GORDON SANITAIRE by Gordon Urquhart (XIX)

Working From Home

Last weekend we found ourselves in the city. Little Titus was with us. Nancy and I had him for the day and we decided to give him an early birthday treat (he’s four in July). We had just taken in WE and were preparing to dissect the film over a late lunch in one of those anonymous food courts where hundreds of tables in a cheery shade of red are shoved up against one another, and the colour and lights and music are supposed to make you feel happy about being there, in a kind of human eating battery. But it wasn’t so bad. We found a Mexican place where the jalapeños were sufficiently fiery – Titus has recently acquired a taste for the jalapeño – and we were going to eat tortillas and laugh at Madonna’s directorial career together.

Nancy and the little chap waited at the table while I went off to queue and order and bring back our lunch. I was standing there, as the line moved forward slowly, with my eyes on the menu board, which was high up and above where the food was prepared and kept warm. I wasn’t looking at the ground, and so it was a surprise when a woman crashed her stroller into me with some force. More a shock than a painful incident, I was nevertheless prepared to give the driver of the offending vehicle a short lecture about “being more careful” when I realised it was Marg: the young woman sent to me by mistake, I think, when I still possessed the key to the executive wash room at Imperial Minerals. She became a protégé of mine. I took her with me when I travelled for work. We spent a lot of time meeting people in remote towns and flying over mining operations and eating gargantuan steaks in country restaurants. She sat in on all my meetings. In fact, she was there whenever I did anything over those last three years at Imperial. I taught Marg everything I had to teach. Marg was my mate. Marg is my mate, in fact. Although we haven’t seen each other in quite a while. You never see the people you really like, do you?

I asked how she was going and what she was up to. What she thought would happen to the Australian Dollar and if the Reserve would leave the official interest rate alone this month. And she talked about her daughter Cathy. How well the little girl was doing, how much she enjoyed exploring the house on all fours. What a delight it was to have a baby. How great she felt to be a mum. But she had nothing to say about the dollar and the interest rate. And she had nothing to say about any other economic indicators either. She was happy and her daughter was happy and that was all she wanted to say.

The two of us shared a big hug and I told her I missed her. Marg said she missed me too, but she had other things to do now. I kissed her and we said goodbye.

Published in: on June 4, 2012 at 8:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

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