I STILL can't seem to manage to renew/return my books on time. So when I finally take the books back and pay the $18 fine, I try to make myself feel better about my idiotic forgetfulness by saying Hi, I'd like to make a donation to this awesome public resource. But it doesn't really work.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sorry I Forgot When to Stop

2 months and 4 days ago we celebrated my husband's 40th birthday. It was one hell of a shindig, and I STILL have the injuries to prove it. Here's how it happened: after about 800 glasses of champagne I thought it would be a good idea to do a flamboyant dance routine, in high heels on the staircase of the bar where we held the party. It turned out that it was not such a good idea after all.In front of about 50 of our closest family and friends I rolled my ankle and fell down the stairs. I landed on my face.  Even though it had hurt quite a bit, I was drunk enough to think it was funny. When a concerned friend asked "Can I get you some ice for it?" I said, "No, but you could get me another champagne".

The next morning I could hardly put any weight on my foot. I had a bruised thigh, a bruised nose and my knee was bruised so badly that it was black. By that afternoon I sent my husband out to hire some crutches. The following morning, I went to the hospital, fearing it might be broken. I had to take the week off work, and 9 weeks later I am still limping. Now it does not seem quite so funny.

I would like to say "after one too many cool beverages I occasionally act foolishly". Alas, that would be a gross understatement. The truth is more like: after TEN too many cool beverages, I commonly act like a madwoman. Lately I have been waking up frequently with alcoholic remorse. The first order of the day: dispatch text messages apologising for inappropriate acts committed the night before:
  • Dear so and so, thank you for dinner, sorry I violated your dessert.
  • Dear so and so, what a great night, sorry I broke that glass and made no attempt to clean it up.
  • Dear so and so, it was great to catch up with you, I'm really sorry about those not-very-nice things I said about your ex-girlfriend.
A couple of weeks ago I had a brainwave: maybe I could stop drinking before I start doing things I'll need to apologise for later. Revolutionary! So this sketchbook entry is an apology to myself: Sorry I forgot when to stop. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sorry I Forgot How to Fly

Last January I was at a David Byrne gig with my friend Bernadette, a 'rug munching' affair at the Perth Zoo. No, no, not that kind of rug munching, I mean people munching while sitting on rugs. Now, I like picnics as much as the next gal - some washed-rind cheese, olives, and prosciutto, a glass of wine in one of those spikes - I'm all for it. But there's a time and a place for it. And then, there's a time to pack the gourmet delights back in the basket, fold up the rug, (if you can ever find that god-damned velcro bit that makes it into a neat little package), get up off the grass and DANCE. But would those rug-munchers pack away their picnics? Would they hell! Did that stop me dancing? No sirree. ("Oh, sorry, I seem to have trampled on your duck-liver parfait. Hey, I've got an idea, why don't you move it out of the way? What do you think this is? A senior's concert?") Anyway, this is a bit of a rant, and also a bit of an aside (the first rule of storytelling, don't start with an aside because you may never reach the middle, although I think someone forgot to tell Salman Rushdie that). 

So the point of this story is... on the way home, lamenting the shameless lameness of the crowd, I recounted for  Bernadette a tale of the halcyon days of yore when after a Violent Femmes concert, the first four rows of seats at the Perth Concert Hall had to be replaced because they had been completely TRASHED by the angsty teenage punters. Of which I was one. Yes, I was standing on the arms of the velvet chairs. I was jumping up and down. I was screaming obscenities (well, they were part of the lyrics). Okay, I have to admit at this point, even this story is an aside. 

The real story begins here:  Bernadette said to me, "Wow, I'd love to see you in full flight". You see, Bern is a newish friend. She has really only known me since I became a mother. And reflecting on Bern's response to my story, I started to feel pretty sad. I felt like I hadn't been in full flight for such a long time, in fact, since Harper had been born. I've heard people refer to marriage as a ball and chain but for me that was a more apt description of motherhood. I felt so restricted, so repressed, so tied down by becoming a mother. It was as though my wings had been clipped. Then, last July, when Harper was 21/2, we went to the US to visit friends in Seattle. My amazing husband stayed with Harper in  Seattle while I took a mini-trip to the Big Apple to see my old mate Swifty. There, in the city of cities, not Mummy, just Annabel again, I remembered how to fly. (I also learned how to ride horsey-style on a drag-queen's back during an impromptu cameo drag-show appearance but that's another story). See, here I am:

The challenge though, was learning how to fly with Harper. Almost a year and a half later, after finally finding the right combination of medication and therapy, I think I'm getting there. A few weeks ago Harper and I raced and wrestled and danced with wild abandon on a football oval, and it felt like flying.