Because the world needs more overwrought candour.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I'm back!

No, I haven't vanished. I've been away, first to Perth for Christmas by my grandmother's deathbed. Happily for us, she returned from the dead. But the look on her face - weathered, resigned - when she came back to full consciousness told us she would have preferred to have done with it. The flipside of modern medicine's power to save is that death for the old is protracted, a lingering thing, the slow encroachment of the void. In recent years, my grandmother used to flip to the obituaries page daily and check if any of her friends had bowed out before her. She's a pragmatic matriarch, but you can tell she wants to go now. Her body just keeps bringing her back, finding it hard to give up the habit of living. It seems that she keeps flirting with the edges of death, swooping near it, taking on pneumonia, this dipping and soaring that one day will become the final plunge. I nearly cried when I left. But what if she lives to a hundred?


I didn't get the job I was waiting for. Bizarrely, the guy who did get the traineeship was doing the clinical drug trial after the one I completed, according to the nurse. He seemed a quiet man, she said, and I saw him in there on my follow-up (she pointed him out with an incline of the head). It was fascinating. I had to see this man who would be living the life I thought I wanted. A nondescript guy - subdued, introspective. He caught me looking at him, caught my gaze briefly in his, before looking away. It was a strange feeling, like crossing paths.

I felt like shit for about a day before a massive wave of relief overwhelmed me. Perhaps my concerns about journalism were verified. I've never had a great love for fact. Opinion and story-telling are so much more fun than verifying events. I don't think I've got the rigour for it. And I think the competitive pressure of working at a daily newspaper would outweigh the sense of creating something as a group. Now, I'm thinking I'd be better suited to magazine writing. And I still haven't done honours. I think this will be good for me, not getting this job. I feel like I can dream again, outside the square of journalism.


When I got back from Japan, I was listless - no uni, no job, no girlfriend, no direction, no house of my own. But my upswing has kicked in, and suddenly - still jobless - I'm happier than I can remember. I've settled in a grimy house in the inner ring of urbs with two friends. Freelancing seems to be a distinct possibility. And I have a girlfriend at last, which has come as a huge surprise; a girlfriend, not a lover, not someone I've tried to love, not someone I've fallen into out of need. This is rather exciting and I'm still coming to grips with it. All I need now is satisfying work and I'll be one of those disgustingly happy people you spot smiling to themselves on trams.