In the last few weeks I’ve become a bit of a bore with friends telling them about the book I’ve read/listened to called “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning”. Despite the rather gloomy title (very Swedish!), it’s an inspiring work written from the perspective of a woman in her 80s/90s, preparing for her death, and not wanting her children to have the “burden” of her children having to “clean up” after her. As a single man in my fifties, without children, the message resonates with me also. If I were to be hit by a bus tomorrow, or die suddenly from a heart-attack, or find myself incapacitated from a stroke, I honestly don’t know who would look after “my things”. Even though I have a will, I haven’t had “those conversations”.
Sue and I were talking a bit about this last night over dinner at Thainesia, an awesome restaurant which I’ve been going to for as long as I’ve lived in Sydney. There’s been a steady flow of waiters through the year, and probably most of those working now were just kids when I started going there, the food has remained excellent. And the place is always full. We had dinner there, ahead of going to a movie nearby.
As we walked along Oxford Street later last night, we did our best to try to understand why we both walked out of “The Post” feeling dissatisfied. On paper, it looked good, with an awesome acting, directing and production team, telling the story of the Washington Post and Watergate. But in the end, it failed to tell us anything we didn’t already know, and failed to provide us with much of an emotional experience either. Ah well, you win some, you lose some. The next film I’m looking forward to is “I Tonya”.
This week I travelled to Canberra again. There were a couple of work-related activities to attend to. So, as usual I caught the Greyhound from Central to the Jolimont Centre. “Why do you catch the bus and not a plane?”, a colleague asked me. I told him simply, “It’s much cheaper, takes about the same amount of time by the time you travel to and from the airport st either end, and you can get some work done (and have a nap if you need to) along the way”, I told him.
One of the most awesome things I did in Canberra was attend Heywire. For twenty years (I remember the launch), the ABC has been supporting a story-telling event focused on young people in Regional Australia. Along the way, the event has transformed itself to other activities, including the opportunity for young people to pitch their ideas to politicians, and obtaining funding. At my table for the dinner, there were two young Indigenous people (Darwin and Broken Hill), and another finalist (Gin Gin, Queensland) who were truly inspiring. I felt humbled. There’s more information here: http://www.abc.net.au/heywire/
As a man from “the bush”, it was awesome to hear all of these stories, and in particular catch up with a young man from my “neck of the woods”
Also this week, I caught up with a friend Tiffany, who I first worked with twenty five years ago (probably longer) in Wagga Wagga. Though we’ve stayed in touch over the years, it’s over a decade since we last saw each other, when we were both living in Perth. It was awesome to see her, and to meet her new partner, a guy she actually went to school with many, many years ago, growing up in the Northern Territory.
With a school reunion coming up later this year, Sue and I pondered over dinner (last night) whether or not we might end up meeting and falling in love with someone we went to school with. Maybe yes, maybe no.