Wednesday, 15 January 2020

An Adventure in Speed Dating

I tried something different last Friday evening: I tried a speed dating event at a bar in Fitzroy.

Melbourne's heavens opened late that afternoon, so that was a challenge: I knew I'd be sporting that "drowned rat" look.  I'm not going to lie: I was a bit nervous.  I summoned up my “just arrived on scene at roof damage leading a good crew" look: the impression I was going for was of a man in control of my surroundings and his reactions.  Certainly after thinking this for the tram ride I was at least feeling like that!

I imagine the format of speed dating is well enough known not to need setting out.  Each date was about 15 minutes with changeovers notified by text message.  Matches seemed to be basically set by age, which saw me meeting people at the high-30's end of the age range (this suited me fine).  All of the matches seemed like good people, even if not uniformly appealing.  One or two had personalities that left no mark.  More tragic were the ones who seemed to have long ago sold their identity to their work and to have no real core of their own to express.  On the other hand, others were fascinating to talk to and one at least had had much the experience with her ex I've had with mine: there were no more fights over their child; it was easier just to get on with the business of being irrevocably part of each others life for the next umpteen years.

Oddly, one of the best conversations of the night was with a young lady of 31 during the meal break.  Each of us was enthusiastically consuming sausage rolls and chicken wings in the knowledge we wouldn't be paired and therefore there was no loss about scarfing down food in front of the other.  She remarked that her reason for being there was in large part that her parents want grandchildren!

Not many people hung around afterwards and so I contented myself with ordering the best Bloody Mary I've had since I was last in New Orleans.  On the walk home I stopped for drambuie in the Lord Newry Hotel, began a draft of this post and reflected on the experience.  Something that struck me was the randomness of it all.  My last date of the night was the belle of the evening, a professional lady who looked a bit like Natalie Dormer.  With a little Dutch courage on my side, I asked her why she was single: she was certainly attractive and intelligent.  She replied that she'd just never 'clicked' with anyone.  Perhaps I'm missing the point of all this (quite likely) but a 'click' seems like an alarmingly random way to decide matters like this: no wonder, perhaps, that so much sadness comes into the world from relationships.

Too Much Spare Time

Here I am on a Wednesday evening feeling a bit lost.

It's been a good couple of days: I'm getting back into the swing of things at work and also feeling a bit more like myself again.  I ran home from work last night, which was good even if I was left with a painful twinge in my might knee.  Melbourne is very smoky although going along the Moonee Ponds Creek you don't really notice it (mainly because the creek smells so much worse than the smoke).

Tonight, as I said, I'm a bit lost on account of unexpected free time.  This afternoon the weather bureau was prognosticating a bit of a weather apocalypse, and so I left work early.  Well, early for me (about 6:30pm) in expectation of callouts. 

In the event, there were no callouts which left me at a bit of a loss.  I couldn't run because I did that last night and want to do so again tomorrow night.  I settled for a yoga routine from my phone followed by TV and dinner, but it all felt somewhat unsatisfying.  At least the yoga seems to have sorted my knee out.

Unusually for me I actually felt like to talking to other homo sapiens and browsed my contacts on various social media platforms without finding anyone I can really talk to.  So that was a bit depressing.

Leading me to now: wine and a stiflingly humid room at my digs.  Roll on tomorrow.

Monday, 13 January 2020

An accident at Mornington

On Saturday I went for a leisurely wander through the Melbourne General Cemetery.  Any cemetery wander is a history lesson and today was just such a day.  This was the headstone that caught my eye -

Mr Nunn, as the headstone says, was killed while "aeroplaning" at Mornington (how long, I wonder, was 'to aeroplane' a verb?).  The fuller story, however, is somewhat more tragic.  The report in the Argus (3 January 1920, p.14) stated that he had long been trying to obtain a flight in an aeroplane and had persuaded the pilot in this case to take him on a series of afternoon flights in a Sopwith Gnu (the type of aircraft is identified in a report of the Defence Science and Technology Organization).

Sopwith Gnu (Image from here)
As the aircraft approached Mornington it snagged on a telegraph wire and overturned, injuring the pilot and causing Nunn fatal injuries.  Painfully, the Sydney Morning Herald (5 January 1920, p.7) reported that the flight had been taken without his parents' permission.

Nunn was born in about 1902.  The Wright brothers first flight took place in 1903.  It is painful to think that when Mr Nunn's parents received the news, they may have reflected that he was killed by an accident they could not have imagined on the day they welcomed him into the world.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Sunday, and another beer.

Another summer day, another beer.  This time a Kaiju Krush at the Victoria Hotel in Brunswick.

It's been a full day.  I meant to go to Mass this morning at Our Lady’s at 9am.  I woke at 9am after the best night’s sleep I’d had in ages.  I decided God must have wanted me to catch up on sleep instead.  I got my coffee and began a three hour FaceTime with Grace and Rachel.  They were so happy to see me.  Also a good talk to The Ex.  As I’ve reflected a few times, this isn’t how I thought my family would look, but I’m good with it nevertheless.  This is OK.

After Facetime I headed out for my weekend run.  I lengthened the usual route a little to include Royal Park Station and ended with a respectable 14 kms at a better pace than I’d expected.
Running clears your head and when I got home I deleted the POF and Tinder apps off my phone (one spam email offering prostitution too many, among other reasons).  The reason I mention this is that at about the time I put them on my phone the other week, I mislaid my Marian medal.  Well, I went to do laundry after my run (and after deleting the aforesaid apps).  What do you suppose I found?  Sometimes Our Lady is less than subtle.

Cleanliness was literally next to godliness this weekend as my next stop was Mass at St Joseph’s, followed by the beer with which I began.  I’m putting off going back to my digs to start writing up SES Peer reports.  It’s not a difficult job but it’s fiddly and boring.

Not much more to add.  It'll be a busy week this week

Saturday, 11 January 2020

A mental health day

It’s Saturday and a cool change is giving Melbourne in general and me in particular a break from summer heat.

I’ve been exhausted for the last few days.  The usual late rush of work last year, then three weeks or so farm work in the north, and a big absence of my usual diet and exercise, has hit me mentally for six.  Time on the farm has been with family, which is great but means you’re “on” all the time and that's kind of exhausting too.  How tired am I?  There’ve been a couple of SES messages today and each time I’ve looked at the pager and thought “I’m not up to it...  show me a chainsaw or a damaged roof and I’ll stare blankly at it and tell the crew 'just do whatever you think'”.  This, plainly, is neither safe nor satisfactory.

As a result, I made today a mental health day with tincture of Marie Kondo.  I ironed my shirts.  I filed two years worth of paper clutter (bank statements; that sort of thing).  I got groceries and went with things I’ve not tried before (pulse pasta? Why not?).  Then I purged the piles of things on my bedside table, threw out old copies of Catholic Weekly that I know I'll never get around to reading and bought a magazine box for unread copies of American Rifleman and The Mirror.

Then, I got a tram down Lygon Street and took a gentle stroll through Melbourne General Cemetery (which gave me material for another blogpost in a few days).  I walked to the Brandon Hotel for beer and book time.  I’m not sure Hemingway was the best choice for a day like this.  I love his prose but sometimes it can feel like one is chewing gravel.  I’m still catching up on my misspent youth and stopped for wine at the Great Northern on the walk home, which is when I'm drafting this.

At this point I’m feeling more like myself again (Dutch courage?).  I was going to write SES Peer reports tonight but I don’t think I have it in me.  I’ll update my Goodreads profile and do some stretches and be in bed by 11pm.  God willing by tomorrow I’ll feel like myself again.

How's your weekend?