Monday, November 18, 2019

On Being the Antichrist. If not Worse.

As a notorious people-pleaser who wants to be liked, if not loved, by pretty much everyone, it took me a while to come to terms with the fact that, in a certain circle of friends, I seem to represent Evil Incarnate. I used to considered myself an (emotionally) intelligent, environmentally-conscious, waste-avoiding person and even now slap myself on the shoulder for not buying that sexy fruit or vegetable flown in from faraway countries even if there was no locally grown alternative.
All my efforts are annihilated completely, however, by my passion for air travel (long-distance even), persistant use of Uber and the like and the fact that I not only buy clothes and accessories whose origin I can track down to the very person who produced them. Mind you, I really don't buy from brands who are notorious for their sweat shops and have considerably cut down on the instant-gratification spending I was known for in my twenties and thirties, but I don't look at every label to put it back on the shelf if it was not produced in a country where bad practices have occurred.
So, whenever I meet with said circle of friends, I more or less anticipate the inevitable lecture and I have stopped defending myself or even mentioning what I've been up to recently as it invariably involves highlighting some bad behaviour of mine that negatively impacts the climate or human rights. It's not that I approve of everything that my friends do either and you can count on me for being that person who often blurts out the first thing that comes into her mind, but I have made a conscious effort not to be so openly judgemental as I now know first hand how uncomfortable it can make you feel to be singled out as the baddie in an otherwise rather homogenous group of people. 

Monday, November 11, 2019

Good Karma

Last week, I briefly felt like the world was conspiring against me. The night we returned to Brisbane, the Australian's car broke down (the "coolant" alert came on  on and when we continued to drive after refilling the coolant tank with water, there was steam coming out of the bonnet and we spent a long time waiting for the service guy) and had to be towed to the garage. Also, my suspicion that I had NOT left my expensive beloved noise cancelling headphones at her place in Brisbane before leaving for Airlie Beach, but rather left them in the seat pocket on the flight from Cairns to Brisbane was confirmed. Plus it turned out I had left my travel adapter for electrical devices plugged in my hotel room in Airlie Beach. I was really frustrated and angry at myself. 
Even though I pitied my friend most for having to potentially purchase a new car (hers is a 2005 vintage) after likely motor damage. I suddenly got a panicky feeling of doom and gloom and weird foreboding. The fact that I had left/lost those things despite having made a deliberate mental note (obviously forgetting that my mental capacity was at "low" these days) not to. After a series of seriously stupid actions on my part, most famously leaving my handbag at the supermarket, I really was concerned where "this" all was leading. What next?
I could barely sleep that night and kept spiralling into a vortex of "what ifs", also slightly miffed that Highflyer who had texted a few encouraging words did not seem to grasp just how much this concerned me and how much I wanted to be comforted right then. 
The next morning after reclaiming my headphones at the BNE airport Lost & Found (Yay, it was as easy as that!) we were encouraged to take an earlier flight than the originally scheduled one, which we did. Once we had checked in our bags and proceeded to the gate, I suddenly wondered if this was exactly the kind of scenario you read about: somebody catching a different flight from the one they had planned to take, without notifying anyone back home. That person was lucky as the original plane would tragically crash, causing relatives to experience a tearful "miracle". Or, was it the other way around that the news reports focused on people who ended up dying because rescheduling their flight? Which would it be? As the reason for us being put on the earlier flight was a forecast thunderstorm and likely delays caused by it, I was mildly concerned. Well, we obviously made it, as did all other Virgin Australia planes that day and by the end of the day, that visceral feeling of foreboding slowly evaporated.
In fact, the Australian was right when she said she believed in good karma (she had given an elderly lady a lift with her car the same day it broke down) and she was right. Not only could her old car be repaired at little cost, but I was reunited with my headphones and all was good in the end. Even more so, our flight SIN-MUC on Saturday night departed on time and was not cancelled due to Lufthansa cabin crew strike like the Thursday and Friday services were.
All's well that ends well, but I suppose the lesson for me here is to be more vigilant and attentive if only not to have to experience this kind of vague panic and frustration at myself again.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Summer Child

As I am writing this, I am in Brisbane, Australia, enjoying perfect spring weather that feels more like summer to me. While I am definitely NOT one of these people who ever feel the need to "escape" from European winter and never want to spend Christmas by the beach, these weather conditions and scenery truly recharge my batteries and all "autumn ailments" like dry hands that want to be moisturised every time I wash my hands or cracks in my finger tips that are either caused by (over)heated rooms or cold outside temperatures...or both (I am still trying to find out what causes these) disappear immediately. Summer temperatures and blue skies really makes me happy and more energised and even though it gets dark here very early in the evening, it really feels like longer and more productive days and I am enjoying my "bonus time" to the fullest.
I do look forward to returning to foggy and chilly autumn in the Northern hemisphere, but I know already that my next visit to Australia (maybe together with Highflyer who has never been?) whenever that may be, will take happen around the same time of the year when I can sneakily extend summer and fill up my vitamin D reservoir before embracing those dark winter months back home.
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