I’ve struggled to adjust to the realities of life over the past few weeks, but waking on this holiday morning and seeing tiny spots of green sprouting up where my lawn used to be has raised my spirits infinitely, even if not leaving me quite as chilled out as a kangaroo playing air guitar.
While on the topic, I’ll stick with the good news. The onerous (and highly costly) process of getting an Australian passport for my daughter was finally completed. Even then it had been a bumpy ride, fighting with my daughter over instructions to fulfill the extremely demanding requirements, then clashing with Canberra after they refused the submission my daughter made and the embassy had accepted.
When I pointed out to Canberra that their allegations of where the submission had fallen short were completely groundless, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that they agreed and had approved the application after all. (The application process started off a series of bike bad luck, losing my rinko bukuro, Wahoo mount and light during the trip, all of them parts for a Brompton, which is never cheap, let alone while trying to fight a 60% pay cut). Anyway, it’s done.
Then, Mrs. Kangaeroo discovered Latte Graphic.
I was delighted upon arriving there to learn that it is part of chain of coffee shops influenced by the Melbourne coffee scene.
I left Melbourne in the 1980s, well before the coffee culture had truly flourished (though it was already big then among the Italian community in Lygon Street and surrounding areas), but am always pleased to be reminded of my home city.
Although we had to wait an hour to get in and the service also unfortunately mirroring Australia (i.e., borderline abysmal, but at least with friendly smiles in Japan while being ignored), the food was sensational!
Neither was presented in the traditional style a la pub or cake shop, but both tasted authentic and were deliciously scrumptious.
And that’s about where the good news ends. Cue a tale of woe and misery hereafter, so a good place to stop if not seeking bleakness.
For the past decade or so, the cornerstone of my life has been a 12-step program to deal with my recovery from addiction. It’s not working for me anymore. The program had always provided hope of something better. And it had always delivered. Even as my life started unraveling again toward the end of 2021, I could always drop back a gear and be thankful that the program would get me through. It has stopped doing that.
The 12-step program no longer provides me hope for progress and I was becoming a toxic presence for others, so have stepped away. My experience has been that those who relapse step away from the program, but I have also seen many others for who that has not been the case. I am not as talented as those people, nor as young or skillful or grounded. But as long as I am harmful to others, it is best to stay distant.
Annual holidays were a mess as I spent them racing to and fro among various organizations in a vain attempt to ward off the impending pay cut my boss had decided to impose on me. I had to sign on to the deal because I learned the cost of fighting would have been even greater than what I was losing and with little prospect of “winning,” even if I did come out on top. The first work day after the new contract came into force, the boss announced there will be a significant increase in duties. A colleague is also leaving and unlikely to be replaced. I immediately applied to join a union. Fuck them.
Cycling has been a huge part of my life in recovery. And, as noted above, things haven’t been going too great in that field, either. The Death Machine has continued its track record of being finicky, but most tragically for me was the demise of my Trek FX3.
She had served me brilliantly for several years, being my daily commuter from 2018 to March 2020, when she was replaced by Belladonna and I discovered the delights of road bikes. Even then, the Trek was faithful for shopping trips, carrying loads and wet weather riding. She had been expected to weather the demands of the climate and always come up trumps. Then, on the way to Latte Graphic, we stopped briefly at a bicycle parking lot. When I took the Trek out, I noticed that the bike was “bouncing” with each pedal. The chain had sometimes slipped on this bike and I thought that was what was happening, but close inspection revealed that wasn’t the case. When the problem didn’t go away, I got off the bike and examined it closely. I was shattered to discover that the frame had broken apart. It was a death sentence for the poor bike. Ironically, it came just days after Belladonna was somewhat resurrected as a trainer bike after she, too, had cracked and was rendered too dangerous to ride outside.