I have this week off work. I suppose in some ways today was the first “real” day off – because until now each day has been a bit manic – packing clothes, traveling, socialising, unpacking clothes, washing, grocery shopping, and so on. It probably seems a little strange, listing “socialising” as a chore, but in many ways that’s exactly how I see the real world – hard work.
There was a night – during the rugby tour – when many of the other parents wandered down to the bar together, and I stayed behind with a few of the Mums. For some reason I find their conversations about life, parenting, and personal struggles far more interesting than typical male conversations about work, cars, beer, sport, or past exploits involving work, cars, beer and sport. I’ve always been the same – at any party you’ll usually find me in the kitchen with a glass of wine, listening to the conversations around me. I’m never “that guy” that’s been more places than anybody else, done more things than anybody else, and delights in telling everybody about their adventures. If anything I spend most of my time trying to include everybody.
Anyway. Got a bit distracted there. I’m off work this week.
I had vague plans of visiting the coffee shop in town each morning this week to spend some time writing, but given the cost of coffee, and the distinct lack of funds in our bank account at the moment, you’re far more likely to find me sitting in the junk room at home with an instant coffee and a supermarket-own-brand chocolate cookie.
While away I started reading “The Summer Book”, by Tove Jansson. I only got a chance to read a few chapters, and then while folding it up to wander down to the bar for a meal one of the other Dads remarked on it:
“Is it any good?”
“Yes actually – it’s wonderfully written – which is amazing really, because it’s obviously translated from the original language” (Swedish, I have discovered – Tove Jansson was Finnish, but spoke Swedish).
“She wrote another book, didn’t she – The Winter Book – I’ve got both, and haven’t read either yet”.
I admitted I had no idea, and we fell into a conversation about reading the more unusual books – I recounted the time I spent working in the city years ago, and worked my way through various “banned” books – among them Lolita, and Tropic of Cancer.
It’s funny really – just like that I discovered another parent like myself – a quiet guy that reads, and tends to watch the room going on around him. It felt good to know that I wasn’t alone.