The Ruminator

Come on up and grab yourself a beer.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

It's all relative

My experience of the passage of time seems to be slightly problematic at the moment.

To quote the memorable excuse of a friend of mine, I appear to have passed through a freak wormhole.

This morning after breakfast I looked at the clock and it was 8.17am. I brushed my teeth, put on my shoes, and looked at the clock again. It said 8.40am.

I suppose that twenty minutes of my life was not too much to miss, but on the other hand I am unlikely to get it back in a hurry. And I like the part of the morning that comes after you’re properly awake and before you have to run out the door. It is an important time for preparing yourself to face the day ahead. Maybe I’ll just keep missing so many twenty minute segments that it will end up adding up to something significant. Or maybe the universe is just compensating for the fact that this working week seems to be dragging like treacle.

Unfortunately, my boss is not scientifically minded or inclined to watch too many special-effects laden movies, so she is unlikely to be impressed by my pleading disturbances in the space-time continuum as an excuse for being late.

On the other hand she has admitted to enjoying some mind-altering substances in her younger and wilder days, so maybe I can convince her that she only THINKS I was late.

Sunday, June 08, 2003


One of my favourite things in the world is spontaneous happiness. All of a sudden, for no particular reason, you just find yourself grinning. The other day I woke up feeling like that, and the first thought that struck me was ‘I am incredibly lucky.’

Above my bed is a set of shelves where I keep photographs and mementos. I woke up and looked at the photos – of me standing near a waterfall in Tasmania; surrounded by close friends at my 21st birthday party; with my parents and brother, all of us healthy and happy. Further on was a whole collection of photographs of my friends – I could remember when all the pictures were taken. I looked at the other things on the shelf – keepsakes given to me for birthdays, Christmas, Valentines Day. I saw the little stone gargoyle that I bought from a cart near Notre Dame. I remembered climbing to the top of the cathedral to see the real gargoyles, and the contrast between them and modern Paris below. I remembered how the setting sun made the cold, grey stone glow honey-coloured. Hanging off the shelf in the corner was the royal flag of Scotland, lion rampant. I remembered that I bought it on the Isle of Skye. The mist curled around the rocks, the castle, the boats in the harbour. I remembered startlingly sunny days in the highlands, sitting in the heather, drinking single-malt whiskey.

Looking around the room I saw the wooden box where I store other keepsakes. Bundles of letters from friends as they traveled after we left school. Cards given on special occasions, old love letters, sketches by friends with a talent for drawing. When I went to find some earrings to wear, I thought about the other jewelry I own. None of it is amazingly valuable, but a lot of it has meaning. A jade pendant from New Zealand, its design signifying strength, and safe journey over water. A necklace given by my parents on my 18th birthday, and another given by a group of friends on my 21st. The small, pearl necklace that was given to my grandmother on her 21st birthday.

It was an incredible feeling that I have been trying to hang onto ever since – to look around and see all the everyday items in my house imbued with special meaning. I think I have been more inclined lately to spontaneous, unreasoning grumpiness, so it was a nice change. What made me feel so privileged was not the material possessions themselves (although as a middle-class Australian I am doing way better than most of the world’s population in that regard) but that so much of it had special associations with people and places. So I am sitting at my desk, glancing at a photograph of my family, thinking of the friends who may end up reading this, thankful to have them in my life.