A funny thing happened last night. You know when you hit a wall, procrastination sets in or you get to the top of the mountain and don’t know what do up there. When you have talked the talk. Then the only thing to do is to walk the walk.
When both your sons come home from school with a tale of woe and feel down with the teachers or another student has hit them and you wonder when will the World ever stop fighting. So we go for a long walk on the beach we live on and talk as we go about how Daddy solves conflicts and pick up some interesting granite and quartz stones, gems if you like.
We discuss everything from my own school experience with violence and why violence is illegal in most places. Stayatworkfatherofthree being careful not to point out that while violence is banned in most schools yet rife among adults in the same country as the school. We eventually settle on a large log of drift wood and Bravo starts hammering it with a pointed piece of granite and makes good headway in gradually cutting it in half. In the process I show Alpha how cavemen would have once wedged a smaller sharper stone into a split stick to fashion a tomahawk. The boys calm down, not because Dad is doing something with them. They are using their hands and their heads are following.
We agree on walking away from violence at school and finding a teacher at all costs if it happens to either of them again. We always do. Until the next time it happens. All ends well and we head home across the road so they can shower before dinner.
Later I take a sunset stroll down to where Sandpiper is berthed and she looks great and serene sitting in the dark water as the night chill comes on. Further around the point I head into the supermarket and bump into another Father at the school and we get talking about kids. We talk about the energy they have, we talk about slapping and we talk about kids in crisis. For the next five minutes I let this younger Father knows the best way to calm a child is to pick them up and hug them while moving to another location so they can see a view of mountain or sea or sky to change the focus of their eyes. Especially if they have been inside or too long with eyes closely focused on reading, TV or toys. Just simply allowing their eyes to re-focus a further distance seems to do the trick.
As we part he says the damnedest thing. “Thanks mate, when’s the book coming out“ No question mark required because it is a cheeky rhetorical Australian question to put me in my place among friends. I cannot stop laughing and wondering why no one has ever said that to me before. In fact, never having hear it in the 20 years I grew up in Australia, how this gem escaped me. Moreover, why the hell haven’t I in all these years produced a book. (The Shining is one reason now I have a wife and kids and becoming an alcoholic like Hemmingway is another.)
Lost in self examination, I leant against the rail at the ferry terminal and watched the water lap against the small granite boulders. Long before this blog started, I had produced small books at school and even at University. Then in the throes of my lost years in Hong Kong’s nightlife, my weekly funpack emails were enjoyed by everyone except one uncle who did not have enough bandwidth to download the photo laden program for each weekend. My magazine articles were published for months every couple of years and it you put them all together with reports we sent to clients every day, they would amount to several books.
Remembering I had our marina key in my pocket, a quick beeline was made to the little resort room open to marina residents and the little library of pre-loved books left by sailors of all description. Settling for a very short history of the world and now armed with more than 300 pages to fend off random conversations with strangers, headed for dinner. Reading no more than 40 pages during a tomato gazacho followed by BBQ tofu with avocado and quinoa, the restaurant filled and this was not the ambience to required. I was done shortly after the table to my right asked for no sauce with their steak and only mustard on the side. Because not 60 seconds later the table to my left requested the same no sauce, mustard only on the side. Could they hear each other? Was subliminal messaging at work. The bane of the detective. Not being able to switch off.
Exit Stage Right. A quick coffee on the way home at Scallywags, the pirate cafe with bodiced waitresses and 30’s music. The uncomfortable white wrought iron table and chair had the best light for reading. Served by people who remember your name and piping hot cappuccino, was just reabsorbed in the human migration from Alaska to South America when the owner Pete comes to shake my hand. “Love the way your are using this space” he says referring to possible the least used table, yet the only one beside the little fountain. Or was it because I was the only solo diner not looking at a phone?
Respect for books. They change the tone. Perhaps the World need a few more, if you can believe there aren’t already. There, I said this was funny, not hilarious. But it certainly reminded me to finish reading and writing the ones I have already started.
Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans. You were so right Mr. Lennon.