In the morning I sit at the computer, which is tucked away in a room without windows, and when I make coffee it's sunny but the light dims and we have rain by noon. On National Radio a woman complains about her Neil Diamond tickets (bad acoustics) and I listen to an adaptation of In My Father’s Den
. I finish editing early (for once) and make lunch (watching The Desperate Housewives
suck up to Oprah on TV). Before I take a shower, I tell myself if it's sunny when I get out I'll go to the beach.
It's so still, it's eeiry - not even a breeze. So unlike Wellington. Four in the afternoon and I'm the third person on the sand. I remove my towel and my grammar book from my bag and time myself twenty minutes each side.
‘Making the most of the last of it?’ asks a man with his wife. He's wearing a boat hat and has taken off his shoes. They walk to the water but don't paddle.
‘Yeah,’ I call back, ‘it’s so still today.’
I take the sunniest route to the library. My flip flops sound sticky. It’s cool in the shadows. I pay a fine - $2.70 for an overdue book - and walk up the escalator (on the left) to the first floor. The following extract leaves me very confused: “have you used ‘which’ incorrectly? Go on a ‘which’ hunt. Nine times out of ten the word should be ‘that’.” I say ‘what?’ out loud, and a few people turn and look at me.
Afterwards, I walk to the Warehouse
and buy rugby shorts to run in - for $7.89 (bargain) - and eat more toast at home. My Mother has had a long day and reclines watching Friends
. We haven’t heard from my sister. Ma likes the rugby shorts and thinks I should get another pair ("they’re so cheap!"), but I remind her I already have too much luggage to take back.
A slither of toast escapes into the toaster. When it pops I think the toast must have leapt out and I look around for it.
‘Unplug it at the wall,’ she says as I discover the toast still in the machine and try to fish it out.
I give up.
I write some more and watch E.R.
and decide I love Abby. Oh heck, all of them. Even Carter. I put on my rugby shorts and a singlet and running shoes. I’m showing a lot of thigh.
I head for the waterfront. Still no wind. I run along Oriental Parade, past the swimming pool and the beach and the Floating Restaurant and the fountain. I breathe in through my nose and out my mouth. The salt air stings, mixing with the scent of fresh sweat, aftershave and washing powder.
There are people night fishing.
I wind along the beaches for half an hour before stretching. As I stretch my calves I consider how tranquil it is. And that I haven’t discovered any dead bodies yet. And that I watch too many crime programmes.
I run home, remove the piece of bread and make more toast.