Monday, 10 October 2011

Directionally Impaired

Apparently I had a shocking sense of direction right from the start when I had trouble finding my way out of my biological mother's womb into the big wide world and had to be caesarean-sectioned out of her rib-cage instead.

Yes, there above my tiny nursery bed in the maternity annex was a pink sign that stated my name, weight, time of birth and the blunt but official diagnosis, "Directionally Impaired", and I swear it has been a self-fulfilling prophecy ever since.

As a little girl I often got lost on the way to school and inevitably ended up somehow at the corner dairy where I spent all my pocket-money on aniseed-wheels and sherbert-sticks as some kind of consolation prize.

At High-School, I couldn't find many of my classes and all I ever taught myself in Science was how to harness sun-rays to burn holes into my hideous maroon pleated uniform with a magnifying glass that was intended for studying insects up close.

I still get all churned up with a sense of unfairness when I reflect on how Robyn, my younger sister, greedily inherited way more than her fair share of  S.O.D genes leaving me with next to none. She helps out with Search and Rescue, retrieving lost or injured people from rivers and mountains using a compass or the stars in the night-sky or something clever like that.

Now, I know that Robyn and her incredible team would rescue me if I were ever lost in the bush, but in order to rescue, one needs some information to work with, does one not?  I would therefore probably die a dreadful death because of the inadequate information I scrawl in tramping huts.  Leaving a message like, "Bernadette went that way", with an arrow on the page indicating which way I ventured forth with my back-pack and muesli bars would probably be next to useless if somebody moved the visitors-book ever so slightly.

My Boss gets a teensy-weensy bit annoyed when I can't find where in the orchard I am supposed to be. Well, it's frustrating for me too, you know. Like the time I was desperately in search of Block 11. I had been working there just a few days before so where on earth had it got to? I frantically zoomed around and around and around on the quad-bike, and of course Neville would have to catch me out on my fifth lap of the orchard, alerted no doubt by the enduring noise and an intense curiousity as to what I was up to this time.

"A middle-aged joy-ride, is it Bernadette?", Neville wanted to know after waving me down.
"Of course not!", I replied indignantly, "but I have temporarily misplaced Block 11", I added sheepishly.
"How is it possible?", he groaned.


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Who Cares about the Money?

My 79 year old mother lives on our property in her own little house. She and her boarder are both insomaniacs with erratic sleep patterns and frequently indulge in little tea-parties at midnight. Actually, Pinnie prefers slightly warmed milk to tea but they both love fluffy omelettes with bacon-pieces, crackers with blue-vein cheese, warmed up chappatis with dahl and chocolate-eclairs. On any given night, one or more of these snacks is served on pretty little blue and white saucers. Pinnie's way of saying thank you is a contented snort before loping off back to her smelly bed in an old suitcase under the dining-room table.

So, is it any wonder that our dog should weigh a cumbersome 15 kilos when she is only the height and length of a box of Honey Puffs tipped on its side?  Sure, it's embarrassing when I take her for a walk at the beach and people smirk condescendingly as they pass us.

If I see a really slim dog being marched our way, I quickly fling a piece of driftwood into the sea for Pinnie to retrieve. By the time she has completed this arduous task the offending poodle or jack-russell or whatever has generally long gone leaving our dog free from the bad-body image she isn't yet aware she should have.

Of course the real culprit in this sad state of affairs is Kristen, who at age 10 hollered, "I WANT A DOG!!!!!!", and got her puppy (which is a baby dog)  from the 'Free to a Good Home' column in our local rag. For the next six years, Pinnie, a black and white cocktail of unspecified breeds, was walked, worm-tabletted, raved about in school essays, dressed in ballet tutus, taken on rafting trips, adorned with tinsel each Christmas and generally adored beyond belief.

But then Kristen had the audacity to leave home at age 16 and Pinnie lost all pride in her appearance.  Honestly, young children who demand pets should be forced to take them wherever they go once they fly the coop as teenagers. Pinnie should have accompanied our daughter to Italy and university lectures and all dates with boys so she could nip the overly-hormoned ones in the groin.

But no, we inherited Pinnie and yesterday the vet informed me that she has a heart condition and will need two tablets per day, each costing $1.50. That adds up to more per year than we spend on our sponsored girl in Orissa, India.

"Nah!! No beep beep way are we spending that kind of money on a dog!", I muttered as I went to collect the mail in my bright red dressing gown with snowmen printed all over it.  Each morning there is a 50% likelihood that I pull it over my head back the front and that's what happened today. The hood hung in front of me like a huge red sick-bag so, just to be silly, I thought I'd see how far I could walk as a blind woman and pulled it up over my entire face.

I did very well for 23 large strides but then tripped over a brick and banged my face against the gate-post. It hurt like crazy and blood spurted from my right nostril. I felt dizzy enough to sit under our cherry tree and cry very briefly. One does get desensitized to pain and humiliation when it is a regular feature of your life - like it is is mine.

Pinnie wandered over to comfort and nuzzle and gaze at me with mournful eyes of brown velvet. I knew then that this animal deserved her medication and whatever possessed me to doubt it for one minute?