Elizabeth Jane Corbett

writing her way home

What life is like …

Sometimes my life feels like a pinball machine. You know, the kind you put money in and out comes the disc and you flick it with little levers and every time you get a point it goes ping! I work from two diaries and a mobile phone reminder system. But I still scurry about without managing to be in the right place at the right time.

Last Wednesday this helter skelter existence finally came apart spectacularly. I missed an important, and expensive, medical appointment. I also forgot to take my car to the mechanic as scheduled. As I lamented this unfortunate (but not unusual) series of events to Andrew and Seth over coffee, I regregretted that I did not own a diary small enough to fit in my handbag.

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘It would make a huge difference. Perhaps when Linda (at work) takes the diary requests for 2009, I will order a more compact organiser.’

‘Mum,’ Seth said, leaning over and speaking earnestly. ‘I don’t think you should wait until next year.’

I went straight to the newsagent.

I now own a modest shiny black synthetic leather volume designed and produced by Tai Shing Diary Limited. I sat down and transferred all my data, feeling buoyant with hope and achievement. I even went so far as to clean out my in-tray (heaven rejoiced). I saw a letter from the bank in my in-tray. It that had been sitting there for over a week with a replacement card stuck to it.

‘Look at that,’ I said, signing the back of the card with a flourish. ‘They have made the new Mastercard the same colour as my old Keycard.’

I chopped my Mastercard up and put it in the bin.

Feeling very righteous, I made room for the new piece of plastic in my purse. It was at that point I realised, my new Mastercard actually had the word Keycard written on it.

I phoned the bank.

A replacement Mastercard will arrive within five to ten days. Meanwhile I have my new Keycard to go on with.

Since Wednesday, I have been taking my diary around everywhere. I sleep with it beside my bed. It is the first thing I see every morning. The last thing I look at each night. I go to sleep mouthing imminent appointments like a sacred liturgy. I think it is helping.

On Friday, I managed to get myself to the airport, park the car, and board the correct flight to Adelaide without hiccup. I even rang my Mum to say the flight had been delayed. Yes, I thought, I can change. I was born to be a chess set. Not a pin ball machine.

I disembarked at Adelaide Airport feeling regal, calm and serene. It was lovely to see Mum. We gathered my luggage (no mistakes there) and made our way out to the car park. All was going well until Mum realised she had forgotten where the car was parked.

Mum has a new car so I didn’t know exactly what we were looking for. I knew it was a red car. She thought the number might have an X in it.

There were quite a few red cars in the car park. As we walked around the car park pointing her automatic locking system at cars hoping for the lights to flash, I had a dark epiphany. Even with my Tai Shing Limited diary bumping against me, I knew in that moment, that I would never be a chess set. No matter how hard I tried. My problem is genetic. I was born into a family of pinball machines.

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1 Comment

  1. Ooh, Liz, I dunno. I love the sound of your mother. I have been struggling with my silvery blue Toyota Camry for a year now. There are just too many silvery blue Camrys around, they are ex-hire cars. I want my old bright blue Ford wagon back.

    Did you know you can set Google Calendar up for alerts too, if you have a Google account. I really like those, I put the absolutely vital things into it and it sends me an email!! Haha.
    Hate it when it tells me I have no events scheduled for today, though.

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