Just Calling On The Off-Chance…

It’s the fusion of South meets East. The yearly pilgrimage, our annual trip to Queensland to see G’s family. It will be his childhood memories that are discussed, while our children unknowingly make a few of their own. We’ll take a drive past his old house, see his university, and catch up with the country cousins who will also be in town. The children will feel the sun on their faces and notice the distinct difference in temperature and ask within the first two hours of arrival “Why don’t we live here?” A question many Australians ask themselves upon visiting Queensland in the middle of winter.

This visit is planned months in advance. Emails are sent, rooms booked, there is a co-ordination of schedules. We have snuck in a couple of quick catch ups with friends who have moved from Doha; texted, rescheduled, locked in dates. I will inevitably ask myself how it all went so quickly knowing full well that it was my own fault. We didn’t stop, we squeezed it all in.

On the way to the doctors yesterday a surprise voicemail, a girlfriend from Melbourne in town for an extra day. Was there time? Could we meet? No problems if you can’t, just calling on the off chance you were around. I replied, how about midday? Just an hour? Norwood?

And in just over an hour there we were. Her signature red lippy hit me on the cheek seconds before the dulcet tones I’d listened to side by side in a shared office 15 years earlier. Every inch of her is genuine, “How are ya Kirst?” and she means it. Tough, gutsy and as soft as a cashmere blanket, we talked non stop for an hour. Quick tears over a family funereal, giggles over the wankerish cafe snobbery of pear compote on our toast when all we wanted was some bloody butter. I talked of a recent farm visit, how much the kids loved it, she talked of city kids visiting the farm she grew up on as a child. What we loved not just about country life, but country people. I talked of the cousins we are about to see, how one of G’s cousins had shared his bemusement over texting “I mean, why would a fella want to text on his phone when you could just pick it up and talk to someone? Makes no sense to me.” We nodded in agreement. Why were we happy with snapshots of a conversation now? Snippets and incomplete sentences. Why did we assume that everyone was too busy to chat?

“I hope you didn’t mind me calling you out of the blue like that?”

I’m emphatic in my reply. God no, thank you. The texting is killing me, the constant this day or that? What time do we have to be there? When did we arrange to see…? Oh, we’ve doubled up on the 15th, I need to text… We should really plan to visit…

The ease of how about we do this right now? You and me? One hour.

We hugged goodbye, a big, long, tight, hug. We looked each other in the eye.

“Great to see ya Kirst.”

I left invigorated. A human connection.

Sometimes it’s the unplanned. The unscheduled.

Why would a fella text when he could just pick up the phone and call?

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