By John Dickson

    It began well enough. The weather was still kind and I had distractions galore.

    The novel that I had promised myself to write by April 30 was 100 words in and showing heaps of promise. Promise enough to allow it to lie fallow for a few more days, or weeks. My column for The Westsider was finding its way and I was keen to see where it went.

    I could still exercise. I had a bike. The pool was closed, but black line fever was never something I enjoyed that much. Golf courses were about to close, but my homemade driving range would allow me to improve exponentially and steal a march over my teammates. Endless kilometres of urban jungle invited me to explore them on foot.

    I was as healthy as a man with a penchant for ‘just one more glass, thanks’ could be.

    Perhaps the twisted ankle was some kind of an omen.

    Walking became a painful chore; swinging a golf club, hopeless; bike riding, impossible; swimming, banned. I could drive, but where to?

    Sounds started to intrude. My wife, a teacher, was distracted by the demands of the online classroom. Not a digi-human, there was much disgruntlement coming from her ‘soft’ office [our bed]. A neighbour’s house was being loudly demolished. Lawn mowers became an insistent irritant as my own verdant green mocked my infirmity by growing at a rate that defied botanical norms.

    Visual reminders began to rankle. Those wonky roof tiles that need straightening. That guttering leaking into the ever-softening ground below. The weather corner, sinking deeper with each further downpour, its crooked parallels openly taunting me, the paint cracking and chipping off the rotting weatherboards.

    I hid out in my workroom. I watched the entire 2013 US Masters, knowing the outcome. Then the 2018 version. I partially tidied things, then untidied them. I played the four chords I know on my guitar over and over and over. I napped. Siesta brought dreams of a litany of lost opportunities and brass rings just out of reach. I woke exhausted.

    I angry-Tweeted.

    I became a sniper, admonishing right wing nut jobs with carefully hewn insults. I invited Donald Trump to fight me. I challenged Boris to a duel. Morrison ignored my withering exposures of his flaws. I was scathing, inappropriate, intolerant, bad-tempered and then by turns, hilarious, incisive and wit-soaked. I got bored. I photoshopped dimwit politicians as clowns, then [thankfully] binned them before posting. I was stitched up by threads of nonsensical claims and conspiracy theories. I became evangelical about evangelicals [of every stripe] and their simple-mindedness. Perhaps I was envious. Perhaps I was losing my way.

    When the sun snailed deep into the western sky, I began to prepare food. What is cooking without wine? One for you and two for me. Culinary catastrophes ensued. I wasn’t hungry anyway.

    What’s on TV? No? That’s OK I have Netflix and Stan and AppleTV to fall asleep in front of and wake to demand of my long-suffering partner: ‘Who’s that? What’s going on?’

    She ignored me, cast doubts, undermined, insulted and ridiculed me. Chastened, I offered reparations, a detente. She urged that I take a ‘good, cold, hard look at myself’.

    And then little shards of light began to appear. A dog with a helicopter tail. Endless tik tok cack fests. An old friend prised open Facebook. Goats. The moon boot soothings. Vika and Linda Bull sing a cappella. Our NYC-based daughter passes her Covid test. Ozark is back. Killing Eve is back. Tsiolkas writes like a writing god. Facetime, Zoom, ebay, Booktopia, Vinomofo. I smile at passing walkers. They smile back. My elderly neighbour is pleased to hear my voice.

    I am slowing and beginning to fit.

    And so to bed. It’s been a long day.

    Our content is a labour of love, crafted by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the west. We encourage submissions from our community, particularly stories about your own experiences, family history, local issues, your suburb, community events, local history, human interest stories, food, the arts, and environmental matters. Below are articles created by community contributors. You can find their names in the bylines.

    Your feedback

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here



    Latest Articles

    Latest Edition

    #93 February 2024

    Recent Editions


    Become a supporter

    The Westsider is run on the power of volunteers. Your contribution directly contributes to ensuring we can continue serving and celebrating our community.


    Related articles