Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Carpe Diem: Look outside - is the sun shining?

I was talking with my mum on the day she got her cancer diagnosis. That was just over three weeks ago. She died four days later - way sooner than we expected. But on that Thursday we were filled with the thrill that comes with the challenge of sucking the most out of every day. We thought she'd have a few weeks - maybe months. We wanted to sit in the sun, feel the freshness of spring, maybe.

I told mum that some people can go for twenty years and never appreciate the fact that the sun is shining. I showed her a photo I took the night before. We vowed to get out and enjoy some sun before mum died.
We didn't get to it. Mum and myself walked in fields of gold - metaphorically - for years before she died. But I wouldn't have minded to share a sunset like this with mum. Man plans and God laughs.

But we can choose to feel the sun now. There is no perfect time to go missing - to take the time to feel the sun on your face or the wind in your hair. Somebody will be disappointed. But who are you living for?

I'm going missing, to skydive with friends tomorrow. I won't just feel the wind, I'll be the wind. I will have stolen a few moments for me. All of my obligations will still be there the day after tomorrow.

I suppose the challenge is to suck to most out of every day, and not piss too many people off as we do it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A fine is a fine, Mum's dead.

Loook, I get it. You park in a place and you run later than you think. You get hit with a fine. As my mum said 1.5 weeks ago with her terminal cancer diagnosis - "bugger".

But you played the game. The dice rolled "seven out", and you thought that your roll would go on forever. You get free parking as much as you can but stretch the friendship and there's a fine. So Iwas surprised to see City councillors' fines getting waived because they were on "Council Business". $6000 worth over a few years, I hear.

Gee I'm not really too bitter. All jobs have their rorts. I got my PhD study paid for because I happened to work in a university at the time. Winner! But that's the sort of generosity I'd be reluctant to accept if I were a councillor. Surely that was going to catch up with you.

I've found the council fines branch to be great. I'm one of their best customers. I just pay when I get the ticket, mostly. The fines branch have been really cool over the years when I've gone a day late on payment and waived the stinging reminder fee, and perhaps even once when I got a "double header" ticket. I think tickets are fine (see what I did there?) because I like the idea of street parking being available and the council getting money if people think they can stretch the friendship.

But I will tell you my latest story. I parked in front of a building I work in quite often. It's a loading zone. I dashed across the road (North Terrace) to pick up a bundle of exams. That I had to mark. While I was that side of the road I went down to RAH to visit Mum who had been in there for a week or so.

My bad. No such thing as a quick trip to the ward in those days. My ten minutes turned into five hours. I returned to my car to find a double header fine - $65 for the first offense and about $45 two hours later. That's cool, I'd been used to getting skinned for parking fees for the last week and a half. In the scheme of things, $110 was small potatoes. Mum died two days later. So I'm choosing to post a photo of happy time, at my sister's 40th.

These things tend to make one a cliche, and part of me expected that this photo would be forever. In a way, it is.

I think Mum would delight in this turn of events. And quite relevant to the South Australia Matters Facebook group she founded. A chance to just make a quiet statement, and for me to say "look, I have problems too but a deal is a deal". I'm not sure the "council business" excuse trumps mine, though. I like Cr Ann Moran's point - that parking fines set up an unpleasant vibe and is a shitty thing for a lovely city to have to do.

Still I can't see any other way. I quite like the parking inspectors - doing a job, earning a buck and keeping the street parking available. Life's too short to get caught up on this shit.

Bye Mum. You were a great friend.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A "cutout" coupon on the web speaks to old responses

I clicked through to some advertorial that featured Ellen DeGeneres. Fine. As I read through the ad, I was interested to see exactly the same couponing technique that I once saw in women's mags - "Free Trial! Limited Offer!" and the quirky thing was the scissors and dotted line.

Pushing all the same buttons of the people who once read women's magazines. Interesting.