a logophile’s quandary

For the longest time now – like, seriously, I can’t even tell you how long – I’ve been meaning to write a post about some of my favourite words. At one point I even started compiling a list, but then I realised that there were just too many words for one post. Then I thought of that A-Z blogging challenge that some of the bloggers I follow participate in from time to time, and I thought that’d be a good way to space it all out, but then it’s so much effort…

Let’s be realistic here – it’s probably never going to happen.

And I can’t just write about my most favourite word because that always changes, and mostly it’s just too hard to pick just one word at any one point in time. What I did notice along the way, however, is that I seem to have an affinity for words containing the letter C, or words that have a C-like sound in them. This does not, however, mean that I like all words that fit this bill. I’m also not sure if the presence of the letter C is just a coincidence (which it could be because I also like words that are C-free).

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afternoon contemplation

Today was a lovely day. A blue sky, mild weather sort of day. Brisbane springtime at its best. Around mid-afternoon, after having met up with a friend for lunch and a general catch up, I made my way over to my favourite grassy spot in South Bank to just sit and relax.

I’ve gotten into the habit of always (or almost always) bringing pen and paper, and a novel with me wherever I go; but today I’d also brought earphones, and decided I just wanted to sit back, listen to music, and people-watch. (Well, initially I did try to write a bit, but the inspiration wasn’t really coming, so I didn’t worry about it.)

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rethinking alcohol

For some time now (over the last few months? this year? since last year? not really sure…) I’ve been pondering about the drinking culture in Australia, and reflecting on people’s relationships with alcohol (including my own). You don’t have to be an expert in public health to know that alcohol contributes to a lot of health problems (long- and short-term), and can lead to death. For some time, I’ve been thinking of writing a post about all this, but just kept putting it off. But when I read this post by George at The Off Key of Life, I thought I’d lend my support and do my bit (and basically add my two cents’ worth).

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non-specific apathy

From time to time, I find that I am struck with what I’ve termed “non-specific apathy”, which is exactly what it sounds like: a general unexplained feeling of non-feeling.

I suppose it’s kind of close to a melancholy sort of feeling, but it’s not quite as sad. This non-specific apathy is, however, bad for motivation because if you’re feeling apathetic, nothing really matters, right?

I don’t think it happens to me often, but, apparently, when it does strike, it can be quite obvious to others.

Ok, so this is kind of entering into new territory because I don’t tend to write overly personal things on this blog, but, like I always say, this is my blog and I’ll write what I want.

Over the years, I’ve come to learn that I’m supposedly quite good at concealing my stress and worry about a lot of things. I cannot tell you how many people have told me, throughout high school, uni and work, that I never (or rarely) seem to be stressed out, and/or that I seem to be a very happy/enthusiastic person.

The latter observation is actually quite accurate because I do have a tendency of approaching new tasks/challenges with enthusiasm and alacrity. The former observation is possibly also reasonably accurate, but I’m not sure to what extent it’s a conscious/subconscious effort to appear cool, calm and collected.

I suppose, then, that when I stray from this composed visage, it might, for those who know me well enough, be obvious enough.

(Side note: If you’ve happened to notice that, in these last few months – specifically, since the start of this year – I’m using a lot more commas in my writing, it’s almost certainly because I’ve been reading Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield; and the bookish amongst us all know that Dickens is renowned for his long sentences, which, of course, cannot be constructed without a healthy sprinkling of commas and other punctuation marks.)

However, part of me does wonder if, on some level, I don’t actually try to conceal this apathy at all, and would actually prefer that it was noticed. But, I mean, if it’s a general apathy, why would I care who knows and who doesn’t? Sometimes I wonder if it’s a kind of quiet cry of distress, or maybe a silent call for help. Maybe it’s some weird self-preservation strategy for when I’m feeling emotionally overloaded. Yeah, that sounds plausible… I’ll go with that.

fraught with assumptions

The other day, when I caught the bus, I noticed that the bus driver was probably a bit older than the average driver. I had noticed this as I got on the bus (because I always greet the driver as a common courtesy), and I thought to myself that he must have been driving buses for years – or decades.

As the bus pulled away from the stop, I asked myself, given the apparent age of the driver, whether I trust his experience, or whether I should be worried because of his years. I realised, of course, that both options were fraught with assumptions.  Continue reading

the pigeon

When I walk to my usual bus stop, I always walk along a street that passes under the freeway – or, rather, the freeway passes above the street. Underneath the freeway, the concrete is covered in bird droppings, and you just know there are always pigeons around somewhere nearby.

Yesterday morning, when I was walking this very same route, there was a pigeon lying on the concrete off to the side of the footpath, right under the freeway. It only took one glance to know that it was dead.

Later that day, in the staff tea room, I was reading a copy of National Geographic that someone had brought in and left at the table. There was an interesting little feature article about death and how it’s defined. It quoted some medical definition that referred to the cessation of either brain activity or heart function, but also touched on the spiritual significance of death, and how this could create another definition altogether.

It having been a busy morning, and me having read the article quickly because I was only on a short break, I did not immediately connect the pigeon and the content of the article. And you might ask “But why would you? It’s just a pigeon!” but I should tell you that I have a kind of fondness for pigeons. Not the kind of fondness that one might have for puppies or kittens, but more of a kind of sympathetic fondness for these simple creatures.

The thing that struck me the most the first time I saw this poor pigeon, was how peaceful it seemed. It did not look like it had been attacked and killed, and no scavengers had yet come to claim its flesh.

Only tonight, when I walked past it again (someone had moved it aside, further out of the way, but I assume it was the same pigeon), did I think of that article again. The way that the pigeon was lying there, its wings folded in close to its body, made me think how perfectly it would fit into my cupped hands. I imagined the warmth emanating from its body, the gentle rhythm of its heartbeat, and a soft coo rising from deep in its throat.

I slowed my pace momentarily, marvelling at how its body was still so intact (although who knows what has happened beneath the feathers smoothed over its body). It very well could have just been asleep – in an odd place and an unusual position, but asleep nonetheless. I thought of that article again, and wondered if it really might still be alive, in the sense that it wasn’t dead, based on the technicalities of the definition(s).

It was a humbling experience found in an unexpected place.