Cheers, Tim.

June 12, 2007 at 9:21 am (Uncategorized)

It’s the other end of the storm now. The madness abated sometime Sunday night, and people were out in their thousands across Sydney yesterday enjoying the public holiday reprieve. Today it was back to work, a little cruelly, perhaps, since it was another fine day that greeted commuters. I had a classically unproductive day in one sense, and a wonderfully productive day in another.

This is the first thing, aside from a few short emails and even shorter texts, that I have written today. So on no level could I suggest to you that this has been a great day in a professional sense. No, it’s been a personally satisfying day. I’ve caught up with a good friend for the majority of the daylight hours, and it’s a good reminder to me that it’s one thing that’s always essential to do.

Tim is back in Sydney from West Chester, USA, en route to his home town of Melbourne. I’m doing a very convincing impression of a starving writer at the moment, so unfortunately I just can’t go out to pubs across town and make the most of very tempting bar-propping opportunities to catch up with him. I literally can’t afford it. It’s so boring and distinctly lacking in cool, but it’s so true. So I invited him over for lunch instead. This compromise is well within my reach because I shop like my granddad, a man who was always ready for the war (at least as far as his pantry was concerned). The logic went like this: “You must have back-up.” This meant loo paper, frozen bread, toothpaste, cans and all other non-perishables stocked all over the house in the kind of vast quantities that keep the Australian economy afloat. When the stock-market crash comes, it’ll be because they’ve finally caught up with the fact that Granddad is no longer adding to his personal stockpile of apricots in syrup.

Taking a hoarding leaf out of Granddad’s book means I can do lunch at my place even when the bank balance is less than ideal. I always have pasta. I have tomato paste. I have oil. If nothing else, I will always have a tin of baked beans, maybe four. I knew I could feed Tim today, and feed him reasonably well, and he was kind enough to make the considerable effort to come. Whilst I can’t say I progressed my latest story one single jot, I can emphatically say I had a lovely day. For one thing, I got to say thank you to Tim in person for all the invaluable work he did reading my MS – no small thing – and I got caught up on all the small and large things happening in his life. These kind of exchanges of ‘Oh man, it was great/awful/heartbreaking’ are just never as satisfying or as full over email as they are in person. Not by a long shot. So we kicked back. We ate. We drank. We talked. I’m grateful for the day.

Unfortunately, I burnt my banana and chocolate bread to a carcinogenic crisp, so I suppose it’s a good thing I know there’s plenty of flour in the pantry for next time…


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