by Catriona Mills

Articles in “Life, the Universe, and Everything”

Parents: They Seem So Full Of Potential, But They're Such Fragile Creatures, Really

Posted 30 May 2009 in by Catriona

ME: Hello?
MAM: Hi, Treen. Are you doing anything?
ME: Watching a movie, but I can pause it. What’s up?
MAM: Your dad wants to know if you can tell him how to record the World Cup final tonight. Your brother’s gone out and we don’t know how to work the machine.
ME: The World Cup final?
MAM: Well, whatever. The football. At midnight.
ME: The F.A. Cup final?
MAM: Yes. Can you tell him how to record it?
ME: Mam, I don’t even know what brand your DVR is!
MAM: Well, can you just give us some ideas?
ME: I can suggest that you should have bought a TiVo.
MAM: Can you at least tell us which channel SBS is on?
ME: Pardon?
MAM: Your dad can’t find SBS. He’s on channel 90 now.
ME: Do you have my brother’s mobile number?
MAM: Yes.
ME: Can you send him an SMS, asking him if he’ll be home before midnight?
MAM: We don’t know how to send an SMS!
DAD: (excited but muffled shouts from off-phone)
MAM: He’s found SBS.
ME: Well, that’s a start. Can you not just pick a programme and press “record”?
MAM: I don’t think so. Can’t you tell us how to record it?
ME: Mam, I moved out of home before you bought that machine.
MAM: Can Nick tell us how to do it?
ME: I don’t think so. But he could send my brother an SMS for you.
NICK: What do I say?
ME: ‘Are you coming home before midnight? Dad can’t record the F.A. Cup final and he’s bullying me. Love, Treen.’
DAD: (vague muttering off-phone)
MAM: What’s ‘EPG’?
ME: I don’t know. Oh, Nick says it’s the Electronic Programme Guide. That’s probably what you want.
DAD: (vague muttering off-phone)
MAM: Your dad says that probably won’t work.
ME: Mam, that’s the best I can suggest. Try picking a programme and hitting “record.”
MAM: I don’t think we can do that.
ME: Well, my brother just sent an SMS saying he won’t be home tonight. So just try it.
DAD: (excited but muffled shouts from off-phone)
MAM: He’s found the F.A. Cup Final. What do we do now?
ME: Press “record”?
MAM (shouting to Dad): Treen says to press record. (To me) Dad says there’s only an “OK” button.
ME: Try hitting the “OK” button, then.
DAD (excited shouts from off-phone)
ME: I take it that worked?
MAM: (shouting to Dad) Tell Treen what? (Pause) I’m not telling her that! (To me) Dad says he’s very disappointed in you.
ME: He’s what?
MAM (shouting to Dad): You’re not very disappointed in her!
DAD (off phone): I am!
MAM (shouting to Dad): You’re not! (To me) Oh, there’s a call coming in. It’s probably your brother ringing to tell us how to record the F.A. Cup final. Bye!

The Day The Bus Hit The Telegraph Pole

Posted 24 May 2009 in by Catriona

We live (almost) at the intersection of two fairly major roads. I rarely think about it unless I want to take a photograph of the sunset.

Then I see that we’re webbed in by telegraph poles and power lines, which criss-cross the skyline in all directions:

A bus hit one of the telegraph poles this morning, nearly wrenching our power line out of the front of our house—so that it was held up by a conveniently placed jacaranda and frangipani—and knocking out the electricity for the entire street.

And all of a sudden, telegraph poles look much more fragile than they seem when you’re walking past them at street level: worn wooden struts, exposed to the elements and at the mercy of apprentice bus drivers:

And I’m still uncertain as to how hitting the bottom of the pole could cause this much damage to the top end, let alone risk wrenching our power line out of the front of our house.

Electricity indeed works in mysterious ways.

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