Whatever good intentions I start the weekend with, they are inevitably thwarted by life. Life, as they say is what happens while you are making other plans.
Late last week, I got an email to tell me that Jonathan Franzen (auto correct just tried to change that to Frankenstein – how literary of it) was in town and was going to be doing ‘an evening with…’ on Saturday evening. I immediately wondered if I should go, because we are so far away from everyone in Perth, that I sort of felt it was the kind of event that should be supported.
I am sure the event will be supported, because it is hosted at the main university here, and I am sure that there will be hundreds of earnest students, clasping their copies of The Corrections lining up to hear him, but still the thought persisted. I have to be honest, I have never read any of his books, but I know I am safe posting this because I listened to an interview with him on radio during which he said he stayed well away from social media, online chit-chat and reviews for the sake of his mental health. I did, however, hear him give a superb reading of the David Means’ short story, The Spot, on the New Yorker Fiction Podcast earlier this year.
All thoughts of this event, however, slipped from my mind on Friday evening as I tried to help my parents out by moving a sewing table downstairs. The sewing table is a unit on wheels with drawers on one side and a space to store a sewing machine and then lever it up to a platform for use on the other.
‘It is at the top of the stairs,’ my mother explained, ‘I have emptied it and it just needs to come down.’
This should have been easy enough but for the fact that even while empty, the sewing table was still pretty heavy and the main problem was getting the casters at the back over the steps without having it lurch violently either to one side, taking pieces of wall with it, or the other taking pieces of my dogs out. My dogs, being dogs, faithfully followed me up the stairs to assist with the furniture moving, then absolutely refused to leave the area, like demented fire wardens. Every time I sent them down and started to move the table again, it would lurch and they would race up to ‘help’ putting me in more peril as I tried to prevent them getting squashed. This was also not helped, or course, by the fact that I started laughing at the insanity of the situation as it was unfolding with the only other possible outcome being that I lost complete control of it and it thundered down the stairs like a runaway train, taking me out in the process.
Somehow, after many stops and starts, I got it to the half-landing, but as I was moving it around the corner, I decided to look inside because there was something thumping around and I wanted to make sure nothing was getting broken.
It was the sewing machine. My mother had diligently opened the drawers and pulled out all the tiny cotton reels and packets of pins, and the paper sewing patterns and left a bloody great big 15 kg sewing machine still inside. Once that was out, moving the unit became a lot easier and we got it downstairs with no further ado.
This morning I went online to the event page again to see if there was anywhere which said I could buy tickets on the door, in case I decided I wanted to go. It struck me while doing this for the fifth time, that the reason I kept checking was probably because I did want to go so I should just toughen up and buy a ticket. So that is what I did. My husband has no interest in these things so I will be going on my own, but that is fine. I am used to doing that and I studied at that university and did some acting there last year, so am familiar with the campus. My printed ticket is now lying beside my keyboard and the dogs are about to get a surprise in the form of an early walk.
I suspect his books will be on sale. I already have a load of books ready to go in my online shopping cart, but one more won’t hurt, will it?