Is it something about the heat that makes me so reflective? Those sweaty afternoons lying on the couch like a panting dog, cursing the fact that the power is out again, but not really minding because it means you can curl up and snooze through the hottest part of the day.
Yesterday the power went out for 6 hours. I made dinner wearing a head torch. My childlike inner hippy loved the fact that I could turn all the fairy lights on and light all the candles. Even the ones with Jesus on them. Sitting outside in the embrace of a warm night we both wondered at the same time what that smell was.
Seems those really cheap plastic candleholders melt under extreme conditions and we escaped setting the house on fire by about 3 minutes. For the rest of the night and most of the following morning I was still finding sooty footprints throughout the living area. Thank god for tile floors.
At times it reminds me of my flatting days. Uncomfortable furniture, our couch is both bright orange and made from polyester, sheets that don’t get washed every week, we abandoned the expensive white linen ones weeks ago, mince meals, with hidden veges, miss-matched plates and cutlery, there’s never enough teaspoons is there? and posters held up with blue tack, art prints brought from home not band posters like the old days.
It makes me grateful for all those things I learnt when money was tight and conditions mighty grim at times. It’s amazing what you can do with a throw, a bunch of cushions and a few pot plants.
The first of the R’s.
Resourcefulness. Wearing a headlamp to cook dinner. Remembering all those mince recipes. Using number 8 wire to fix the hole in the mosquito netting in the door. Creating a concoction of coconut oil and deet so you don’t burn your skin off. Making banana loaf in the breadmaker. Changing the bottom sheet and swapping it for the top one (I’m not sure anyone younger than 50 will know about that). Buying cans of beans when they’re on special, even when no one really likes beans. Card games cos there’s no TV. Shopping for the cheapest toilet paper and in bulk even when you have nowhere to put it. Using an old box as storage (doubles as a bookcase) and the end of the table covered in a ratty old towel to iron your work clothes on.
Then there’s my next R.
Resilience. This is when you don’t cry when someone knocks you off your scooter (even though it really hurt!) and you dust yourself off and get back on it and ride it home. Or when the toilet is blocked AGAIN and you really really need to go, cos, well maybe that chicken wasn’t so good. And when the water is off and the power is on, or the power is off and the water is on. When you open the fridge and find a pile of dead ants that must have made it in somehow on a bowl of leftovers, and sadly they all look like they were making a break for the door…and nearly made it! Or when you’ve done everything right and still you get bitten by a mossie and it’s right in the join where your bum meets your leg and it’s driving you crazy.
The final R is respect.
Respect that your way isn’t the only way, that just because you think something SHOULD be a certain way doesn’t make it so. That difference in all its forms is a beautiful, challenging, confronting, exciting thing and really our experiences, when put into the context of everyone, everywhere and throughout time are just tiny and often inconsequential. Respect that maybe working to ‘island time” is actually healthy. Respect that putting family relationships and the desire to celebrate someone’s birthday long and hard through the night instead of being sensible and tucked up in bed before 10pm could actually be right and proper.
Oh, and one more R.
Romance. Make sure you’re getting some. Life is way easier if you are.