Friday, September 24, 2010
I can honestly say that I am in two minds about this result.
A part of me is ecstatic that neither party holds a large majority in the House of Reps. That would lead to good, worthwhile debate over the issues that we, as a nation, see as a priority, right?
Unfolding events are starting to make me think otherwise. Our dear Mr Abbott (of previous Abbott and Costello fame in the Howard years) is proving to be a debate wrecker, rather than showing a willingness to pursue an avenue of sincere, meaningful and much-needed dialogue and change. Recently, Christopher Pyne happily stated emphatically that the role of the Opposition was not to reach a consensus with the government, but to hold them to account.
To which our new Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen said:
"I don't disagree with Christopher that the job of the Opposition is to hold us to account. Yes, it is their job. But you can hold governments to account constructively. To give one example, when Tony Abbott announced his front bench he said, "Malcolm Turnbull is the shadow minister for communications. It's his job to demolish the NBN." That doesn't matter the NBN comes in under budget, ahead of time, works perfectly. It's his job to go out and demolish it because clearly that is a political imperative for the Opposition. So you're right. I think we saw Tony Abbott when there was a question about who would form the government say, "Well, we need a kinder, gentler polity. We'll enter into a deal with the independents. We'll have a new paradigm." Now, the only thing that's changed is that the independents chose to support the Labor Party. Now we've effectively seen that deal ripped up by Tony Abbott and the Opposition walking away from the pairing arrangements for the speaker, ripping that deal up, pointing to the constitution. The constitution hasn't changed. It's the same constitution as when they entered into the deal. They're now walking away from the deal. So I think there is a case for a constructive opposition. Sure, hold us to account. Sure, say when you think we're wrong but also come at these policy questions with some constructive approach, not just rip down, tear down, criticise everything that the government does and, frankly, all the evidence is Tony Abbott, while he's good at the sound bites, good at the negativity, good at taking an argument up, isn't very good at being constructive when it comes to policy substance."
A few days have passed since this discussion between the ministers on the ABC's Q&A. As predicted, the Coalition have announced that they will not support the idea of pairing the Speakers in parliament... as it would be unconstitutional. I'm afraid I don't put much faith in a Constitution that doesn't fully acknowledge human rights and wholeheartedly embraces the concept of mandatory detention laws.
Poor Tony Abbott... he's so pissed off he "missed it by that much", to quote Maxwell Smart. He wanted to be PM, and he's upset that he has to wait a little while longer. Quite frankly, I'm waiting to see footage of him beating his fists and having a little tantie cos he lost to a girl...
What scares me about all this though... is the question that is now residing in my mind: Did we end up with a hung parliament because the population became THAT dumb that they have conveniently forgotten how we escaped the GFC under a Labor government?
There was a big swing to the Greens, which is a good thing. We need to have both major parties held to account and giving important issues such as climate change and immigration policy serious consideration. The Greens hold a balance of power now, along with our highly esteemed three former National Party member amigos.
Labor seems to be taking the Greens seriously... so far...
But, I fear for the future. Mr Abbott is starting to show what he is capable of. He's not interested in making Australia a country to be proud of. He seems to be intent on spitting the dummy and making the ALP suffer immensely for not letting him have his time in the sun.
One thing's for certain though... it seems that either the next election is far more imminent due to extensive disgreement and opposing uproar from the Coalition, or it's going to be a frustrating and arduous three years ahead.
Ahhh, politics... I hate it.... and can't seem to stop talking about it in some way or another. To stop the discussion would make feel like an apathetic citizen of Australia and the world.
To other matters...
The weather is slowly starting to improve. The temperatures are getting a little higher, and the motorcycle gear is starting to come out of the boot of my car in earnest. I have to start regularly riding again. I have missed it so. It's time to brush off the cobwebs and make plans on which route I want to take, where I want to go. Then, after returning to a feeling of ease on the road, I will decide on whether or not I want to resurrect the idea of crossing the southern states of Australia again. If I do that, I'm not sure I will return to pursuing the idea of fund-raising for MS research. I don't like the idea of being restricted by schedules and the like. I want to be free to roam where the wind takes me.
I still would like to embark on such a journey... as I've always said, it'd be good practice for conquering South America, or some other appealing continent. Besides, I think my blog and amateurish writing skills would benefit greatly from the experience, rather than devoting my words and energy to press releases and media liaison opportunities. Shit, I'm sure that a cure for MS is imminent... would a little bike ride like the one I have in mind make that much of a dent in the grand scheme of things? I think it would be pure arrogance on my part to think so...
As some of you know, I have definitely been taken down a peg or two of late. Sometimes, it feels as though its getting harder and harder to just bounce back from the blows as readily as I used to. I have been spending a lot of my alone time contemplating, philosophising... I have always taken care of others, have always been worried about whether or not I can make them happy.... and it has never really been truly reciprocated. I guess I'm getting tired. I think a ride alone, cross-country, with the occasional post on the blog might be just what I need soon...
I don't want to seek any more... I just want to be...
In the meantime, I'm keeping myself occupied with work... and classes... and medical appointments... The friends I do have are greatly appreciated, but I can't help thinking there has to be something more out there for me... If I never find it, so be it. I know I won't give up trying...
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Yes, it’s cold outside… and, quite frankly, I’m getting tired of it. For some reason, this year, winter feels longer. I find myself wondering if I feel this way because I haven’t ridden properly since January. It’s possible that this fact is contributing to my restlessness.
Usually, I adore winter. I love being cosy in bed when it’s raining outside. Perhaps I was a Siberian in a past life? The cold invigorates me – I think more clearly and feel ready to take on the world. I enjoy hiding in big black overcoats and scaring strangers with my appearance: long black curls, black nails, black clothes, black, black and more black…
I take pleasure in watching the reactions around me in public places. I notice it far more in the burbs. I stick out like a sore thumb in this cerebral wasteland. I catch glances from passers-by… glances which size me up, a fleeting look that questions why I look this way, trying to assess what’s wrong with my life.
Perhaps I’m imagining more in the looks that I receive than is actually there. Questions jump out at me when I notice these ephemeral appraisals: Does she worship Satan? Is she grieving for the loss of a loved one? Does she know how bad she looks? Why does she insist on being so morbid? If she were my daughter, I’d… etc. etc.
That’s probably the only thing I enjoy about visiting the biggest shrine to materialism in the outer Eastern suburbs of Melbourne - Knox City… Wearing a pair of un-needed sunglasses on an overcast afternoon, walking through the masses of mothers with three to five kids in tow, looking like I’m about to pull out a shotgun from the confines of my big, black overcoat, à la Columbine High School massacre.
I suppose my mind is as sick as I look to these people.
I must confess, even though my eyes are extremely sensitive to the glare of an overcast day, I wear my dark sunglasses in these places so that I can observe others with ease. On occasion, I see signs of nervousness when someone I am watching suspects that I am doing so, but can’t quite be sure that they’re being examined. It’s so hard not to laugh when I see this reaction. But, most of the time, the people I study are blissfully unaware of the scrutiny I am placing them under.
Sometimes, I am close enough to overhear the conversations that people are sharing. I am sad to say, that more often than not, I am not even remotely interested in finding out more about the topics of their exchanges. In these instances, I am privy to small wins at the pokies, the regular parma and pot night that will take place that evening, as it does every week, the demolishing comments offered on another’s appearance…
There are times when I am fortunate enough to overhear a group of teens chatting… Funnily enough, I can never recall the topic of their banter, as my mind is consumed with counting how many times I can hear the word ‘like’ unconsciously inserted at regular intervals in their sentences.
Plus, there are occasions when I am, no doubt, given filthy looks when I walk past these annoying balls of pubescence, imitating them: “Like then I said to her uhhh… how can you be such a bitch? That’s like soooo wrong!”
And then there are times when I feel old… I see teens walking around with the waist of their jeans clinging to the lower half of their arses for dear life. I start to giggle as I visualise coming up behind them and dacking them in public. Of course, the giggles stop abruptly when I realise that they probably wouldn’t even notice if such an event occurred.
Their hairstyles freak me out too - hair going in all different directions, looking like they don’t own a comb or a hairbrush. I must admit, I have walked past teens looking like this, exclaiming the words, “Shit! I’m surrounded by Morlocks!”
What are Morlocks, you ask? A bunch of savoury creatures from the 1960 film, The Time Machine. Have a look at this link, and see if you agree with me…
Hmmm… is this blog post really about the “humdrum of winter”, or is it about the “humdrum of suburbia”? I recently cut out an article from The Age newspaper on this very topic. Words like stagnation, emptiness and disappointment jump out at the reader – it impressed me so much, I have the article pinned up on my desk at work as a reminder of what to avoid, despite being surrounded by this miasma of suburban culture on a daily basis.
It can be so easy to fall into the trap of routine and predictability in the suburbs. As human beings are essentially creatures of habit, it would not surprise me if I woke up one day, wondering why I wasted so much time attending to the mundane and dreary duties of living.
I find places like Knox City comparable to the circles of hell… a world of spiritual deprivation where there are lots of people, but there is no contact of any worth – a world of what T.S. Eliot referred to as “perpetual solitude”. There is endless “twitter” that fails to generate meaning, and a great deal of hustle and bustle serving only to defer the stillness one’s soul requires to flourish.
I am so close to my goal now, I can almost taste it…
Spring and the following close of 2010 will indeed bring new and fresh beginnings…
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
For those of you who read my last post, you've probably figured out why...
I had some wounds to attend to.
I, too, have done some soul-searching of late.
I'm pleased to say that things are looking much better these days.
The house I had in Olinda has been sold. As much as I miss living up in them there hills, I'm happy it's gone. I feel much freer these days. I'm currently house-sitting in the Wantirna area - I am literally a three minute drive from work! Can't beat that! I'm finally getting all that beauty sleep I have been severely lacking of late! If I keep this up, I could be a supermodel before the year is out... NOT!
So, the couple I'm house-sitting for has gone off to the UK to trace their family tree... and I'm here enjoying my rent+bill-free abode, taking care of their demanding cat, until they return in August. After that happens... I have NO idea where I'll be next...
I like not knowing... it appeals to my sense of adventure, which has sadly been unattended to these days.
However, when I have set up my next destination, rest assured that it will be posted on here at some stage.
So, why am I posting today?
Well, I'm sick... and am taking a time-out from work this week...
But, my arse was put in gear after I received a lovely email just now...
Someone found out about my blog via Horizons Unlimited, and he sent me an email to express his appreciation at reading my posts. A wonderful ego-boost.... truth be told, I was considering ceasing my activity on this blog, and starting up a new one with a more general approach to my posts. (They've been quite UN-bike-related of late.)
I will probably still start up another blog - there's too much going on in my world outside of being a "bikiechic" (Shock and awe coming from all the biker readers out there? Sorry, didn't mean to scare you...)
But, since I finally got my bike back from Mick Hone over a week ago, perhaps this blog can be quickened again? Let's see...
Yes, you read correctly... I finally got my dear cruiser back!
It's only been five fu**ing months since my accident.
I will not hide the fact that it took me about 10 minutes to actually leave the place I picked it up from... I was scared to death! I mean, the last time I rode the thing, I was tumbling like a rolling pin in Melbourne's CityLink tunnel, and to this day, I am extremely grateful that the third lane was closed and I did not get squished like a grape.
But those are by-gones...
My bike is parked in the garage of my current house-sit... out of the harsh elements of what is shaping up to be a cold winter in Melbourne. My damn car (which is NOT protected from the weather) has to be rinsed in the mornings! All the frost on my windows has to melt before I can drive the damn thing!
But, my black baby is safely tucked away... waiting for my next adventure... hopefully, it'll be a far more interesting one that doesn't end up with someone calling an ambulance for me.
So... "what on earth have you been doing lately"??? - I hear you ask...
Well, besides working... yes, I know... I have no mortgage, but I have debts to clear before I can leave the country... I'm being a good girl these days. Sad, but true...
And besides going for physio three times a week, I attend two classes in the evenings on a weekly basis. One on philosophy, and the other on "human relations" and psychology...
At present, I'm thinking about dropping the human relations one...
I have found that philosophy is giving me far more insight into my current trials and woes...
So much so that I have joined an "Ideas Exchange", where I meet with a group to "philosophise" regularly. I love it...
Last time we met we discussed the question "What is wisdom?"
Believe me, two hours is not enough for such discussions!
I leave wanting more...
But, the main point is, I am thinking about things in a new way these days.
I have become a fan of Socrates and Plato... I question EVERYTHING!
Far more than I used to anyway... which is scary in itself...
I meditate (I try to at least once a day) and try to reach a level of higher consciousness...
I wonder if I'll ever succeed?
Reading back over what I have typed... I sound like a cult leader.
So... anyone wanna join bikiechic's cult??
Come and meditate and share your questions and thoughts with me!
We can become mindful and achieve stillness together... ;)
That's it for now...
I'll think of something I can post that's remotely of interest to my followers....
(Psst... all suggestions welcome...)
Till next time... xx
Thursday, April 8, 2010
The gamut of emotions one undergoes in such a situation is quite mind-boggling. To go from complete elation, tumbling in a downward spiral to a nadir of depression, sadness and even lower self-esteem.
A new experience for me, the schizophrenia of feeling such desire and longing one moment, and wanting to extract revenge the next, making him hurt as much as I'm being hurt. I have found that it is quite possible for disparate or mutually exclusive emotions to coexist.
At what point does one successfully disassociate themselves from the one that previously took up so much of their time? How hard should it be to give up on the one that became a welcome new habit, a muse, an object of intense desire? How can one "remain friends" with another, when words are no longer spoken, when one party needs "time to think" and does so by remaining completely silent?
At what stage does one's deep and insatiable curiosity give way to apathy and anger? Anger at the way one has been treated. Anger at the way one has been discarded, seemingly so easily, with complete disregard for their feelings.
Naturally, what inevitably follows on from this is a high degree of self-loathing. How can a woman fall for a married man? Why does she expect more from a situation such as this? Did the cynicism that was developed in a previous, failed marriage lead her to think that such conditions could produce a positive outcome?
It is obvious that because I have deduced, on a purely personal level, that the institution of marriage is greatly flawed for so many reasons, I have wrongly assumed that everyone will eventually come to this realisation also. Wow! What a loaded statement!
It is extremely difficult for a person with a temperament such as mine to refrain from trying to impart words of wisdom on a topic such as this one. With love and caring for another being my sole motive, I have unconsciously and without malice, tried to impose my negative opinion of marriage on another. This was done in the hopes that he, in turn, would become enlightened and not waste any more time trying to fix an already doomed union.
Considering and assessing this situation occurs less and less these days - I guess what they say is true: "Time heals all wounds". But, there are times yet when loneliness and a strong need to share experiences, thoughts and opinions with another obliterate the logic of moving on and getting on with one's life.
Being an eternal optimist, I am guilty of thinking that things will improve, even though the signs, or lack thereof, are repeatedly forecasting a gloomier conclusion.
There are times when I see a glimmer of what used to be shared. An in joke, a comment or observation that could only be made by that particular person, a shining example of the character and personality that I fell in love with.
It's hard to let go... but, by the same token, the optimism referred to extends to the concept of being free from these hurtful emotions, finding distraction and liberation in new directions and opportunities, whether it be here, or elsewhere in the world. I have always been one that strives to follow my dreams. I can state with certainty that this experience won't be any different...
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Bernstein - West Side Story – Symphonic Dances
Ravel - Bolero
Rodrigo - Concierto de Aranjuez
The last Spanish concierto featured the guitar soloist, Slava Grigoryan.
Rodrigo's concierto has always been a favourite of mine, so when I spotted the advert for this performance, I didn't hesitate. It had long been an ambition of mine to see a live performance of the concert that always mentally transports me to Spain, surrounded by its historical Moorish influences.
Whenever I hear it playing, the second movement in particular, I imagine myself in the Alhambra in Granada, or walking through the cobble-stoned streets of Cordoba, stopping to admire the infamous red and white arches of the mezquita, built by Islamic architects in the 8th century.
For some reason, I always associate different pieces of music with a variety of places and locales, real or imagined. I can't help it.
In the case of Rodrigo's concierto, I picture two places in Spain that had the most impact on me when I visited them. I think they had such a profound effect on me because they represent a combination of the two cultures that I derive from - the Arabs and the Spaniards. I felt completely at peace when I visited them - almost like I returned home... to a home I had never known. I found myself in awe of the amount of history that resided in those places.
Upon leaving them, I swore that I would do my utmost to return to them one day. Perhaps I would even be fortunate enough to reside in these magnificent Spanish cities for a period of time?
Slava Grigoryan has always amazed me as a guitarist. He possesses a true gift and a talent that must surely be the envy of many others. The prospect of seeing him playing Rodrigo was truly exciting, and he did not disappoint. In fact, his interpretation of the music moved me beyond words. I found tears silently rolling down my cheeks as I was enraptured by the experience.
Concierto de Aranjuez was the musical highlight of my evening. The other two pieces of music played by the MSO were just a bonus.
Bernstein's West Side Story Symphonic Dances were thoroughly enjoyable. I have never been a huge fan of the musical genre. I can take them or leave them most of the time. However, West Side Story is an exception. I don't watch the film, starring Natalie Wood and Rita Moreno, often, but when I do, I cry at the end every time. I'm not even a hopeless romantic - I've become too cynical as time goes on for that. But the last scene, where Tony dies in Maria's arms? It gets me every time! I am always reduced to a blubbering mess.
I think this reaction is reinforced by the passion expressed in Bernstein's music throughout West Side Story. I'm sure it's not everyone's cup of tea, but it seems to be a soft spot of mine. Can't explain it.
Finally, Ravel's Bolero. A highly repetitive piece, but it works. Everyone has heard it before. It was made famous by Torvill and Dean in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Or perhaps people have a chuckle whilst remembering it from the "sex scene" in the movie, 10, starring Dudley Moore and Bo Derek? I can't keep a straight face if I picture that scene whilst listening to the Bolero. I thought it best to cast that imagery to the back of my mind whilst I enjoyed the MSO's performance of Ravel's infamous piece. I did not want to be ejected from the concert hall for being an immature. giggling member of the audience that was unable to enjoy a slice of musical culture that feeds the soul.
Well, there you have it... a moving experience... For me, listening to our beloved Melbourne Symphony Orchestra on a Monday night in the Victorian Arts Centre district is quite a memorable event. And it's not even motorcycle-related... amazing! ;)
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
This is a multi-step process... Happiness, therefore, comes in increments.
The bubble is swelling... I hope it doesn't burst, but, instead, floats on the breeze...
I went to Wodonga a couple of weekends ago. Without boring people with the details, I have managed to secure a property for my mother to live in. Bring on June - I'm free to be homeless then! *doing a happy dance*
But, what a doozie of a week ensued!
Firstly, my car was the victim of a hit and run...
I went to a meeting at Victoria University (Flinders St, Melbourne), parked my car on Flinders St in the disabled bay (which I'm allowed to do), and when I returned a couple of hours later, was elated to find that my right mirror...in fact, the whole assembly, was hanging by a couple of wires.
I was starting to wonder how much these assemblies cost, when I spotted a little piece of folded paper tucked under one of my windscreen wiper blades. I removed it and found a little written note from a witness to the accident. It said something along the lines of:
"I saw the car that hit yours. The number plate is ****** (dark blue ute). They didn't stop."
Ahhh... gotta love those ute drivers! :) This wonderful person wrote her name and phone number at the bottom of the note.
I got in my car, hoping that the licence plate given to me was correct. On the way out of the city, I was also starting to feel overwhelmed as I realised how much work lay ahead of me.
I should explain...
Earlier that day, I also called Vision Motorsport in Ferntree Gully. They're a KTM and Suzuki dealership on Burwood Highway. The reason I'm giving so much detail is because they screwed me over royally, and they deserve the slander I'm about to embark upon via this blog post.
To refresh people's memory, I had an accident on the 30th of January, 2010. VisionMotorsport didn't fax off a quote to my insurer until the 3rd of March, 2010. This fax wasn't received by my insurer, funnily enough, until the 9th of March. An assessor was sent by my insurer immediately after receiving this fax - he/she went to VisionMotorsport on the 12th March. I waited for word. Nobody called me, so a week later (on the 19th), I call VisionMotorsport to hear of the progress on my bike.
The response I received?
"Ummm... there are no parts. Your bike hasn't been touched."
I was in shock, almost unable to speak...
"Sorry? Is there an industrial dispute of some kind?"
"You're unable to get parts from Suzuki?" I ask, trying my best to wrench some useful information from this unresponsive lump called a human being.
"Dunno... there is just no parts."
What a cooperative, grammatically incorrect fellow I was dealing with... I wanted to throttle him.
"You mean to say that you can't find any Suzuki parts in Australia for my bike?"
"When do you think this will be resolved?"
Again... the helpful retort: "Dunno..."
I was livid.
"Ok, thanks", I managed to mumble and hung up. I could see there was no point in sorting things out with this neanderthal.
I left work for my meeting at VU in the CBD, and tried to compose myself on the lengthy trek from Wantirna to Flinders Street.
Having decided on a plan of attack by the time I reached my meeting, I was calmer and ready to do some more work to resolve the issue of not being able to ride my friggin' bike. My meeting was good - enjoyable and quick. I was in a better mood by the time it finished... then, I return to my car to find that I was a victim of a community-minded member of our society. Thank goodness for the good samaritan that left a note describing what had transpired.
For the second time that day, I was livid.
To make matters worse, my disabled parking spot was in a Clearway zone after 4.00 pm. My meeting finished at that time, and I got to my car at 4.05 pm. As i was trying to rip off my dangling mirror, a tow truck pulls up alongside me. The driver calls out to me - he wants to tow my car away.
I loudly exclaim that my car was the victim of a hit-and-run, I'm trying to remove the mirror that's dangerously hanging by a thread and that I will leave momentarily. Not good enough... the tow truck driver insisted that he wanted to tow my car away. That was the final straw for the day.
"Look... (insert menacing look from me here) I'm in a DISABLED parking spot, I've returned to my car to find this and I'm trying my best to rectify the situation quickly - I am thoroughly aware that the Clearway started 7 minutes ago! I'm going as fast as I can!"
"Nah, love... Gonna have to tow ya..." was the response from my "Strine" friend.
I was about to burst a blood vessel.
"Ok... if you're gonna tow the car, you'll have to take a disabled female with you... strapped to the bonnet. Your choice. And a possible law suit for your boss in the future. Sound acceptable?"
He had to think carefully about that one. I interrupt his philosophical ruminations and say:
"The traffic is piling up behind us. This could have been over with decades ago, mate! Your choice... hell from me to you and your boss after my car is towed, or just let me detach my dangling mirror and let me go about my business?"
"Ahhhh, bugger it... hurry up... get out of the spot..."
And with that, he drove off into the sunset...
I rip the mirror off, not caring if the wiring was damaged. I jump into the car and race off to Box Hill. Mick Hone Motorcycles... another Suzuki dealer.
I get there in good time, considering peak hour had well and truly started.
I relay my increasingly frustrating and sad story to Ben at Mick Hone. He was appalled. "There are no problems with the supply of Suzuki parts at the moment! What's that guy talking about?"
"No idea." I respond. "I guess he's just a lazy arsehole that can't be frigged fixing a girl's bike. So, can YOU help me perhaps?"
"Of course we can. Bring us the bike and we'll do a quote as quickly as possible for your insurer. We'll fix it and blacken it for you."
Now, the final pain.... $170 to have my bike towed from Ferntree Gully to Box Hill! Not covered by my insurance. I'm seriously thinking about making a formal complaint to VisionMotorsport for all the bullshit and extra expense. What's stopping me is lack of time...
My time is sacrosanct these days.
When I'm not working 5 days a week, I'm seeing doctors, physio, etc. And when I'm not attending to my health and disabilities, I'm packing my stuff AND my mother's stuff... two moves have to be completed in the first week of June. And when I'm not doing that, I'm contacting everyone I can think of to inform them of a change of address... which is not so straightforward. When Olinda settles, I'll be homeless. I have signed up for a post office box, as I plan to house-sit for a while until I figure out where I'm going. Companies don't like post office box addresses! I have to discuss these changes in person most of the time - it's not sufficient to merely fill out a form online or on paper. PO Box addresses are simply not recognised by important institutions like banks and such. So... more fun for me, more crap to sort through.
Despite the depressed overtones to this post thus far, I am feeling happier each day. Every possession I shed, I feel more liberated. Every detail I resolve, I feel so much closer to my goal... I'm definitely on my way to being free.
In my mind, free means no mortgage... no accoutrements tying me down... no idea where I'm going and where I'll end up. It's scary and exciting at the same time. I can't wait to find out what happens to me by the close of 2010.
For those of you reading this... (wow, you made it this far?)
I ask you to send me positive thoughts.
Let my bike be fixed soon, my health improve, my self-esteem increase (there have been too many bashings to that of late), my horizons broaden...
I don't ask for much, do I?
Till my next post... à bientôt, mes amis...
A post script...
You're probably wondering what I did about my car...
I went to the Knox police station during my lunch break on Monday and told my favourite copper the entire story. He did a licence plate check, and spoke with the driver. An Italian guy by the name of Giuseppe... LOL
When I was told that, I had visions of Mario (of Nintendo fame), playing with his moustache, jumping forward and exclaiming "It's-ah me... Mario! I-ah hit-ah your car! I-ah pay for-ah the damages, no problem..." - then turning away from me to toss some pizza dough or something silly like that. Hey, I'm not comfortable with stereotypes! I can't help my unruly imagination... sorry if I offended anyone...
Apparently, this Giuseppe guy was just about to call me... LOL
Yeah, right! And how would he do that, exactly, I wondered...
To cut a another long story short, since the assembly is going to cost $240, less than my $550 excess, I have to repair it, pay for it myself, then send Mr Italy the bill. Dya reckon he'll pay up? I have no idea... I wait with bated breath to find out.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
I was driving my car through the Ranges on Sunday.
Yes, I'm still driving! My bike is not ready yet, and I'm raring to go! *sob*
On my way down the mountain, I came across a Learner rider, pushing his sportie by the side of the road. A Kawasaki Ninja? I didn't pay it that much attention.
I remember doing that... pushing my bike because I ran out of petrol once when I was a learner. I hated it... too much work - I'm a lazy git.
So, feeling sorry for this Learner rider, I pulled over.
I called out to him: "Hey, are you ok? Need some help?"
He looked around, to make sure I was actually talking to him.
I know what he was thinking... A car driver? Asking him if he needed help?
He looked sheepish... and I could see that he wasn't sure about wanting to accept my offer or not, so I asked him another question before he had time to refuse:
"Just wondering... does that thing have a reserve of fuel? Have you tried that?
I'm a cruiser chic, I'm afraid I'm not good with sporties..."
His face lit up when I said that. He told me that he wasn't sure what the problem was, he thought he had run out of petrol and was wheeling it down to the nearest station. Did I know where one was?
I told him that nearest station was in Tremont - this poor guy was pushing his bike in Ferny Creek. I informed this guy that the petrol station was close by car, but wheeling it might take much longer... Funnily enough, the road wasn't always a down-hill trek - popping the bike into neutral and rolling it wouldn't help him the whole way.
I said: "How about parking that there? I can drive you down to the station. Got a jerry can handy?" (I already knew the answer to that inane question. D'uh...)
"Nope..." he said sadly.
"No worries, I think I have one in the boot you can use. Want a ride in my cage? It's not a bike, but what a stereo it has!" (insert cheesey grin here)
"Oh yes! Thanks so much! Sure it's not too much trouble?"
"No problemo... Happy to help..."
So, he parks his bike (whatever it was) and hops in my car.
It should be noted, at this point, that I was quite impressed when he took his helmet off to get into my car. Mmmm...yummy eye candy! But that's another story... :)
I told him to chuck his gear in the back seat and hop in.
He turned out to be a really nice fellow.
Of course, it goes without saying...
The first question he asked me was what I rode. I told him...
Then, he asked me why I wasn't riding that day.
I explained to him that I had a little tumble in January and was waiting for the bike to be returned to its rightful owner, who happened to be chomping at the bit to have her back.
He laughed and completely understood my frustration.
He explained to me that he was almost due to go for his full licence. He started asking me about my experiences of the test, etc.
Typical biker conversation ensued...
It was nice - I haven't had one of those conversations in a while.
Plus, it's also nice to talk with someone about this particular passion of mine. It seems as though all I've been talking about lately are my problems with property, work and health issues. The conversation holiday was welcomed with open arms.
So, this kindred spirit reminded me of my imminent freedom - in getting my bike back AND changing my living arrangements. It was a lovely opportunity to have a few bikie jokes, share stories and common experiences on two wheels... I may have even made a new friend.
Time will tell... :)
To other news...
My bike... the quote for repairs was JUST sent to my insurer on the 3rd of March, 2010!
I had my accident on the 30th of January!
An assessor will be visiting Suzuki this Friday to sign off on the repairs needed and THEN I will have to wait a further 3 weeks to get the fucking thing fixed and blackened!
It's probably a good thing I'm broke these days... If not, I'd be RUNNING to buy a second bike right now!
Motherf*ckers... *sweet smile*
Sunday, February 28, 2010
It has been a tiring night. My eyes have been glued to all the news channels on Foxtel - Sky News, CNN, BBC World... trying to see pictures of the places affected by this latest disaster. In between watching the news reports, I have been intermittently calling the numbers of relatives in Santiago, in the hopes that power has been restored and someone might happen to answer a ringing telephone. Skype and email have remained open all night, just in case the cousin I regularly maintain contact with, happens to log on, for whatever reason. Nothing...
So I remain pasted to the news channels, watching carefully to see if I can spot a relative in the background of some footage, perhaps even looking out, in the hopes that a member of my mother's family is actually interviewed about their experience by una periodista, a journalist.
I'm feeling helpless. There's nothing I could do anyway... even if one of them did call me and ask for help. I take comfort in the fact that these people are more built for such an event than someone like myself. My older relatives lived through the 1960 earthquake that reached 9.5 on the Richter Scale - the biggest one on record. Apparently, tremors are a regular occurrence... something they're used to.
Still, I'm seeing images of upside-down cars on collapsed bridges, huge cracks in major highways, multi-storey buildings split in half and caved in. I nervously wonder if one of my relatives might be lying underneath all that rubble.
Last night, the death toll was 78. I awoke this morning, after a restless sleep, to find out that it had climbed to 216. I'm sure that this figure will be higher, as more bodies are discovered in the resulting devastation. I am not religious, but, nevertheless, I find myself praying that my family members are not included in these figures. I wait...
And as I wait to find out more, my mind wanders to possible future developments...
I was planning to leave Australia in June to buy a property in Santiago, the ultimate goal being to set my mother up in her own abode, mortgage free and close to her relatives. I would have used this place as a home base, riding up and down South America, teaching and helping others along the way. Despite being terrified at the prospect of living in a new country, I was looking forward to the idea of helping indigenous people in South America, working as a volunteer if needed, teaching English, maybe assisting in setting up a community library or two. I could think of nothing more satisfying than helping those less fortunate than I, putting a smile on the face of a child or an adult who has strongly suffered from the consequences of political advancement and the viral spread of world-wide capitalism.
Now that this natural disaster has happened in Chile, I am undecided. Don't get me wrong - I still want to go to South America and pursue those dreams. But, to set my mother up there? I have my doubts now as to whether or not that would be a wise decision.
Again, I find myself going through the pros and cons, this time for a very different, and far more profound, reason...
PROS (of buying a house for my mother in Chile):
- She would be close to family, which she needs more and more as she gets older. I won't always be at hand to provide her with support if she requires it.
- She/I would own the home outright, no mortgage, debt-free.
- The cost of living is significantly less than living in Australia.
- She would be living in the country's capital, in the CBD. She would have access to all amenities, doctors, hospitals, shops, other people.
- She wouldn't have to start over, as I would. This is the country she was born in. Even though she has lived in Australia longer than she has in Chile, she knows its culture, its ways. Her need to acclimatise would be significantly less than mine.
- Gone are the days of General Augusto Pinochet. No longer do Chile's people live in fear of death and torture at the hands of a maniacal military despot.
- Medical services, for myself as well as her. The Chileans are about a decade behind in medical options for the treatment of MS. My options would be severely limited. Plus, relying, as I do, on many medical services for the issues I have to deal with as a result of my motorcycle accidents, I would no longer have the luxury of charging all of those costs to the TAC. I would be paying for those services myself. My mother is not getting any younger. I know that one day, I will have to face decisions such as retirement home placement, possibly respite care, maybe even cancer treatment options? She did have a breast cancer scare a few years ago and had to undergo radiation therapy. So far, nothing has recurred, but who knows what the future holds? Somehow, perhaps because I'm a creature of habit, I take more comfort in the idea of the Australian health system, despite the complaints Australians make of it, myself included.
- I would have to completely get out of my comfort zone. I am in two minds about this. On the one hand, a mundane, predictable existence in Australia, surrounded by the habits and ways I am used to, is an abhorrent thought to me. However, this is the safe route... particularly for someone like me, that has to contend with debilitating health issues that require attention every now and then. On the other hand, the excitement at the prospect of getting out of that comfort zone has always been something I have aspired to, even sought out at every opportunity.
- As much as I hate to say it, I have almost been pushed out of the Australian property market. The only way I can buy a decent property for my mother in the surrounding suburbs of Melbourne, or any of Australia's capital cities, is to start another home loan and keep going to that full-time, 9-5 job that I have grown to resent. If she stays in Australia, my only option is to buy her a place in a rural area. I have started investigating - affordable properties are turning up in places like Wodonga, Horsham, Warracknabeal, Moe, Sale, etc... *cringe* The one that most appeals to me is Wodonga, as it's as close as we can get to living in a city, with amenities and other services we are accustomed to. Of course, I have yet to investigate my options in other Australian cities. Perhaps I can afford something for her in Hobart or Perth? Doubtful, but worth exploring.
- My mother will be more isolated than she is now. She has no friends or family. I'm it. Considering my last point about only being able to buy her something in a remote, rural area, and the fact that I have plans to travel, she will be even more alone and mostly without a support network. The guilt I feel for this is quite overwhelming at times.
So, you see my dilemma...
At the risk of sounding extremely selfish, I would really like to enjoy what's left of my thirties, while I still can. The first half of what is supposed to be an amazing decade in my life has already been robbed. Melodramatic, I know, but I can't help it... that's the way I feel.
I am of the opinion that I have been spending most of my adult life making other people happy and forgetting about making myself happy. I got married because I thought that it was what everyone must do. Perhaps because that was such a bad experience for me, I am cynical about the institution of marriage these days. For some, it works. For me, it didn't. I have decided that I don't want to venture down that path again.
Because of my age and my health problems... and because of the fact that I choose to ride a motorcycle, I have decided that having kids is not an option for me either. I remember a time when I desperately wanted one, even two... My ex-husband put a stop to that idea - the details of which I will not delve into here. But now... now that I am in my mid-thirties, partially disabled from the accident I had in 2001, and starting to notice more complex issues associated with my medical condition... I have come to the conclusion that I will never have children. Shit, I already have a child! My mother and I have role-reversed. I take care of her, she demands of me. I certainly don't need to have children to take care of as well!
Besides... these days I convince myself it's for the best. This world is severely over-populated as it is. The last thing it needs right now is another mouth to feed. I'd much rather focus my attention and efforts on helping at least ONE of the starving millions already in existence that reside on this planet at present...
The more I think about the state of the world and the problems associated with it, the more my desire to make it a better place, grows. I know that what I have to contribute is meagre, even non-descript in the grand scheme of things, but being an eternal optimist, if I can just put a smile on someone's face, and make their life more rewarding and enjoyable, then I will die a happy person.
But, alas... first, I have to solve the problems at home before I get the chance to venture out and find that special opportunity...
I hope I live to see it eventuate...
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
However, since I am unwilling to share the deepest part of my psyche with the world wide web, I'll discuss my latest desire , which just happens to be a material one...
The other day, I went to see how my bike's repairs were progressing. I used this visit to Suzuki as an opportunity to drop off some accessories that I had purchased on the net after I dropped my bike recently - black mirrors, a cruise control mechanism (for long trips) and some flashing brake lights to ensure more attention from the cars on the road around me.
As I was leaving Suzuki, a black V-Strom 650/A caught my attention. I stopped, mesmerised by its appearance. Was this a new model? A black exhaust pipe? When did this happen? There was far less chrome than I recall seeing on V-Stroms in the past.
I looked around the store, hoping and praying that no one would ask me if I needed assistance. Thank goodness for poor customer service!
I traced my fingers lightly over the seat. It looked more than suitable for my ample rear end. I pressed my nails into the leather upholstery. Firm, but comfortable...
I took a small step back to analyse the overall height of the bike. About 10cms taller than what I was used to. Thankfully, I didn't inherit my mother's height, or lack of it. I toyed with the idea of approaching one of the sales assistants to ask for a test ride.
No, no, no! Not having a helmet, or any of my protective gear, made me back off that idea. My ankle still hasn't recovered yet! I can't ride! That would be bad... wouldn't it? *pout* Oh, but I wanted to try out that wee-Strom with every fibre of my being... *sigh*
See what I mean? *pant pant pant*
As I admired this beautiful piece of machinery, I mentally tallied up the pros and cons of such a purchase:
- This bike would be more suitable than my M50 for the long-trips I have mentally planned for the future.
- A dual purpose machine, it would be more than able to handle rougher terrain, if needed.
- Greater fuel capacity - again, longer trips ahoy!
- It's so damn pretty... *wistful sigh*
- Nine grand, new, with no extras... regain debt I have just managed to clear?
- Considering my plans to leave for South America indefinitely, the cost of shipping TWO bikes? Eek! It'd be smarter to leave the cruiser in storage in Australia, and take this one with me. Storage cost? Approximately $1700 per year.
- Mother... mother would freak, have kittens and shoot me on sight... is it worth the bullshit of the ensuing confrontations?
Pros and cons are pretty much even in my mind...
Of course, I mentioned this experience to a dear friend of mine. He wasn't much help in averting the dangers of purchasing on a strong impulse. He was quite encouraging. "It's a passion. Follow your heart." Well, those weren't his exact words, but they amounted to something of that effect. Bless his cotton socks...
So, here I am, and have been since, debating with myself. Should I, shouldn't I? Patience has never been one of my virtues. I could buy this once I reach Chile - probably cheaper over there too.
The problem is my M50. I have no idea WHEN it'll be ready to collect and ride again. THAT'S what is leading to this internal debate! I have adopted Veruca Salt's mantra: Don't care how, I want it now!
But we all know what happened to Veruca, don't we? She was thrown in the garbage for being a "bad egg"...
I have heard that it's wise to go away and sleep on decisions like these. That said, I did.
I woke the next day, finding myself in exactly the same mental quagmire.
I hate this. I am not an indecisive person by any stretch of the imagination! So, what's the problem?
My impending international move is one of the issues here, I think... That, coupled with my ever-so-reliable impetuousity...
Live for the moment, take your pleasures where you can...
I have always lived by that motto, sometimes to my detriment.
So, why am I hesitating now?
Could it be that I am growing up?
Could it be that I am finally deciding to ignore the advertisers, reduce my consumer spending and attempting to recapture my time for the things that really matter?
If that's the case, one could argue that I should buy the wee-Strom...
I wouldn't be "reducing my consumer spending", but I would be putting my efforts into a recreational pursuit that really matters to me.
Writing all this makes me want to examine my situation far more closely...
I'm not a typical female in many ways. I don't place importance on buying clothes regularly in order to look good and be what society expects me to be. However, I do admit to possessing one female vice - I must, must, must have my nails done once a fortnight. Sad, but true...
A relative once told me that one of the first things people notice about you are your hands. I used to be a nail-biter as a child - my nails and cuticles were the most haggard things one could lay their eyes on. But this wonderful relative of mine (whom I despise now) made me feel incredibly inadequate for having such shoddy hands. I'm sad to say, her words stuck... along with many other messages I received throughout my life about my appearance.
But, I digress... (I do that a lot...)
Besides that weakness (that I know I will have no choice BUT to shed whilst touring for long distances on a motorcycle), I possess other chinks in my armour. A major contributor to these chinks is motorcycling.
It represents so many things to me...
Freedom, independence, relishing experience immersion, personal image (whether it be negative or positive to others), anonymity...
Nobody cares if you're pretty or ugly on a motorcycle. You have the option of hiding in your helmet, if you choose. Social boundaries and attitudes are overcome simply by the fact that you ride - it doesn't matter which echelon of society you belong to, what political or religious persuasion you are. You're a rider and that's that. If someone wants to delve further into what else makes you tick, that's optional. Riders share a common bond in that regard, illustrated by the fact that they nod to one another when passing each other on the road... hell, they'll stop and ask if you're ok if you've just pulled over on a desolate highway to take a happy snap!
At the risk of romanticising this section of the general population, the world-wide community of riders reassure me that there is still hope for the human race. If they can share this passion on so many levels, shed all bias and discrimination towards others because of this common bond, offer assistance in a time of need for no personal benefit... perhaps these attitudes will further infect the rest of the inhabitants of this earth. It is possible... we just need to do it on a grander scale.
How did I get to this from my torturous thoughts of buying a wee-Strom?
Reading over my stream of consciousness, I am definitely hearing the violin music in my head. Plus, I can almost see the melted cheese dripping off me as I type.
See what happens when I am deprived of being out there?