A journal of questionable quality

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

tyranny of distance

It's that time of the month
The part where we contact old friends. I don't have a lot of them. Growing up I figured I didn't need kids, and I could probably do without too many friends unloading on me too. Fact is, I moved around a lot, enjoying my own company.

Today is communication day.

First on the agenda—Jumbo the man. Up till last month I had him dead. We had sporadic contact throughout all the years I have been here in Australia - him in New Zealand and me visiting sometimes when I was back there. Last time I heard from him he had been diagnosed with MS.

Not good.

Never heard another thing from him. Figured he must have died and no one bothered to let me know. He lived in the North Island and everyone I know lived in the South Island. New Zealand is not a big place but distance is distance, and islands are islands. I really did think he had died. Last month he rang me. Not from the grave.
I really did think he had died.

Last month he rang me. Not from the grave. From right here in Brisbane. Two things I couldn't believe; I actually answered the phone, because I never do, and that he was on the other end. Here, alive.

Amazing. Caught up, swapped lives, brought everything up to the present. He's doing well. Had MS for 10 years and can stand up out of his wheelchair, such is the effort he puts into keeping mobile.

Reason for lack of communication? I sent a card, for some occasion, and mentioned that I don't do phones. He doesn't do writing. Impasse.

That was all. So, new plan: get over the phone thing and ring him now and then. Easy. Today I started—the initial consultation being sent in the form of a text message to his phone. It's a beginning. Innit?

Next victim
Tom, for want of an easy anglo name. Brother in arms. An old cab campaigner just like myself. We had a lot in common, a love of money being one. Tom is a Sikh. We go back a long way. We've been through a few issues and barreled gloriously out the other side, unscathed, to do it all over again. A book will be required to fill in the details.

He moved. Really moved. Back to India for a year or so, then on to Canada where he now resides.

Last week we managed to dispose of the last asset he had still in Australia, and in his mind the last reason I had for being here and not over there with him. Checking out the place. As we do. As we did.

We have a constant battle going on—involving me going there. The agenda I think is to go, and stay.

Anyway, once a month or so, depending on withdrawal symptoms, we have a day devoted to a wide array of telephonic's; cell to cell, Skype to cell, Skype to landline, and so it goes on. Swapping methods as reception fades in and out. An arduous process, especially if he is driving, as often happens. 

It's become a ritual. Today was the day.

I feel better for speaking to him. Still miss him though.


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