Georgina Finds Herself.

Georgina

It usually happens when someone distracts you. 

You’re used to a  certain routine; someone asks a question, and you put the keys in the fruit bowl instead of their usual spot. 

You don’t notice the mistake until the next day when you need to drive to an important meeting. 

The problem is easily fixed by using the spare keys; the lost keys are soon to be found.

Losing yourself is quite a different matter, as Georgina found out.

I’ll fast forward to the end and tell you that her friend Harriet was the one who found her, so now that you know it will be a happy ending, you can relax.

Georgina and Harriet had been friends since that first day at Kindergarten. 

They crashed into each other in the playground, smiled, and a lifelong friendship was born.

They shared the intimate and the mundane and found them of equal interest. They had each other’s backs and their friends called them George and Harry.

Georgina’s parents had money and were ambitions for her. Harriet’s parents lived quietly and just wanted Harriet to be happy.

The friendship storm clouds gathered when Georgina received a scholarship to study at Oxford. If she chose to go, it would separate the friends for the first time in their young lives.

It was a tough decision for Georgina but in the end, she followed her parent’s wishes and took the long flight to the other side of the world.

Of course, there were young men and parties, but Georgina also applied herself and received appropriate results. She was a voracious reader, and this is what started her ordeal.

She shared a room with a girl from one of those tiny islands in Scotland, and both girls struggled with their respective accents, but as usually happens with young people, they laughed a lot and muddled through.

Their room was on the third floor and looked out across the square to the library.

Georgina came from a country that counted it’s recent history in a mere hundred years.

The room that Georgina slept in was part of a building that was constructed more than a hundred years before her country became a country.

She liked to sit in the window on the wide timber sill and devour a book.

From where she was sitting she saw the whole thing, or to be more accurate, she saw the aftermath.

She told the authorities what she had seen and from then on things went downhill very fast indeed. 

She found herself in the middle of a controversy that would consume the college and almost everyone in it, and peace would not return to anyone’s life for many months.

Being a foreign student, suspicion fell on her. Her motives were questioned, and her character came under scrutiny. She had simply told the truth and said what she saw and now her life was in turmoil. She was not yet lost, but she was losing. Far from home and far from the strength of her friends and her family she struggled to understand what was happening.

When the situation seemed to be at its darkest, there came a knock on her door. 

She opened the door, and there stood Harriet. 

They smiled at each other as they had done all those years ago. 

Harriet gathered her up and led her out of that room and within a couple of hours the two girls were airborne on the first leg of a long flight back to their homeland. 

They had barely spoken. 

They would not be separated again by distance or circumstance.

After a short holiday by the sea, Georgina resumed her studies. 

Harriet started work at a small shop located very near to the university, and the two girls shared a house with a couple of noisy young men.

Careers and boys and husbands and babies and homes and families followed, but Georgina never again became lost. 

She didn’t exactly find herself; Harriet did it for her, but that was the next best thing.

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As we all know there are two things in life that sustain a writer……. constant praise and adulation……..and of course, coffee. I know, that’s three…… I’m a writer, not a mathematician…….. my coffee bill is enormous…… help!!

Enjoy my work. Then buy me a coffee?

Enjoy my work.?? Then why not buy me a coffee?

The distressed Travellers’ Club

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I turned up at my local train station on my birthday to find that they had removed the ticket machine.

In it’s place there was one of those confusing new Myki (Mouse?) machines.

Unlike most travelers I only travel occasionally so I don’t carry tickets with me.I only had a few minutes until my train arrived so my ancient brain had to work this out in a hurry.

The machine had slots for coins, paper money, credit cards and eftpos.

That’s a lot of pressure!

I decided on eftpos. I put the card in and it said EFTPOS, which seemed like a good start. I stood there and I waited, but EFTPOS was all it said. I went back to the main screen and selected “Buy a MYKI card”. The machine said “Do you want to top up your MYKI card?” Well no, actually, I want to buy one.

At this point the computer generated voice came over the PA telling us that my train would be along anytime now.

More pressure.

I decided to do what all ancient people do, I asked the nearest young person how this thing was supposed to work. He looked at it and said he didn’t think it was going to give me a card.

Wise words.

I pointed out that there was a “Buy a Myki card” option. I pressed it again just to show him, and again it asked me if I wanted to top up my MYKI card.

“You’re stuffed mate”.

Yes, I was.

Visions of a $120 train ride spun through my head but I needed to be on that train, and it was my birthday, no one would give me a fine on my birthday………… would they??

When I got to my destination I knocked on the ticket box door because I could not get off the platform without a ticket. Naturally it was “change of shift time” but surprisingly a young man opened the gates for me and a young girl blocked them with her body and a trapped gentleman (of Indian extraction) used the opportunity to escape (he had been standing in front of the gates for several minutes waving his MYKI card in the air but amazingly the gates would not open for him!)

I was momentarily distracted by the flash of the escaping Indian but I did notice that the girl who blocked the gates from closing did not even look up from her iPhone, she simple moved her body slightly so as to stop the gates from closing.

It seems that there is no age discrimination when it comes to the fraternity that is ‘the distressed travellers’ club’.

I thanked the thoughtful member of the younger generation but I don’t think she heard me. Her job was done and she was back to waiting for…… the next train, her boyfriend? I guess I’ll never know.

I wandered over to the ticket window as I figured that I was probably going to need one of these mythical MYKI cards. It was indeed a ‘change of shift’ so the young fella who let me out was now heading for the door and a brand new person was going to serve me in “just a minute”. I didn’t mind waiting it had been entertaining so far and I was looking forward to what happened next.

The lady behind the counter eventually spoke in that voice that quickly tells you that she has said this several times before……….. the card was going to cost me $6 (this seemed a bit rich as I was not going to be allowed on a train without one so now I’m paying for the privilege of paying to get on a train! But, this was no time to rock the boat.)

The lady cautioned me against putting too much money on the card in case I lost it. I guess she thought that I looked like the kind of bloke who lost stuff which is not true. It is true that I forget stuff which I guess is the same as I sometimes forget where I put stuff. Anyway, the lecture on the wonders of the MYKI card continued until we got to the part where I felt I should ask a few questions. As I opened my mouth she pointed to the gentleman standing behind me and said, “George will answer all your questions”.

This was the first time I had noticed George.

Wow, this whole process has a ‘division on labour’. That’s so cool!

George did indeed ‘answer all my questions’ but nearly had a heart attack when I tried to take my card out of the machine before the green arrow appeared. “DON”T!!!!! If you take your card out too soon the next person will get all the money on their card!”

Very good advice, thank you George.

I got the distinct feeling that the staff thought that the whole system was insane and was designed to take money away from poor gullible people like me. “Remember to touch off otherwise the next time you touch on it will charge you for a whole day” I wonder how often that is going to happen, sounds like a real money spinner.

So what did I learn?

I learned that people will still go out of their way to help you and some of those people get paid and some just do it even though they have no idea who you are; they just know that you need help.

I wasn’t feeling all that well when the journey started but by the end of it I was reminded that every day is an adventure, whether we like it or not.

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She can smile……….. she knows how to use the damn thing.

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When all else fails, ask a young person……….. “You’re stuffed mate”.