Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Calm


Last night as I walked home from the bus stop, the brewery smelled like a giant loaf of bread. It’s toasty, yeasty smell put me in mind of another warm smell, one near the other university. There, when I wander to the bus stop, I can smell fabric being ironed at the commercial laundry. I find it comforting, like walking through sun-dried sheets.

I probably dawdled a bit too much for someone who was walking by themselves in the dark, but the streets of Brisbane aren’t exactly mean, and I was in a kind of reverie after two very intense days of RA work, working to meet the grant submission deadline. I have been in a vortex of meeting, referencing, editing, paginating, photocopying, repaginating, re-photocopying and delivering, and I’ve emerged slightly shell-shocked but with the sense, not only of a job well done, but that I’ve had an invaluable learning experience for someone at this stage of academic life. Is it too presumptuous of me to say that I think I was able to contribute something tangible to the project, aside from my stellar command of the photocopier? The partner support letter initially rambled on for three pages and was full of strange outmoded words like ‘mankind’. Well, not on my watch, people! And I’ve come to realise that one of the benefits of being a Professor is that you can hand over a too-long, poorly referenced, overly technical description of your 25+ year career with complete certainty that an eager, bright young thing will make you sound as though considering funding anyone else for a project of this kind would be against the national interest.

At the moment I’m gathering myself in anticipation for the next storm, which begins tomorrow. Today is the first day of my self-appointed two week holiday and when I finally get out of my pale pink ugg boots and my matching robe, I’m going shopping for ingredients for the high tea party I’m throwing for my sister on the occasion of her bridal shower this Friday (I will post photos as part of Gastropod Friday). But first I will buy myself a birthday present in anticipation of Thursday. I need some new winter weight pyjamas since I had to throw out the last pair, when I felt a chilling breeze from buttock to calf down my left side. I need a haircut too.

Tomorrow is momentous for other reasons. My Aunt and Uncle, whom I’ve never met, will arrive in Brisbane from the UK, via Cairns. Most of my family will be there to greet them at the airport, then we’ll go back to V’s, where, according to a slip of my other sister’s tongue, there will be cake and other birthday-related things. I am looking forward to seeing the adorable, little Hannah in person. We had a long phone conversation recently, where I learned all the names of her kindergarten teachers; of her excitement at one day being lifted by a male ballet dancer; of her disappointment that she would not be throwing blue flowers in addition to pink and orange rose petals as part of her duties as flower-girl—because blue is her favourite colour; and, of all the sparkly colours that would be in heaven.