Hubbub and Hubris
It's been an interesting year so far.
I've been called a loser and a slut when out picking up litter;
A racist in the Letters to the Editor page of the Sunday paper;
A bigot by a Facebook friend;
Quirky by a interview subject;
Kind by a stranger on a tram;
Disrespectful by a fellow local; and
Lucky by a chocolate retailer.
During that time I've picked up 14,000 pieces of rubbish that I meticulously recorded in a little notebook, spending late into Saturday night collating into data comprising the top ten most-littered items in my neighbourhood and:
Published thirty articles;
Had a beer can thrown at me by a stranger;
Yelled at - and chased - three teenage boys;
Demanded several refunds;
Done three public speaking sessions;
Survived a term-long teaching session;
Received a second cholesterol reading of 7.4; and
cried more than a few times.
Now it's time for a change. Freelance writing has been fun and amazingly fruitful but ..... increasingly fraught. Deadlines adhered to by me aren't adhered to by the publisher and payment is only when the article is published. Savings for Fairfax means no fortnightly input into the family coffers from me. Two years of writing about a field in which I published a book three years ago means that, to me the topic feels like it's been mined to the blooping hot magma underneath the crust.
I went shopping last week and decided that it wasn't worth 'dressing up' in jeans and a clean jacket, but was okay to go in man-sized tracksuit pants and matching polar fleece. Clearly it was time to remind myself that not being interested in fashion is fine but dressing like a early-onset dementia patient most certainly is not..
So I started looking at the job ads again. It had been the first time since 2006 and the memory of Bulldog at the end of 2007 had faded enough to even consider administering in academia again.
Two days ago I was offered a job. Originally advertised as three days to full time, in reality it is full time. I accepted it.
Sapphire will need to go to after-school care every weeknight and her tennis lessons will have to be held later or not at all. Milly will be walked at 6.30am as opposed to whenever we both feel like a stroll to the post office, school yard or corner shop and the housework will now bleed into the weekends.
It feels right to me. I'm not wildly excited and that's a good thing. It's taken me a mere forty two years to figure out that a big salary and fancy job title isn't worth losing my teeth, sanity and sleep for. The position is do-able, sounds challenging but not stomach-ulcer-causingly so and is only about 2km or a nice walk from my front door.
We'll be able to see our mortgage move instead of stand still and think about crazy things like, say, saving up for a car that's younger than fifteen years old or maybe even an overseas holiday (apart from NZ, our last venture overseas was to Malaysia in 1998 and that's where Sapphire was made) and just to not to have stop, suck in my breath with concern and think hard before handing over my credit card.
Now all I need to do is smile and nod, smile and nod, smile and nod like we all do until our faces ache during our first few weeks in a new job.