I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Update: Aftershock

After the trauma of the break-in, I admit to finding it a little hard to concentrate. I have had a big clean-out of my email in-tray, for example, instead of working on my lecture for next week or the several other tasks at hand. But I was going ok, holding it all together to give Joel a sense of normality, until this afternoon, when I was in the supermarket. I'd left my trolley by the bananas, with my green recyclable shopping bags sitting on top, while I'd gone round to pick up some nectarines, and when I came back, I saw an old woman calmly taking one of my bags to put her grapes in.

I said, "Isn't that my bag?" and I swear she said, "I'm a beggar; I'm taking it, ok?" Of course I just shrugged ironically. Who is going to dispute ownership of a $1 bag with an old woman in her slippers? Not I. What am I going to do? I'm going to start collecting my own grapes and mushrooms, sobbing quietly into my hands. I have to keep going, because Joel is at his music lesson and I have to pick him up at 5.30, but I can't stop crying. No one comes to my aid. Clearly, if you run down the street in your socks yelling "stop thief" it's exciting and dramatic, but a middle-aged woman sobbing over the fruit and vegetables on a Friday night? Oh well, what would you expect?

I got as far as the check-out, still sobbing and shaking, clearly experiencing a delayed reaction of vulnerability and shock, and just wishing it would be one of those Fridays when I run into my friend Hannah at the supermarket. I looked up, and there she was, just exactly the right person to meet. I had had dinner with her the previous night, so she knew the whole story, and just hung on tight till I had stopped sobbing.

I'm ok now. Joel is at a friend's house; Paul is on his way home from the US; and everything's right with the world.

Oh. I do turn 50 tomorrow. Anyone else signing up for Earth Hour to help me celebrate? Because, truly, not everything is all right with the world...


Pavlov's Cat said...

I got to the word 'Hannah' and thought 'Oh, just exactly the right person to meet ... Oh.'

Early night for you, though it's rather too late to be suggesting that. Bedsocks. Hot chocolate. And have a lovely, peaceful day tomorrow.

(And yes, I have reading-by-candlelight plans for Earth Hour.)

David Thornby said...

Sorry to hear that it struck you like this, though I'd imagine it's pretty normal to come down from the 'event-ness' of something like this and find the more complicated post-event thoughts waiting for you when you do. Though having it sparked by a rudely nonchalant beggar isn't what I'd call run of the mill.

Maybe I'm a bad person...but having someone say 'I have nothing, so I'm entitled to take this thing that's yours' -- well it made me angry, despite the infinitessimal actual value of the thing. I suppose I should take all the mitigating circumstances into account, but I thought it was just wrong. Sad, too, that nobody could have offered some comfort at the time, but we just don't know what to do with strangers any more, I think. I know I don't.

I hope you had a happy birthday and forgot all about the rest of the world for a few hours.

meli said...

happy birthday!

Jeffrey J Cohen said...

Happy birthday.

Having been through a trauma or two myself, let me stress that a delayed reaction is a normal reaction. Sometimes you are so focused in the moment on getting through and doing what must be done (esp. where family and loved ones are concerned) that the toll it takes on you isn't evident for a long time afterwards ... and stays with you for a long time as well. Something as simple as talking about the event, repeatedly -- and blogging about it -- can really help. The last time something of this ilk happened to me was when my then two year old daughter went unconscious and had a seizure while I was holding her. I thought she was dying; it was the most horrible thing, because I could not get her to respond or come back. Somehow I did everything right -- got her to our neighbor, a pediatric nurse; got her to a hospital -- but it was a blur, and I have no memory of making any choices. For weeks afterward though I kept reliving the moment when she started to convulse, and it was really tough. I did a short blog entry on it, and that helped; I also spoke about it as much as I could.

OK, enough sadness: happy significant birthday, again.

Mel said...

Happy birthday Stephanie! Earth Hour was a bit of a bust in Carlton - I expected to see an entirely dimmed suburb, but it was all lit up as usual.

Eileen Joy said...

Happy Birthday, Stephanie Trigg [and $1.00 shopping bags be damned]! Cheers, Eileen

Stephanie Trigg said...

Thanks, all, and especially Jeffrey for sharing his scary story. I thought of this last night when I woke, heart pounding, after a terrifying nightmare in which people kept coming to the house, and into the house, until eventually the door just came off its hinges.

Still a way to go, then...