mercoledì, febbraio 29, 2012

How to get old

My grandmother continues ill but I'm making my arrangements to go in June, on my mother and my aunt's advice. She tends to get better in the spring, and while her daughters are there, both of which are the case at the moment.

If she can make it to September, I think it is, she'll be 100. I sort of wish it for her in a way I'm not sure is purely good-hearted. She's been a hypochondriac for most of the last 70 years, and I guess turning 100 would be a sort of perfect 'ha-HAH!' in the face of it all. But it isn't right to laugh at mental illness like that. Even triumphantly. Anyways, for the past several years, since her husband died, I suppose, her focus is more on how she isn't happy than it is on how ill she is.

Maybe her depression has been passed on to me, my mother is certainly more depressive than I like, but I really pray we find ways to be depressive that aren't so . . . stifling? So hard on both oneself and everyone else? My grandmother had all the ingredients for a happy life. Even a depressive personality could have chosen to acknowledge that, surely? Oh god, I hope so. Because I know myself well enough to know what sort of personality I have. 

Anyways, in an effort to accentuate the positive, I'm about the have enough airmiles for emergency trips home to Canada. Yay!

lunedì, febbraio 27, 2012

No good at all

It had to happen sometime, I suppose, that it fully comes home to me just what a chimaera my middle-class life here is. I feel all rich and new-kitchened-up and shit, like I have lots of agency over my own life, but now my grandmother in Yorkshire is quite ill - she seems to be on the mend, but things were looking bad - and I've realized it doesn't matter how good I have it here. Australia is just too far away.

Since I'm planning the big trip to Shanghai and Europe from May to July (when I was planning on seeing her), and for a variety of other non-financial reasons, it would be very difficult to take two weeks now - realistically, that's as short as I could cut it - to see her, or go to her funeral, or help my mother and my aunt with the shitty aftermath of it all. Whereas when I was in Belgium, I could pop back to Canada for the weekend to drop off my cat at a friend's house.

This is no good, no good at all. My grandmother, who I don't think likes me very much when she remembers the basic concept of me, and who doesn't associate the basic concept of me with the me who is occasionally right in front of her, is one thing. But if this was my father? My mother? My brothers or neices or nephews? Especially since once the F-word and I breed, this is all gonna be a lot more difficult - no, fuck this shit.

I really don't want to be in Australia any more. I don't care how good the weather is and how low my taxes are. We're giving ourselves four more years here and now I'm full of errrghiness about what those four years could bring and how I might feel trapped here, on the other side of the planet from all the people I'm really into besides my old man, in a mortal world.

domenica, febbraio 26, 2012

How to clean the kitchen

I'm trying to institute Monday as some sort of cleaning day for myself, since my workload is pretty negligible that day and since the F-word isn't around distracting me with his hypnotic body or invitations to sit down to a nice session of Harvey Birdman. I actually quite like cleaning, now that we've divvied things up so I don't have to do any dusty work (allergies), which is fine with him since it saves him scrubbing and toilets and any variation or combination thereon.

While I clean, I like to listen to general history courses and I find the Berkeley iTunes repertoire, which I first got sucked into with Margaret Lavinia Andersen's Europe-since-1453 survey lectures, pretty reliably interesting. There is one I'm downloading as soon as they're uploaded, History 186, run by someone called Daniel Sargent, whose accent is fascinating. He sounds exactly like my Yankee boss, right down to the odd left out r's, but fucked if I can remember where my Yankee boss is from. Anyways it's so creepily similar that I sometimes wonder if my Yankee boss is leading some sort of bizarre double life and if he's actually about one million times more interesting than I think he is.

That's not why I listen though. It's just interesting. It's like a documentary that's actually about something. And the more Europeans I meet, the more I realize how enormous the holes are in my historical education, at least in terms of the last four hundred years. The College was great but it sort of ended before all the real modern history moneyshots, especially since I was in the languages concentration, and they let the philosophy profs make way too many pedagogic decisions.

Anyways, it takes me longer to clean than the three hours or so History 186 runs a week, so I listen to others as well. Today I started History 162A and if you, like me, miss ridiculously loud showboating professors, I advise you to give it a quick listen, if only for the theatrics. I've made a conscious decision not to look the professor teaching it up and instead I just visualize Richard Simmons running the course.