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Thursday, 22 September 2016

A rainy day out

In a positive mood because I had finally decided that I would travel to Japan to see my kids, I went for a walk as usual, heading down through Darling Harbour. Under the Western Distributor there were three schoolgirls in uniform with packets of McDonald's chips in their hands, and they were starting to run because one of them had foolishly given a chip to a seagull. As a consequence, a dozen other seagulls had started gliding in their direction through the pre-lunchtime crowd. As I walked away I could hear their squeals and laughter as they negotiated this new obstacle in their progress.

The seagulls in Darling Harbour fear nothing, and noone.

A little later, in Dixon Street, I saw a McDonald's chip packet on the pavement with a 'Monopoly' label on it. "That's about right," I thought cynically to myself as I walked past this potential cultural relic announcing something in the way of the downfall of Western civilisation. What we throw away, I mused, tells as much about us as what we keep. It reminded me of the inspirational video on Facebook that someone had posted overnight, and which I woke up to in the News Feed in the morning. I had watched about four minutes of the video before shutting it down, irritated by the blase rendition of passe cliches that it represented. What we ignore tells us as much about us as what we faithfully consume to the end ...

But it was true of course by this time of the day that I had nothing specific planned for the rest of the day. What would I be doing in the afternoon? Inspirational videos that might make a difference in my life are surely things that I can benefit from. I really wanted to be a poet. And to see my kids in Japan. Easy things first, then. First the kids, then the poetry. I thought - now that the probate has been granted - that it was a good time to think about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. The drudgery of executing my mother's Will was as nothing compared to the rewards that awaited if I played my cards right. It had been - what? Three years? - since I had seriously written any poetry. I had given up partly because of the move to Sydney - moving home can be very traumatic - and partly because of the lack of recognition. But wasn't I just giving in callowly for shallow reasons?

As I came up Ultimo Road it started to rain so when I was at Mary Ann Street I caught a cab back home, ducked into the sandwich shop, and bought a schnitzel roll and some chips. If you want to plan your future, I reasoned, you have to have a full stomach to do it on.

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