Sunday, 5 February 2017

No Coffee

During this third mid life crisis I have decided to take in the sights, sounds and joys of both Australia and New Zealand. I had a raucous time in Oz from November to January and now I sit writing this latest missive in the guest room of a vegan herbalist in Auckland.

Her name is Sky and she has hosted me for nearly a week and during that time she’s helped me immensely with a multitude of unresolved issues.

My past is like a communal toilet at an open air music festival. It’s foetid, blocked and full of shits. As time has moved on I’ve improved upon my ways of dealing with all this but have never achieved the result of Actually Moving On.

To set the scene, she lives in a detached house in Beachaven, on the North Shore bit of Auckland. She owns three rabbits called Lady, Houdini and Bruni, two of which are adopted. Bruni recently got an eye infection and Sky refused the $300 the vet wanted to put the bunny on potentially unsafe drugs and instead gave it a herbal remedy…which cured the infection.

She also has a boisterous dog named Gina who is very gentle with kids and loves to play fetch for her favourite tennis balls and go for long walks on the beach. Sky has apple, plum, apricot and nectarine trees in her garden, along with lime and lemon.

She has made me vegan meals that have increased my energy fivefold and also almost extinguished my desire to eat sweet stuff unless it’s honey or natural (i.e. fresh fruit). She has made me a concoction of various liquid herb extracts in a bottle with a dropper, that I drip under my tongue three times a day.

We have been for long walks with Gina; bought half price sushi at the local Japanese bar; picked apples from her orchard to make fresh (vegan) apple crumble and for the last few days I’ve been doing a spot of gardening at Sky’s mother’s house, cleaning her driveway with a high pressure hose…for $15 dollars an hour.

I have no access to wi-fi here and can only check my email and Facebook, Instagram and Messenger once a day at the local spot in the shopping precinct about five minutes down the road. This has (thankfully) somewhat muted my habit of being almost umbilically attached to social media.

I have found my energy levels to have gone up substantially, I’ve lost all the belly flab I came to Oz with in November and the knee pain I’ve had since my operation in September 2015 has more or less disappeared.

I put nearly all of this down to a mixture of positive focus, good (and additive free) food, a healthy lifestyle and Sky’s herbal remedies.

However….(drum roll please).

The concoction she made me was intended to release or dissipate rage against past memories and enable me to “move on”. I found out after about a day of taking the drops that I was a little less focussed on my previous negative experiences and was able to enjoy myself “in the moment” more than I had in a loooong time.

On Saturday 4th February I did a Krav Maga seminar in Victoria Park, Auckland. This was hosted by Aaron Moore, an Expert level instructor who opened a new club in September 2016. I wasn’t tired beyond what you’d normally expect when we finished and Aaron dropped me on the other side of the Harbour Bridge and I walked the remaining 4 miles home. I didn’t feel, like I normally do, that my feet were sore and my left knee was hurting and I was thirsty. Nor did I bring up bad memories from my past just to pass the time and vent my frustrations about sore feet/ thirst/ body aches/ pounding pavements.

I felt relaxed and happy to just stroll home, stopping off at the supermarket on the way back to get some sandwich bags and then get a coffee at the local cafe near Sky’s house. As I walked in to the 2 Dollar Store next to the cafe I was confronted by the sight of a 12 year old girl laying on the floor while the shop assistant was fanning her with a large book. Turned out she’d fainted and the amublance was on the way. I have First Aid training and checked she was OK (shake shoulder gently, ask “Insert Name…can you hear me?”), verified she wasn’t diabetic, drunk or on drugs and then buggered off.

I didn’t feel the need to hang around because I’d done enough (hey, I’m a nice guy) and I knew it was all in hand. 10 minutes later I saw the ambulance and asked one of the paramedics if she was OK. I said I’d tried to help and she had responded to verbal questions and replied “I can’t move” when I asked her if she was in pain. He smiled, said she was fine and I went home.

So this herbal, vegan, healthy, cuddling rabbits lifestyle seems to have helped both mellow me out and also give me more energy.

But what about past issues? They have hung around my psyche for years, like flies on a fruitcake.

The realisation on that one came today.

Sky needs the guest room by Tuesday so I will be leaving after lunch that day. I went on Couchsurfing and looked for hosts in the city of Wellington, a place I’m assured is beautiful and worth a visit. While perusing the listings I remembered that a woman I met 8 years ago in Rome now lives in Wellington.

On the May 1st free concert in Piazza St Giovanni in Rome, 2009 I had met her with some other Couchsurfers, got off with her and then taken her home and shagged her, both that night and again in the morning.

I always remembered that one night stand because we had to walk sodding miles to get home, as the public transport was shut down for much of the city centre due to the concert. She was initially reluctant to come home with me due to the long distance but I was drunk, free spirited and horny as hell so I whispered in her ear all the filthy things I intended to do to her once I got her home. She went poker faced and nodded, saying “OK” and we did indeed spend about 2 hours on the underground and walking, just to get back to my place. The journey would have been shorter but we kept stopping every so often for a passionate snog. Once I got her home I remember pushing her against the wall and we had a wonderful time before collapsing asleep at about 3am and then waking up in the morning and doing everything again.

I walked her to the train station the next day and we kissed goodbye and while we exchanged phone numbers and a few texts, sent the odd message via Facebook and a year later she asked me to help her friend find work teaching English.

She moved to Wellington a few years later and today when I decided to go there I remembered her and thought about getting in touch to meet up for lunch or a coffee.

Then I remembered that while we had had a great night together it was two years short of a decade ago and we hadn’t met again since the morning after. She wasn’t a friend, or even an acquaintance. She was a very special memory of a wonderful night in a wonderful city where we’d spent about 18 hours together and then moved on with our lives.

So…I didn’t send her a message. I didn’t ask her to meet me for lunch. And I didn’t invite her for coffee.

For once I was able to put this memory back in place without much hesitation. It was a long time ago and fun but ultimately, while we never had a falling out or any kind of disagreement, we had nothing in common beyond the desire to have sex with each other that one night.

There are memories LIKE THIS that I can't shift (and don’t want to) but this time maybe I’m becoming able to move the books in my library of memories to alphabetical order instead of trying to cram them all on the bestseller shelf.

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